Re: What year does Beneteau start using a bridge?
I raced on a 50.5 from the Moorings fleet with the owners for the BVI Regatta in 2012. It's a much faster hull than the 51.5. I guess I'm old school but there were many times that I could have tweaked the sail shape more effectively with a traveler by keeping the main flatter and easing the traveler down in puffs. Despite that, the boat had no problem doing 8+ knots to windward in relatively flat seas (1-3') and tacking well inside of 90 degrees (I don't recall what we were actually doing) with about 15 knots of wind. The 3 days of sailing we never saw any sustained winds much more than that. Some gusts made her hard to control upwind making her want to round up quickly if the main trimmer was a nanosecond slow easing the main sheet. For a cruising boat it probably all works OK. I do know a Moorings charter mono is not outfitted like most private Benes. The one HUGE negative that I noticed was during a jibe. There is a bunch of line hanging down in the cockpit when the boom passes over the centerline of the boat and it wants to catch on everything!!! People, the winches on the cabintop, the handles on the line clutches, hats on heads, sunglasses on faces, etc. Everything I listed happened at least once in the course of the regatta. In a cruising situation of course one would tighten up the main sheet before jibing the main and that wouldn't be an issue. What about an accidental jibe? I know there are about a zillion Hunters running around with a similar setup. I've sailed on them. Typically it seems the mainsheet stays on top of the bimini and out of the cockpit. Maybe that would be the case on the Bene too. I do not know, we had the bimini off for racing. Even looking at the photo above, imagine a gob of line dropping down about where the lady is sitting and then snapping back up quickly during an accidental jibe. Maybe it we were just unlucky but I didn't like it. With enough time I'm sure one would learn how to deal with it.