Last edition of Voile magazine has a comparative test between the Oceanis 50 and the Sense 50, both boats at the water at the same time. It is more than time to post about the new Benetau Sense line
. I have been avoiding it because it is just not the kind of boat that I am even remotely interested and because I had not enough data to make an opinion. Now, after reading some boat tests ans after that comparative I think I have.
Why a post? Well, it is an interesting boat that represents a all new concept, a boat that is designed primarily to live aboard (no I don't mean while sailing
) and occasionally sailed.
Let's see what is that knew concept all about
: It's about an open plan living saloon, It's about space and the continuity of space between the interior and the outside, it is about an open huge cockpit it is about sailing with 10º of heel and it's about enjoying life and not necessarily enjoying sailing.
For that the boat has an 60Open kind of huge transom, two rudders and no back cabins. These limits the number of cabins but permits an huge cockpit an a big saloon. The two rudders and large transom would make this boat a nightmare to dock, so the invented that Dock and Go system that will make that easy.
This boat was designed to a growing market and is going to be a success. It was designed for the ones that want firstly a good interior, secondly a good deck and third a boat that does not heels much and fourth a boat that can sail, and it makes that very well, taking into consideration that was not a first priority. So let's look at that first priority:
So have they succeed that interior? Yes no doubt. That's what many people were looking for: The space interior of a cat in a mono-hull, a small luxury loft that can be moved from marina to marina, or for the more extremists, that can be enjoyed in a nice protected anchorage.
And now about sailing? Let me tell you that I end up very disgusted with that comparative test: 17 pages and almost all they can do is describing the boat and show photos of it. People have eyes, they can see the boat in boat shows, what they cannot do is to see how it sails!!!
But maybe after all they are right, sailing is not the priority here.
Regarding to sailing, it is better than what I would expect (and I would say that is the opinion of all the testers on the tests I have read).
On 17 pages they say only about sailing:
With the same engine (75hp) the Sense make 7K at 2400rpm and 8.5k at 3400rpm (full throttle). The Oceanis 50 makes at the same rpm : 7.1K and 7.9K.
Close to the wind with 20K wind the Sense goes a bit faster and points less to the wind. They say it has to do with the sails, a 105% genoa on the Sense that they can keep and a bigger genoa on the Oceanis that they have to roll, giving the sail a bad shape. With 18k wind and a better shaped genoa the Oceanis makes almost the same speed as the Sense, points better, can keep a better course and is more agreeable to sail, implying that the Sense is not very agreeable to sail on this sailing position.
With the Geenaker on open courses the boats go at the same speed but they say that the genoa on the Oceanis is not from that boat, just a borrowed one, giving the impression that with an appropriated sail the Oceanis would go faster.
What are the speeds and the angle against the wind...they don't say
but they say that the Sense 43 (also tested at the same time) close to the wind has a better performance than the Sense 50 and can point higher. Again they don't tell what is the performance
but they say the boat is much more balance at the wheel.
I had to look at another test, this one on the Sense 43 to see what is its performance clolse to the wind, this one on the Magazine Bateau: They say that the Sense 43 with 26K of true wind can make 6.7K at 40º to the wind. Not properly a good performance. Downwind they say the boat is a lot better that can carry all the sail, it is very stable and make 10.5K. That is a good performance for this kind of boat.
On the YachtingWorld test they talk also a lot about the boat interior and little about sailing. They say that the boat is difficult to keep on a groove, that does not like to heel (difficulty in steering) and that in a force 5 to 6 Beufort (+-20K) the boat can make over 7k at 50/55º of the wind.
So it seems that the Sense series does not make a big difference from the Oceanis series in what regards sailing, a bit worse upwind, a bit better downwind. It is a pity all that weight (14 150Kg). With a slimming cure this could be a fast boat downwind. Just to compare, the Cigale 16 (52ft) a bigger boat, (posted recently) weights less 3 150kg. The cigalle has much more finner entries but has a not dissimilar transom. With that weight is not expected to see the Sense planning
even if it should be a very stable boat downwind.
It makes however a difference in price. With French taxes (17%) the Oceanis 50 costs 328 800€ and the Sense 50 costs 484 500€.
YouTube - Beneteau Sense 50 video - Yachting World
Berret Racoupeau Yacht Design - Naval Architect - Bénéteau - Sense 50