Best Monohull Cruising Boat Under 50ft

Beneteau Oceanis 40.1


The new Beneteau Oceanis 40.1 is a true sailor’s boat that just happens to also have a drop-dead gorgeous interior as well. The judging panel really appreciated the boat’s fine sailing qualities when the wind kicked up. These include easy motion, maneuverability and the boat’s superior tracking ability. The Oceanis 40.1 is also plenty fast. On our test sail, it easily exceeded 8 knots on a close reach in 15-knots of breeze.
The boat’s cockpit ergonomics are also outstanding. Handy pop-up footrests and a sturdy centerline table with brace points provide welcome security for both passengers and crew if/when the boat is ever on its ear. Similarly, all lines lead to conveniently mounted winches just forward of the two wheels. An in-mast furling mainsail comes standard, and the hinged transom drops down to reveal a wide, two-level stern platform that will serve as an excellent area for swimming or boarding from a dinghy.
The interior is exceptionally bright and open, thanks to the boat’s plentiful ports and hull windows. It’s a layout that will suit a racing crew or a small family equally well. Our test boat included an unfinished workshop area under the port cockpit seat that will make a seasoned cruiser smile but can also be finished as a cabin. The forward and starboard aft cabins on our test boat were spacious and pleasant, with good stowage and sizable berths.
Like other Beneteaus, cabinetry aboard the 40.1 is Alpi, an engineered wood that can be delivered in either a light or dark finish. The wiring, plumbing and joinery were all neatly arranged and installed. The boat meets Europe’s CE Category A offshore standards.
The galley is amidships along the starboard side, a layout more popular in Europe than in America. It yields big counters and opens up extra seating space in the rest of the saloon, but is less secure than a traditional wraparound galley aft. A comfy dinette and nav station are to port. Bottom line: the Oceanis 40.1 is an outstanding boat in the truest sense of the word—comfortable, great for entertaining and also a heck of a lot of fun to sail.