Operable by two persons
YACHT CLASS N°9 (June-july-august 2017)
With this Berret-Racoupeau plan, the Bénéteau shipyard, the world's leader in production boats, launches a new major range named Oceanis Yacht. And its beginnings are promising since, in less than a year, about fifteen copies of this 62' have been sold.
Text : Emmanuel de Toma
- Photos : Guido Cantini & Emmanuel de Toma
The launch of the Oceanis 60 in August 2014 could have been interpreted as meaning that Bénéteau's high-end range, created in 1986, would continue alone its successful ascent. But this failed to give due regard to the dynamism of this shipyard in a constant quest of new market shares. Thus was born two years later the Oceanis Yacht 62. The first of a new range : the luxurious units one. Sailing yachts in short. We can only praise the talent of the architects Jean Berret and Olivier Racoupeau who, just after a 60' with round and sensible shapes, a classic Bénéteau, drew for the same shipyard a 62' that cannot look more contemporary, even innovative. The difference does not lie in the few centimetres between these two sailboats but to be concise, in everything else. Starting with her line : a sharp vertical bow, very wide rear sections, a main beam carried aft and hardly reduced towards the transom, plus the inevitable hard chine. Described either as a fashion effect or as a stability factor at the heel, this coquetry has at least the advantage of refining the silhouette. And finally the best of all, since this is undoubtedly the sign of an emerging range, a smoked "plexiglas" strip encircles the entire hull, side-lining all the plankings fitted with rectangular portholes to capture the light.
Someone just had to think of it, and so did Bénéteau with the complicity of the architects, Thomas Gaillard, head of production, and the designer Pierangelo Andreani. Thus dressed, the freeboard is ten centimetres higher than the 60's, yet it seems less massive. Standing ovation. But this refinement comes with a price. And required a notch in the mould to ensure that this long strip of about a centimetre-thick perfectly fits there. On the matt grey unit, it looked beautiful. Now it remains to be seen if this does not look like an "announcement" card on a white hull, the basic colour of Oceanis Yacht. Note that the shipyard also provides the reasonable option of a hot-applied plastic film available in all the rainbow shades. Innovations, yes, but via small touches... That's the way chosen by Bénéteau, which cares more about expertise and work ergonomics, to reduce prices, than with the profusion of carbon or titanium now characterizing exceptional sailboats. No revolution in the mould, just the right proportion of fiberglass, balsa and infused polyester to ensure - with the assistance of an integral counter-molding - both the rigidity and the longevity of a hull over 60-foot.
A large sailboat for two
Extricate a 19 metre sailboat from the ultra-modern marina of Port Ginesta, South of Barcelona, is no small business. With a boat on both boards, a 20 metre dike right ahead and some crosswind, there could be no better conditions to judge her manoeuvrability. Behind her helm overlooking the whole deck from bow to stern, the skipper calmly handles the bow thruster and the throttles. Once out of the port, the Oceanis Yacht turned on the spot, without any noise or difficulties. The smoothness and precision of the throttle ensure a perfect control of her 160 horsepower. This is how it is… whether we like it or not, any sailboat cruise now starts with a somewhat delicate engine exercise. So let's talk about this organ that now occupies a major place on sailboats. As proof, the Oceanis Yacht 62 carries no less than 1,000 litres of fuel on board. Enough to cover 250 miles at an average of 6 knots, which is more than twice the range of the Oceanis Yacht 60, despite the fact that she only weighs 4 tons less ! Attentive to its clients, the shipyard based in Vendée beautifully responds to the evolution of cruising practices. Let's finally acknowledge the meticulous insulation of the engine : only 55 decibels in the master, 68 in the saloon and 72 in the aft cabins while at 7 knots cruising speed. Let's go back to the deck, caressed by a 10 to 15 knots breeze. Facing the wind, the mainsail halyard turns around the electric winch on the cockpit coaming, located in front of the helm. In twenty seconds, the black carbon canvas is hoisted. The jammed halyard leaves way for the sheet, on the same winch. From its dashboard, the helmsman unfurls the hanked Code O with an electric roller. Then, the sheet is tightened on the aft electric winch. Acceleration is not dazzling, yet the speedo sails up the rev range while the heel remains reasonable on this long-keel unit. There is no adjustable floor for the helmsman but a well-placed thick footrest ensures his stability. By 12 knots of real wind, the boat goes up to 7 knots close-hauled. At this same pace, the speedo will display 8 knots with 14 knots of real wind. She will keep this speed on broad reach by 15 knots of wind. The transmission to the twin rudders from two trusses and two quadrants is smooth and pleasant to ensure a precise course. Note that this very stiff sailboat is perfectly balanced. Neither fiery nor soft, we can leave the helm for a few minutes without her veering off. All in all, this 62-foot apparently can be operated by two people, provided to always keep in mind that such a sail requires many efforts.
While some foam tickles the sea surface, let's take the beautiful companionway framed by leather-covered stainless steel handrails leading to the calm, bright and airy saloon. The brushed light oak joinery and the Meteor grey and beige fabric linings fill this space with a soothing atmosphere. The layout is very classical : the kitchen on starboard, the dining room and navigation area to port. It naturally takes full advantage of the 5.33 metre-wide hull to accommodate deep benches around a beautiful wood table, while the galley features cabinets concealing chef utensils. Thick handrails ensure safe transits during navigation. Despite entering the luxury world, Bénéteau has not forgotten its famous seamanship. Finally, the perfect woodwork, the thick doorframes show an unmatched know-how. This Oceanis definitely deserves the title of yacht. Forward this saloon, a slightly treacherous step leads to the chicane passageway going to the master. With a large double bed with the head to the bow, a stunning sea view through both platings, a five-star bathroom, a wardrobe, a dresser, plus large rolling drawers under the bed and two deck hatches just above the headboard… this is a design and decoration wonder that only a small lack of fresh air can tarnish during (unlikely) rainy days. That said, there is always the air-conditioning... Just as well decorated, the aft cabins accessible on either side of the companionway slightly suffer from the existence of a nice tender garage. The good side is that its hosts can fall asleep watching the sea through the rectangular porthole against the bed… but they will have to crawl from the foot of the bed to reach its headboard.
Sunbath, agape and farniente
Back to the deck to witness the beautiful drop of the mainsail. In less than a second, its 93m² folds alone on the canoe boom, thanks to ingenious Harken rollers travellers. From then on, we enjoy on an idyllic sunny anchorage the most hedonistic deck. Plenty of sunbeds, a first class cockpit lounge with a kitchen, a vast teak beach created by the reclining transom, which once submerged will free the tender from its ingenious marine railway. Thus, the first Oceanis Yacht adds to the art of navigating well and safely the pleasure of refined luxury. Surely, this nascent range promises the sweetest symphony.
The largest possible,without a crew !
Thomas Gaillard is product manager at Bénéteau. Which means that he defined in every detail this project with the architect and the designer. For this first of a brand new range, this process had taken two years. He remembers : "after bringing together the ideas and desires of many of our clients, gathered by our dealers from around the world and during our Bénéteau Yacht Rendezvous, we concluded that 62 feet was the maximal length for a luxurious sailboat without a crew. Her primary vocation was cruising tropical waters, hence the privileged outdoors. For the record, the plexi strip, hailed today, caused bitter discussions with the architects and the designer. Initially, we intended to limit it to the transom to bring light to the stern cabins. And then, one thing leading to another, it ended up covering almost the entire hull length... But let's not forget that this is a production boat. And so, as ever, we had to display competitive prices while allowing some customization, but more importantly without encroaching on our subsidiaries territories, such as CNB or Jeanneau. In short, this is a small niche, but the success of the first year fully justifies our two years of preliminary studies."
Alternatives & options
The Oceanis Yacht 62 can get several layout configurations, such as a bow cabin instead of the sail bay or a starboard cabin, with bunk beds and no bathroom. Regarding customization, the shipyard offers some alternatives regarding the furniture for the master or the saloon. As for the carpentry, the choice is offered between a glossy Alpi Moabi or light brushed oak. Finally the boat comes with two keel lengths, and either a 2,38m or a 2,98m draught. In addition, the set of options is endless. From the air conditioning to the safe, via the desalinator or the wine cellar... As for the rig, the owner can opt for either a furling mast or a carbon one, slightly bigger for more sails.
- Overall length : 19,07 m
Lengh of hull : 18,13 m
Lengh of waterline : 17,88 m
Mid-ship beam : 5,33 m
Long keel : 2,98 m
Short keel : 2,38 m
Unladen displacement : 26,108 t
Main sail : 93 m²
Genoa : 83 m²
Code 0 : 165 m²
Self-tacking jib : 60 m²
Spi asymétrique : 300 m²
Staysail : 36 m²
Fuel : 1 000 l
Water : 1 060 l
Engine : Yanmar 6 cyl. 160 ch
Price : from 780 000 €
Architect naval : Berret-Racoupeau Yacht Design
Designer : Andreani Design
Builder: Bénéteau (Saint-Gilles-Croix-de-Vie)