2013 BENETEAU OCEANIS 45 "Sandman"
The new Oceanis 45 has been particularly successful, having snagged the prestigious European Sailboat of the Year award in the family cruiser category for 2012. The new Oceanis design features a sleek, beamy hull with hard chines above the waterline, mainsheet arch and low-profile coachroof. In fact, the Oceanis concept is much more conventional, with accommodations running all the way aft and an interior that is deeper and more segregated from the cockpit. As such, the new Oceanis 45 should appeal to cruisers looking for a solid boat with modern styling and a traditional range of layout options.
The hull is solid fiberglass set in polyster, while the deck, also fiberglass, is injection-molded and cored with end-grain balsa. The hull-deck joint is bonded with adhesive and fastened with screws. The hull is stiffened with a monolithic inner structural molding that is bonded in place. The keel, with cast-iron ballast, is bolted on with stainless steel fasteners and backing plates. The stock for the single spade rudder is fiberglass. The 9/10ths fractional rig features an aluminum mast with double spreaders and discontinuous stainless steel standing rigging.
The deck and cockpit layout is clean and functional. All hatches forward of the companionway are flush with the deck, in the contemporary style. All working lines run aft, with the jibsheets coming to self-tailing winches on the cockpit coamings within easy reach of the twin helm stations aft. All other lines, including mainsail controls, come to a pair of winches on the coachroof either side of the companionway.
The cockpit is very wide, but is bifurcated by a large, fixed table with folding leaves, so crew can easily brace themselves to windward when the boat is heeled. This table has two insulated storage compartments, and our test boat had a multi-function nav display mounted in a module at its aft end, where it could be easily viewed from either helm station.
Helm ergonomics are good, with clear sightlines forward and a mix of comfortable steering positions. A long bench seat directly abaft the wheels makes it easy for others to come aft and socialize with the helmsperson.
The cockpit's most impressive feature is the electrically controlled full-width fold-down transom. With just a touch of a button, the entire transom, including that bench seat behind the helms, folds down flat to form an immense teak-covered beach that sits nearly flush with the water. This will make it very easy for small pets and even infants to crawl on and off the boat from a tender.
Coming down the companionway the galley with large fridge and freezer, three-burner stove with oven and double sink is to the port. There is plenty of storage throughout the galley and boat in general. Aft port is the "garage room" with lots of storage and generator access. Aft starboard is the VIP suite with large berth, abundant storage and head access. In front of the aft berth is the large head with separate shower.
A midship to port is the settee with forward end doubling as the nav station seat. Opposite is the U-shaped dinette with stand-alone seat making a full circle. On the forward bulkhead is a large flat screen tv mounted.
The master suite is forward with separate head and shower to starboard. The bed is a large island style with lots of storage to port and starboard and drawers under the bed.
The interior is very light and airy with the many windows and hatches all that have shades or sun and bug sliding covers.
She will attain in 13-17 knots of apparent wind, 7 knots at an apparent wind angle of 35 degrees.
The Oceanis 45 is powered by a 54hp Yanmar diesel engine that can cruise at 7.2 knots with 2150 rpm and hit 8.6 at full throttle.
The Oceanis 45 is an attractive, well-conceived cruising boat that should appeal to sailors who like clean modern styling combined with more conventional accommodation plans. The large, practical fold-down transom will be particularly seductive to families who like to spend time in the water; it will also find favor with those who put a premium on easy tender access.