joystick controls

Beneteau’s New Sense 50

by Guest Author Zuzana Prochazka

Editor’s Note — Zuzana Prochazka is an award-winning writer and editor and currently serves as the president of the Boating Writers International association. Her website, TalkoftheDock, is “the boater resource for gear, boat reviews and other topics related to cruising and general loafing about on the water. ”  Oh yeah, she’s also a U.S.Coast Guard 100 Ton Master with more than 20 years of boating experience. She recently toured the new Beneteau Sense 50 at the Annapolis Sailboat Show and shared this piece with us.

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Beneteau's new Sense 50 spins in her own length at Annapolis - Photo credit:  Zuzana Prochazka

Beneteau's new Sense 50 spins in her own length at Annapolis - Photo credit: Zuzana Prochazka

There are those who would say that there’s nothing new in sailing – you raise some canvas, pull on some lines, and when there’s no wind, you turn on the engine and go home.  But those people have no imagination.  Imagination that is, like that which created the Beneteau Sense 50. 

It’s really refreshing to see a sailboat manufacturer start thinking about what barriers there are for boaters to get into the cockpit of a 50 foot boat and head out with confidence.  But someone finally started thinking as was proven at this year’s Annapolis boat show where the Sense 50 spun in its own length and generally wow’d audiences all day.

Cockpit real estate aboard the new Beneteau Sense 50 - Photo credit:  Zuzana Prochazka

Cockpit real estate aboard the new Beneteau Sense 50 - Photo credit: Zuzana Prochazka

The boat’s maneuverability comes from Beneteau’s Dock and Go steering system which features a joystick control that synchronizes a 360 degree pivoting propeller with a bowthruster to move the boat forward, aft, or completely sideways.  As the boat spins, the Yanmar 75HP sail drive coordinates with the bowthruster while the Raymarine autopilot manages the rudder. This is very much like what Volvo did with their IPS system for powerboats and the result is total control with a lot less anxiety, especially when docking. 

But boat handling is just the beginning with the Sense 50.  The Sense 50 is fast but still manageable as it is designed to deliver maximum performance at 15 degrees of heel rather than the normal 20 degrees.  From the sleek light displacement hull (31,195 lbs.) and low coachroof with angular windows, to the slippery underbody with a spade rudder and choice of keel drafts (6’ 11” or a bulb with 5’ 10”), this boat is almost more like an ocean racing Open 50 than a traditional cruiser.

The design group of Berret-Racoupeau tossed out any preconceived notions of what a cruising monohull should be and started fresh.  It’s a massive platform with a 49’ LOA and 15’ 11” on the beam that is carried well aft.  This width is what allowed the construction of an almost catamaran-like cockpit with an easy entry off a broad swim platform and one step up to the twin wheels. 

Cockpit table aboard the Beneteau Sense 50 - Photo credit:  Zuzana Prochazka

Cockpit table aboard the Beneteau Sense 50 - Photo credit: Zuzana Prochazka

The seats behind each helm station lift up and out to open the entire transom, creating an inviting terrace with a U-shaped settee on starboard and table that can be folded and lowered to a cocktail table or made into a sun pad or bed for two. The cockpit sole lifts up to reveal access to all the machinery for easy maintenance.  This was done by design to keep all the noise-making equipment well away from the living areas and the space is accessed via a ladder and can even house a washing machine. 

Life aboard the Sense 50 is divided into three areas – the easy outdoor living of the cockpit, the centralized social space of the saloon/galley and the quiet cabins forward.  Sleek, angular and very Euro-chic, the “greatroom” living space is finished in alpi fruitwood with an oak laminated cabin sole and feels very rich and comfortable.

The straight-line galley runs up the starboard side and has great storage.  On port is a U-shaped settee that also forms the seat to the sizeable aft-facing nav station, and wraps around a table that will seat 6-8 for dinner or drinks.  The entire space is interrupted only by an island in the middle that serves as extra counter space for the galley but also hides a folding seat and a pop-up flat screen TV both of which face the saloon. The Sense 50 is available in two or three cabin layouts.  The master stateroom is forward with an island queen berth, a small vanity desk and a large, ensuite head with a stall shower. 

Beneteau Sense 50's well-designed anchor windlass dam and locker - Photo credit:  Zuzana Prochazka

Beneteau Sense 50's well-designed anchor windlass dam and locker - Photo credit: Zuzana Prochazka

The base price of the Sense 50 is $398,000 but with all the upgrades available, sailaway can be more like $560,000.  The Sense 50 will undoubtedly revolutionize yacht design inside and out and possibly even re-energize a sluggish sailboat market.  For those who would like all the excitement in a smaller package, Beneteau is planning on introducing a 42 foot version next year.

Beneteau Sense 50
Specifications:

Yacht Design: Berret – Racoupeau
Interior Design: Nauta Design
Hull length: 49’
Max beam: 15’ 11”
Light displacement: 31,195 lbs
Deep draft: 6’ 11”
Shallow draft: 5’ 10”
Engine: 75HP
Fuel capacity: 110 gal
Fresh water capacity: 140 gal

Original article and photos courtesy of and Copyright © 2010 by Zuzana Prochazka at TalkoftheDock

Copyright © 2010 by OceanLines LLC.  All rights reserved.

Posted by Tom in Boats, Cruising Under Sail, Sailboats
Island Pilot Launches New IP535

Island Pilot Launches New IP535

New Island Pilot IP535 is Shown in this Computer Generated Image

New Island Pilot IP535 is Shown in this Computer Generated Image

Island Pilot is super-sizing its IPS-powered 435 into a new 531/2-foot model. New molds for the 535 have been built at the company’s yard in Zhuhai City, China, and Island Pilot reports that it has two firm orders already for the new yacht. If you really liked the 435 but wished it had a little more room, I think this new-but-familiar hull is going to be your ticket.

A CGI of the Flybridge Helm on the New Island Pilot IP535

A CGI of the Flybridge Helm on the New Island Pilot IP535

While the new hull will provide the extra luxury and roomier accommodations requested by Island Pilot customers, the IP535’s performance capabilities will derive from the latest IPS variant from Volvo Penta — the IPS II 900. The announcement from Island Pilot noted that in addition to three “joystick” docking stations, the IP535 will be fitted with Volvo Penta’s new “Dynamic Positioning System,” which holds heading and position automatically using a GPS array mounted on the radar arch.

On the performance side, here’s what Island Pilot says,

Extensive tank testing plus computer simulations predict a top speed of 33 knots with economical fast-cruising speeds between 18 and 28 knots. At slower speeds, the IP535 will have similar economy to single-screw displacement trawlers and mid-speed, semi-displacement cruisers. The pair of 700hp, D-11 diesels is aft in a walk-in, stand-up, uncluttered engine room accessed through a weather-tight door in the cockpit. The spacious engine room allows easy access to all sides of the engines and generator with room left over for a work bench and tool storage. Other systems normally crowded around the motors are located in an easily-accessed “basement” under the galley sole.

More from the Island Pilot press release:

The IP535’s high-end performance is complimented by her inviting and accommodating cockpit layout, spacious flybridge arrangement, and interior appointments. A 9-foot U-shaped settee is the focal point of the cockpit and with its own canopy the space is perfectly laid out for outdoor entertaining. Owners can select to have a full summer kitchen including grill and wet bar either in the cockpit, on the flybridge, or in both locations. The flybridge has space for three helm chairs or a pair of twins and is outfitted with a pair 15-inch Garmin touchscreens, the same found at the lower helm.

A signature feature of all Island Pilot yachts is the bright, open feeling of the deck house, with plenty of glass and 360-degree vistas. The IP535 continues this tradition with even more space—the U-shaped settee is 11×6 feet—the LED HDTV is 46 inches—and room remains for a pair of barrel easy chairs and the raised helm chairs. At 12×14 feet 6 inches, the deck house is highly customizable. Forward of the deck house, under the great expanse of windscreen, is the “great room” with the fully-equipped galley overlooking the dinette. Forward is an island-queen VIP stateroom and aft, under the deck house, is the full-width, mid-ship, master stateroom. Measuring 11×16 feet, this space can be configured to an owner’s preference and be fitted with an island queen, either angled or squared off, or a pair of twin berths. With her unique layout, the IP535 affords the privacy found in an aft-cabin yacht with the advantages of the sedan-styling. Reuben Trane comments, “The only time at night that owners are likely to even remember that guests are on board is if they all choose the same time to raid the fridge!”

Layout of the new Island Pilot IP535

Layout of the new Island Pilot IP535

The company says the new boat will debut at the 2011 Miami Boat Show.

Specifications for the Island Pilot IP535

Length on Deck:                          53’ 6”
LOA:                                                57’ 0”
LWL:                                               47’ 0”
Beam:                                            16’ 9”
Draft:                                               4’ 0”
Hardtop height:                            19’6” (radar arch folded) 
Displacement (full load):            54,500 lbs.
Power:                                            Volvo IPS900
Fuel:                                                600 U.S. gal. in three tanks
Water:                                             200 U.S. gal.
Holding Tank:                                100 U.S. gal.
Generator:                                     Mastervolt 11kW
Base Price:                                  $1.35 million, fully equipped (pre-construction price)

Copyright © 2010 by OceanLines LLC.  All rights reserved.

Posted by Tom in Boats, Construction & Technical, Powerboats