Posted by Marc Williams // Jan 24, 2024
I guess we’ll keep her
Ok…so we have had our family boat for three years now to test out and review the Beneteau Oceanis 46.1, and I have to say (sarcastic whining voice) “I guess we’ll keep her.”
But let’s rewind to the peak of the pandemic, March 2020. We had just traded in our Beneteau 30.1, which was a family treasure but was getting disproportionately smaller as the children increased in size. We had put money down on a 40.1, and had picked all the fabrics, wood choice and hull color. I had a picture on our dining room table I’d drool over. Then, guess what, they shut down the factory due to covid and, well, we panicked. The wonderful Signature Yachts dealer, however, happened to have the 46.1 in stock, and I had seen it in January at the shows… so a little paper work later and we were given a quick masked-up tutorial, the keys, a full tank of gas and we headed out. The first few months were magic as much of the world was shuttered and we were able to go and have this escape pod of safety to spend time together as a family. (Remote school and work certainly helped.) Along the way, we got to know the boat very well. Each summer, we’ve taken a multi-week trip into the San Juans and Canada (after it reopened of course).
I’ll skip to the good part, the boat is solid, works well for our crew, isn’t “too pretty” to use, doesn’t have wood that needs refinishing every year and has a great layout for the family and bringing extra guests along. The engine is solid (Yanmar 80hp) and we can run at 10kts if we need to be somewhere, but cruise at 2500 rpm for 8kts. Those 2kts make a world of difference on fuel consumption btw.
So let’s hit the highlights of the boat.
Sailing, perhaps the most important aspect of a sailboat. She handles very well in a variety of conditions. Furling main and genoa, along with Harken electronic winches tailed back to the helm make her pretty easy to single hand. Twin rudder, twin helms, B&G electronics and some handy bow thrusters are great features, as well.
Anchoring, we are pretty careful, always drop lots of rode and choose our spots wisely, but feel she is really easy to catch and stay put. Only time we’ve aborted was in a crowded anchorage in Montague on 20knots of winds after we drifted too far back. While setting the anchor on the first attempt we spotted a mooring ball that was close in on the lee shore. We typically last about 2-days off grid without having to charge the batteries with the engine, which is about the same as our attention span on anchor.
Aft transom is party central, and when it’s open it is home to fishing, deck chairs, a paddle board launch site and swim sessions. The boat is durable, easy to clean and holds up well over some tough customers (dogs/kids). We don’t worry about keeping her perfect, as having fun is higher on the priority list.
We’ve sailed in 30+ knots, crossed the Strait of Juan de Fuca in 8+ foot waves, ‘may’ have grounded in the Swinomish Channel and cruised through Deception Pass in zero visibility. Other than some sea sickness we’ve felt safe and in control. The shape of the hull, even with the wide beam, cuts and rolls through the waves and heels well.
Below deck, two heads and three cabins are perfect for two growing kids, two adults and three dogs. Lots of thoughtful appointments, and great storage – although we forget we have certain things some times. The freezer is perfect for stocking up on mini corn dogs and other easily cooked items on our must have Philips Air Fryer.
Certainly a fantastic boat, and if it’s not obvious by writing this post, we’d eagerly recommend her to anyone looking for a good boat to enjoy.