Beneteau USA   Horizons 2013  

Oceanis 38 takes top honors in "Best Boats 2014" contest.

SAIL magazine just announced winners of its "Best Boats 2014" contest, and Beneteau's new Oceanis 38 received top honors for "Best Boat" in the 31 to 40-foot monohull category.

Peter Nielsen, editor in chief at SAIL magazine and "Best Boat" judge, reviewed the "very unusual" Oceanis 38 during its launch at the U.S. Sailboat Show in Annapolis last month, lauding the vessel's modern design, open floor plan, and never-seen-before volume for a 38-footer. Nielsen further commented the Oceanis 38 is unlike any production boat he has ever seen and concluded, "Beneteau is onto something."

"The Oceanis 38 takes performance-cruiser customization to a whole new level by being available in three distinctly different configurations that can be swapped out again years later if you so desire," reported SAIL's Executive Editor Adam Cort.

Indeed, the new Oceanis 38 can be a daysailer, weekender, or cruiser based on the owner's needs and preferences.

The daysailer offers an open, loft-like space with clean lines and an uncluttered feel. A two-person berth is located far forward and the aft of the yacht is dedicated to storage.

The weekender features two and three-cabin layouts, which can remain open or enclosed based on privacy preferences. It can also include a separate shower, fitted galley and extra table in the salon and/or cockpit. The weekender offers the most flexibility allowing many interior components to be added to the yacht as the owner's needs evolve over time.

The cruiser can have two or three fitted cabins, a large galley, mainsail arch, helmsman seats and swim platform. While more conventional, its owners can choose the layout configuration and some components based on personal inclination.

The Oceanis 38 features a continuous full-length chine and deep draft T-shaped keel, which have proven to enhance performance, increase stiffness and provide stability while reducing heel. Moreover, the yacht's twin rudders make way for a more responsive helm.

Barracuda Tour

The Not-So-Old Man and the Sea.

Funny thing about sailing – once you get a little sea water in your veins, you're a shameless addict for life. Just ask Dr. Harry Brickman. To call him an avid sailor would be the understatement of the decade. He caught the bug early and after owning several sailboats, cruising everywhere from the South Pacific to the Mediterranean, not even age or being confined to a wheelchair could dampen his love for the water.

At 88, the only concession Dr. Brickman has made is to switch from sail to power. He is the proud owner of the Swift Trawler 34 that served as Team Oracle's hospitality boat at this year's America's Cup races in San Francisco. Now with the help of his captain, he ventures out every chance he gets in his new "baby."

If there's a lesson to be learned here, it's that you're never too old for your dreams, and you're never too old for your dream boat. We read you loud and clear, Dr. Brickman.

A special thanks to Scott Young and the gang at South Coast Yachts for sharing Dr. Brickman's story with us.

Barracuda Tour

Actions speak louder than words.

A Scottish schoolteacher single-hands his Beneteau 42s7 around the world.

As hard as it is to believe, nearly twice as many people have been to outer space than have sailed solo around the world. Only 300 sailors in all of recorded history have taken up that challenge and succeeded. And of those 300, only two were deaf. This is our exclusive, one-on-one interview with Gerry Hughes.

From September 1, 2012 to May 8, 2013, Hughes - a Scottish schoolteacher deaf since birth, single-handedly piloted his Beneteau 42s7, Quest III, along a 32,000-mile circumnavigation of the globe via the five southernmost capes. He made this epic journey in part to fulfill a lifelong ambition and in part to inspire young deaf people to overcome many of the obstacles they must face in life.

In spite of his lack of hearing, Gerry first learned to sail at the age of two. And by the age of 14, he knew one day he would sail around the world. With support from family, friends and his community, he began making long-range plans many years before he began his odyssey.

"My wife Kay knew for many years (of my sailing ambitions), even before we got married," Gerry recalled.  "When I first asked her, she wasn't sure, but we have been together for 31 years, and she knew in her heart that I've wanted to sail around the world since I was young."


As you would imagine, boat selection is critical in an expedition of this magnitude. Gerry remembered how he came to choose the Quest III, a Beneteau 42s7.

Barracuda Tour

Photo by Scott Campbell

"I spent a lot of time searching for the right yacht, often failing to grab opportunities due to lack of communication on the phone via an interpreter. Then, I approached Bill McKay at Troon Marina using an interpreter. After looking at the budget, he suggested a yacht called the Beneteau 42s7. I was surprised at first, thinking she would be far too light for the Southern Ocean and wouldn't stand a chance against the waves.

"I spent weeks thinking carefully if I should listen to Bill, even though he had an excellent reputation. I decided to go for it and a week later, he found the yacht in La Rochelle. My wife and I flew over to see her and decided to buy her. She was amazing and solid, which is what Bill kept saying to me."

With that settled, it was time to think about equipment and provisions. Gerry remembers, no matter how much planning goes into a journey like this there are always a few things that will slip through the cracks. "If I had to do it all over, I would have taken a spare autopilot and extra T connectors for my network." There is no VHF radio for deaf people, so if Gerry needed to contact anyone on the journey, he would have to email his 'mission coordinator' back in Scotland who would then make the contact.

Gerry spent about as much time researching what his nutritional needs would be as he did in choosing his boat. "I did a lot of research into what foods to take with me. I had to make sure I had the correct foods for different sailing and weather conditions. I prepared a schedule of what I should eat each day. I took onions, potatoes, garlic and ginger as a starting point, then decided what to add, using pasta, rice and tinned pork, ham and corned beef.  Every morning, I would have fruit - either pears, pineapple, fruit cocktails or peaches. In the evenings, depending how I felt, I would add rice pudding and blackcurrant jam, custard or pasta sauce."

O, GOD, THY SEA IS SO GREAT, AND MY BOAT IS SO SMALL. – Breton Fisherman's Prayer

Finally, all the research, all the planning, all the provisioning was done. The Quest III set sail from the Firth of Clyde in Scotland on the first of September bound for South Africa. From there, she would sail east across the formidable Southern Ocean and if all went well, she would then head back to Scotland.

A typical day on the open ocean could hardly be called typical anywhere else, but it did have its rewards. "It was a great feeling to be my own boss," Gerry recalled. "I could decide whatever I wanted to do and made my own judgments about weather observation, changing sails, eating and sleeping. No one interfered, and I got to look at the swell of the sea. I never felt lonely on the sea, under the sky. I loved it and enjoyed every minute. Some days can be hard when you are having a rough time or lacking sleep, but not lonely. Quest III and I communicated with each other and got to know each other, which is why we were very happy."

Gerry's inability to hear was not an impediment. "No matter where you stand, sit or sleep, you can feel the motions of the hull and mast vibrating. I could feel the tension of the yacht against the waves and could tell if the boat was not heading on course. I don't have a compass in my brain, but you can feel the direction.  If I was in the galley cooking, I would know if she was not making good speed or on good course due to feeling the vibrations of the yacht."

Of course, bad days must come with the good. "During the heavy seas of the Southern Oceans, I thought that Quest III and me could no longer continue. The sea was so powerful and enormous, but somehow we managed to keep steady and kept going until we rounded Cape Horn."

"It was very difficult to have to keep going mentally after many days of never-ending gales – sometimes up to force 11. At that stage, I felt like calling it a day. The whole boat would be cold and damp, and I would be too. I still remember dreaming for the sun to come out every day, and then when that day came, I couldn't believe that I was seeing...tiny patches of blue sky. That was the best kind of day!"

The worst day came somewhere between South Africa and Australia when the wrath of a Force 11 storm in the Southern Ocean capsized the Quest III. "I stopped over in Cape Town, Hobart and The Falklands. Everyone there was wonderful, and I was amazed that they were there for me even though communication was difficult. Their attitudes sustained my ambition," Gerry explained. Despite damage to the radar, electronics and wind vane power, the hull came through virtually unscathed – a true testament to the ruggedness of the Beneteau 42s7.

Then on March 4th, after taking everything the Southern Ocean could throw at them, Gerry and the Quest III rounded Cape Horn for the final leg home to Scotland. On May 8, 2013, they proudly sailed into Troon where they began eight months before. The first thing Gerry wanted was to see was his family then have a steak and chips with a Guinness followed by a hot shower.

Since his return, Gerry has been busy writing and giving talks about his expedition. Quest III is taking a much deserved rest and undergoing repairs in Troon. Gerry hopes to turn his beloved boat into a museum. "I would love to see a 'Quest III museum' which would explain how she and I got through fierce weather and sea conditions in the Five Capes and to learn more about my voyage throughout our eight months at sea. I would also encourage people to learn more about what it's like to be deaf. Deaf people have skills and talents, but they come up against many barriers which can prevent them from reaching their full potential. It is essential people understand the need for Sign Languages."

Although Gerry Hughes set out on his circumnavigation to inspire the deaf, we're sure he inspired many, many more – deaf and hearing – along the way.

Testing our mettle
Barracuda Tour

Gran Turismo 44 open house.'s Lis Soltes tours the spacious GT 44. Find out what she thinks.

Oceanis 41

Oceanis 41: At home in the deep blue or cruising the islands.

Spend a few minutes and sail the Oceanis 41 with

Off To The Races

Grizzly dominates to win in the Beneteau First 36.7 North American Championship at Chicago Yacht Club's Belmont Station.

The Beneteau First 36.7 North American Championship, held September 3 – 8, concluded with an exciting day of racing! Detroit boat Grizzly held its virtually unbeatable lead to win the overall regatta for the first time. Second place was aggressively contested with Chicago boat Maggie Mae edging out Tequila Mockingbird in a tie-breaker. Other flag winners included Chicago boats Tried and True, skippered by Robert Foley taking fourth and fifth-place FOG, owned by Charlie Wurtzebach and Mike Bird. To express just how competitive the racing was, the difference between second and fourth place was a mere two points.

Chuck Bayer, the skipper of Grizzly said, "This feels great after 10 years of competing in these NACs. We've entered the last day with the lead three previous times and never pulled it out. It has been a long haul to get here, but practice makes perfect," Bayer said. "I have to say that I brought the best crew possible and they were the reason for our success. We're all friends and they are just terrific. They do their jobs so well that I don't even have to talk when we're racing. I'm just thrilled to finally get this win."

Click here for final race results.

Off To The Races

Unconventional partnership yields top honors at North America's largest sailboat show.

The newly formed alliance between Beneteau America and Maine Cottage®, a coastal cottage furniture company known for its distinctive style, handmade craftsmanship and spirited fabrics reminiscent of seaside living, earned them "Best in Show" by Sail America at the U.S. Sailboat Show in Annapolis, MD last month.

Beneteau's exhibit at North America's preeminent sailboat show was adorned with furnishings by Maine Cottage® and showcased the companies' partnership.

"This is an exciting beginning to a collaboration we believe our owners and future owners will embrace for a long time to come," says Beneteau America Marketing Director, Maryline O'Shea.

See more photos from the Annapolis Power and Sailboat Shows on Cape Yachts facebook page: SAIL- Gallery One | Gallery Two • POWER- Gallery One

Beneteau America and the America Sailing Association to partner.

Laurent Fabre, president of Beneteau America, and Lenny Shabes, ASA's founder and chairman of the board, have announced their joint collaboration on the design of a new ASA-exclusive sail training vessel. The new sailboat, ASA Sport Trainer, will be produced at Beneteau's factory in Marion, South Carolina.

Beneteau America and ASA presented the initial drawings of the future ASA Sport Trainer to the press and the ASA affiliated schools and ASA certified instructors in Annapolis, MD on October 11, 2013.

The R&D team at Beneteau created a product brief taking into account the specific requirements of ASA to meet the needs of their affiliates in terms of ergonomics, layout and safety. The Finot Conq & Associates design resembles that of the popular First 20, but with a deck and rig specifically designed to enhance the learning experience of students. The new ASA Sport Trainer is expected to be revealed a year from now at the 2014 U.S. Sailboat Show in Annapolis.

"Over the past few months, we've been pleasantly surprised to see such flexibility and cooperation from the foremost sailboat builder," noted Shabes of ASA. "Throughout the process, we have sought the feedback of a representative group of affiliated schools and instructors. Since they have influenced the initial design of the boat and continue to offer valuable input, we're confident the new ASA Sport Trainer will be a great success."

Charlie Nobles, Executive Director of ASA, further commented, "This new introduction is the perfect extension to our educational system, especially as it coincides with ASA's 30th anniversary."

"This project is particularly relevant and exciting to Beneteau; building small sailing vessels to invite more people to experience the thrill of sailing is exactly what our company's success is built upon," explained Laurent Fabre. "We feel very fortunate to partner with ASA to rejuvenate their associated schools' fleets geared toward new sailors. We're confident this new vessel will enhance their students' and instructors' time on the water. And it's just the beginning!"

Building Beneteau
Judy Barfield

Jonathan Sawyer, Beneteau Team Member

Great boats are built by great people.

To Jonathan Sawyer, working at Beneteau's Marion, SC facility is a family affair. His father Neil, brother Bobby, uncle Jimmy and cousins Billy, Randy and Mitchel-Wayne also work there. It's a wonder the name on the water tower doesn't read Beneteau/Sawyer!

Jonathan is a lifelong resident of South Carolina's Pee Dee region and even remembers the Beneteau plant during its construction in the 80's. He admits to often wondering just what was being built in there. Now he knows as much about Beneteau sailboats as anyone. Twelve years ago, Jonathan started working in pre-assembly – learning all the parts that went into a Beneteau interior. Since then, he's become quite masterful at installing doors, tables and cabinetry as well as performing finishing carpentry. In other words, he can do it all.

Jonathan is a devoted family man with a wife and two children, ages four and seven. He is also an avid hunter and outdoorsman. He loves traveling though not too far from home. If you've ever experienced the quiet creeks, rivers and lush woodlands around Marion, you couldn't blame him.

Things are going well for Jonathan. Demand for Beneteau quality is steadily on the rise. And in the future, Beneteau owners can rest easy knowing their sailboat has that extra special Sawyer touch.

Let's Get Together

St. Petersburg Power and Sailboat Show
St. Petersburg, FL, Dec 5-8

Toronto International Boat Show
Toronto, ON, Jan 11-19

Austin Boat & Travel Trailer Show
Austin, TX, Jan 16-19

Chicago Boat, Sports & RV Show
Chicago, IL, Jan 16-20

Vancouver International Boat Show
Vancouver, BC, Jan 22-26

Strictly Sail Chicago
Chicago, IL, Jan 23-26

San Diego Sunroad Boat Show
San Diego, CA, Jan 23-26

San Francisco Boat Show
San Francisco, CA, Jan 23-26

Charleston Boat Show
Charleston, SC, Jan 24-26

Seattle Boat Show Indoor & Afloat
Seattle, WA, Jan 24-Feb 2

Click here for more events.

Upcoming Boat Shows
True North Yachts

We Proudly welcome True North Yachts to the Beneteau family.

True North Yachts, based in Port Credit, Ontario is now the exclusive dealer for Beneteau's Powerboats Division in Ontario. True North will be displaying three new powerboats at the Toronto International Boat Show in January.

"We couldn't be more thrilled to welcome True North Yachts as our exclusive partner for the Beneteau Powerboats Division in southwestern Ontario," says Beneteau America President Laurent Fabre. "True North Yachts has earned the respect and admiration of their industry peers and most importantly their clients. We look forward to working closely with their team to exceed customer expectations in every way," remarks Fabre.

Partners Allan Mestel and Rob Richardson founded True North Yachts in 2008. Initially conceived as a sailboat dealer, the dealership has recently expanded into the powerboat segment, recruiting seasoned powerboat sales professional Peter Solty to lead their powerboats initiative.

Visit to learn more.

Upcoming Boat Shows

Congrats Mobiky Winners!

Thanks to everyone who registered at Trawler Fest Baltimore and the U.S. Powerboat and Sailboat Shows in Annapolis for our "Get Your Boat Some Wheels" Mobiky Bike Sweepstakes.

Congratulations to Alice Ryan, Ken Blum and William Li for each winning a Mobiky Louis 3-speed folding bike! We sure hope you like your new set of wheels.

Pic of the month
Pic of the month

If you find yourself in Paris next month, stop by the Beneteau exhibit at Nautic de Paris (the Paris boat show) for a glimpse of our latest addition to our powerboat line -- the FLYER 6. With tons of customization options to fit a wide range of activities, the FLYER 6 is poised to rejuvenate the day boat market.

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1313 West Highway 76, Marion, SC 29571.