Beneteau has rung the changes loudly on the new Beneteau Oceanis 55, but there’s definitely some sibling rivalry going on with the Sense range, reports Kevin Green.

The Beneteau Oceanis 55: style, versatility and function rolled into one.

Many of us aspire to be like our older brothers and sisters but establishing our own identity should always be important; and so it is with Beneteau’s latest offering to its popular Oceanis range (that comprises a crucial 70 per cent of company sales). Sporting hard chines, twin rudders and a more open deck plan, big-brother syndrome is evident aboard the Oceanis 55, however, scratch the surface and there’s plenty of separate DNA.
Starting in the more enclosed cockpit with unusually-placed Harken deck gear, GRP mainsail arch plus composite twin wheels andBeneteau Design Team and Nauta Oceanis 55 an electric swimplatform; there’s plenty to like. Despite the wide beam carried aft, the cockpit isn’t overly empty thanks to the large table and enclosed binnacles that have primary Harken 60 winches inboard, while all halyards run neatly in jammers to twin Harken 46s on the gunwales. Power controls are handily placed on the starboard binnacle including the optional Dock&Go joystick, but confusingly the thruster buttons sit on the far side of the housing. Instrumentation was overdone with no less than four Simrad NSS8 plotters; two on each binnacle on this demo boat.
We will have the new Oceanis 55 on display at the Strictly Sail Miami Show in February 2014. She will feature the shallowest of the keel options, 4’9. The medium keel is 5’11. Either of these two keels are ideal for the Gulf Coast.


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