Beneteau Launches New Swift Trawler 47, Plans Major Expansion in U.S.
By Peter A. Janssen
Beneteau just launched its new Swift Trawler 47, a three-cabin, 25-knot, user-friendly family cruiser at the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show, where the French company also announced a major expansion in the U.S. market. It plans to build more outboard-powered pocket cruisers, as well as more of its Jeanneau cruisers, in its Michigan factory.
But it was the new Swift Trawler that caught my eye, particularly since I had spent a week on board a Swift Trawler 34 a few years ago as part of a Great Loop tour, and I came away impressed by the boat’s seakeeping ability, liveaboard comforts and performance under a great variety of sea conditions. But that was a single-diesel, two-cabin boat.
The new 47 was a much larger version, in every sense. Stepping aboard, I realized the teak swim platform is immense, per the current style. Walking into the cockpit via a stainless steel gate on the port side of the transom, I was reminded of how much we (my colleague George Sass, Sr., the photojournalist, and I) had enjoyed morning coffee and an evening glass of wine on the cockpit of the 34. This was bigger, of course, appropriate for a family or cruising and socializing with a group of friends.
An innovative feature on the 47 is the ladder, with teak steps, from the port side of the cockpit up to the flybridge. The base is on tracks, so you can push it forward a bit if you want more room in the cockpit, and then pull it back and lock it in place when you want to go up to the flybridge. Which I did. And wow, what a difference. The flybridge is huge; it seemed to have much more space than that on the average 47-foot cruiser.
The boat deck aft was empty at the show, but it had a couple of deck chairs there; it could have held a dozen. A grill and sink are forward a bit, and then there are large settees along the sides; the forward seat on each side flips forward or aft, so you can enjoy the view underway and socialize with the captain, at the centerline helm, or face aft and join the crowd on the settee.
Back in the cockpit, you enter the salon, all on the same level, through two large sliding glass doors. The interior of the 47 is filled with natural light; the side windows are particularly large. A fridge, freezer and ice marker are on the port side, leading to the L-shaped galley. A sofa, that converts to a two-person bed, is to starboard, with a dining or cocktail table.
The helm, with a seat for two, is centered, and a door is on the starboard side, leading to the side deck to make line handling easy. And then there is an opening gate built into the hull for access to the dock.
Below, the third, smallest, cabin is basically tucked under the galley on the port side, with a double bed. Forward a bit is the second cabin; it has two single beds with a filler so it can be one large berth for two people. The guest/day head with a shower is to starboard. The master stateroom is forward with windows on each side, two hanging lockers and lots of warm wood. The shower is to port and the head is to starboard.
Power for the Swift Trawler 47 comes from two 425-hp Cummins diesels, giving the boat a top speed of 25 knots. On the 34 with a single Cummins, we cruised easily as a fuel-efficient 16 knots, giving us a comfortable ride even when crossing Lake Michigan. I’d think the new 47 would be an ideal candidate for the Loop, the ICW, the San Juans or cruising anywhere else in the U.S.
At a press briefing at the show, Beneteau executives outlined their plans to expand in the U.S, building more outboard-powered Antares pocket cruisers in Cadillac, Michigan, where they’re already building two Jeanneau powerboat models. Jeanneau is now offering 24 powerboat models in North America. “That is up from zero three years ago,” said Nick Harvey, president of Jeanneau North America.
Beneteau also said they would “Americanize” their boats in the U.S., with such features as air conditioning, which is not as popular in European models. They also will change their marketing so it portrays their boats running in U.S. waters, and they made an exclusive deal with Mercury to use its outboards, as well as Mercury’s fabled testing facilities in Lake X, Florida.
Specs.: LOA: 48’4”; Beam: 14’9”; Draft: 3’10”; Disp.: 27,958 lbs.; Fuel: 510 gals.; Water: 169 gals.; Power: 2×425-hp Cummins diesels.