Cruising World review of the Beneteau 31
Beneteau 31: Big Things from a Little Sister
The latest in a full line of cruisers shares the styling and performance of its larger siblings. A boat review from our September 2008 issue
Spirited wind gods had whipped San Francisco Bay to a 30-knot frenzy during the final days of the Strictly Sail Pacific boat show last April, but they finally took a break in time for us to test-sail the new Beneteau 31, the entry-level offering in a now robust line of 30- and 40-footers that includes two CW Boat of the Year winners, the 40 and the 49.
With the wind in the low teens, we left the docks at Passage Yacht Sales, pushed along by a 20-horsepower Yanmar and conventional drive. The boat maneuvered well backing out of tight quarters and accelerated smoothly through the chop as we raised sails.
In-mast furling is an option on the 31, but the boat we sailed had a full-batten main that stows in a boom-mounted pouch. Both the main and the 105-percent genoa on a Profurl furler are easy to handle but powerful enough to move the boat in lighter winds. When sailing the boat off the wind, I’d take advantage of the open bow pulpit and choose the optional asymmetric cruising chute to keep things lively.