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Sail Mag – 2020 – Best Boats

| ian

Sail Magazine – 2020 Best Boat Winners ……….

Best Small Cruiser

Beneteau Oceanis 30.1

The Beneteau Oceanis 30.1 packs a lot into a small package and is a remarkably versatile entry-level cruising boat. With two double-berth staterooms and a pair of comfortable sea-berth-size settees in the well-lit saloon, the boat can sleep six and carries a surprising amount of storage space. There’s also a proper galley and a large head with plenty of room for showering. In spite of this wealth of interior space, the Oceanis 30.1 is still narrow enough, at just under 10ft, that it can be trailered professionally without wide-load certification, making it relatively easy to shift cruising grounds.

Our judges were particularly impressed by this little cruiser’s adaptability under sail. The rig’s deeply sweptback spreaders obviate the need for backstay and allow for a generous square-headed mainsail. Up front you can fly an easy-to-handle self-tacking blade jib, an overlapping genoa sheeted to traditional side deck tracks or a gennaker set on a continuous line furler, or an asymmetric spinnaker. Twin rudders are controlled with a simple tiller or an optional twin-wheel arrangement that allows easy access to the open transom. Similarly, the boat can be ordered with a fixed or swing keel.

To top it off, the Oceanis 30.1 boasts a quality of finish one normally doesn’t find aboard entry-level mass-production boats. The boat also abounds in well appreciated big-boat details, like cockpit locker lights, proper bronze through-hull fittings, an accumulator tank for the freshwater system, clever storage cubbies and USB charging sockets right where you most want to find them. We’re glad to see more builders paying attention again to this important segment of the market and believe Beneteau’s new “little big boat” raises the bar to a new level.


Honorable Mention

Tiwal 2

Whatever you do, don’t be fooled by this boat. Sure, it may be cute, but it’s no toy. It’s a serious boat, as well designed and ably built as any other vessel around. Not only that, but like its predecessor, the Tiwal 3, of which more than 1,200 have been built since its launch in 2013, it is also a darn good sailer that can be enjoyed by an adult or a pair of kids. In fact, SAIL’s associate editor, Lydia Mullan, may have had the most fun of all of this year’s judges when she went sailing under the watchful eye of Tiwal creator Marion Excoffon on a warm, sunny October day on Annapolis harbor. Among other things, when Marion told Lydia the boat is easy to right after a capsize, Lydia promptly (intentionally!) capsized and then re-righted the boat not once, but twice. Good times!