Tony Hawes has a longstanding relationship with Beneteau boats.
The new owner of the Beneteau Oceanis 41.1 has journeyed with the world renowned name through three of their models in the 40ft realm since moving to Auckland with his family ten years ago.
Having previously spent years cruising the Malbourough Sounds in a launch, the decision to convert to a sail yacht following the shift North came about through wanting an extra challenge as well as still being able to cruise in comfort.
Since then, Tony and his wife Sarah, along with their two daughters have experienced the Oceanis 40, Oceanis 41, and now the new Oceanis 41.1, and have a good handle on the features and upgrades which have come with each build cycle.
Particularly happy with the newest boat out of the block, Tony says he’s always been a fan of production build boats.
“You know what you’re getting, and can also be confident in their resale value,” he comments.
Although his main interest in owning the Beneteau designs is for their cruising capabilities and ease-of-use, he says the adaptability for racing modes is easy to convert to, and being lighter than the previous model gives it that extra edge on speed.
Some of his favourite features of the 41.1 include the German style mainsheet which creates extra space in the cockpit and means everything can be adjusted within close proximity of the helm station, as well as extra space in the master cabin and the “fisherman friendly” landing platform.
“With many sailing boats you often find they’re not that great for fishing. Whereas with the drop down platform off the back of the boat in the 41.1 this can be achieved easily,” he says.
“When we’re cruising as a family I’m often doing the crewing as well as helming, so the new layout of the cockpit and having the mainsheet run over the top of the dodger makes it easy to use as well as being spacious and comfortable,” he adds.
During his journey in transitioning from the initial Oceanis Beneteau 40 Tony says his family has grown to love cruising with sails too. Keeping their boat up at Gulf Harbour means they can dock out and immediately be in some of New Zealand’s best cruising grounds.
Last week Tony sailed on-board during the first race day of Bay Of Islands Sailing Week, with a great result to top off their day.
Finishing in first place on corrected time made for a happy crew who enjoyed the ease of sailing the Oceanis 41.1 while still being on the pace with some of the more race-orientated boats.
With many more cruising trips on the cards for Tony and family, he says he’s looking forward to making the most of the new boat’s features.