Beneteau First 405

Beneteau First 405

A Beneteau First 405 in the slings at Berthon in Lymington for a pre-purchase survey. These Jean Berret 1980s design are very pretty and sail beautifully. It was arguably Beneteau’s best era and these are becoming classics. I’ve sailed on most of this era of design over the years, skippering a Beneteau First 345 for Island Sailing in the 80’s, sailing with a friend on his Beneteau First 325 based in Corfu, and racing on and against a Beneteau First 375 and another 405 around the Solent. All very pretty yachts that have really stood the test of time.

Beneteau Oceanis 40 Hamble

Beneteau Oceanis 40

A Beneteau Oceanis 40 Marine Survey by Guy Nicholls, Marine Surveyor Hamble.

The Oceanis range from Beneteau are very popular providing great accommodation at reasonable cost. Constructed of single skin (monolithic) GRP to the hull and a cored deck, these boats make extensive use of internal mouldings including a tray matrix or grid, to provide rigidity.


Beneteau Oceanis Lymington

Beneteau Marine Surveyor Lymington

A Beneteau Oceanis 31 Marine Survey in Lymington Yacht Haven by qualified Marine Surveyor and GRP specialist Guy Nicholls, AMRINA.

This Beneteau Oceanis was in great order thanks to a diligent owner with careful use. One interesting point on this model was the navigations lights, which at the time of purchase were and optional extra! This one having a tri-colour and steaming light, but no lower navigation lights, therefore unable to comply with international COLREGS when motoring at night!

Beneteau Oceanis 323, Lymington

Beneteau Oceanis 323 Marine Survey

A Beneteau Oceanis 323 ashore for a marine survey by Guy Nicholls, Solent Marine Surveys at Lymington Yacht Haven, Lymington.

The Beneteau Oceanis 323 is one of Beneteau’s best –  a great pocket cruiser built in hundreds and used by private and charter companies alike for good value, good accommodation, practical cruisers. I own a similar Oceanis, which pre-dates this particular model, the Oceanis 311, so I am very familiar with both the build and the systems.

As with most modern Beneteau yachts, internally the company has used an extensive tray matrix, sometimes referred to as a grid, to tie in keel and rigging loads. This grid is epoxy bonded to the hull at build stage, and forms a vital part of the yacht’s structure and rigidity. It is essential that this tray matrix remains well bonded and careful inspection is needed to ensure that the structure remains as built, any cracking or moisture within the grid must be carefully assessed by a surveyor.

Beneteau Oceanis 37, Chichester

Beneteau Oceanis 37 Yachts Marine Survey Chichester

Beneteau Oceanis 37 Marine Survey in Chichester; Beneteau, the world’s largest boat builder make the Oceanis range as their primary cruising yacht range. The build method, in line with other models, uses an extensive internal tray matrix to stiffen the structure. This internal tray matrix is constructed off the vessel at build stage, and is dropped into the mould before the deck and internal joinery is fitted, allowing a strong chemical bond by way of epoxy paste to the hull structure. The net result is a strong design that is easy to manufacture and unless a serious impact and damage has occurred, this design method usually gives few issues. A Marine Surveyor must carefully check the tray matrix for any sign of stress or impact, and any indication of moisture between the tray and the hull, as well as hammer testing where possible to check for bonding integrity.

This particular model had no major structural issues, and was a beautifully maintained example. The design being equally suited to UK cruising or charter in warmer waters such as the Mediterranean or Caribbean, where several charter operators tend to use this range as a default, due to their robustness and value for money to purchase.

Beneteau First 40.7, Gosport

Beneteau First 40.7

Beneteau First 40.7 Survey at Gosport Boatyard. These popular fast cruiser racers came under the spotlight when a tragic keel failure was attributed to the failure of the internal tray matrix, which is bonded to the hull at manufacture. The bonding of the tray matrix to the hull can be difficult to establish and a marine surveyor must be vigilant, checking for any signs of movement, cracking, repairs, internal moisture and careful hammer sounding around the matrix structure.

Beneteau First 47.7, Hamble

Beneteau First

Beneteau First 47.7 Yacht Marine Survey in Hamble. This Beneteau First designed by Bruce Farr and built by Beneteau as a performance cruiser racer has been well travelled, including two Atlantic trips and a long stay in the Caribbean. Recently resprayed in Awlcraft by Desty Marine in Hamble she represents an excellent value fast cruiser.

Beneteau First 34.7, Hamble

Beneteau First

Beneteau First 34.7 Marine Survey at Ancasta in Port Hamble. The 34.7 is Beneteau’s IRC racer/cruiser answer to the likes of the J/109, X35 and Archambault 35. Designed with a low CofG fin keel with a lead torpedo bulb, the optional carbon rig and carbon bowsprit and a lightweight interior, this vessel should be highly competitive in IRC fleets around the country, inshore cans racing or JOG & RORC offshore racing.

Beneteau Oceanis 390, Port Solent

Beneteau Oceanis

Beneteau Oceanis 390 Marine Survey at Ancasta ,Port Solent Marina, Portsmouth. These high volume low cost comfortable cruisers have been a favourite with charter companies worldwide for years. Wrap around coachroof windows, plenty of ventilation, a large bathing platform and space for a bimini without obstructing the mainsheet system are several reasons why these vessels are popular in the hotter climates.

Beneteau First 40.7, Gosport

Beneteau First

Beneteau First 40.7 Yacht Marine Survey in Gosport. This 7 year old vessel by Chantiers Beneteau of France has been kept in great order, and although lightly chartered remains in excellent order. these popular vessels are used for cruising, racing under IRC and charter. the Beneteau method of construction using an internal tray matrix moulding is something a marine surveyor needs to be very vigilant over: any slight cracking, high moisture content or suspected debonding requires the keel to be unshipped for further inspection of the laminate structure.