Beneteau Gran Turismo 40

Impressionist movement.

By Alan Wendt
History is a lovely destination for the mind to wander. Despite my best attempts to blow up the 11th grade chemistry lab, I didn’t realize that we have the French to thank for the Periodic Table. Nor that the French chemist Antoine Lavoisier perfected the Law of Conservation of Mass, widely used in many fields, including chemistry, mechanics and fluid dynamics.

Specifications

  • LOA: 41'7"
  • Beam: 12'8"
  • Draft:
  • Weight:
  • Fuel Capacity: 86 gals.
  • Water Capacity: 53 gals.
  • Power: T-370 hp
  • Price: Contact dealer

beneteau.com

History is a lovely destination for the mind to wander. Despite my best attempts to blow up the 11th grade chemistry lab, I didn’t realize that we have the French to thank for the Periodic Table. Nor that the French chemist Antoine Lavoisier perfected the Law of Conservation of Mass, widely used in many fields, including chemistry, mechanics and fluid dynamics.

I am a bit too familiar with France’s true contribution to society, Dom Pérignon. And after a day aboard France’s latest invention, I’m impressed with how all three of the above-mentioned historical facts are inspiration for Beneteau’s newest sport cruiser, the Gran Turismo 40.

Created by the talented Nuvolari and Lenard duo, the GT40 offers elegant lines, accentuated by a one of a kind hardtop and sunroof that may be the pièce de résistance.

“C’est en forgeant qu’on devient forgeron” — Practice makes perfect

Replacing the GT38, Beneteau’s U.S. sales manager, Justin Joyner, readily admits that the GT40 is all about “Americanizing the boat.”

“Wider doorways, a larger head, more comfortable seating, air conditioning at the helm,” Joyner says, were all improvements gleaned from customer feedback.

The new hull, based on Beneteau’s patented Air Step design, reduces fuel consumption, softens the ride and optimizes turning capability. Powered by twin Volvo D6 IPS 600 stern drives, Lakeland Boating’s publisher, Bing O’Meara, clocked speeds of more than 35 knots during a winter Florida test drive. Joystick control was sensational in the marina, while the vessel had quick acceleration, even when loaded with fuel and several passengers.

Understanding the importance of a lingering Great Lakes twilight that naturally leads to hosting a docktail party on your boat, Beneteau set out to redefine a seating arrangement unlike any 40-foot cruiser. The main lounge begins directly behind the split-access helm seating, sweeping along starboard and across the transom. Finished in a pleasing beige and cream colored, diamond-pattern vinyl, cushions and matching back rests have just enough material to offer support without lulling you to sleep. The real trick was adding a narrower seat portside without impeding the flow of traffic to the salon below. End result — a lesson in fluid dynamics — an extremely natural setting where everyone can easily make eye contact without feeling like you’re watching a tennis match.  

A center cockpit table on a height-adjustable pedestal is ideal for serving snacks, game night or meals cooked fresh on the Kenyon grill, which, along with a sink, is part of the gourmet island that makes up the transom and is adjoined to the swim platform. This feature is rapidly becoming a design standard in the 35- to 50-foot boat category. The grill is permanently flush-mounted and when not in use is hidden by a single piece fiberglass cover accessed by a gas strut lift support. That swim platform, by the way, can be lowered right to sea level, which makes getting in and out of the water easier for less nimble passengers and your water loving dog.

Recessed into the portside and adjacent to the bench seat is the Isotherm refrigerator/freezer and cabinet with cutouts for bottles, wine glasses or entertainment storage needs.

“Il faut le voir pour le croire” – Seeing is believing

Helm seating is inspired. Rather than a long bench seat that makes swapping skippers for quick trips to the head reminiscent of a pas de deux, a split design allows easy access on both sides. Center placement of the helm provides a balanced view for the skipper forward and aft, side to side. With ample room for your partner, sharing navigation via the single screen Simrad display or VHF duties is ergonomically well laid out. Only the joystick seemed a bit of a stretch, or is it that my arms aren’t long enough? I tend to stand while docking anyway, so perhaps it’s just a preference.

The helm wheel reminds me of the charm of a French patisserie. Trimmed in tan and pearl stitched leather, this elegance is a handsome dessert for the eye and pleasing to the touch while underway.

Part of the seduction of the Gran Turismo 40 is the sensation of an open craft. The GT40 hardtop can be pushed back, bringing sun and air into the cockpit. Removable side glazing frees up the cockpit completely, adding to the spaciousness. An ingenious sliding entrance to the cabin takes full advantage of daylight to illuminate the salon, thanks to an overhead skylight. Coupled with an inviting seating layout and Alpi Walnut interior finish, well placed mirrors give the lower deck an unusual feeling of space.

A minimalistic galley  — consisting of two-burner glass cook top, Waeco refrigerator/freezer, microwave and slide out shelves — only increases the notion that a longer cruise is very enticing. Two substantial cabins seal the deal. The forward master has your typical queen-size, center pedestal bed with storage below, two storage lockers and an optional flat screen TV.

The aft stateroom, which is also secured by a privacy door, sports twin beds that, with filler cushions, become a beam-to-beam bed. Between both staterooms is a shower/head combo with sink and storage.

Beneteau’s GT40 is not only an aquatic treasure, its entire design and competitive price helps rationalize the buying decision. You won’t even need a sea trial; simply bring along another couple to the boat show, play musical chairs in the cockpit and start dreaming about this summer’s escape.

 

 

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