Beneteau Flyer 12 — By Jeffrey Moser
— January 2006
Part 2: While the joinery is first rate, it was the honey-toned color and spot-on grain match that impressed me.
But while her hull design is new, the Flyer’s built like the aforementioned sisterships. She utilizes a polyester balsa sandwich core below the waterline with single-skin, fiberglass topsides. Decks are also balsa sandwich coring, chosen for its favorable strength-to-weight ratio and sound attenuation, apparently with good reason, as during my sea trial, I measured just 78 d-BA at the helm at 30.6 mph and 3000 rpm (65 dBA is the level of normal conversation). Two other reasons are the fact that the IPS 400 diesel inboards are well aft and the Flyer’s stainless steel sliding door to the cockpit was closed. The sound levels are even more impressive when you consider that the 4'2"x 5'5" electrically retractable fiberglass roof was open.
The Flyer’s sunroof is the piece de résistance in a cleanly laid-out saloon that allows guests seated at the starboard C-shape settee to enjoy cool breezes and abundant sunlight. Even with it closed, there’s excellent cross-ventilation from sliding windows on both sides. My test boat’s helm, just forward of the settee, was well stocked with the IPS instrument package, plus an optional Raymarine’s C120 chartplotter (the E120 is standard), Plastimo Offshore compass, and, most notably, Volvo Penta’s QL trim tab system, which boasts some of the clearest controls I’ve seen.
In contrast to the helm’s modern electronics, the clean, utilitarian saloon reminded me of a sailboat’s spartan interior. According to Fabre, its exotic moabi wood was chosen because of its toughness and malleability. And while the joinery is first rate, it was the honey-toned color and spot-on grain match that impressed me. I particularly liked its use in the port-side hideaway galley. When closed, the galley can be a staging area for cockpit goings-on or a catch-all surface for towels, charts, etc. When opened, it’s a simple galley, with a small, split stainless steel sink and two-burner EuroKera cooktop. Below counter level, a Panasonic microwave/convection oven and Waeco ’fridge complete the amenities. The two drawers were shallow, but they were fitted for plates and glasses, and cruisers should be able to fit enough in for a long, three-day weekend. Although the large lazarette—it’s the space the optional straight-drive inboards occupy if the buyer opts not to choose IPS drives—is an option for nonperishable items, I would like to have seen more stowage here.
Below decks, Beneteau chose a two-stateroom layout, and while the forepeak master and starboard VIP are smaller than on some boats I’ve seen with similar LOA, the difference is that these each have en suite heads. Both have slick, smoke-blue shower doors, bowl-style wash basins, and 6'4" headroom—the master shower has 6'7" headroom and is big enough for two.
Leaving the yard, I weaved my way through hundreds of sailboats that were at dry dock being prepared for winterization. I remembered the sign I’d seen on my way into town, honoring Annapolis’ past, and I imagined the Flyer 12 and her IPS drive a worthy portent of Annapolis’ future, speeding past the sailors on the Severn River.
Beneteau USA ( (843) 629-5300. www.beneteaupower.com.
This article originally appeared in the December 2005 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.