Beneteau GT 45
The Chesapeake Bay Bridge, at 4.3 miles long and 379 feet high, produces fear for a few reasons. One: The guardrails are exceptionally low, offering an unobstructed view of the water below–making it impossible not to think about what it would be like in the event of a collapse. Two: It’s also known for its congestion that can occur at just about every hour of the day.
Knowing I had to cross that bridge to meet the Beneteau GT 45 in Kent Island, I gave myself a ton of extra time. For once the coast was clear. I tried to savor the view while wondering if I could leap from my car in free fall like they do in the Fast and Furious movies.
It’s hot and sticky as we free the GT 45 from its slip and begin to navigate towards the Chesapeake. The first thing I notice about this boat is how it goes from enclosed to open in under a minute. One reason I believe we’ve seen center consles explode in popularity in recent years is because of the connection those boats give you to the water; this boat accomplishes that feeling for me as well. To transform the salon from enclosed to open, you need only press a button to lift a truly massive cockpit window. A latch under the hardtop keeps the window locked into place while running offshore.
Also contributing to the feeling of openness are manual sliding windows to port and starboard in the salon. On a warm day in August, it offered a welcome cross-breeze.
Beneteau GT 45
A lot of cruisers have sunroofs today; in fact, builders seem to be in competition with one another to manufacture the biggest opening overhead. Measuring 48-square feet, the opening on the GT 45 is simply expansive.
All these windows also have the added benefit of offering strong sightlines. I’m 6 foot 2 and only had a little trouble seeing forward when driving from standing because of the eye-level brow; driving while sitting was no issue at all.
Down below on my test model was a two stateroom, two head (each with separate showers) layout. There’s also a lower lounge forward for intimate meals or relaxing in privacy. I liked this space a lot, but should you desire more accommodations, there is a third stateroom option with bunk beds that can fit in that space. That three-cabin configuration would lend itself well for additional stowage.
The new 45 lives up to the GT moniker thanks to its responsive, grippy hull that offers just the right amount of lean in a hard-over turn. A comfortable cruise speed on this boat is around 23 knots with a top end coming in just a hair over 33 knots.
I had a smile on my face while running the 45 in tight turns just a few hundred feet below commuters stuck in rush hour traffic on the bridge. I don’t think I’ll cross the bridge again and not think about how much more fun that stretch is by boat.
Only when slowly poking our way through crab traps on our way back to port did I really appreciate how such a marvel of engineering is able to connect people. And I’m not talking about the bridge.
Beneteau GT 45 Test Report:
Beneteau GT 45 Specifications:
Displ.: 22,180 lbs.
Water: 106 gal.
Fuel: 238 gal.
Power: 2/440-hp Volvo Penta IPS