Winner of the Cruising World Yacht of The Year 2003, the Beneteau Oceanis Clipper 373 offers excellent value for money in an eye-catching package. She was described by the judges as ‘a whole lot of bang for the buck’ and her exciting performance and luxurious accommodation have won her accolades from serious sailors and comfort cruising enthusiasts alike.
The Oceanis 373 was designed by Berret Racoupeau, who were also responsible for the ever popular Oceanis 393. She was originally created as a replacement for the Beneteau Oceanis 361, and she offers a range of improvements such as increased sail area, a new hull and a roomier deck. She shares her fibreglass grid system hull with her bigger sisters, the Oceanis 393 and 423, and combined with her smaller size, this gives her excellent stability and distribution of sailing loads. Her five year limited structural warranty is a mark of the faith Beneteau have put in this new design and she offers unparalleled safety even in tougher conditions.
Under sail, the Beneteau Oceanis 373 offers a fast passage through the waves, and it is not at all hard to see how an Oceanis 373 won the ARC 2005. She is made for efficient sailing and her slender hull and well-balanced sail plan give directional stability, while her helm balances impeccably when heeled. Her narrow waterline beam gives superb light wind performance and her all-round performance is hard to rival. She comes with a choice of keels, all of which perform well, but the 1.9m draft keel gives greater stiffness and even better upwind performance. However even with the standard fit out, this is a yacht that is genuinely just as much fun for leisurely cruising in coastal areas or beating down the waves for some serious blue water sailing.
The Oceanis 373 has the option to be fitted with the 38hp Volvo 2040 engine rather than the Yanmar 18hp, and this gives her far more oomph under power than her predecessor the Oceanis 361, which had a maximum of 28hp. One particularly noteworthy feature of her spacious cockpit is the patented pivoting steering wheel, which the Oceanis 373 shares with her newer little sister the Oceanis 323. This rotates 90 degrees, and was Beneteau’s response to the need for an easy passage from the helm to the companionway. It has proved a particularly popular feature with those sailors who appreciate an unencumbered passage from cockpit to transom, and looks set to become a Beneteau. The removable helmsman’s seat is another useful feature as it gives easy access to the bathing platform.
However it was as much her interior comfort as her serious sailing features that helped the Beneteau Oceanis 373 trounce the Catalina 387, Etap 37s, and Hunter 41 to win Cruising World Boat of the Year 2003. She has been well-designed for sailing in warmer climes, and has the maximum possible outdoor living space, but this has been achieved without compromise to her interior space. In fact the split-level deck layout has been used to give greater headroom and volume below decks and her panoramic forward facing windows give an airy spacious feel. Both the two and three cabin layouts offer well-planned space that is designed to please the most demanding blue water passenger.
Particularly popular features of the Oceanis 373 include the spacious galley, the generous head with stall shower, the large aft berth and the forward facing chart table. There have been reports of minor issues with the refrigerator compressors but overall the Oceanis 373 is fitted out to a high standard, with top quality materials and a luxurious all-wood finish.
Whether you’re looking for fast blue water sailing or leisurely coastal cruising, the Beneteau Oceanis 373 is sure to please. Her fast, clean performance, innovative features and spaciousness below decks, make her accolades well-deserved.
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