BOAT REVIEW Beneteau Swift Trawler 47

June 2019 Launch Reviews
Words Craig Ritchie. Photography by Craig Ritchie and Beneteau.
OUR RATING
4.5 STARS
Performance
Economy
Handling
Value
Build Quality
Specification
MODEL DETAILS
MODEL Beneteau Swift Trawler 47
DESIGNER Beneteau
BUILDER Beneteau
PRICE AS TESTED $
SPECIFICATIONS
LOA 14.74M
BEAM 4.42M
DRAFT 0.15M
DISPLACEMENT 19617kg
ENGINE 2 x Cummins 425hp
FUEL CAPACITY 1930L
WATER CAPACITY 640L
Maximum Speed 26 knots
Cruise Speed 17 knots
ACCOMMODATION Up to eight in three cabins, plus saloon sofa bed.
HIGHLIGHTS
  • Excellent fuel economy
  • Delightful driving performance
OBSERVATIONS
  • Tremendous attention to detail

The latest addition to Beneteau’s growing Swift Trawler line-up – the Swift 47 – might just be the best one yet with its splendid balance of space, comfort, performance and fuel economy.


Celebrating its 135th anniversary in 2019, Beneteau has always enjoyed a bit of a reputation for understatement. A cockpit described in the brochure as “open” turns out to be spectacularly equipped when you see it for real. A saloon they describe as “comfortable” winds up being positively luxurious.

And staterooms they call “spacious” can be large enough you almost need a map to find your way out.
So when I received an invitation to spend some time aboard the company’s all-new Swift Trawler 47, I expected this boat might just have some serious appeal. And true to form, Beneteau exceeded all expectations.

The 47 joins the existing Swift 30, 35, 44 and 50 models. They all follow a common approach but each is very different in accommodation and price, allowing happy owners to move up or down in size as their needs change while still enjoying the core qualities that make the Swift line so popular.

In the case of the Swift 47, that means being able to zip along at 26 knots when you really want to get somewhere in a hurry or beat out an approaching storm, or just loaf along at a leisurely cruise and enjoy its joyous handling and range.

Attention To Detail
Approaching the 47 from the dock, the boat looks very much the serious long-range cruiser with its starboard-side bridge door, its wide starboard-side gunnel door, and the protective roofline of its flybridge deck, which extends aft as a flowing hardtop over the (yes, I’ll say it) open cockpit.

Out back, I was pleased to see our review boat came with the optional hydraulic swim platform lift, capable of accommodating tenders of up to 350kg. This is the ultimate in convenience, allowing owners to simply lower the platform into the water and float the tender off the integrated chocks.

From the swim platform a port-side transom door leads into the cockpit, where you’re immediately presented with three appealing options – continue up the port-side stairs to the flybridge, head through the glass doors into the saloon, or stay right where you are and get comfortable on the cockpit’s near full width-bench seat. As I pondered these options, a welcoming wave from my hosts, Beneteau’s Justin Joyner and Aurore Bordage, beckoned me inside.

The three-panel glass saloon doors slide wide open to really connect the cockpit and salon as a single living zone, creating an ideal entertaining space. A three-leaf table that contracts for coffee and expands for meals sits on a broad, non-scuff base that allows it to be positioned inside or out as desired. A full 1.98m of headroom here contributes to the saloon’s open atmosphere.

The saloon’s beautifully appointed, with a large sofa with a pull-out bed to starboard, facing a port-side loveseat. Although the 47, with its three-cabin layout, is designed for empty nesters or a small family, it can easily accommodate additional overnight guests in considerable comfort. Look carefully at the ceiling in the saloon and the sharp-eyed will note that this area can be curtained off for privacy when used by overnight guests.

Look carefully to the floor and a couple of discreet stainless steel latches and hinges reveal the engine room access. It’s quite a large space, particularly for a trawler of this size. There’s plenty of room to move around the twin Cummins 425hp QSB 6.7 L diesels that represent the sole power choice, providing easy maintenance access to virtually everything. There’s an equally spacious lazarette aft of the engine room, accessed through twin hatches in the cockpit sole.

The saloon’s forward end is devoted to a spacious L-shaped galley. Positioned to serve both the salon and cockpit with equal ease, the galley’s fully-equipped for extended voyages with its extensive 144 L refrigerator capacity – larger than that offered on the Swift 50, by the way – which includes an ice maker and no less than three refrigerator/freezer drawers.

Unobtrusive fiddles surround the counter space for extra security, while presence of grab rails everywhere – even overhead on the saloon ceiling – reaffirm the Swift’s intentions as a long-range cruiser.

A three-burner stove with an oven comes standard, with a convection microwave available as an optional upgrade. Dual stainless steel sinks come standard, while supplied covers preserve the boat’s counter space. Surrounded by windows – some of which slide open – the galley is a fresh, bright space that retains its close proximity to the main seating areas without intruding into the salon or the helm station.

Built For Serious Cruisers
The helm station sits just ahead of the galley, with the double-wide helm seat actually positioned on the far-starboard end of the galley countertop. Need more counter space? Just flip the helm seat up and out of the way. Need to get somewhere? Flip it back down into the driving position.

The helm is neatly designed, with sweeping, 360o unobstructed views confirming that this is, in fact, the primary station on this boat. Although compact in footprint, the centre-mounted helm is ingeniously designed so that literally everything lies within arm’s length – including the twin 12-inch Raymarine touch-screen displays with Ship Control and backup analogue gauges, the autopilot, the stereo, the climate controls, the generator/inverter controls, you name it.

A bow thruster comes standard on the 47, while a stern thruster can be added if desired. The huge 24-inch steering wheel initially looks like it might be more at home on a sailboat, but after a few minutes at the wheel you come to enjoy its feel. The thoughtful addition of a retractable step for greater comfort at the helm is a nice touch.

What’s really interesting about the Swift 47 is that it incorporates wireless switches throughout for fully remote operation in the future. “It’s coming and it’s not far off,” says Joyner. “You can control the entire boat from the helm station, using an architecture that’s ready for fully remote operation. With onboard internet connectivity the owner will be able to control literally every function remotely, from a smartphone.

“If the owner lives an hour away from the boat, they can fire up the air conditioning so it’s already nice and cool onboard when they arrive. They can turn on the refrigerators, or the lights, so everything’s ready to go when they step onboard. Just from a security standpoint, they can receive warnings if the bilge pumps should come on. Because all the switches are wireless, there’s also a substantial weight savings. Weight, of course, is the enemy of efficiency so eliminating all these wires running through the boat is a plus.”

Accommodation
With three cabins below decks and its standard saloon sofa bed, the 47 can sleep up to eight people in considerable comfort.

Step forward of the helm and a wide passageway leads below to the owner’s suite in the bow. It’s a much larger suite than one might expect from a 47-foot boat, with a central island double berth with storage beneath, an ensuite head with its own separate, private shower, a flat-screen TV and a generous volume of storage space, ensuring the owner has more than enough room for all of their gear on an extended trip.

The separate shower, introduced on the Swift 30 model, has proven such a hit with owners that Beneteau wisely elected to make it standard on the Swift 47. Large windows with opening portholes and a generous overhead hatch bathe the suite in fresh air and natural light, while a series of strategically-positioned LED indirect overhead lights keep the space bright and inviting after dark.

The ensuite head is also served by its own overhead hatch and porthole window for a bright, inviting space with outstanding natural ventilation. And, unusually for a European builder, Beneteau thoughtfully included an air conditioning duct in the head for greater comfort and reduced humidity levels.

The primary guest cabin is located aft of the owner’s suite on the boat’s port side. Twin berths can be cleverly combined into one for greater flexibility. The day head sits just forward of the suite, while on the starboard side of the boat is a third, smaller cabin that the younger members of the crew will absolutely love.

For cruising couples, this space is more likely to be used as an expansive walk-in storage space. An additional door off the walkway leading back up to the main deck opens to reveal an available Splendide combination washer/dryer.

Beneteau’s attention to detail becomes further evident as you return to the main deck and head forward to the bow. Four 16-inch cleats on each gunnel make rigging spring lines a snap, while dual fuel fills and a water fill located on the starboard side deck facilitate reprovisioning stops.

The Swift 47 utilises an asymmetrical deck layout, with the starboard side walkway noticeably wider than the port side deck, making it the preferred path to the large bow sunpad. A split bow rail provides security while up front along with head-on boarding when required. An available sun shade gives this space even greater versatility.

The High Life
In spite of its sumptuous accommodation indoors, the 47’s designed for enjoying the sun, and that’s clearly apparent when you step up to the flybridge. There’s a ton of seating space up there, with all sorts of room for the whole crew to stretch out and let their cares melt away.

“If it’s a nice day and you’re entertaining, everyone is going to be up on the flybridge,” explains Bordage. “So we wanted to ensure we have plenty of seating there for everyone.”

The flybridge helm station is a mirror of the main station below, complete with its twin Raymarine Hybrid Touch screens, a Raymarine autopilot, engine controls and a VHF. When the boat’s underway, up to three people can join the captain with a double-wide forward-facing seat to port and a single to starboard.

But once the hook goes down, the helm seat spins 180o and both passenger seat backs flip to provide aft-facing seating, making the most of the facing L-shaped lounges that surround the flybridge’s central table.

Our review boat also included a complete flybridge galley with a grill, sink, refrigerator, trash locker and plenty of storage space. Overhead, it also featured an optional hardtop with an electric sunroof for maximum versatility. Aft of the galley is a large open space over the cockpit, which can either accommodate a couple of additional lounge seats, or be used to stow kayaks, paddleboards, bicycles and other gear.

How Swift?
A name like ‘Swift Trawler’ obviously creates a certain level of expectation. With Beneteau having nailed the trawler part of the equation, it was time to take the boat for a sea trial and see about the swift part.

Building on its sailing heritage, Beneteau takes an unusual approach with all its powerboats by optimising the hull for efficiency with a single power package, instead of trying to accommodate a wide range of power options. In the case of the Swift 47, power comes from twin 425hp Cummins QSB 6.7L diesels.

The Swift 47 runs on a semi-displacement hull with propshaft tunnels surrounding its clearly-defined keel, a design that gives it delightful handling at speeds from a slow idle to wide-open throttle. While the calm conditions – sea state one, with only the slightest perceptible chop – meant there would be no real opportunity to gauge rough water handling, it did provide for an enjoyable afternoon of acceleration runs, high-speed slaloms and sprints in reverse gear.

Let’s get straight to the point – yes, this is indeed a swift trawler! The semi-displacement hull will plane in about seven seconds and go from dead stop a little over 17 knots in under 10 seconds. Flat out, the 47 will reach 26 knots while still delivering a range of more than 500km. Cut it back to a more pedestrian eight knots and 1,250 rpm, and the Swift 47 will cover nearly 1,800km between fuel stops. And if you really need to stretch it out, dropping back to 4.2 knots will take you more than 5,800km.

It’s a swift trawler alright, but there’s so much more to Beneteau’s delightful Swift Trawler 47 that it’s unfair to focus on its spirited performance alone. With its sure handling, thoughtful amenities, luxurious accommodations and intelligent design, this is one long-range cruiser that is certain to please even the most demanding customers.

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