Saturday, January 12, 2019


This blog is not about all sailboats only about boats that I find interesting. I don’t post about all new boats that come to the market and I was not going to post about the new Oceanis 30.1 but the way this pretty boat has been received on the social media and on some magazines made me change my mind. There are some huge misconceptions over there.

I have seen people saying that this is a lot like a Pogo 30, same designer and all; Beneteau states on their site that the boat “ promises new experiences and thrills (a) robust little smart cruiser....for......coastal sailing and high sea adventures” and a lot of interest and expectations have been raised and more will be when the price is made public, because it is going to be an inexpensive boat.

Then the boat is going to be offered for testing on a sunny day with light winds and the boat  sail magazine testers are going to conclude how good this boat is to sail, easy, pointing well and fast (on the light wind) and all that will be true

Besides the boat is beautiful, not like those little boats with disproportionally huge sterns but in an almost classic way, with not only a very well designed hull but a very well designed interior, with light colors and lots of light…and offered at an unbeatable price: wow!

If Beneteau had said only that this boat “is easy to sail but lively to helm … is small enough to trail, opening up endless possibilities for sailing on lakes and rivers, as well as coastal sailing” with fair weather, skipping those “endless possibilities for …high sea adventures” that would be a fair advertising.

As it is, it is just misguiding and that is why I have decided to talk about this boat, comparing it to the Hanse 315, a boat that is not transportable but that is hugely more seaworthy than the Oceanis 30.1 and that contrary to the Oceanis 30.1 is suited to be sailed on high seas on the right season of the year.

The Oceanis 30.1 is a relatively narrow boat, narrower than any other main market cruiser of this size and the reason is obvious, they want a boat able to be road transportable and asked the designer (Finot/Conq) to limit beam to 3.0m. The boat being narrow has nothing to do with a better boat performance but only with that.

I am quite sure that if there was not a limit imposed by Beneteau, Conq would have made it beamier, increasing hull form stability and boat power, not to mention interior space. On the previous Oceanis 31, also designed by Finot/Conq the beam is 3.4 and on the much more sportive Pogo 30 (also designed by them) 3.7m.

Conq himself explains in an interview what influence the beam limit has on the boat design (translated from French): “That beam limits form stability and therefore the righting moment, the boat power (stiffness), sail area and so on. Everything comes from there.”

Note, that it is perfectly possible to make stiff and powerful a “narrow” boat, like the Oceanis 30.1. For that the boat has to have substantially more ballast than a considerably beamier boat. Traditionally this is not the way Finot-Conq designs are developed but this concept was used for many years on the J boats designed by Rod Johnstone, even if today they have become beamier.

On top Oceanis 30.1, below Hanse 315

So the question is: has the Oceanis 30.1 a considerably bigger B/D or more draft complemented with a high efficient torpedo keel than more beamier boats of approximately the same size?

Comparing it to the beamier Oceanis 31(same designer), the 31 has a similar type of keel with about the same draft (8cm less) and has 21% B/D while the new boat has 24%. As it was to be expected there is a small difference and that probably is enough to give to Oceanis 30.1, that surely has a very well designed hull, a similar performance or even better in light to 13 or 14kt winds even if I doubt that would be the case in stronger winds.

But the ones that know something about boat design will notice that both the Oceanis 31 and the new 30.1 have low values of B/D, considering draft and type of keel. Those will know also that smaller yachts, for being certified as Class A sailboats have to have better stability curves and a better AVS than on bigger yachts, and that is why their B/D is normally bigger.
On top Oceanis 30.1, below Hanse 315

That is so because it is rightly assumed that a smaller boat will be easier to knock down by wind on in more extreme cases to be rolled by a wave and so they should have a proportionally better safety stability and a better AVS to help them to right quickly after a knock down or to diminish the time the boat will be inverted.

Those low B/D numbers would make impossible any of the two boats to be certified as class A, they just don’t have the needed stability, namely safety stability. That would not be a problem if Beneteau did not claim that the Oceanis 30.1 is suited for “high sea adventures”.

Just to understand all this better let’s compare, looking at the B/D, keel and hull form stability the stability of the Oceanis 30.1 with the one of the Hanse 315, a Class A certified boat, but near the limit to have that certification:
On top Oceanis 30.1, below Hanse 315
The Hanse 315, with 4700kg is a heavier boat and only that will give it an overall bigger stability (RM is GZ X Weight). The Oceanis 30.1 lightness has been referred on some magazines and sailboats should be light, but if we compare the weight of the Hanse 315 without ballast with the weight of the Oceanis 30.1, on the same condition, we will see that the difference in weight is only 178kg.

If we take into consideration that the Hanse is slightly longer (+ 2 cm) but much more beamier (+ 35 cm) we will see that the difference in weight is not only due to a bigger boat but mainly to a much bigger ballast (+ 527 kg) and the need of a more reinforced hull and boat structure to deal with the extra RM efforts.

The Hanse, that has already a considerably bigger stability, due to the bigger hull form stability and the superior weight, increases substantially that difference by having more 54% ballast than the Oceanis, on a keel of similar design and with about the same draft (3 cm less).

All this makes it a much more powerful and stiff boat with a considerably bigger overall stability. These differences will be translated not only in power but in safety, having the Hanse a much better final stability and a better AVS, making it harder to knock out and much faster to recover from one, more difficult to be capsized and if inverted, much faster to get back on its feet.
This and all photos below, Hanse 315

And what about sailing? The Oceanis and Hanse SA/D are respectively 19 or 17.1 and 17.0. The D/L is respectively 170.8 and 198. Those two SA/D regard the use of a jib (like the Hanse) or a 105% genoa.

Why not comparing simply the boats with a similar sail, the jib? Because on the drawings the Oceanis 30.1 is presented with a 105 genoa and a small genoa traveler, while the Hanse comes standard with a jib and a self taking traveler, without a genoa traveler. Of course, it will be possible to mount a genoa traveler on the Hanse but it will be expensive and very few owners use it preferring a code 0 and a geenaker.

Given these numbers and the type of hulls I would say that the Oceanis will sail faster on light winds, for sure, with the standard sails. But using a code 0 or a geenaker that difference will not last much and will be inverted as soon as the wind increases a bit, because the Hanse with a much bigger stiffness will be able to fly the code 0 or the geenaker with much more wind than the Oceanis, going then faster.

Downwind with a true spinnaker the Oceanis will be able to sail faster than the Hanse into stronger winds providing it has a very good crew, I would say one with racing experience, trimming the sails and having their weight on the right place. The Oceanis is lighter with a considerably smaller D/L but it is also less beamier and that will make going fast downwind much more trickier than on the Hanse, I would say very difficult or impossible with autopilot.

Of course all these is assuming that the boats are equipped with a code 0 and a geenaker because out of that, especially downwind and on a beam reach on low medium winds the Oceanis can have an advantage with the standard sails, before one needs to reef them and that should happen probably with about 14k of real wind, going upwind.

In fact I believe it makes more sense a 105% genoa on small boats than a self tacking jib and I would say in what regards that, the Oceanis is better thought for general use and cruising.

On stronger winds, mid medium winds and above the Hanse would not only be faster but also a much easier and safer boat to sail. The bigger difference will be upwind with waves where the Oceanis simply will not have the power and stiffness to make way, having to open a lot the course to continue sailing.

The Oceanis 31 has a nicer and slightly longer bowsprit, the Hanse has an anchor stand that serves also as bowsprit. Both have a two wheels set-up but the bigger beam of the Hanse makes that solution much more acceptable than on the Oceanis where the wheels have to be small to allow a decent passage between them.

The Oceanis has an apparently more logical version with a rudder but then the main winches are too much aft because their position was designed for using with the wheels, not with the rudder. The Hanse has a real boom traveler near the wheels, the Oceanis has no traveler and has the usual set-up used on the Oceanis line, over the cabin.

Bottom point: is the Oceanis 30.1 a bad sailing boat? I am sure it is not and will do very well what it was designed to do: sailing in light winds to mid medium winds and not demanding conditions, a boat that on its swing keel version will be great to be transported between lakes or to be transported to a given location with more or less sheltered waters or even to be sailed coastally if the conditions are good. 

Certainly it will not be a boat to be sailed on high seas (as Beneteau says) unless you make of it an adventure that can have some nasty results.

The Hanse 315 does not have the Oceanis versatility in what regards being transportable neither has it an option with a swinging keel but will offer a seaworthiness very far from the Oceanis’ one, being able to be sailed coastally in much stronger conditions, even able to do some high seas sailing and, on the right season, some Ocean Crossings.

The Oceanis interior, designed by Nauta, has a nicer design including a hull portlight and probably it will be of similar quality than the one on the Hanse  but that will be easily checked by you on any boat show. The interior layout of the Oceanis is so well designed that the considerably bigger interior space of the Hanse doesn't seem to be turned in an advantage. I would say that it is time for Hanse to redesign that interior and stop doing it on the house, but have it designed by a top boat design cabinet.

Choosing one or another depends where you want to sail and how you like to sail but one thing is certain, if the program of the Oceanis 31 is enough for you it would be a waste of money having the Hanse 315.

Having a stronger hull and boat structure, needed due to the bigger efforts that the Hanse much bigger ballast creates, makes the boat substantially more expensive and that’s the main reason the Oceanis has much less ballast, to be able to be cheaper.

The Hanse 315 costs €74,900 without electronics, transport or taxes but with sails. The price of the Oceanis 30.1 is not available yet but I do expect it to be considerably lower except on the swing keel version where probably it will be close.


  1. And what about SUN ODYSSEY 319? Paulo make a comment please ...

    1. The Sun Odyssey 319 is a Delphia 31 remake and it is made in Poland on the Delphia factory that was bought by Beneteau group. I suspect the Oceanis 30.1 is made there too.

      The Delphia 31 is also a class A boat and therefore with much more ballast than the Oceanis 30.1 that is a class B. It is a nice boat but with a hull design not as up to date as the Hanse 315, the Dufour 310 or the RM 890.

  2. That was my feeling before your writing, which confirms my guessings: Beneteau Oceanis is a floating appartment with sailing capabilities, while Hanse is more of a sailing boat with living capabilities. Me too I prefer the Hanse, but the Oceanis is much more good looking!

  3. That was not what I said. The Oceanis 30.1 is a well designed boat suited for what it was designed for. The Hanse 315 is a different sailboat, it is not transportable like the Oceanis 30.1 and it is designed to be a better offshore boat but that will make it also a more expensive boat.

    There are sailors with a sailing program for which the Oceanis is a better choice.

    But I understand what you mean and many would think that the Oceanis and the Hanse are equally suited for offshore sailing while they are not. The advertising about the boat by Beneteau is misleading.

  4. Curious, when would you choose a swing keel over the lifting keel? The swing keel doesn't seem to be very hydrodynamic but the the lifting keel comes withe the heaviest ballast (1300kgs vs. 1100kgs for the fixed shoal kill version).

  5. Paulo has left a new comment on your post "THE NEW OCEANIS 30.1 VERSUS HANSE 315":

    What are the lifting keel you are talking about? Unless you are talking about the Oceanis Swallow draft version that uses a swing foil? That is not what is generally called a lifting keel.

    A lifting keel is normally a foil that can go up and down having at the bottom a lead torpedo with almost all ballast. That is a very efficient keel that needs however a big vertical box that on a small boat is impractical because it will occupy a lot of interior space.

    Comparing with the swing keel with all ballast on the keel, it is hydrodynamically more efficient but has the disadvantage of being more fragile in what regards groundings, besides the big difference in what regards interior space requirements.

    The one I think you are calling a lifting keel, the one on the middle on the drawings, it is not efficient and it makes the boat much heavier. The foil that swings down has very little ballast and all is up on a relatively big box partially under the hull.

    Because the ballast CG is high, it needs a lot more ballast to have the same RM as a swing keel with all ballast on the keel.

  6. Paulo, thanks for your insight. Look at Beneteau's brochure, they offer 4 different keel versions including a lifting keel.

    Why so many keel versions beats me... And by the way, boat price is quite more than I was expected. Base price in the US is $120,000 not 70,000 Euros like it was announced at first.

    1. They call it lifting keel but it is in fact a swing keel with all the ballast on the keel, as opposed as the one they call swing keel that has almost all the ballast on the box keel and the swing keel is just a foil without no relevant ballast. It serves to improve the performance upwind, not to bring the CG down.

      All that is said previously regards those keels, that are also shown on the article above, is correct.

      A lifting keel has vertical up and down movement, a swing keel has a swing movement, up and down.

      To make it clear to you what is normally called a lifting keel (on a 30ft boat) look at the L30 post. That one has a lifting keel.

      Look at the L30 interior and see what are the limitations that a lifting keel creates on a small interior...and the one of the L30 is very good, if we consider the lifting keel conditioning.

  7. Thanks for the detailed review. How would you compare both of these yachts to the Elan e3?

    1. Sorry to take so long to reply but I have little time now and it is a big question LOL.

      The Oceanis 30.1 has a very nice interior and has a reduced beam that can allow it to be road transportable. It is a Class B boat with a stability that will be enough to sail with good or reasonable weather but that makes it not suitable as a real offshore boat. Probably it sails very well downwind and poorly upwind with waves due to lack of power (low beam, low ballast).

      The Hanse 315 it is a Class A sailboat, it is a very good sailboat and will have no problem offshore, unless on a real storm. The interior even if bigger is not so nice as the one on the Oceanis 30.1.

      The Elan E3 is a very nice design and although it is a Class A sailboat, it has much less ballast than the Hanse, however it has a high performance keel that maximizes ballast even if I don’t believe that will be enough to give it a final stability and an AVS as good as the one on the Hanse.

      Besides the Hanse is substantially heavier, 4700 to 3690 Kg (being a big part of that weight difference in ballast) and that will give it an overall bigger stability, as if it was a bigger boat.

      The Elan E3 due to its lightness and hull design will be a really fast boat downwind but probably it will lose to the Hanse upwind on most circumstances. The Elan E3 has a very nice interior, and it will be a fun one to sail, although I would say not as seaworthy as the Hanse but incomparably more than the Oceanis 30.1.

      If you opt for the Elan E3 chose the option with top building using injection (Vail system). I suppose that the displacement that they give for the boat is the one with infusion and if you chose the standard boat the weight will be bigger. Since the weight of the ballast is the same, the B/D will be worst as well as the AVS and the final stability.

      You don’t want that on a boat that has already not a big B/D. If you mount a radar don’t mount it on the mast too, for the same reason.