Just Launched – Beneteau 390

First published in SAIL Magazine, 1989

Just Launched – Beneteau Oceanis 390

by Tom Dove

Lots of thought and cruising experience went into the detailing of the Beneteau Oceanis 390. Major things like the expansive skylights and secure companionway design plus minor items like rollers on the chocks and the nice drawer catches all point to the collective knowledge that this major French builder has put into the boat.

The Beneteau Oceanis 390 is intended to be a cruising boat and has an interior laid out for two couples or a family. There are no fancy mast adjustments or other “go fasts” aboard, just lots of space, an easily handled rig and the essentials and luxuries put in convenient places. The fittings are all solid (oversized by some manufacturers’ standards), and the hatches and roller furling are substantial Goiot products.

The big stern platform has a swim ladder, —a handheld shower and storage compartments big enough to hold diving gear.

The Oceanis 390 has especially good facilities for handling a stern anchor. There is an anchor well outboard of the cockpit and a stern roller for the rode.

The wide cockpit has a permanent table amidships which provides a secure footrest as well as ample space for alfresco dining. Seat backs are contoured for comfortable sitting either inside the cockpit or on the deck as the boat heels.

The interior is finished attractively in light teak and is exceptionally bright and airy. In the “Classic” layout we sailed, a large shower compartment is abaft the head on the port side.

Sailing performance was a pleasant surprise for a vessel with such bulky lines. We found her responsive and easy to handle in gusty 20-25 knot winds at Annapolis. On reaches the heel was slight under single-reefed main and about 2/3 of the standard 140% genoa. The 145 gallon water tanks were empty and we ca·rried only about five gallons of fuel aboard so the boat should be even stiffer with a full load. Close-hauled, we were far from rail-down and helm control with the big leather-covered wheel was excellent at all times.

The wing keel was effective with no evidence of excessive leeway while tacks were quick and precise. There will be no surprises under sail for a cruising couple.

Under power, the Volvo Penta 2003 Turbo and standard three-bladed prop gave plenty of forward thrust, but maneuvering in tight quarters in a crosswind was a bit uncertain. The high freeboard that gives all that interior room presents a lot of windage at low speeds.

The Oceanis 390 is Beneteau’s idea of what a cruising boat should be. It should match the views of plenty of cruising folk, especially those who like the distinctly French touches about the vessel.

The base price is $109,900 from Beneteau, Inc., 8720 Red Oak Boulevard, Suite 102, Charlotte, NC 28217. (704) 527-8244.