The Bénéteau Gran Turismo 40 marks a new dawn for the French yard's good value sportscruiser range, as Nick Burnham reports
The 40ft sportscruiser market is so highly evolved that there’s an almost regimented standard layout – C-shaped dinette at the back of the cockpit opposite a wet bar, chaise longue forward to port, double helm to starboard either side of a central companionway.
Below, a forward cabin with a central double berth, saloon in the middle with a dinette one side, head and galley the other and a mid cabin with two berths running transversely.
But Bénéteau has confounded our expectations with a subtle yet effective rework of this time honoured traditional layout for its new GT40.
It starts in the cockpit where the aft portion feels longer than normal and has seating both sides, the starboard settee wrapping itself along the transom at one end and truncating in a chaise longue at the other.
The wet-bar is present and correct, but it’s mounted centrally, backing onto the helm. In another departure from established practice, the helm is two steps up in pride of place, slap bang in the middle.
You still get a double helm seat, but fitting it centrally has left room for a third seat on the starboard side – access to the cabin relegated to port. Overhead, Bénéteau has opted for a solid sliding roof section.
Head down below and you’ll find most things where you expect them. The master cabin is up front with its central double berth and the saloon features the usual dinette opposite a galley ahead of the heads.
That port-side entrance means you lose a leg of the normally three sided dinette (which may explain why this area doesn’t convert to sleeping). The galley is on the small side also, fine for lunch but don’t get over ambitious at dinner time.
The reason is clear though, with a generous heads large enough to contain a separate shower stall. It’s a compromise I suspect most owners will favour.
The mid cabin is a little different though. Access is to the centre using the area beneath the helm and the berths run longitudinally.