Taking in the fading embers of an autumn day in the Spanish port of Ginesta, I have the option to take one of two Bénéteau Gran Turismo 50 models for an evening spin.
To my right is the Coupé version, starting from €638,000, and to my left is the Sportfly model, which for around €20,000 extra, offers a flybridge deck up top. Both boats have exactly the same IPS600 435hp engines, the same air-step hull (the biggest that Bénéteau has ever built) and almost identical interior layouts.
So, which one to choose? With some warmth still left in the evening sun, it has to be the Sportfly. The conditions are perfect, breathlessly still and clear to the horizon, so the proposition of enjoying this from the elevated viewpoint of the Sportfly’s top deck is too much resist.
Given the onslaught of sportsbridge models coming to market, it would be easy to assume the Sportfly makes do with a pokey flybridge, but it’s better equipped than it looks.
There isn’t enough room for a wet bar but there is a spacious dinette with a substantial folding teak table, and the area to port of the single helm seat cleverly converts from a double bench to a small sunpad.
It isn’t as big as, say, the Princess 49 or the massive top deck on the Prestige 520, but for a boat that shares its design with a coupé counterpart, it’s an impressive effort.
The downside to having the flybridge is that the steps up to it, which to their credit have deep treads and chunky handrails, do eat up space in the cockpit. It’s not the end of the world as the GT 50’s cockpit is a good size, but there’s a lovely spaciousness to the Coupé’s cockpit that the Sportfly’s can’t match.
Read the full report in the March 2017 issue of MBY.