Toby Hodges appreciates the comfort aboard the luxury cruiser winner of European Yacht of the Year 2017. But can she sail?

This is the first of an innovative new line from Beneteau, one that successfully takes influences from the motorboat sector, both in terms of styling and build technique.

Key features include a transom with steps built into each side for easy access to the garage and jet tender, flat decks to maximise sunbathing area, a companionway that descends at a very shallow 45° angle, and proper privacy for the owner’s cabin.

Top 5 yachts named winners of the European Yacht of the Year 2016/2017

Down below, the effect is quite sensational. The modern styling combines with the superb amount of natural light; the Italian style feels luxurious, executive even.

You then notice that you can’t see the forward cabin. An athwartships ‘corridor’ to this master cabin creates privacy and provides useful stowage too.

The effect within this carpeted forward suite is marvellous. Sit on the king size berth (1.8 x 2m), looking out of the large hull portlights and you can still hear what’s happening with the door open, but feel proper privacy.

The aft cabins meanwhile extend all the way to the stern each side of the tender garage and have aft facing portlights.

I like the way the sole boards are hinged to open easily, providing excellent access to the deep bilges. Practical racks and crates are installed below the galley soles, while plumbing manifolds are easily accessible.

And smart touchscreen panels are used for monitoring and operating the boat’s systems, including the transfer of liquid from one tank to another.

The 62 moves surprisingly easily thanks to her good D4 laminate sails, but the code sail is still the first option you should tick if considering light wind sailing. It helped us sail steadily at 6.7 to 7 knots in 10 knots of breeze.

The winches are easy to operate from the helms, but it’s a compact layout, with a lot of line tails needing to stow into small bags.

The transom door lowers down on hydraulic pistons, revealing steps each side to access the swim platform and tender garage – large enough for a 3.5m RIB, or a 2.85m Williams jet.

The top end of the transom door hinges lower than the waterline and an electric winch pulls the tender back aboard. I saw how one person could launch or recover this jet RIB in under a minute – an understandable selling point for some.

There is no shortage of sunbathing space on deck: the cockpit tables lower to form sunbeds, the flat coachroof has room for two sunbeds under the bimini each side of the companionway and the deck itself is flat.

The optional exterior grill and sink raises electronically from beneath the aft cockpit. This is a yacht designed to be enjoyed at anchor.

The downside with this sort of deck design and its voluminous tender garage, however, is that the crew cabin will be filled with sails and fenders because there is little other stowage on deck.

Also, the long list of options, from electric blinds to jet tender, certainly helps ensure the ‘wow’ effect on the 62, but has penalties.

The option-laden test boat was around 5 tonnes heavier than her 26-tonne light displacement. And with all the options it quickly becomes a £1m plus boat, which now has plenty of competition.

Beneteau Oceanis Yachts 62: Specifications

LOA: 19.07m (64ft 9in)
Beam: 5.33m (17ft 6in)
Draught: 2.3 or 2.9m (7ft 7in or 9ft 6in)
Displacement: 26,108kg (57,558lb)
Price ex VAT: €650,000
Contact: www.beneteau.com

What the other judges said…

The European Yacht of the Year is judged by journalists from 11 different magazines from 11 different European nations. Each jury member tested every yacht from the five different categories, over two separate weeks in two different locations.

Joakim Hermansson – Båtnytt, Sweden
“Beneteau has managed to offer luxurious details and design at a price level rarely seen before in this category of boats.”

Loïc Madeline – Voiles & Voiliers, France
“Beneteau succeeded in making this 62-footer more than just an Oceanis, with lots more comfort and functionality.”

Axel Nissen-Lie – Seilas, Norway
“Beneteau dares to test new ideas. A modern boat with clever solutions, it sails well, too. This has what it takes to convince powerboat buyers to choose sail, but also experienced sailors will feel comfortable in this boat.”

Jochen Rieker – Yacht, Germany
“Certainly one of the best examples of a brand extension in yachting.”

Alberto Mariotti – Vela & Motore, Italy
“The Oceanis Yachts 62 has the merit of offering luxury in a more democratic way and allows the shipyard to enter a major slice of the market in search of space and
luxuries more affordable than those of a motoryacht.”