Grand upgrade of Beneteau’s Swift flagship
A recent arrival in Asia, the Swift Trawler 48 is the upgraded flagship of Beneteau’s popular fast trawler-style series, with many changes inspired by the Grand Trawler 62, especially in the light, bright interior.
Words: Zuzana Prochazka; Photos: Beneteau
Almost two decades ago, Beneteau revitalised the trawler concept with the introduction of its fast Swift Trawler range. Previously, trawlers were slow, long-range cruisers with single engines and displacement hulls, but Beneteau’s versions barged onto the scene with twin inboards and semi-displacement ‘planing’ hulls that reached 20-plus knots.
The proposition was to cruise far and fast, and the idea found a lucrative market. To date, this appealing concept has resulted in the sale of about 1,800 Swift Trawler models for the French builder so it’s no surprise that Beneteau continues to refine the line, which today includes the 35, 41 Sedan and 41 Fly.
However, the series’ newest and biggest model is the Swift Trawler 48, with Asia’s first model recently arriving in Singapore through regional dealer Simpson Marine.
SWIFT BY NAME
Built on the same hull as the Swift Trawler 47, the 48 features an interior facelift and comes standard with twin 380hp Cummins diesels, although the engines can be upgraded to 425hp versions, which is what our test boat had fitted.
With four of us aboard and the fuel and water tanks about half full, we came up on plane at 16 knots and continued up to 26 knots at wide-open throttle. The gauges showed we burned 180 litres per hour, so we backed down to 18 knots at 2,500rpm and settled into a more economical 110 lph cruise.
For distance cruising at nine knots, you can expect a range of 600nm – almost Singapore to Phuket – although if you slow down to six knots, you can stretch your legs to nearly 1,000 miles. If you need to go far, you can do so, but if you need to outrun a storm heading back to the slip, you can do that, too.
Just like the 47, which we tested a few years back, the 48 took the day’s lumpy conditions in stride. The wheel was responsive and the turns were tight and controlled. Later, when we returned to the marina, the bow thruster came in handy as we manoeuvred back into a cosy slip.
NEW MODEL TAKES SHAPE
Many of the previous Swift Trawler 47 features have been retained on the new design. The optional hydraulic swim platform that can carry a tender on chocks and the starboard hull door integrated into the high bulwarks are still present.
Familiar features include the transom bench seat in the cockpit, the flybridge stairs that fold up against the deckhouse with the help of a foot pedal, and the foredeck sunpad, which can fold up towards the front to create a forward-facing sofa.
The starboard side deck is the only one that’s covered and is on the same level as the cockpit and saloon until steps beside the door by the helm station, while the raised port side deck is reached by three stairs in the cockpit.
The flybridge layout is also recognisable and starts with a clear 5sqm area at the back, to be used by the owner as they wish, with a transverse, forward-looking wet bar fronting the aft zone.
The forward half is dominated by L-shaped settees either side of a folding teak table and the central helm seat. The forward backrests on both sofas can be pushed back to create companion seating for three people: two to port and one to starboard.
New on each side of the aft exterior are fashion plates with the Beneteau seahorse logo. This addition copies the feature on the Grand Trawler 62, Beneteau’s flagship created to take the Swift Trawler concept to a new size range. The logo is also on the starboard acrylic door, which is designed to cut the wind that shoots down the side deck to the aft cockpit.
Most of the changes between the Swift Trawler 47 and 48 are on the inside, with notably improved ergonomics and traffic flow in the interior, which is offered in Alpi Oak or Alpi Teak.
First, the helm has been moved from the centreline position to starboard. The dash holds either twin nine-inch or 12-inch Raymarine touchscreen displays, while there’s also a large, destroyer-style wheel plus a joystick and throttles outboard.
A sliding side door (with a full screen) leads to the deck directly across from the bulwark door, so the driver can quickly hop off to manage dock lines. A third command station with joystick is an option in the cockpit. It may be a worthwhile addition for docking stern-to where the visibility aft is better.
By moving the lower helm from the middle to the side of the boat, Beneteau opened the saloon and created more room for a C-shaped dinette to port where the sofa serves as companion seating to the helm.
This ‘re-imagining’ of the saloon layout has improved the use of space and allows for a better flow inside. The galley was also moved aft, so drinks, snacks and meals can be more easily served to both the cockpit and the flybridge. Refrigeration has been increased to nine cubic feet (255 litres) and the countertops are now Corian, just as they are on the Grand Trawler 62.
There’s a choice of an induction cooktop or a propane stove, and the focus on entertaining has been enhanced with the addition of a drinkware cabinet, an icemaker and a 23-bottle wine fridge.
Not much has changed on the accommodation below deck. It’s still a three-cabin, two-head layout, with the en-suite owner’s cabin in the bow. Small but thoughtful improvements now include increased stowage space in the two guest cabins, the addition of en-suite access to the shared bathroom from the port cabin, and an option for a washer/dryer.
And if more berths are needed, the sofa in the saloon can convert to a double berth, with wrap-around privacy curtains included!
IMPROVING ON A GOOD THING
The 48 can move quickly from port to port, cruise slowly across seas or simply serve as an ideal waterfront condo with all the amenities.
The model builds on its predecessor’s successes in two ways: it benefits from a refreshed, more modern interior that works better for today’s cruiser, and she enjoys luxury features that have trickled down from the flagship Grand Trawler 62, also brought to Asia by Simpson Marine.
To create the Swift Trawler 48, Beneteau optimised an already popular model using owner and dealer feedback, so enhancing their fast trawler heritage. In short, they made a proven design even better.