Cruising a Beneteau 40.7

PaulK

Super Anarchist
We looked at a 40.7 to possibly replace our J/36 and decided it was not a good choice. There is minimal stowage below. The J/36 had space behind the settees and below the V-berths, and under the quarter berths and cockpit too. There was also a hanging locker, as well as cupboards and shelves in the salon. On the 40.7 There is room for about a case of wine in the designated racks, but little other space for food and galley supplies. There is room behind the settees for books or magazines - if placed flat against the hull. Each of the three cabins had a half-high hanging locker, and that was about it. Under the bunks are tanks, pumps and compressors- no stowage. It would be difficult to find places to put a week's worth of food and clothing unless one of the cabins was entirely reworked with shelving, cupboards and lockers. That could certainly be done, but it could also make the setup a bit funky unless it was very well thought out. We cruised our J/36 from CT to Maine for weeks at a time. It had more stowage space than the Beneteau 40.7.
 

longy

Overlord of Anarchy
7,016
1,299
San Diego
Lack of space makes it a good candidate for Lithium. Get much more usable battery in the same space - and lose weight.
 

Kiwi Clipper

Member
86
57
PaulK: One of my close friends loved the J-36 in its hey day. According to J boats 55 were built, ending in the mid 80's. Maybe you can still get one!
 

Kiwi Clipper

Member
86
57
For long distance cruising it seems as though an auxiliary rudder system like the hydrovane would be essential. Does anyone have experience with any type of self steering or auxiliary steering mechanism on a 40.7 or other boat?
 

Whinging Pom

Super Anarchist
Pendulum-servo gear like a Monitor will keep a 40.7 under control. A Hydrovane just isn't powerful enough. It never worked very well on my old Oyster Heritage, 37' of long fin & skeg cruising boat, especially with quartering seas. It needed the auto pilot to assist.

if you are conerned about the emergency rudder, I'm sure Scanmar make an add-on for their Monitor.
 

kinardly

Super Anarchist
If you’re planning for possible rudder damage you might give some thought to encapsulating the rudder tube behind a watertight bulkhead. That rudder post is very beefy carbon fiber and I’m pretty sure if the rudder takes a catastrophic hit, the tube will fail first. More than likely, the post would rip the ass off the back of the boat. Either way the hull floods and you swim.
 

Panoramix

Super Anarchist
We looked at a 40.7 to possibly replace our J/36 and decided it was not a good choice. There is minimal stowage below. The J/36 had space behind the settees and below the V-berths, and under the quarter berths and cockpit too. There was also a hanging locker, as well as cupboards and shelves in the salon. On the 40.7 There is room for about a case of wine in the designated racks, but little other space for food and galley supplies. There is room behind the settees for books or magazines - if placed flat against the hull. Each of the three cabins had a half-high hanging locker, and that was about it. Under the bunks are tanks, pumps and compressors- no stowage. It would be difficult to find places to put a week's worth of food and clothing unless one of the cabins was entirely reworked with shelving, cupboards and lockers. That could certainly be done, but it could also make the setup a bit funky unless it was very well thought out. We cruised our J/36 from CT to Maine for weeks at a time. It had more stowage space than the Beneteau 40.7.
This is quite common for French boats of this era, it can be an actual issue but it really depends how many people you have onboard. Serious cruisers free up a cabin they use for storage sometimes in plastic boxes!
 

Kiwi Clipper

Member
86
57
Kinardly et al. thanks for your inputs. Interesting comment on rudder damage. I read a few years ago of two separate incidents in which 40.7's ended up sinking from rudder damage and I had a similar thought as yours; you wouldn't sink from it unless it took out the tube. Not sure if anything can be done to avoid that kind of an incident, One retired on a race to Hawaii with rudder trouble, but made it back in. The conversation at the time was that maybe backing the rudder into a shallow slip had occurred Anyway, your thought in mind, a few weeks ago I wrote the Farr office to ask if they had suggestions for strengthening the tube. No answer to date. Originally pr about the boat suggested Farr designed the rudder post with carbon fiber but I think Beneteau made it with fiberglass...still stout, but a little bendy. I had heard that most of the folks around San Diego had upgraded their rudders and we upgraded mine and the other Beneteau 40.7 here. When I rebuilt mine we used carbon fiber, made it bigger and it stiffened it up a lot and eliminated cavitating, loss of control, and rounding up while racing in big seas.
BTW the hydrovane people think that using their rudder and keeping the primary rudder fixed settles down the motion of the boat quite a bit. Had a comment from a cruising sailor about the general strengths of the 40.7 for Cruising: This is what he said: "The First 40.7 might be more capable than we think. A few summers back we were anchored in the Pacific Northwest and a 40.7 anchored beside us. Long story short they were a Dutch couple who had just sailed in from South America via the Horn! The boat looked fairly stock with minimal upgrades. Reminded me to never judge a book by the cover."
From comments here I looked at the Scanmar website, difference between Auxiliary and Servo Pendulum systems. Comparisons very interesting.
Thinking also about Paulk and Panoramix comment and suggestions about storage space.
It reminds me that years ago whenever I would mention any kind of a larger sailboat, the first think everyone asks is "How many will she sleep." The 40.7 has a lot of space. Now how to convert more of it into useful cruising storage space.
 

Kiwi Clipper

Member
86
57
Kinardly: Hope I am wrong, and mine is also. What hull # was yours? Do you know what year it was made. I am 676.
 

cianclarke

Member
108
79
Boston, MA
For long distance cruising it seems as though an auxiliary rudder system like the hydrovane would be essential. Does anyone have experience with any type of self steering or auxiliary steering mechanism on a 40.7 or other boat?

"Essential" seems like a stretch, and adding one to a 40.7 feels to me like a bit of an impedance mismatch. The sugar scoop would limit your choices, for starters - you'd probably want one of the devices which can be mounted off center.

We crossed the pond this year & 3/4 way through the AP gave out, as they tend to. The Aries got us home well rested, but if I'm honest I'd have preferred an entirely redundant secondary AP.
 

El Borracho

Verified User
6,841
2,799
Pacific Rim
I helped drop the rudder on mine and I can tell you the post was carbon all the way and it ain’t going to bend before something else gives.
That is my thinking. I used to carry a full e-rudder but thinking as you are, I cannot imagine a failure mode where the 4 inch carbon post breaks without taking the balsa & gelled-snot aft hull with it. So it is decorating the toolshed now. A 100% spare AP is the way to go. I could be wrong?

I also agree with @cianclarke that decorating a modern boat with a vane is a waste. Especially if a major goal is for an e-rudder.
 

Kiwi Clipper

Member
86
57
I agree that containers and whales are the reasons why a Beneteau 40.7 rudder could have catastrophic failure. But I have seen rudders fail for a series of other much more mundane reasons. One trouble with rudders is that they are always in the water; and they fill up with water. The internal structure of them is that usually there are a couple of structural tangs that go back from the rudder post into the rest of the rudder. The tangs can come disattached from the rudder post, or from the rest of the rudder due to excessive stress on the rudder from heavy duty racing, and also from groundings from backing into a slip or onto or off of a reef, and also from long term rust, other deterioration or delamination of the tangs. All the big races require boats to carry emergency steering gear. If guys in an organized race should do so, then cruisers off on their own, ought to as well.
Thus my primary reason for auxiliary steering is potential loss of the rudder for any of the above reasons, or others. So even though it doesn't work quite as well as day to day substitute steering, I am choosing the hydrovane because it includes a substitute rudder.
 

cianclarke

Member
108
79
Boston, MA
What was the failure mode for the A/P?
Classic "low voltage" / "no drive" - cause still undetermined, either voltage drop or maybe brushes. Raymarine type 1 linear drive. If it's anything internal I'll be annoyed since it only has about 10k miles on it.
It's now off the boat, haven't taken the thing apart yet but I'll be re-installing it with wiring that easier facilitates a drive unit swap this time.
 

tane

Anarchist
953
275
I agree that containers and whales are the reasons why a Beneteau 40.7 rudder could have catastrophic failure. But I have seen rudders fail for a series of other much more mundane reasons. One trouble with rudders is that they are always in the water; and they fill up with water. The internal structure of them is that usually there are a couple of structural tangs that go back from the rudder post into the rest of the rudder. The tangs can come disattached from the rudder post, or from the rest of the rudder due to excessive stress on the rudder from heavy duty racing, and also from groundings from backing into a slip or onto or off of a reef, and also from long term rust, other deterioration or delamination of the tangs. All the big races require boats to carry emergency steering gear. If guys in an organized race should do so, then cruisers off on their own, ought to as well.
Thus my primary reason for auxiliary steering is potential loss of the rudder for any of the above reasons, or others. So even though it doesn't work quite as well as day to day substitute steering, I am choosing the hydrovane because it includes a substitute rudder.
having gudgeons on the transom & a casette-emergency rudder ready, & you have free choice of your windvane. On our not so un-similar boat (Elan 410) the Windpilot Atlantic worked as well as one could possibly expect, it can be removed quickly & easily & the mounting has a very small footprint. Any type of auxiliary-rudder windvane will require a beefing up of the transom, btw
 
Hi

I make the Jordan Series Drogue.
Have done some with intent to possibly use part of it for emergency steering aid.

Andrews 70..proved to Transpac staff

Gran Soleil 50..proved to Pacific Cup staff.

Key is long bridle legs midship .
 
Kinardly et al. thanks for your inputs. Interesting comment on rudder damage. I read a few years ago of two separate incidents in which 40.7's ended up sinking from rudder damage and I had a similar thought as yours; you wouldn't sink from it unless it took out the tube. Not sure if anything can be done to avoid that kind of an incident, One retired on a race to Hawaii with rudder trouble, but made it back in. The conversation at the time was that maybe backing the rudder into a shallow slip had occurred Anyway, your thought in mind, a few weeks ago I wrote the Farr office to ask if they had suggestions for strengthening the tube. No answer to date. Originally pr about the boat suggested Farr designed the rudder post with carbon fiber but I think Beneteau made it with fiberglass...still stout, but a little bendy. I had heard that most of the folks around San Diego had upgraded their rudders and we upgraded mine and the other Beneteau 40.7 here. When I rebuilt mine we used carbon fiber, made it bigger and it stiffened it up a lot and eliminated cavitating, loss of control, and rounding up while racing in big seas.
BTW the hydrovane people think that using their rudder and keeping the primary rudder fixed settles down the motion of the boat quite a bit. Had a comment from a cruising sailor about the general strengths of the 40.7 for Cruising: This is what he said: "The First 40.7 might be more capable than we think. A few summers back we were anchored in the Pacific Northwest and a 40.7 anchored beside us. Long story short they were a Dutch couple who had just sailed in from South America via the Horn! The boat looked fairly stock with minimal upgrades. Reminded me to never judge a book by the cover."
From comments here I looked at the Scanmar website, difference between Auxiliary and Servo Pendulum systems. Comparisons very interesting.
Thinking also about Paulk and Panoramix comment and suggestions about storage space.
It reminds me that years ago whenever I would mention any kind of a larger sailboat, the first think everyone asks is "How many will she sleep." The 40.7 has a lot of space. Now how to convert more of it into useful cruising storage space.
I think that Dutch couple is here in the marina with me in Ensenada. Very nice couple, very accomplished sailors. They’ve been out 17 years in their Beneteau 40.7 and are planning many more miles.
 




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