Cruising a Beneteau 40.7

MiddayGun

Super Anarchist
1,178
442
Yorkshire
Make sure you a good look at the keel structure, especially if its been ran aground before.
Unless I'm thinking of another model of Beneteau, but I think it was the 40.7 that had some keel issues.
 
As a 40.7 owner I am in the process of converting my boat from a racing boat to a short and long distance cruiser. Empty the many sails out of the fore peak and actually use the bunks. Electric winch for the halyards, bimini top; dodger... And more.
What's somewhat unique about the 40.7 is that more than 700 were made; but the design is now more than 20 years old and inevitably many of the boats will convert from racer to cruiser. BTW 700 may make the 40.7 the most popular racer cruiser ever, in its size range. One endearing fact is that the 40.7 is constructed with a solid fiberglass hull ... not a foam or balsa and glass sandwich. And I like it's lively performance because good sailing is still fun, even though we will be cruising.
But every boat has challenges as well as opportunities. There have been discussions about various elements of the boat but I thought it would be great to pull as many as possible into one spot.
For example: I am wondering, has anyone ever put a carbon rig on a 40.7 to reduce weight aloft and smooth out its motion through the water?
Given the location of the Main sheet, what designs have people come up with for a bimini that will shade the entire cockpit without interfering with the mainsail?
Which windlass are people using? And has anyone developed a foward strut for the anchor and chain?
Hoping there are guys out there with answers and experiences that can help all of us....
As a 40.7 owner I am in the process of converting my boat from a racing boat to a short and long distance cruiser. Empty the many sails out of the fore peak and actually use the bunks. Electric winch for the halyards, bimini top; dodger... And more.
What's somewhat unique about the 40.7 is that more than 700 were made; but the design is now more than 20 years old and inevitably many of the boats will convert from racer to cruiser. BTW 700 may make the 40.7 the most popular racer cruiser ever, in its size range. One endearing fact is that the 40.7 is constructed with a solid fiberglass hull ... not a foam or balsa and glass sandwich. And I like it's lively performance because good sailing is still fun, even though we will be cruising.
But every boat has challenges as well as opportunities. There have been discussions about various elements of the boat but I thought it would be great to pull as many as possible into one spot.
For example: I am wondering, has anyone ever put a carbon rig on a 40.7 to reduce weight aloft and smooth out its motion through the water?
Given the location of the Main sheet, what designs have people come up with for a bimini that will shade the entire cockpit without interfering with the mainsail?
Which windlass are people using? And has anyone developed a foward strut for the anchor and chain?
Hoping there are guys out there with answers and experiences that can help all of us....
I’ve been cruising my J/120 in Mexico for the past year and continue to work on cruising upgrades I’m preparation for longer trips. These are similar-sized boats with similar performance characteristics. The single biggest problem that I see is the end-boom sheeting that puts the mainsheet in the cockpit. It makes full cockpit shade impossible and creates increased danger of damage to the wheel and injury to the crew during a jibe. I’ve worked through a lot of the challenges with converting a race boat to a cruising boat but haven’t figured out a satisfactory solution to this one yet.
 

Kiwi Clipper

Member
74
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Mike Clarke:
That's great... tell them we are talking about them. Ask them to write and tell their story...their boat and equipment...their adventures...if we repeat it here hundreds of the 40.7 owners will ultimately hear it.

Kinardly, typically that would mean hull 252. Some reason many manufacturers don't tell exactly how many they made but the last one I know of was 737 here in Honolulu in 2008.
 

Kiwi Clipper

Member
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37
Mike Clarke. We are just trying to figure out the shade issue also. One approach is a bimini aft of the main sheet and an extended dodger forward. Another is a kind of arch that goes under the main, but above the cockpit...you use it for the mainsheet to get the mainsheet out of the cockpit. Haven't worked through either approach yet. By the way, my dentist friend I raced with had a J 120. He put a picture of the stern of his boat up in the dental stall where he did his work on me. Double pain.
 
We are presently cruising a First 47.7 that has similar issues as far as shade and the end of the boom sheeting. We have essentially covered the helm position with a solar arch( effectively a hard Bimini) and then a conventional dodger. not perfect but we can see the sails better then 90% of the boats cruising. We have a Hydrovane as an emergency rudder and self steering. Redundent autopilot brains driving a hydraulic ram. Lithium and solar is king for cruising needs. We have deep keel version (9.5 ft) and it has not really been an issue. Almost 10k miles Alaska to southern Mexico in the last year. These first series boats do just fine as cruisers. We are always the fastest boat it seems. One cabin is a garage for storage.
SV CHAOS
IMG_5599.jpg
 
Joining this discussion a bit late, but some real world experience cruising a 47.7. We have had it 10 years. Not as tender as the 40.7, but even still we are getting more pragmatic at reefing earlier. 90% of our sailing is just 2 of us. We love sailing this boat - fast, great handling, dry enough, decent sailing handling systems, etc.

Loads and loads of storage, just took us a few years to find it all! Well built, easy access to most systems. Not tons of proprietary stuff on board, so sourcing replacements or spare parts hasn't been an issue for us.

We have a dodger and bimini that has 300 watts of solar. We have a cockpit traveller and have a special connecting panel that allows us to have shade while at anchor, but doesn't work while sailing. We carry 450 amp hrs of lead acid batteries that are end of life. Will likely replace with 400 amp hrs of AGM - smaller, less weight and more usable capacity. We have great battery storage under the floor just in front of the engine.

Need a great windlass and anchor. We have the original factory windlass, but swapping it out this off season. It's 22 years old and no spares available. Also uses BBB chain, which isn't super common anymore.

We really are happy with it and despite looking around, don't see a lot of boats we would swap with in this size.
 

Kiwi Clipper

Member
74
37
GB Sailor. Don't know how I missed your post. Idea of dual bimini's instead of a dodger and bimini and raising the main boom slightly....might be the best overall solution, Mike Clarke is also thinking about same issue for his J 120. Mike go back and look at GB Sailor's photos on page 1.
Also I am trying to figure out as you did, the best anchoring solution. Somehow read that rocna anchors are best; and also need a good roller device to keep the anchor from hitting the boat on the way up and down.
 

Kiwi Clipper

Member
74
37
Mid Day Gun: Thanks for the reference to the keel issues. The issue did arise regarding the 40.7. There was a lot of discussion of it on another thread about Whether to buy a Beneteau Oceanis 38.1. Part of the process, one of the past designers from the Farr Office, that designed the 40.7 chimed in and I called the Farr office to get their take on it. There are issues to be concerned about especially if purchasing a boat that has been in the charter trade in an area where there are lots of reefs. So anyone concerned about a boat should take the question seriously. But unless there's been a history of abuse, the bottom line is that the boats were conservatively overbuilt and are quite safe. Here's the text of my initial contribution to that site:
"Lotta comments about 40.7's so I thought maybe I would chime in. I bought Green Flash spring of 2007 and had her ever since. Live in Hawaii... a lot of club racing and Sunday afternoon cruises, and a few interisland trips to Lanai and Maui followed by the 70 mile downwind Lahaina return races. I am 81, sailing since I was seven.
Here's a little 40.7 data. To weather in flat water Flash's best windward point of sale is 27 degrees apparent. We sailed with pentex roller furling jibs. One about a 105, the other 146. At 27 we held 7+knots most of the time. Plenty of air at six knots true. But I don't want to understate this. I could sail at 22 apparent for about 45 seconds and keep good hull speed. For you guys that race, You just have to smile at how that used to piss people off, starting in their bad air sailing higher and going faster.
Hawaii has some pretty great surfing waves. Our top speeds of the day were always 18 knots. Lots of surfs 13 to 17. In rolling surf we loved doing 12 to 14 on surfs. The boat never planes. She likes reaching at 8.5 to 11 knots if you push her. Had a few mishaps like standing in the cockpit in waist deep water (also lost that spinnaker completely). Couple times.
I tell you guys this because some of you just don't know how good it can be.
Now for safety, we have a sump. It's dry. I mean bone dry. Upgraded the boat a little; redesigned the rudder to reduce cavitation on downwind surfs; designed a fitting to hold the rudder control lines more securely to the steering; upgraded the generator; the jib tracks, removed the wood combings on the back half of the boat and replaced with track. Few others. This year we replaced the rudder bearings. New rod rigging. Revarnished the interior and replaced the entire interior electrical system. We do not have a history of collisions or groundings.
My bucket list has one item: sail to Tahiti. Now planning a new auxiliary steering gear; bimini and dodger, one electric winch. few other items. Would like to do what we can to strengthen the rudder boot and also the keel.
But this is what I think about them. If you are going to have a deep bulb keel (with a 5' hull connection) and spade rudder, reefs, containers and whales can turn out the lights. Especially a series of "not that serious" incidents can weaken the systems. Depending on the hit, it doesn't matter how strong you build it. But especially repeated beating on a reef is preventable with a little good sense. Don't know whether anything could be done about a container collision. Picture going over a container at 9 knots. It will shear the keel right off. Probably lose some of the bottom; probably sink. That would also happen to the new keels of the HR 44, 46 and 50 and the new Oyster 495. But maybe they would be going slower.
For safety, let me tell you whales like girls. We were reaching past Rabbit Island in 25 true and 10 foot seas when a pod of whales came to see me drinking diet pepsi and my daughter and the four girls friends she brought with her. One of the guy (whales) bumped the bottom of the boat showing approval. It caused the cooler to slide to leeward and pop open and a diet pepsi popped out of the cooler to leeward and the guy gulps it down. Course we offered him another one, but him and his buddies were in a hurry northward.
Be sure to have a good life raft and good portable radio and epirb. Maybe even a satellite phone. Camping on a 40.7 will be fine with couple of guys. And the sailing will be superb."
 

RodOg

New member
2
2
More needs to be said about the keel problems. A 40.7 returning to Uk from Antigua Race Week lost its keel and the crew were all lost. A lot of other tales of wobbly keels came out after that accident.

I maintained a 40.7 for a sailing school in the Solent. Every six months I tightened the keel bolts, until the bottom of the boat softened.

I am considering buying a 40.7 and cruising to Aus. The first thing I will be doing, as an engineer, is glass in a floor structure in galvanised 12mm steel, to hold the keel bolts. Then some stainless bar, through the keel root, poking out both sides of the keel to take additional bolts up through that floor structure. Fair all of that with balloons.
 
Picture going over a container at 9 knots. It will shear the keel right off. Probably lose some of the bottom; probably sink.
Container - pontainer - picture going over this at 9 knots ...
Sighted 3 weeks ago 20 miles offshore from Salinas Ecuador. Reported to the Armada del Ecuador but it seems they don't have the resources to go out and sink it. Prop was 2 metres or so in diameter... beam maybe 10/15 metres, length maybe 40/50 metres or so .

Drifting slowly north to the Gulf of Panama or maybe heading west to FP. Only a little antifoul left so maybe on its third or fourth lap.

Sleep well tonight happy sailor chappies. :)

DSC_4371 (1).jpg
 

Kiwi Clipper

Member
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37
Estarzinger: Thanks for posting the report. I read all of it. Here's a short summary for those who don't want to slog through it:
The structural strength of the Beneteau 40.7 keels like many boats is provided by making a fiberglass hull, then a liner with structural members, and then essentially gluing the liner into hull. The hull and the structural liner each provide strength to the other. The structural strength of the keel is provided by attachment of the keel to the hull and to the liner. If due to groundings or other incidents the liner becomes detached from the hull, the strength of the entire structure supporting the keel can be compromised. Apparently in the case of Cheeky Raffiki there were known incidents of groundings and there was known detachment for which questionable repairs had been done. On its way back to England in May 2014 the boat went over one particularly violent wave and began leaking. It then sailed into winds of 30 to 50 mph and seas of 15 feet; the boat is designed to handle those stresses; but not if the keel hull joint has already been weakened. Thus the keel broke off, and the boat rolled over. The final action came quick enough that the crew was not able to deploy the life raft which was still on the boat, and the crew were never found. They found that the boat probably did not hit a container or other such object. But the overturned hull floating disclosed possible rusted or broken keel bolts. And a couple of holes in the hull at the joint with the keel, and a big part of the hull delaminated and torn off with the keel.
There are important lessons for 40.7 owners and anyone else who is going to be blue water sailing in a modern production built boat. Important to know there were many emails and phone calls to the sponsoring organization, so a lot was known about what the people on board were going through. (1) A series of groundings no one of which seems serious, can weaken your keel. If your boat has suffered such, it can be surveyed and the surveyors should look for detachments of the hull from the frame; (2) The record showed that the sailors on board the boat had never identified the source of the leaking and may have never even looked at the keel and keel bolts; and hence if there had been any signs of trouble they never saw them. (3) Thus the GPS records showed that even in the heavy going, the sailors on board continued pushing the boat for speed that put the keel under a lot more stress than if they would have slowed up. (4) If an emergency arises, the life raft has to be gotten out of the space under the helmsman seat and put somewhere more open, so it can be quickly and safely deployed.
The report goes into great detail regarding the design and methods of production of the Beneteau 40.7 and Beneteau's quality controls, and it left me feeling Beneteau had been doing a great job at its production methods and quality control. But they also spoke with a number of folks involved in cases in which there had been separation between hull and frame usually due to groundings. One section of the report focuses on 72 reported past keel loss incidents --- all kinds of boats and provides cause where known... but causes of 40 were unknown. In a sense we are lucky to know where difficulties could arise and keep an eye out ..."forwarned is forearmed" as they say.
 

kinardly

Super Anarchist
Like you, Kiwi, I read the report before buying and was reassured by the description of Beneteau’s manufacturing and quality control processes. Thorough inspection and rigorous follow up are required for these and many other modern manufacturer’s boats. Or we can all go to sea in Colin Archer’s designs.
 

Zonker

Super Anarchist
9,664
5,621
Canada
Don't encapsulate metal in glass in the bilge. Unless the glassing is done PERFECTLY there will be pinholes. Little ones you can't see. Then the bilge water will get in there and slowly rust away your galvanized steel.
 

Kiwi Clipper

Member
74
37
I think coming to grips with the reality of new vs. used boats is important. When you buy a boat this size and like the 40.7 new, it costs a lot more, but you are not subject to the uncertainties of how a boat may have been used or abused by a prior owner.
But when you buy a boat used, its a far different question. In another thread one comment was that if a particular designed failed in 1% of cases, that is too much! True, if it was the design that failed. But used, a more serious question is, for any boat design, what is the percent of boats that are used/abused or maintenance neglected by their owners in ways that could compromise the boat's structure or safety, in the future. I would think that number is far higher than 1%.
What puts the sharp edge on that point, it seems certain that if the company that sent Cheeky Rifiki on an ocean crossing, had realized its condition, and the potential consequences of its condition, they wouldn't have done so. So maybe the lesson is that for those purchasing a used boat, or contemplating off shore cruising in a boat they already own, a thorough pre check might be prudent.
 

in_TO

Super Anarchist
1,131
14
The boat was called Umi Taka. I think it has changed hands a few times since it was modified.
 




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