Capt. Jackson Willett spied the latest weather report and nonchalantly read aloud the detailed summary: “Southwest wind 15 to 20 knots. Waves 8 to 10 feet, with a wind-driven swell of 8 feet at 8 seconds.” He took a last sip of his joe, stood up and declared, “Gonna be sporty!” With that, we made our way to the Beneteau Swift Trawler 47 and prepped for the run heading offshore into the Pacific.
I had first seen the 47 at the Ft. Lauderdale boat show snarled in among her siblings and the many temporary quays. Her salty looks beckoned us to throw off the lines and chase the sunset and when the opportunity arose several months later, we jumped at it. The Power & Motoryacht team was thrilled to be the first journalists aboard for the kickoff leg of Beneteau’s Swift Pacific Adventure, a near-400-mile journey from Seattle to mid-coast Oregon.
After loading up gear and sundries, Digital Director John Turner and I went over the 47’s systems—including the brand’s intuitive Ship Control interface where essentially all onboard functions can be monitored—with Willett and some of the Beneteau crew.
On the first day’s leg, the three of us spent the bulk of the time on the flybridge, taking shifts at the centerline helm and opening the optional ($7,080), electrically retractable flybridge bimini for warmth—the cool air off the 50-degree water kept things chilly.
A favorable outgoing tide and 2- to 3-foot seas equaled a 22-knot cruise at 2600 rpm. I used the opportunity to run numbers and was impressed with the semidisplacement hull’s ability to run efficiently at all speeds. With the 425-hp Cummins diesels spinning at 1500 rpm, we averaged 9 knots and reaped the benefits of a trawler’s fuel economy, burning just over 7 gph for a 629-mile range. The sweet spot was 2250 rpm, where we got over the hump and on plane at just under 16 knots and averaged .75 mpg. She topped out at 25.8 knots with the throttles pinned—good to know when you need to outrun ominous thunderheads or just for the hell of it.
We prepped meals at the amidships galley with the late afternoon light streaming through the large windows on three sides and the aft pocket door, trying to spend as much time on the bridge as possible. As day turned into night, we rotated shifts at the lower helm and kept a diligent log, with each helmsman responsible for an engine room check before heading into the salon or below decks for rest. At the helm, I had some quiet hours to myself. I opted for 9 knots and Miles Davis Quintet’s “Round About Midnight,” the modern jazz a cool counterpoint to the blackness outside our windows. —Jeff Moser
Displ.: 27,958 lbs.
Fuel: 510 gal.
Water: 169 gal.
Standard Power: 2/425-hp Cummins QSB6.7
Base Price: $733,000
Cruise Speed: 16 knots
Top Speed: 26 knots
Cruising range: 380 miles