Issue: December 2005
Viva La France
Versatility’s the key to this boat’s success
WORDS + PHOTOS IAN MACRAE
Boating and fishing go hand-in-hand, so it stands to reason most boaties will use their boat for fishing at some stage. But it’s the frequency of these fishing trips that should help determine the boat for you.
It’s great to get out there with the boys on a fishing battlewagon every now and then, but what happens when these trips only represent a small portion of your boating?
All boaties know buying a boat is something of a compromise. Dad wants a fishing boat, mum wants a cruiser and the kids just want to muck around and have fun. So finding a boat that can cater for everyone’s needs is a bonus.
The Beneteau Antares 12, with its fishing pack, is such a boat. She’s a flybridge cruiser with many of the attributes of a fishing boat, without skimping on luxury or home comforts.
On the fishing side, her aft cockpit is reasonably large and uncluttered and her gunwales are high enough to brace against when fighting a fish.
There are also four stainless steel rod holders (with reel clips for security) in the gunwales, which are fine for part-time fishos, but their positioning would need to be looked at for those spending more time fishing than cruising.
A live-bait tank and deck wash are part of the fishing kit. There’s also a fish box under the cockpit floor and a five-slot rocket-launcher style rod rack on the rail at the rear of the flybridge.
The T-top that shades the flybridge features a forward-facing spotlight and a floodlight for the aft cockpit. There’s also an in-roof watertight cabinet above the skipper’s head for the radio gear.
Unlike the lower helm station, the flybridge helm doesn’t have much dash space for all of the electronics most fishos run these day, but fitting one of the smaller GPS/sounder units should get you by.
Still on the upper helm, it features side-by-side skipper and navigator’s seats. These are comfortable, but fixed. They don’t allow the skipper to stand and drive facing backwards when backing down on a hard-running fish. For those wanting outriggers for trolling they are an option.
I have mentioned a few of the ‘fishing’ negatives about the Antares 12, but remember, this boat isn’t meant to be a full-on game boat.
So unless you’re out there chasing ‘granders’ each marlin season, this boat makes for an excellent fishing platform.
PERFORMANCE & HANDLING
The Antares 12 Flybridge gets a tick for its good, bluewater hull. The boat is available in two versions; a classic shaft drive with the props in mini tunnels, or Volvo’s revolutionary new forward-facing IPS drives.
The test vessel had the shaft drives and according to Adam Waters from JW Marine (the Australian importers of Beneteau powerboats), unless somebody specifically orders an IPS version, they will continue to bring in the tried and true shaft drive models.
Obviously, as IPS gains wider acceptance this situation will change.
There’s no denying that tried and true describes shaft drives and mini tunnels perfectly. The mini tunnels decrease shaft angle, reducing the boat’s draft and allowing the props to get a good ‘bite’ on the water. Throw her into a turn and she comes around quickly without any tail slippage or loss of forward motion.
Like all of the Beneteau powerboats, the Antares carries her wide, down-turned chines well forward. This gives the hull good stability at rest and when underway and throws spray down and away from the hull, so no water is sucked inboard.
The test boat was powered by twin Volvo D6 370hp diesels and produced the following speed to-rpm figures: 4.1 knots at 1000rpm; 11.6 knots at 2000rpm; 22.9 knots at 3000rpm; 25.9 knots at 3250rpm; and 29.6 knots at Wide Open Throttle.
Slow cruising at 20 knots, the fuel burn was 35lt per hour per motor. Running at 23 knots, 3000rpm, the fuel burn was 43lt per hour per motor.
Flat out, the fuel burn was 75lt per hour per motor. At 23 knots the noise in the aft cockpit was 78.2db.
It’s time to put on the cruising hat! There’s plenty of room in the cockpit for al fresco dining and the barbeque and icemaker make the cockpit the place for a barbie and a drink as you watch the sun go down over the water.
There are stylish wooden steps leading to the flybridge and an electrically operated swim ladder that lowers from the marlin board. The teak walkways around the main cabin are quite wide, so the high bowrail and strategically placed grab rails make a trip to the bow safe. Once there, sun lovers can stretch out on the large sun pad and soak up a few rays.
A small compromise has been made in the main saloon. To allow for a spacious, full head height en-suite for the master stateroom, the usual ‘galley down’ set-up has been replaced.
On this model the galley extends the entire length of the saloon on the portside, which makes this area seem a bit narrow. The wider walkways around the cabin have also stolen a bit of the saloon space, but you can’t have it both ways.
To starboard there’s a beautiful U-shaped lounge surrounding a hand-made, wooden dining table. In the centre of the table is a glass inlay that protects the cleverly designed wine cabinet beneath.
The lower helm station’s a gem. It features a luxurious duel helm seat and a well laid out dash with all of the top-of-the-line electronics you could possibly need. When seated at the helm the skipper has uninterrupted views to all quarters and there are few vision dead spots.
Subtle mood lighting, beautiful joinery and cabinetry and fine leathers combine to give the saloon an opulent feel.
When cruising, or fishing for that matter, we tend not to spend too much time in our cabins, but it’s good to know that when it’s time to sleep, or get changed, this Antares has the space and luxurious finish to allow you to do so in style.
In the main stateroom there’s plenty of space around the massive island bed and the en-suite is bigger than some you would find in larger boats. And check out the fixtures and fittings, which are straight out of a Paris boutique.
The smaller guest’s cabin is under the lower helm’s floor. It has a double bed, standing head height at the foot of the bed and its own en-suite, so this boat makes a great cruiser for two couples.
Beneteau has produced a stylish cruiser equally at home cruising the Whitsunday Islands, or further out reef fishing with the mates. Her stylish lines and blue and white colour scheme catch the eye, while her luxurious fit-out will pamper all onboard. I can see myself cruising up the coast for a spot of fishing on this boat!
THE STORY SO FAR
French company Beneteau has been building boats for more than 100 years. Originally, they built robust trawlers with a dedication to excellent workmanship and a high regard for the safety and pleasure of the people who sailed them.
The company’s history is a long series of anecdotes, successes, accomplishments, constant innovation and strong sensations.
This family business is entering the third millennium with the goal of making pleasure boating accessible to an even greater number of people.
There are now 23 models in the powerboat range from the Antares 6.6 to the Trawler ST42.
The test boat was powered by twin Volvo D6 370hp diesels. Engine options include twin Volvo D6 310hp shaftdrives or twin Volvo 370hp IPS 500 diesels.
During this test the Antares 12 produced the following speed to-rpm figures.
KNOTS – RPM
4.1 – 1000
11.6 – 2000
22.9 – 3000
25.9 – 3250
29.6 – WOT
HULL LENGTH: 11.96m
BASE PRICE: $636,351
+ Aggressive hull; Electronic swim ladder
– Standing at upper helm