WORDS + PHOTOS: ANDREW RICHARDSON
This French mademoiselle rides on a cushion of air.
The last time I reviewed a Beneteau Flyer 750 there were some communication problems, because we were in Spain on the Med, trying to direct the boat photo shoot in French through a Portuguese translator. It was fun, but there was a little bit more travel time involved in the last story compared to this one.
In fact, this time I simply had to walk down a local wharf, meet the Beneteau Power team and after a quick spin around Sydney Harbour with French model Monique and the crew, the aromas of Europe came back without the travel time.
The latest Beneteau Flyer 750 WA Airstep was powered by a hefty 275hp four-stroke Mercury outboard, which delivered acceleration from 3-30 knots in less than 10 seconds. The top speed was 38 knots with five onboard, so it was fun for everyone including those seated in the recessed bow area. In fact, at the end of the review we had trouble convincing our two-year-old crewmember that it was really time to go!
The new Flyer 750 WA’s updated styling includes improved and more comfortable bucket bolster seats and a more generous use of teak trim. For a change, Lionel Dooley (who is part of the Beneteau Sydney team) decided to varnish the teak combings and it is quite a good look!
Overall, the Flyer 750 WA offers a lot of panache in a powerful single engine package. The walk-around bow has a seating area that the kids loved and it converted to a sun pad. There was also a deep anchor well at the bow that housed an optional windlass.
The 750 WA family friendly layouts encompass a cuddy cabin with V-berth, enclosed head and small galley. The galley featured a clever twist-to-open timber cover over the sink that increases effective bench space. This cabin is light and airy and the portholes can be opened if required.
Although this vessel would work as an overnighter, its primary focus is being a sophisticated day boat, with a choice of seating options up top supported by creature comforts including several drink holders. The use of exterior teak trims on the combings and underfoot enhances the French styling that encompass curves and stainless steel with contemporary beige upholstery. Simple features like the lift-and-lock access door to the aft deck step illustrates good attention to detail being paid during the crafts design stages.
The driver’s seat has a comfortable relationship to the helm and the dash features engine instrumentation including a whiz-bang information system supporting the Mercury outboard.
The use of three-bucket seats around the helm looks a tad bit crowded but this configuration allows individual seat adjustment, each offering good access to grab holds.
The Flyer 750 WA features Beneteau’s patented Airstep technology, which utilises forward facing steps in the hull that reduce friction by stopping water from re-adhering after the hull step. This design combined with an air intake creates a cushion of air that further increases performance and softens the ride. The final Airstep feature is the use of aft runners that compress the air in corners, which helps maintain control and allows acceleration through turns.
The last time I experienced the Airstep technology we were in rather choppy conditions and literally spent a lot of time in the air, so it was difficult to establish whether the ‘air cushion’ was improving the ride. But this time the test conditions were light and the hull ran flat, but it didn’t seem to have the drag that a hull would normally have when trimmed down, so I guess it was working!
From the onset the vessel felt comfortable at the helm and it took little time to get the boat balanced when up and running. The electronic throttle was light, so for those used to “cable” throttles, be careful as you will knock a few unsuspecting passengers off their feet it you go at it with too much vigour. The vessel’s hull design minimised the struggle out of the hole and once up, the hull’s efficiency was demonstrated by the small wash displaced by the two-tonne vessel.
The Flyer’s solid fibreglass hull uses a bonded, structural, inner moulding and a sandwich fibreglass Balsa constructed deck. With this build quality and patented Airstep technologies, you can be assured that the boat will deliver cutting edge performance for its class. The Beneteau Flyer 750 Walk Around delivered good performance and its clever finishes combined with effective overall use of space produces a confidence boosting vessel that the whole family can enjoy.
The test craft encompasses many of the available options including sunbathing pads, 42lt Fridge, extra cushions and teak decks. In Australia the base boat costs around $117,000 and ‘as tested’, $123,150.
We asked French model Monique’s opinion on the flyer.
“The Flyer was tres jolie. With such European style you can’t help but feel like a movie star when onboard. Smart little features like the swing out rear seat extender added practicality to the style. Some might say that the cabin was not a big feature of the boat, but I spent quite some time down there and enjoyed it very muc