Beneteau Antares 11
LOA: 36′ 4″
Beam: 11′ 2″
Draft: 2′ 7″ (engines up)
Max HP: 2 x 300
Fuel Capacity: 2 x 106 gal.
Water Capacity: 53 gal.
There are advantages to being a global boatbuilder, if that company can manage its far-flung and diverse operations well. Beneteau does, with a broad range of brands in both power and sail. Moreover, while they have a new, high-tech plant in Cadillac, Michigan, their U.S. corporate headquarters are here on the Chesapeake, in Annapolis, with dealers for both power and sail in Maryland and Virginia.
With such a broad stable, Beneteau can design and manufacture boats for very specific market niches, and they pay attention to how customers want to use their boats. Thus, their highly successful line of Swift Trawlers serves serious passage-making couples and families. On the other hand, for families more interested in day, weekend, and weeklong cruises, there is the Antares line of cruisers, ranging in size from the 7 (24 feet, 6 inches) to the new 11 (36 feet, 4 inches), the subject of this review. Following a strong current trend, all Antares models are outboards. In the U.S., that means Mercurys, including the pair of 300-hp V-8 Verados that powered our test boat out of Clarks Landing by the Bay Bridge.
The Antares models are definitely modern in look as well as design, with sweeping lines, lots of glass for natural light in both the wheelhouse and the topsides, and sunpads fore and aft. The hulls are distinctive, with tulip-shaped double chines at the bow that provide not only a sharp forefoot to cleave seas but also plenty of reserve buoyancy and forward hull volume for a roomy master cabin. Those chines and a pair of lifting strakes on each side of the bottom damp spray well.
Design and construction are robust enough that the Antares 11 gets a CE Category B rating for eight people under the European Union’s Recreational Craft Directive design standards, for boats operating offshore with winds to 40 knots and significant seas to 13 feet. That’s a good thing, because those Mercurys are powerful, and the Antares 11 wants to run. In our test, it was happiest between 4,200 and 4,500 rpm, at speeds of 23-29 knots. We were particularly impressed with a 4,400 rpm sweet spot, running with the bow just kissing the water at 26 knots while burning 26 gallons of fuel per hour, giving the boat a conservative range of 190 nautical miles.
There wasn’t much wind on our August test day, so we had to hunt powerboat wakes to give the hull a workout, but it cut those seas apart as expected, without any spray on the windshield. With the silky-smooth Verados mounted on an integrated stern bracket behind the transom and the aft saloon door closed, the sound at the helm at 4,400 was only 76 decibels, low enough for easy conversation. Top speed with two aboard and the engines turning 6,000 rpm was 40 knots. Even with two families aboard, this rig can cover a lot of water if the day’s itinerary calls for it. Meanwhile, on the drift broadside to wakes, the boat’s motions were easy, and the Mercury joystick control system made maneuvering easy.
As to accommodations, Beneteau teamed up with France’s Sarrazin Design to create livable spaces for swimming, socializing, lounging, picnicking, serious cooking, washing, and sleeping, all within the bounds of a compact cottage afloat. The bright, airy saloon serves as action central for piloting, cooking, and lounging. The helm is compact and comfortable, with room for a 16-inch Garmin electronic display that supplies chart, depth, and (optional) radar information, along with a Mercury SmartCraft display for engine functions. A Garmin VHF radio connects with the chartplotter. Sightlines at all speeds are excellent. Also present are charging ports and a pair of cupholders. The helm chair is comfortable and adjustable. Just aft of it is a starboard galley with a two-ring gas stove, counter with sink, cupboards, and a refrigerator. To port is an L-shaped lounge with a table that can be lowered to form an extra bunk. The back cushion at the forward end of the lounge can pivot to form a companion seat while underway. An optional television can hang in the starboard aft corner of the saloon for viewing from the lounge.
A note about Beneteau’s cabinetwork: All of the wood is artfully “manufactured” by a remarkable Italian company, ALPI, which “breaks down and reassembles wood,” essentially peeling veneers off logs from sustainably managed forests in West Africa, then assembling carefully laminated panels that form all of the boat’s attractive woodwork, from galley cupboards to companionway steps and bunks. Fit and finish are uncannily tight.
The other large social center is the cockpit, with its own L-shaped lounge, whose transom component can fold back to form a sunpad when at anchor, even with both engines tilted up for swimming off the starboard stern platform and its ladder. Opening the four-panel saloon door connects the two spaces at the same level. Meanwhile, a panel in the starboard topside folds down securely to offer a terrace that expands the cockpit space. A lockable hatch in the sole provides access to a large, neatly organized lazarette for access to batteries, wiring, plumbing, and an optional, remarkably compact Panda 6.4 kilo-volt-ampere diesel generator. (The one on our test boat was running to power the air conditioner on that hot August day, but it was inaudible to us onboard.) By the way, Beneteau offers a solar panel for the deckhouse over the cockpit to complement the generator’s output.
The Antares 11’s side decks are asymmetrical—6 to 8 inches wide to port, 14 to 16 inches wide to starboard—with railings placed strategically all along the passage to the foredeck. There is a third social center: a sunpad for two (or maybe two and a child), with backs that tilt up for reading. A great option is a folding canopy to furnish shade there on a hot day. At the bow, a double anchor locker affords access to chain, rode, and windlass. Another option is a bow ladder, appropriate because outboard power allows a skipper to put the Antares’s bow onshore for beachcombing.
Washing and sleeping? Oh, yes, the Antares 11 has a roomy forward cabin with island berth, storage beneath, and hanging locker. The head includes an electric marine toilet and an enclosed shower stall to port. Opposite to starboard is space for more storage plus a freezer or a second refrigerator. Beneath the helm (where the boat’s engines would be if it were an inboard) is a full-beam guest cabin with both a double bed and a single bunk. The entrance has standing headroom for dressing, but this cabin is for sleeping or maybe reading. Even so, it gets plenty of one-way light from glass panels in the topsides.
Base price for the Antares 11 with twin 250-hp Mercury Verados is $238,100. The base for our test boat, with 300-hp Verados and joystick control is $280,000. For more information, visit beneteau.com/us/antares-outboard/antares-11.