The Antares 8 is an outboard-powered express boat from Beneteau that’s part of a three-boat lineup. The other boats in the stable are a 21’ (6.40 m) and a 27’ (8.23 m), and all are known by metric monikers in Europe (our test boat is called the Antares 8 there). This is a 23’ (7.01 m) boat that has broad capabilities.
- Outboard power with 200-hp Mercury FourStroke 3.4L V-6
- Cockpit seating area
- Convertible booth-style dinette
- Folding cockpit Bimini
- Side decks with grabrails and bowrail
- Single-piece windshield
- Wide-opening aft glass bulkhead
- Sliding transom seat
Acceleration Times & Conditions
|Time to Plane||4.3 sec.|
|0 to 30||12.3 sec.|
|Load||2 persons, 3/5 fuel, no water, no gear|
|Climate||92 deg., 85 humid; wind: 0-5 mph; seas: <1|
1 x 200-hp Mercury
Single Mercury engine in 150-hp or 200-hp
Single Honda engine in 115-hp and 200-hp
Single Suzuki engine in 115-hp and 200-hp
Single Yamaha engine in 150-hp or 200-hp
Contents of Report
The Antares 8 is the middle point of a new three-boat line from French boatbuilder Beneteau. The company’s in-house designers created the Antares 8 to appeal to boaters who are comfortable with outboard power, but may be seeking wider cruising horizons. With a forward cabin and a dinette in the salon that converts to a berth, the Antares 8 can host a small family for overnight cruising, at an affordable price.
- Outboard power will appeal to boaters of various experience levels, thanks to recent developments that add ease of maintenance, clean operation, and impressive performance.
- Large windows make the interior bright and airy from the windshield to the side windows, to the aft glass bulkhead. And the side windows have opening panels for ventilation.
- Overnight accommodations add to the versatility of the Antares 8for two couples or a family, where the day doesn’t have to end just because the sun goes down.
Let’s take a look at how the Antares 8 did in our performance test. The Antares 8 has an LOA of 27’ (8.23 m), a beam of 9’1” (2.76 m), and a draft of 2’7” (0.79 m). With an empty weight of 4,776 lbs. (2,166 kg), 60-percent fuel, and 2 people and test power, we had an estimated test weight of 5,887 lbs. (2,670 kg).
With the 200-hp Mercury outboard turning a 15x15 prop, we reached our top speed of 35.4 mph at 5200 rpm.
Best cruise came in at 3500 rpm and 18.6 mph. At that speed, the 6.8 gph fuel burn translated into 2.7 mpg and a range of 182 miles. That said, increasing the speed to 4000 rpm and 23.7 mph means an increase of 5.1 mph at the cost of only 1 mile in range.
The Antares 8 has a tulip-shaped bow that deflects spray low and to the sides, with molded-in spray rails and full-length running strakes. Her 11-degree roll into the turns keeps guests comfortable in all but the most heavy-handed maneuvers and we did not experience prop ventilation regardless of trim.
Calm conditions on our test day prevented us from getting any meaningful opinion on how she handles chop. We ran through the wake of our camera boat and she showed no bad habits, settling back into her cruise speed quickly.
At the stern, dual platforms flank the outboard power. There is no walkway forward of the engine well, instead it’s a step across from one platform to the other.
To starboard, there’s a four-step, stainless steel, telescoping reboarding ladder recessed into the deck of the platform. The attendant grab handle is right alongside, but in the trip zone for people boarding the boat from a floating dock on that side. Just forward is a 14” (35.56 cm) wide walkway to enter the cockpit from the platform.
Cockpit gatherings will take place on a U-shaped settee to port that wraps around a solid wood table on a single pedestal. The entire area can get some shelter from an overhead Bimini that attaches to the aft end of the hardtop.
There’s stowage under the side and forward seats. Additional stowage, as well as access to a mechanical space is beneath a large hatch in the cockpit sole.
The transom bench, part of the U-shaped lounge, can slide forward to provide space for the outboard to tilt out of the water, a clever way to optimize the LOA of this boat. Even in the forward position, the seat is still usable, thanks to legs with stainless steel hinges and gas-assist rams that fold down automatically when the seat is pulled forward. To make the cockpit as large as possible, simply fold the legs into recesses on the underside of the seat and hold them in place as the seat slides back.
Even with a symmetrical layout, with 12” (30.5cm) wide side decks on either side of the deckhouse, the bow will be easier to access from the starboard side. That’s because there’s a step to the side deck, instead of the port side seat. Each side deck is served by a grabrail atop the cabin, and the bowrail is 24” high, as required by ABYC standards.
The trunk cabin can be covered with optional cushions to create a full width 6’3” by 4’11” (1.91 m x 1.50 m) sun pad, with the cushions made up of five separate sections for easy handling and storage. The entire foredeck is molded in nonskid to make it easier to keep one’s footing when dealing with the anchor or docklines or to enjoy the sun pad.
The ground tackle is managed from beneath a hatch in the foredeck. The 24” (61 cm) high bowrail has an 18” (45.7 cm) split at the bow, where a stainless anchor roller extends forward, and the fluke anchor is galvanized. Under the hatch is a windlass mounted to a center bridge with easy access to the rode locker to either side beneath. We like the snubber to keep the anchor from deploying accidentally but we would also like to see a beefy cleat on centerline to shoulder the load of the anchor.
The sliding glass door to the interior is a two-panel design that slides open to the port side, and opens 2’11” (0.89 m) wide. To enter the salon from the cockpit, it’s a step over the sill of the sliding door, and then two steps down to the salon sole.
The salon represents a modest gathering area, but this is not a large boat, so the use of space here is well thought out. Booth-style seating is to port, positioned fore and aft of a pedestal table. The forward seat on the booth faces aft for dining, yet has a movable backrest that can be reversed so the seat’s occupants can enjoy the views forward when underway. In either configuration, the support rails reduce the usable width of the 31” (79 cm) seat to 26” (66 cm).
Opening side windows and a sliding overhead hatch combine to provide ventilation. All this can be closed off with curtains and a sliding shade. The dinette can be converted to an additional berth with filler cushions.
Access to pumps, through-hull fittings, and shutoffs are under two hatches in the salon sole. There’s a wood-finished door in the inboard side of the molded-in box beneath the aft seat that conceals the master battery switches.
The galley is situated starboard of the dining table, featuring a countertop drying area that drains into the adjacent molded-in sink. A tinted acrylic panel fitted to the front of a molded shelf creates stowage in the side bulkhead. Below is a refrigerator (44 quart / 42 liter capacity) and stowage.
The helm seat is mounted on a hinged base that allows it to tilt forward to provide additional counter space when the galley is being used. Our test boat had a gas-assist strut to hold it up. On a boat this size, the galley will only be used when the boat is stopped. So, this is a clever double use of space for more utility. An optional stove can be added to allow easy cooking on board.
The helm is to starboard and a dark-paneled console helps reduce glare. The compass is centered atop the console and there’s a 9” (22.86 cm) multifunction display mounted front and center, between a port analog SmartCraft tachometer with digital display and starboard optional bow thruster control with fuel gauge just below.
On the same panel of the helm, a bank of rocker switches lower down and to port control wipers and lights, among other functions. The Fusion stereo control head is directly above the wheel on its fixed base, and the engine ignition is to the right.
The helm is served by a single helm seat mounted on that hinged base. It adjusts fore and aft and has a flip-up bolster. The engine throttle and shift control lever is mounted on the starboard bulkhead, and there’s a sliding panel that allows the skipper to open the window and let in the fresh air.
The overhead height at the helm is 6’4” (1.93 m) – something that we find noteworthy in a 23’ boat – and the helm seat has a footrest that adds to the captain’s comfort level. There’s a spot for a removable platform to aid shorter captains, raising the deck at the helm by 4” (10.16 cm) to help improve sightlines when standing. This platform should always be latched in place when in use or it can flip up inadvertently.
The windshield is a single piece so it has no center mullion to obscure the view, and it measures 6’2” by 26” (1.88 m by 66 cm). The frame has a brow across the top that extends 7” (17.78 cm) to help reduce glare. A pair of windshield wipers have integrated freshwater washers, but there are no defogger vents.
On centerline is a companionway that grants access to the modest cabin below, where most of the space is given over to the berth with 3’6” (1.07 m) of headroom above. There’s a spot to sit down at the foot of the berth that can be filled in to extend the sleeping space. A shelf runs along the port side of the berth to stow odds and ends.
The wet head compartment has a sink with pull out sprayer. Stowage is underneath the sink and on a shelf fiddled with tinted acrylic that is located behind the manual flush ceramic toilet. The overhead height in the head is 4’7” (1.40 m) which translates to 3’2” (0.97 m) of sitting headroom above the toilet seat. An opening portlight provides ventilation.
The options listed below may appeal to those planning on cruising the boat and spending overnights aboard:
- Electric windlass
- Single-burner gas cooktop
- Diesel heater
- Water heater
- Marine toilet with 17-gallon (64 L) holding tank
- Additional berths in the salon
- Opening portholes in cabin and head
The options listed below may hold more appeal for day boaters:
- Extended swim platform
- Forward sun pad cushions
- Cockpit sun pad with aluminum support
- Overhang stem head with swimming ladder
The Beneteau Antares 8 has many features that can be added depending on how prospective buyers intend to use the boat. With confidence-building outboard power adding a host of features and simple maintenance, the Antares 8 will present an appealing package for the accomplished day-boating enthusiast or the nascent cruiser (or both) to try something new.