Beneteau’s Flyer 8 SPACEdeck (formerly the 23) is appropriately named. She measures 26’7” (8.1 m) long with an 8’2” (2.49 m) beam and she can seat up to 10 people in a cockpit with myriad seating configurations. The AirStep hull provides a fun efficient ride, even in less-than-ideal conditions.
- AirStep bottom
- All passenger areas on the same level
- Large private head
- Available T-top
Acceleration Times & Conditions
|Time to Plane||3.8 seconds|
|0 to 30||5.9 seconds|
|Props||Enertia ECO 16x18 3-bl.|
|Load||3 persons, 3/4 fuel, no water, 50 lbs. of gear|
|Climate||68 deg., 54 humid; wind: 8-12 mph; seas: 1-2|
1 x 300-hp Mercury Verado 300 XXL 4.6L V8
1 x 300-hp Mercury 300 XXL black
1 x 300-hp Mercury 300 XXL CW
By Capt. Martin Frobisher
The Beneteau Flyer 8 SPACEdeck is a dayboat with configurable seating to accommodate double-digit passengers and a smart design that places all passenger areas on the same level. There’s nothing to trip on. The AirStep hull provides a smooth efficient ride and the optional 300-hp Mercury outboard delivers scintillating performance and more than enough grunt for towing wake sports and skiers.
- Flexible seating options with benches that fold away when not in use.
- Large console with lots of interior space
- Mercury outboard power up to 300-hp
- Available high-back bucket seats at the helm
- Available shore power
- Available bow thruster
Cockpit. The Flyer 8 SPACEdeck’s cockpit is a study in paying attention to the small details. It measures 7’ x 3 ½’ ((2.31m x 1.07m) and is 2’4” (68.58 cm) deep. The versatility starts with a 70” (177.80 cm) wide bench seat across the transom that has a backrest that can be set in three positions: fully upright, slightly angled or laid flat to create a 35” (88.90 cm) wide sun pad. The front of the pad can also be picked up to create an aft-facing spectator spot for watersports viewing. Back in the cockpit, the bottom cushion lifts up to access open storage below. A pedestal-mounted table can be installed and bench seats fold in from the gunwales. The twin helm seats can also be spun around to create space all the way around the table. There are also rod and beverage holders in the caprails and 2” (5.08 cm) diameter drains move water overboard.
Cockpit Storage. There are three hatches in the cockpit deck. With the center one open, we had access to the batteries and charger, the 95-gallon water tank, the fuel tank and the blackwater tank. Hoses on the thru-hull fittings are double-clamped and have plastic guards on the ends of the clamps. The seacocks are within easy reach and the hatch is held open with dual gas-assist struts. There’s a dedicated slot for the cockpit table complete with clips to secure it in place. Outboard of the large hatch on each side are two smaller ones with the locker to port also housing the steering pump.
The Helm Console. A sliding door on the port side of the helm console opens to 18” (45.72 cm) wide. Three steps lead down into the compartment that is fitted with a portable toilet. Standing headroom is 5’3” (1.60 m) and seated clearance from the head is 36” (91.44 cm). With this headroom and overall spaciousness, the area would work well as a changing room and it has enough space for storing cushions for the cockpit lounges. The battery for the bow thruster is forward and the battery switches are in this area as well. A pair of access panels also let the owner or technicians get to the helm rigging. There is a Fusion Apollo Series stereo and a spot for the optional 42-liter refrigerator.
The Helm. The first thing we noticed about the Flyer 8 SPACEdeck’s console is that it’s truly double wide. The captain and a companion will be fully protected from the elements behind it. The upper panel is a contrasting color Lexan and ours was fitted with an optional 9” Garmin multifunction display that has controls for the Fusion stereo integrated into it. The MFD can also display the engine data and to back that up, there’s a Mercury SmartCraft tachometer with an integrated scroll-through screen in the bottom. Just below is a fuel gauge. Across the bottom of the vertical section of the dash are the accessory switches and the bow thruster joystick is to port. The steering wheel is on a tilt base and the binnacle shift-throttle control has selectable function buttons. The compass is to the left and partially hidden by the electronics. It looks like an afterthought.
The acrylic windshield is framed in a powder-coated aluminum frame. We noticed no distortion at the curved edges and above, our test boat had the optional T-top that also had a black powder-coated finish, a canvas insert and rocket-launcher-style rod holders on the trailing edge. The headroom beneath the T-top is 6’6” (1.98 m). An owner can also opt for a Bimini top.
The driver and a companion travel in bucket seats that have height adjustments, slide fore and aft and spin around to face aft. Grab handles are on the seatbacks and are finished in the same black powder coating. A leaning post wide enough for 2 ½ people with a flip-up bench is available.
The Bow. Moving forward, with the T-top frame, the side passage between the console and gunwales is 11.5” (29.21 cm) wide. It would be 15” (38.1 cm) without the top. Outboard of the helm console, the freshwater fill is in the port inwale and the waste pump-out is to starboard.
In the bow, Beneteau carries the boat’s beam as far forward as possible to ensure that there’s space for six people to enjoy the area. Seating starts on the front of the console with a lounge that’s 42” (106.68 cm) wide and 15” (38.10 cm) fore to aft and has a fixed padded backrest. In the bow, there are two lounge seats on each side and padded bolsters secured to the bulwarks provide padded backrest cushioning all the way around. Available as an option, there are filler cushions that can be used to create a large forward playpen/sun pad. There’s storage under all of the seats that are held up with a retaining line that clips to the bow rails, which are also finished in black powder coating. The rails are 6” (15.23 cm) off the caprail and the foredeck is raised 28” (71.12 cm) above the bow lounge area, which makes it comfortable to kneel down on the cushions and tend to the grounding tackle. A hatch opens the anchor locker and our test boat had the optional windlass plus a flip-out roller for the anchor and rode. The wired remote control mounts under the hatch and rode access is to both sides.
Platform. When the time comes to cool off or gear up for a wake or surfboard ride, it’s easy to head aft because of all of the passenger areas on the same level. Then it’s a 6” (15.24 cm) step up to the 13” (33.02 cm) wide walkthrough that leads aft on the port side. There are 28” (71.12 cm) platforms on each side of the Mercury outboard with a walkway that connects them. A reboarding ladder is to port and a grab handle right alongside facilitates the process. A freshwater shower is in the stern and wet storage is to starboard beneath a hatch that closes with a lift-and-lock latch. The top of the transom is 9” off the waterline and to the sides are 7” (17.78 cm) cleats with shore power connectivity to starboard.
The Numbers. The Beneteau Flyer 8 SPACEdeck measures 26’7” (8.10 m) long with an 8’2” (2.49 m) beam and a draft of 2’11” (.89 m). With an empty weight of 4,519 lbs. (2,050 kg), three people, 66 gallons of fuel (250 L) of fuel and test equipment on board, we had an estimated test weight of 5,520 lbs. (2,504 kg). With the single 300-hp Mercury 4.6-liter four-stroke outboard spinning a 16” x 18” (37.1 cm x 53.3 cm) Enertia ECO three-blade stainless-steel propeller at a maximum rpm of 5800, we hit a top speed of 47.4 mph. Best cruise came at 3500 where we saw 25.5 mph and a fuel burn of 8.5 GPH, giving us 3.0 mpg and a range of 250 statute miles while holding 10 percent of the boat’s 92-gallon (348.26-liter) fuel capacity in reserve. For those interested in trolling speed data, we recorded 3.4 mph at 600 and a fuel burn of 0.7 GPH, which translated into 5.2 mpg. At 1000 rpm, speed was 4.9 mph with a fuel burn of 1.1 GPH for a MPG rating of 4.4.
With the AirStep hull, the Flyer 8 SPACEdeck exhibits quick acceleration and agile handling. Time to plane was 3.8 seconds and the boat ran through 20 mph in 4.7 seconds and through 30 mph in 5.9 seconds. In maneuverability tests, the boat handled smoothly and the hull pierced waves with zero pounding or hull slap when we crossed the wakes of our photo boat. Even with the wide bow, she still has a sharp entry and the chines sweep downward as they head aft.
The base retail price with the Mercury 300-hp outboard in black is $81,100.
- 7-year structural and 3 years on parts and labor.
Options to Consider
- Comfort package with solid wood cockpit table, extended swim platform with boarding ladder, an offshore compass, two-color upholstery
- An electronic package with Garmin Echomap Plus 72cv multifunction screen
- Fusion RA 70N stereo
- Telescopic bow ladder
- Fishing station
- Watersports mast
European manufacturers have always taken a different approach to center consoles. A model built on the other side of the Atlantic has never been a utilitarian fishing machine. The Beneteau 8 Flyer SPACEdeck is all about fun and hanging out with friends. Sure you can fish from the boat and the removable cushions go away in minutes, but that’s like saying a Lincoln SUV is meant for off-roading. We all know it’s a luxury vehicle for carting the kids to soccer practice.
As tested weight is just over 5,500 lbs. (2,495 kg). Add the weight of a trailer and an owner would need a vehicle capable of towing about 7,000 lbs. (3,175 kg) to tow it. That’s important because many mid-sized vehicles, including the new Ford Ranger mid-size pickup, can handle that when properly equipped.