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Beneteau Oceanis 38.1 (2017-)

Brief Summary

Beneteau’s Oceanis 38.1 combines strong sailing performance and a roomy cockpit with several below decks accommodations choices, enough to suit almost any buyer. In addition, there's a complete list of optional equipment, offered in Trim Level packages and as individual items, that will allow each owner to tailor the Oceanis 38.1 to his or her requirements

Key Features

  • Buyer's choice of galley and head designs, salon seating, and number of staterooms
  • The interior layout and design is by Nauta Design
  • The hull design is by Finot-Conq Naval Architects
  • Furling genoa with UV protective strip and semi-full batten logo mainsail
  • Cockpit benches
  • 2 Stainless steel steering wheel consoles
  • Choice of mahogany or blond oak joinery throughout interior
  • Main salon cushions and mattress with foam density


Length Overall 37’ 9'' / 11.51 m
Beam 13’ 1''
3.99 m
Dry Weight 15,102 lbs.
6,850 kg
Draft 6’ 10''
2.08 m
Air Draft 54’ 4''
16.6 m
Deadrise/Transom N/A
Max Headroom 6’ 6''
1.97 m
Bridge Clearance N/A
Fuel Capacity 34 gal.
130 L
Water Capacity 34 gal. + 53 gal. (Opt. Cap.)
130 L + 200 L


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Engine Options

Tested Engine Currently no test numbers
Std. Power 1 x 30-hp Yanmar Diesel Sail Drive
Opt. Power Not Available

Captain's Report

Contents of Report

With several interior choices and numerous additional options, Beneteau’s Oceanis 38.1 can be built to a buyer’s individual preferences.

The Mission

Beneteau’s intentions for the Oceanis 38.1 are easy to define: the company offers enough accommodations choices below decks to suit almost any buyer. Her modern lines produce good performance under sail, twin rudders and steering wheels maintain precise control and her wide beam carried well aft provides not only speed off the wind, but a large, comfortable cockpit suitable for both sailing and entertaining at anchor.


The Oceanis 38.1 is an improved version of Beneteau's Oceanis 38, with changes that seem minor at first but make a big difference once you analyze the boat. The biggest change is the redesign of the galley: the new one is L-shaped and should be more cook-friendly than the Oceanis 38's long galley, especially underway (the long galley is still available). On deck, the Oceanis 38.1 is virtually identical to the 38 in appearance and function -- which, in our estimation, is a good thing.

Choices Below Decks

Beneteau Oceanis 38.1 below decks

Blond-oak joinery is now a no-cost option for the Oceanis 38.1. We think it gives the cabin a more contemporary flavor, and it's definitely brighter than the mahogany interior (the other choice). Note the wide companionway steps, slightly curved at the ends to make for surer footing when the boat's heeled.

Two- and three-stateroom layouts; a new L-shaped galley or a long galley; a wet head or a separate stall shower -- all these options are on the list. Mixing and matching stateroom, head, and galley options makes for a number of possible arrangement plans. The interior layout and design is by Nauta Design.

Located just to port of the companionway, the new L-shaped galley makes room for more seating around the salon table. This is the two-cabin version of the Oceanis 38.1. There's a navigation station aft of the head; a separate stall shower can go there instead.

The Oceanis 38.1 with the long galley loses some seating -- note the L-lounge around the salon table -- but gains hanging lockers adjacent to the aft stateroom.

Need another stateroom? This layout sleeps two couples in quarter cabins, but keeps the advantage of the L-galley. In all the layouts, the master stateroom is forward.

Beneteau Oceanis 38.1 master

Here's the master stateroom, lit from both sides by large hull windows. Along with blond oak or mahogany joinery options, there are three standard fabric choices, or the buyer can pick her own.

Aft Cabin

In what we suspect will be the most popular layout of the boat, the area beneath the cockpit is divided roughly two thirds into a very large sleeping cabin to port, and one-third storage locker accessed through a typical cockpit locker hatch.

Beneteau Oceanis 38.1 cabin

The port aft cabin, shown here with a centerline bulkhead between it and an identical cabin to starboard, includes a traditional quarter berth. Wood hanging lockers are standard in the cabins (in place of the hanging luggage in the picture above).

The other option back here divides the same space into two equal cabins with fore-and-aft oriented quarter berths. The cockpit locker seat becomes much shallower in order to add headroom in the starboard-side cabin.

Head and Shower

Beneteau Oceanis 38.1 head

The head, in the same location throughout the various interior configurations, includes another large cabin-side window and opening port light.

Aft Shower Stall

Boats with the two-cabin layout can have a shower stall that’s entered through its own door from the salon. The shower has a seat with storage beneath, cubbies for soap, shampoo and the like, and an opening portlight. With three cabins, this optional separate shower can move across the boat, eliminating the hanging locker.

Beneteau Oceanis 38.1 shower

In the three-cabin layout, the shower can be moved across the boat (shown above). It’s a bit smaller, but retains the seat and opening portlight of the two-cabin layout shower.

Above Deck

The Oceanis 38.1's comfort isn't limited to the cabin. Her large cockpit proves equally useful for daysailing or entertaining on the hook overnight. An optional foldout transom makes for easy boarding from the dock, a convenient step into a dinghy for a night ashore, or an ideal snorkeling platform.

Short-Handed Sailing

The Oceanis 38.1 accommodates shorthanded sailing with jib winches aft, adjacent to the dual helms, while the boat is equally well suited to a crowded cockpit with the mainsheet well out of the way atop an optional arch above the companionway. An optional self-tacking headsail makes short-handed sailing even easier.

Beneteau Oceanis 38.1 running shot

In lighter air, unfurl the optional Code 0 headsail for more speed. The Oceanis 38.1's easily driven hull with her modern underbody might surprise you, speed-wise. Downwind, fly the asymmetrical spinnaker.

The Hull

Designed by Finot-Conq Naval Architects, the Oceanis 38.1's hull carries its wide 13’1” (3.99 m) beam all the way aft, which lets the boat sail with only minimal heel even in strong wind. Hard chines immerse at low heel angles, adding stiffness. It's always better to sail at lower heel angles, and it's more comfortable, too. Twin rudders ensure full control when she does heel, and two keel choices tailor her draft to local waters.

The cockpit and dual helms are the same on both the Beneteau Oceanis 38.1 and the 38 pictured here. The boats are virtually identical in hull, deck, and sail plan. The mainsheet arch and fold-down transom are optional.

Helm and Cockpit Seating

Long seats down either side of the cockpit are separated by a permanently affixed folding table with storage within and handrails for safe passage in rough water. A removable folding table is another option here that leaves the cockpit sole completely unimpeded when not needed.

Beneteau Oceanis 38.1 cockpit table

The optional deluxe cockpit table includes handrails, storage within, and two leaves to seat six comfortably.

Beneteau Oceanis 38.1 helm

Each helm pedestal includes a compass and handrail as well as space for electronics.

Dual Helms

The helmsperson sits on teak seats outboard of the helm or on twin bench seats that fold out of the way when using the full width of the stern swim and boarding platform. Each helm also includes an additional handrail and compass as well as space for electronics. The downside to having two helms is that some might opt for duplicate port and starboard electronics. The upside is that today’s networking of navigation and radar displays syncs port and starboard units or allows independent usage. Duplicated displays also provide redundancy if one fails.

Beneteau Oceanis 38.1 visibility

With each helm located far outboard and the mainsheet up on the arch, visibility is excellent alongside and across the bow.

Visibility is Excellent

Two helms located outboard are particularly convenient when maneuvering alongside a dock. Engine controls are located inboard on the port helm pedestal. Reaching the shift lever from behind the starboard wheel requires a half a step inboard, but not more than the required step outboard from a centerline helm to look over the side at a low floating dock. Depending on interior cabin configuration, the cockpit also includes a huge storage locker accessed through the starboard cockpit seat, or a shallower locker here when the third sleeping cabin is below.

Beneteau Oceanis 38.1 helm

Headsail winches close to dual helms make single-handed tacking quite easy.

Sail Handling

The 103% genoa includes roller furling. Genoa winches are just a bit of a stretch forward from the helm, though definitely reachable. If the winches were mounted farther aft, however, they wouldn’t be as comfortable when trimming the jib from the cockpit seat ahead of the helm -- an excellent compromise in our mind.

Beneteau Oceanis 38.1 mainsail

Most of the tasks for the mainsail, from furling to trimming the sheet, are handled here on the port cabin top.

Four Sails

The mainsail is lowered and flaked between lazy jacks from the port-side cabin top (or, as an option, furled within the mast). The mainsheet ends here as well, a few steps forward from the helm. An optional, removable inner forestay carries a staysail sheeted to a self-tacking track forward of the mast, so tacking to windward in tight quarters requires just a turn of the helm. An asymmetrical spinnaker and Code 0 headsail with furler round out the sail choices.

Beneteau Oceanis 38.1 running shot

Without the in-mast mainsail furling option, the sail instead lowers between lazy jacks and secures within a zippered integrated cover.

Beneteau Oceanis 38.1 running shot

When the captain needs a little extra sail area, the optional Code 0 headsail will do the job. It's a cross between an asymmetric spinnaker and a Genoa jib, and can be carried fairly close to the wind. When it's time to change back to the jib, the Code 0 furls for easy handling.

Beneteau Oceanis 38.1 hand rails

Beneteau includes two handrails on each side of the mainsheet arch.

Mainsail Sheet Arch and Dodger

The mainsail sheet arch frees the cockpit or cabin top from being divided by a mainsheet traveler. This allows unhindered movement within the cockpit and from cockpit to deck. Equally important, by having the boom over 7' (2.13 m) above the cockpit deck the boat's owner mitigates worries of crew injury in the event of an unexpected jibe. This means that less experienced guests or family can be put on the helm in most conditions without concern about potentially catastrophic results. Beneteau provides two handrails on each side of the arch and another farther forward on the cabin top. Cruisers will appreciate the arch as a stout place to secure the spray dodger, and the dodger’s forward end is not hindered by a traveler across the front of the companionway.

Beneteau Oceanis 38.1 stern

The stern feels secure thanks to three lifelines and two folding seats, as well the edge of the stern platform that is raised a bit above the cockpit sole.

Stern Boarding Platform/Teak Beach

The wide transom opening is made secure by three stainless steel lifelines. The folding platform also extends a few inches above the cockpit sole, keeping loose items aboard.

Beneteau Oceanis 38.1 swim ladder

The swim ladder doubles as a handle for raising and lowering the stern platform.

The entire assembly lowers using the swim ladder as a handle, but this was much easier than it might seem. Anyone able to trim a sail in moderate wind can certainly handle this task. Once lowered, this platform is the perfect height for boarding from most floating docks or dinghies, and it’s ideal for swimming and sunbathing. Note that solid wood on cockpit floor and swim platform pictured above are optional.

Beneteau Oceanis 38.1 platform

Lowering the platform also lowers a folding step. A life raft hides inside this step, retrieved either up through a hatch in the cockpit sole or directly onto the stern platform by removing the folding step. This is an ideal location for emergency life raft deployment and boarding.

Beneteau Oceanis 38.1 anchor rollers

Dual anchor rollers, the electric windlass and electric winches aft are among very few deck options. The windlass is included in both the Essential and Exclusive Trim Option packages.


We tested the Oceanis 38 before the 38.1 was available. Both boats are virtually identical in hull design, specs, sailplan, and deck layout, so we expect the Oceanis 38.1's performance and handling would be the same as the 38's.

On our day aboard the Oceanis 38, the waters off St. Petersburg, Florida, proved challenging. As is common here, winds were quite light and variable. In typically five knots of wind (when we were lucky), the boat did find the wind and sailed well, with good response from the helm, but we couldn’t perform any meaningful performance evaluations.

Short-handed Sailing

Winches mounted just forward of the split helms, a rig designed for a large main and smallish, self-furling jib, as well as lazy jacks or an in-mast furling mainsail, combine to make this Oceanis 38 easy to sail either with minimal crew, alone, or without affecting a cockpit full of guests.

The 13’1” (3.99 m) beam carried well aft keeps her sailing upright in most conditions, and twin rudders ensure one is always deep in the water, no matter how far the boat heels.

Beneath the Waves

While we couldn’t verify it -- because our test occurred on a very light air day -- stability from the wide beam should keep the Oceanis 38 quite level even in a breeze. Twin rudders provide sure steering when the boat does heel. Beneteau offers a choice of 6’9” (2.05 m) draft with the deep keel option or 5'3'' (1.60 m) draft with the shallow keel.


Our test boat wasn’t equipped with the optional bow thruster, nor the optional joystick controlled propulsion pod, but we didn’t miss either. With twin rudders, putting the helm hard one way or the other and giving just a touch of reverse power swung the stern smartly in the desired directly, essentially eliminating the single-engine propeller side walk that most boats experience when placed in reverse.

Beneteau Oceanis 38.1 running shot

An asymmetrical spinnaker rounds out sail choices. Because the tack is affixed to the bow a spinnaker pole is not needed. While not as effective as a conventional spinnaker dead down wind, the object is easy-to-handle sails, not an extra knot of boat speed.

Beneteau Oceanis 38.1 fuel filter

Engine fuel filter, belts, and seawater pump are all accessed beneath the companionway stairs. The air conditioner sea strainer and seawater pump (lower right) are also quite accessible.

Engine Access

Engine maintenance has been planned for, with access to belts and the seawater pump on the front of the engine as well as the fuel filter beneath the companionway. A hatch in the shower accesses the side of the engine where we find the oil dipstick, cooling reservoir, secondary fuel filter and seawater strainer. Hatches in the port aft cabin also access the engine and sail drive.

Beneteau Oceanis 38.1 running shot

Sailing quietly along on a big sea, the Beneteau Oceanis 38.1 appears from a distance like one of her larger siblings.


While it isn’t uncommon for builders to offer an array of options to further tailor a boat to an owner’s needs, Beneteau has really taken the concept well beyond what’s common. Rather than a menu of options to select from, the Oceanis 38.1 can be built virtually a la carte -- from accommodations to outfitting. This means the Oceanis 38.1 can truly be fitted to the owner’s intended use, rather than vice versa. We think Beneteau completed the mission with the Oceanis 38.1.