Last year, Beneteau Power introduced the Flyer 6 in Europe and subsequently brought the design to the Fort Lauderdale Boat Show. It was groundbreaking in that one 20’ model was configured into three functionally different sport boats – SPACEdeck (a center console design for fishing), SUNdeck (with padded foredeck fully designed for sunning), and SPORTdeck (a towboat for skiing and wakeboarding.) Because this concept created substantial savings in manufacturing, the Flyers flew out the door.
In all, approximately 150 hulls of the combined designs were sold in a year. This may have been the impetus for Beneteau to take the idea a bit farther. In 2015, the French builder recreated the three designs and added sizes – one above the Flyer 6 and one below. The Flyer 7 models are meant to perfect the offering on a slightly larger scale, and the Flyer 5 is an entry-level product targeting new boaters. If you do the math, that’s three functional designs in three different sizes, which makes for a smorgasbord of nine options. At a boat testing roundup I recently had the chance to focus on one of these offerings, the Flyer 7 SPACEdeck, which resembles a classic center console fishing boat—but with a few tricks up its sleeve. At 25’ in length and just under nine feet wide, this platform was optimized to be fishable, but it was still capable of entertaining when some aboard might prefer lounging over fishing. The helm is on the centerline with twin chairs and bolsters, so there’s plenty of support for driving whether standing or sitting. It’s easy to move about, forward and aft, with plenty of space around the console so you can get to the bow in a hurry to net your kid’s fish. The dark-colored dash is tucked behind a windshield that keeps the helmsman and crew dry even on rough days. The instruments are well-laid out and include a Lowrance multifunction display. (Various electronics choices are bundled as options that are priced separately). A sliding door to the console interior, which can be outfitted with an MSD, is slightly to port. Everything inside here is bound to stay dry and since it’s lockable, your kit will be secure.
Forward are a small chain locker, an optional Quick windlass with a remote, and a bow roller. Two bow cleats are ready to tie off an anchor rode or dock lines and there are bow railings so you have handholds on both sides when it gets bumpy. Three seats with stowage underneath (two outboard and one built-in just ahead of the center console helm pod) fill up the rest of the open bow area. With the cushions off, you can stand on the seats and fish. You can use the same small oval table in the aft end of the boat, where the furniture configurations get even more creative. One person wants to fish and the other wants to sunbathe? No problem. A bench seat across the transom can be pulled out to form a double sunpad. A bait tank resides below the bench and a rack of rod holders may be mounted on the optional Bimini top. Rod holders are also built into the gunwales on either side. The cockpit sole below the table lifts up to reveal pumps, batteries, and a large stowage area for rods, wakeboards, and gear. Extended aft platforms on either side of the engine create usable swimsteps with a boarding ladder mounted to port. Like the other models, the SPACEdeck 7 has Beneteau’s patented Airstep hull with a convex, flared bow that funnels air into channels, which run from intakes by the windshield down to the hull to decrease drag. The boat handles better and uses less power for maximum performance, and that saves on fuel. Our test boat in the Bay of Palma de Mallorca came with a single 300 HP Suzuki outboard, an upgrade from the standard 250 HP outboard. (Twin 150’s are also an option). With three people aboard, this engine put us on a plane in 4.7 seconds and topped 20 MPH in 6.5 seconds. In a one-foot chop with a light breeze, we hit 42.8 MPH at wide-open throttle, and Benetau says they’ve clocked the model at over 46 MPH in different conditions. A variety of additional options are available for all three models including a Bimini top, an electric windlass, a rod holder rack, an icebox, a MSD, electronics, and more. So just in case nine isn’t enough choices, you can customize the models to create just the right boat for your personal needs. Other Choices: The Boston Whaler 240 Dauntless also strikes a fishing/entertaining balance, with a bit more emphasis on the fishing part of things. For more information, visit Beneteau.
|Fuel capacity||75 gal. (106 opt.)|