The Beneteau GT 49 was a wildly popular model for the brand, so much so that it helped to put the sporty GT line on the map, or chart if you will. And that makes sense. A number of years back Capt. Bill Pike tested the 49 in confused 3- to 5-foot seas and found it to be a boat with a comfortable, controlled ride and a top end near 32 knots, all at the competitive price of $850,000.
When its successor, the GT 50, debuted at the Miami international show, her razor-blade sharp lines attracted crowds in droves. In fact, I had to arrive at the show an hour before it opened to the public to ensure I had some alone time with the new yacht.
Anytime a highly popular model is replaced by a version with a similar moniker, my guard goes up. Reheated models with different throw pillows that are paraded as new boats are all too frustratingly common. Thankfully, the Beneteau faithful can rest assured: The GT 50 is a completely new model, from its Air Step hull on up.
After I stepped onto the hydraulic swim platform, Beneteau’s Powerboat Sales Manager Justin Joyner opened the tender garage. The door opened surprisingly fast to reveal a Williams Minijet tender within. It’s a smart-sized tender garage, but not without trade-offs. Located aft of the master stateroom, the garage steals height from the engine room. I personally had no problem getting to each service point, but some might have trouble moving about in there.
Step into the cockpit and move the salon doors to starboard and one of the more impressive features appears: an enormous—not speaking relatively here—settee that starts in the cockpit and runs along the port side of the boat through the salon. A quick estimate says you could seat 14 adults on the sofa. The forward seats are within earshot of the captain at the helm.