Beneteau antares 13.80
Length overall  45'9"
Beam 14'1"
Draft  3'5"
Displacement  26,235 lb
Fuel Capacity  396 gals
Water Capacity 196 gals

A U-shaped settee wraps around an adjustable inlaid coffee/dining table.

The lower helm station features a dash designed to accommodate a large chartplotter.

This is the big sister of the dandy little Antares 9.80 that I admired last year, built by Beneteau, which, if you didn't catch that review, happens to be one of the largest builders of powerboats in Europe, though we on this side of the pond are more familiar with Beneteau's line of performance cruising sailboats. What there was to admire about the smaller boat,the neat use of space, the complete array of amenities, and the combination of a roomy flybridge with an inside helm,is present here as well, only more so.

Perhaps the nicest impression is the blend of living spaces, inside and out. The fun-in-the-sun areas include the flybridge protected by a canvas Bimini, the large cockpit with its nice optional stern bench seat, the wide swim platform, the spacious foredeck with a sun pad, and perhaps most remarkable of all, the wide side decks allowing easy transit fore and aft.

Inside, the main saloon is a cozy arrangement in lustrous cherry cabinetry contrasting with the off-white real leather upholstery and matching vinyl headliner. There's a U-shaped settee wrapped around a rather ingenious dining table that's adjustable up and down and extends fore and aft with a drop-in leaf that's stowed underneath. Across from the dinette is a nice expanse of cherry-topped counter with curved drawers and cabinets, which provide a good amount of storage. Just forward of this is a compact galley area with a three-burner gas stove, an oven, and a deep double-bowl stainless steel sink. A cabinet in the forward bulkhead provides additional room to hide a microwave.

The inside helm across from the galley has a double leather upholstered bench seat, a Uflex wheel, and room on the dash for all the necessary analog gauges, switches and a large Furuno chartplotter. Visibility through the two big panes of windshield is unobstructed across the broad foredeck and adequate aft through the sliding glass door. Side windows open for good ventilation.

The companionway leads down to the accommodations deck, which features more of that deeply varnished cherry paneling and cabinetry. The master stateroom is straight ahead, with a queen-sized island berth flanked by hanging lockers and cabinets. There's loads of storage underneath the mattress. A private head and shower compartment features a flip-up bench seat over the marine toilet and a cylindrical door that forms the shower stall to protect the Corian-topped vanity. An opening portlight and an overhead hatch provide light and ventilation.

There are two guest staterooms. The portside cabin has a double berth tucked underneath the sole of the saloon, but there's enough stand-up headroom to change clothes, a small bench seat and a hanging locker. The cabin on the starboard side has a bit more stand-up headroom, and is available with either twin berths or a double. An overhead hatch provides handy access to the wiring leading to the helm console.

The steps leading from the sliding glass door to the cockpit double as the hatch to the engine compartment. Just to the right, there's an entertainment center with a sink and storage underneath. Three hatches in the cockpit sole,which is standard teak, by the way,reveal the lazarette where, in this case, an 11 kilowatt genset has been installed. The optional L-shaped bench seat has plenty of storage underneath. A gate leads out onto the broad swim platform. A teak-treaded staircase leads up onto the flybridge.

The aft deck of the flybridge provides the overhead protection for the cockpit, as well as room for a sun pad. The rather sexy mast supports the Furuno radar unit. The helm pod has twin seats, a racy aluminum wheel, and adequate room on the dash. I did notice that the top of the wheel obstructs the view of the analog tachometer. Just to the right of the helm, there's an L-shaped settee with a nice teak table.

Garth Hichens, owner of Annapolis Yacht Sales, the Beneteau dealership based on Back Creek, was kind enough to take me out for a boat ride one crisp autumn afternoon. The mouth of the Severn River was fairly flat. Working from the upper steering station, the Antares had a very sporty feel, with smooth throttle controls and a responsive helm. After tooling about in the mouth of the Severn, we slipped upriver, past the fleet of midshipmen's one-designs flocking around the historic sloop of war U.S.S. Constellation that was making a visit to the Naval Academy from her berth in Baltimore.

After ghosting past a regatta of rowing shells, we opened up in the expanse of Round Bay. The twin 480-hp Volvo TAMD75 diesels provided plenty of acceleration. At 2300 rpm, we clocked ourselves at 26.4 knots. Wide open at 2700 rpm, we were doing 31.7 knots. After tracing tight figure eights around the hurricane buoys, we headed back down the river.