Beneteau Barracuda 7
French boatbuilder Beneteau is leaving no stone unturned in its quest to meet the needs of boaters, from its brand-name sailboats to stylish and high-falutin’ Monte Carlo Yachts, to Swift Trawler passagemakers and its Gran Turismo line of express cruisers. But nowhere does the company’s European-tinged take on the boating life become so apparent as its boldly styled line of fishing boats bearing the Barracuda nameplate. The Barracuda 7 is the latest entry at the small end of the line, just a shade over 24 feet. The Barracuda 9 was the first model introduced a couple of years ago, and there’s a Barracuda 11 on the horizon for the U.S.
The Barracuda 7 addresses what many American boaters have long considered the shortcoming of open center consoles—lack of interior space. While many U.S. manufacturers have chosen to add berths to their head compartments—usually at the expense of in-deck stowage forward, the Barracuda goes one better with a small pilothouse, as well as a cabin forward with a berth and head compartment.
Gain access to the pilothouse by stepping down 11 inches through sliding 4-foot, 11-inch doors located on either side. There’s 6 feet 5 inches of headroom in the pilothouse and a vertical windshield gives it a shippy feel while curved-glass corner pieces improve lines of sight from the starboard helm. The helm console has a clean layout with the outboard instruments on the top tier just below the compass and a flat before the wheel with a single Lowrance HDS 7 multifunction display. A tinted hatch in the overhead lets in even more natural light. There’s a small Waeco fridge in the cabinet beneath the seats, flanked by lockers.
The berth makes the most of the space above it, with 39 inches of headroom at the aft-most point, 29 inches midway forward and at the foot of the berth it has 15 inches of headroom. The head compartment has 5 feet of headroom.
The pilothouse does impinge on all-around access for fishing, but interior space does have its advantages, particularly taking into account the wheelhouse’s volume. The cockpit has a built-in transom bench and three huge stowage boxes in the sole. A bait-prep station with sink and cutting board are built into the aft bulkhead of the pilothouse beneath a fold-down cover, while rodholders and in-deck fishboxes round out the fishing features.
Beneteau makes the most of its industrial might, using economies of scale to create competitive products at an entry-level price point. As such the Barracuda line is built using traditional fiberglass layup methods and finished the hull with an interior liner and deck. The Yamaha outboard appears to be positioned well to do its job, and the clever cockpit design allows the transom settee to fold forward so the outboard has room to be tilted forward at day’s end.
The Barracuda 7 comes across as different than other boats in this class, from the “tulip-shaped” bow design to the wood inserts in the cockpit gunwales that reveal the lower end of the built-in rodholders.
As the Barracuda 7 bolted off the line on our test, I found myself looking back at the outboard to confirm the horsepower rating of the single Yamaha—150. She moved right out and responded well to helm and throttle commands as we put her through her paces off Newport, Rhode Island, on Narragansett Bay. The light breeze failed to kick up any substantial seas but we easily slalomed her between the sailboats as the sun began its descent over the harbor. ❒
: 4,137 lb.
: 53 gal.
: 21 gal.
: 1/150-hp Yamaha F150 outboard
: Yamaha with 2.00:1 gear ratio
: 14 1/2 x 15 Yamaha Reliance Series stainless steel
*Range based on 90% of advertised fuel capacity. Test numbers provided by Yamaha.