Cruising World Judges named the Beneteau Oceanis 30.1 the Best Performance Cruiser for 2020.

By Herb McCormick

Beneteau Oceanis 30.1 sailing for the win
It’s not every year that we get a full class of dedicated ­performance cruisers to test, but we did for 2020, and it was a blast putting them through their paces. Boasting bold graphics, the Beneteau Oceanis 30.1 rose to the top. But it had stiff competition from a quartet of contenders.Jon Whittle

With five dedicated, dual-purpose racer/cruisers measuring in at under 37 feet, the Performance Cruiser class was not only the largest and most competitive division in the 2020 Boat of the Year contest, but it was also the most fun. Putting this roster of compact, peppy sailboats through their paces was nothing short of a blast.

Judge Ralph Naranjo was perhaps the most performance-­oriented sailor in this year’s judging panel, and he had strong opinions on all of the nominees. Regarding the Italia 9.98—one of two boats in the class built in Italy—he said: “The Italia appealed to me. I’m really looking at these smaller boats that offer both performance as well as some cruising amenities to get people into the activity. From that vantage point, what I saw here was a boat that performed well. She’s not overburdened with go-fast technology, but she has a good sail area-to-displacement ratio (26.0), and the hull is designed to be more performance-­oriented. While I did find a certain elegance to her, I’d also say she has to go on what I’d call a ‘rigging-simplicity diet.’ There are so many twings and tweaking lines that the cruising fraternity won’t put to much use. But she also sailed very well. I liked this vessel.”

“The little Beneteau had dual wheels, which might seem like overkill, but they worked.”

Click to learn more about the new Oceanis 30.1