You can set off on long adventures with a Beneteau Swift Trawler, which sips fuel at displacement speeds but can plane when needed to meet a tight schedule. The smallest in this series, the 34 offers comfortable accommodations for a coastal cruising couple.
Beneteau’s design team drew a modified-V running bottom with two lifting strakes on each side, wide chines and a sharp entry. At first glance, it looks like a pure planing hull. But with a curved transom, Lenco trim tabs and a single 425 hp Cummins QSB 5.9 common-rail diesel turning a conventional inboard shaft, the hull moves easily at displacement speeds and rises onto plane evenly when needed without obstructing the skipper’s sight lines. In our test, the bow ran just high enough at speed to effectively cleave seas. A keel forward of the shaft, deep spade rudder, and bow and (optional) stern thrusters helped her track well in all seas and maneuver smoothly in tight quarters.
Asymmetrical decks provide surprising benefits. The starboard deck is wider, with a full bulwark for going forward and a midship access door for boarding from a floating dock, placed beside a sliding door to the helm. The port deck is set higher, which allows a huge storage compartment beneath it inside the salon. The height also allows placement of an external propane tank compartment opposite the galley. I found grab handles securely anchored and strategically placed.
The cabin is compact but adequate. In the salon, a settee is to starboard, with a stable but movable central table. The settee folds out into a double berth. Below is a master cabin with queen berth forward and a double-decker cabin to port. The head is to starboard.
The flying bridge helm afforded me a commanding view, and the settee with pedestal table to port invites the crew to socialize topside. The long cabin top with its curtained side rails might suggest a party space, but serious cruisers will fill it with a dinghy that launches easily from the 34 Swift’s mast and boom.
Comparable model: Mainship 395 Trawler