Designed by Groupe Finot, the Beneteau 311 is fast and comfortable and has many of the characteristics that one might expect from much larger boats. The powerful hull (that of the Beneteau First Class Fiagro) along with Beneteau's integral molded grid structure, combine to create an extremely strong and stiff structure. The bulb keel, despite its moderate draft, gives the Beneteau 311 impressive speed and ensures excellent performance under sail. As for the rigging, her large sail area is divided between the mainsail with long battens and the moderate overlap furling genoa. The deck layout is simple and efficient. The large cockpit has slatted teak seats and is completely uncluttered (the mainsheet traveler is on the coachroof, with rigid boom vang) and the genoa sheet winches are within easy reach of the helm. The Beneteau 311 has standard features such as lazy jacks, a quick reefing system, and solid boom vang. Handling the retractable keel is quite simple. Since the external ballast - keel assembly remains permanently under the hull, the weight of the retractable keel can be kept down to a moderate 660 lbs. A simple mechanical jack raises and lowers the keel. At low tide, the Beneteau 311 rests on the forward part of the external ballast sole and on the two solid rudders (strengthened for this purpose), creating a highly stable tripod. Below deck and to port is the galley with gimbaled stove, stainless steel sink with pressurized hot and cold water, and plenty of storage. To port there is a large head with marine toilet and wash basin, shower with pressurized hot and cold water, a hanging locker, and plenty of room to store sundries. To starboard is a large navigation table. Electronics can be easily seen from the bulkhead. The symmetrical salon consists of two settees flanking a large drop-leaf table. The 311 has two cabins - forward and aft. The private forward cabin has a V-berth (6-feet 5-inches by 4-feet 6-inches), a large hanging locker, and lots of storage along the side of the hull; the aft cabin is also generous in size with plenty of room for storage.