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Beneteau 331: A Popular and Powerful Cruising Sailboat

The Beneteau 331 was a popular couples and family cruiser of which about 100 hulls were built from 1999 to around 2005. Today, many of these classic cruisers are sought out by first-time buyers as well as seasoned sailors.

beneteau 331
The Beneteau 331 is widely available today, on Yachtworld.

A spacious cockpit and a walk-thru transom offer great outdoor living with lots of lounge space as well as stowage lockers. Two cabins, a full galley and a surprisingly large and open saloon make the interior comfortable as well. Since this model was used in charter (as a Moorings 332), some can be found with a third cabin aft. In this configuration, the galley to port loses some space to make room for the third door. Most Americans will likely opt for the standard two-cabin version as it’s less cramped and more reflective of how this market likes to go boating.

The master stateroom is in the V-berth forward, with a sliding door for privacy, and a hanging locker. The compact head (minus a stall shower) is aft of the saloon and to starboard. The large L-shaped settee, also to starboard, converts into a double berth with the help of the drop-leaf table so six to nine people may be accommodated on overnight cruises. The straight portside settee shares a seat with the aft-facing nav desk, which provides a dedicated space for basic ship’s business, though the navigation instruments are mounted in a pod up top at the single helm station.

The Beneteau 331 is deceptively large both inside and out, with a beam of 11’ 3” and a length overall of nearly 34’. This model was offered with two keel configurations: a standard bulb at 5’2” and a shallow draft bulb at 3’ 4”. There was a third option with a lifting keel and twin rudders, but that would be a rare find today. This is a light displacement boat (11,000 pounds) with a ballast/displacement ratio of 31-percent. This masthead sloop, with 500 square feet of sail area and a deck-stepped spar, had an option of in-mast furling, further enhancing its simplicity. It makes a good club racer as well as solid coastal cruiser even for those who wish to single-hand.

Most models offered a 30 HP Volvo diesel although today, there are a few to be found with a 27 HP Westerbeke engine as well. A battery was located just ahead of the engine under the companionway, which is a unique placement since most batteries don’t tolerate heat well. Eighteen gallons of fuel and 48 gallons of water offered a decent cruising range and enough fresh water for a couple to be comfortable on an extended weekend outing.

Lightly used in many cases, there are a number of these boats being brokered and available for sale around the United States which generally list for between $60,000 and $80,000. Because they are a French boat, designed by the renowned Groupe Finot, many of these models are also available in Europe, specifically the United Kingdom and France.

Visit Beneteau 331 listings.

Written by Zuzana Prochazka

Written by: Zuzana Prochazka

Zuzana Prochazka is a writer and photographer who freelances for a dozen boating magazines and websites. A USCG 100 Ton Master, Zuzana has cruised, chartered and skippered flotillas in many parts of the world and serves as a presenter on charter destinations and topics. She is the Chair of the New Product Awards committee, judging innovative boats and gear at NMMA and NMEA shows, and currently serves as immediate past president of Boating Writers International. She contributes to and, and also blogs regularly on her boat review site,