'Merlin', our Beneteau 473 is for Sale

'Merlin', our 2004 Beneteau 473 and live-aboard home of the past ten years, is for sale.

Beneteau 473 under sail'Merlin', our Beneteau 473 under full sail

We will be returning to the US to start a new life on Terra Ferma as CLODs (Cruisers Living on Dirt). We bought 'Merlin' in November 2013 in the USVI. In anticipation of living aboard we undertook many improvements and upgrades in the first year.

In our nine years aboard, we have sailed up and down the island chain as far west as Puerto Rico and south to Grenada during hurricane season.

We have had many adventures, fabulous sailing and met wonderful friends from all walks of life and countries around the world.

We’ve encountered pretty robust conditions and never had to worry that we were safe and comfortable. We knew 'Merlin' could easily handle whatever came our way. She offers all the amenities and equipment for a comfortable life afloat. The storage and tankage are more than adequate for spending days on end in remote anchorages.

Beneteau 473 at anchorFull awnings keep her cool below decks in the tropical sun

She has been upgraded to live off the grid in comfort indefinitely (e.g., solar panels, wind generator and water-maker). Built in 2004, she’s as beautiful as ever, a tribute to the Finot Group, in design and execution of building a solid blue water cruiser.

'Merlin' has had two owners; the first owner purchased had her built at the Beneteau plant in South Carolina* and then shipped to Washington where she was sailed in the Seattle area before making the long passage to the Caribbean in 2007.

In May of 2022 she made the offshore passage from USVI to Rhode Island, averaging about 6.5 knots over the 1,600 nautical miles.

Currently berthed in Portsmouth, Rhode Island, 'Merlin' is turnkey and ready to set sail on her next adventure.

* Sailboat-Cruising.com says: French-built models are known the Beneteau Oceanis Clipper 473 and usually have the galley on the port side, while the US-built models have a 2 or 3 stateroom layout with the galley on the starboard side of the boat.

Beneteau 473 saloonThe salon, looking forward

Dimensions, Specs & Key Performance Indicators for the Beneteau 473

  • Underwater Configuration: Bulb fin keel with spade rudder
  • Hull Material: GRP (Fibreglass)
  • Length Overall: 46'11"
  • Waterline Length: 43'10"
  • Beam: 14'2"
  • Draft: 6'11"
  • Rig Type: Masthead sloop
  • Displacement: 24,277 lbs
  • Ballast: 7,275 lbs
  • Designer: Groupe Finot
  • Builder: Beneteau (Marion, South Carolina, USA)
  • Year First Built: 2000
  • Year Last Built: 2005
Beneteau 473 in sling'Merlin' sports a bulb fin keel and spade rudder
  • Sail Area/Displacement Ratio: 17.2
  • Ballast/Displacement Ratio: 33.6
  • Displacement/Length Ratio: 129
Beneteau 473 accommodation planAccommodation Layout
  • Fresh Water Tanks: 200 US gallons, in four polypropylene tanks. Manifold with selector valves.
  • Fuel Tankage: 55 gallons, in one polypropylene tank.
  • Engine: Diesel, single Yanmar 4JH3-TE, turbo. 75 hp @ 3800 rpm.
  • Engine hours: approx. 4,300
  • Gearbox: Kanzaki KBW 21
  • Propeller: PYI 3 blade Classic (new 3/2017)
  • Cruising speed (fully loaded): about 6.5k depending on conditions.
Beneteau 473 salonRoom for more around the salon table


Headroom: 6'5"
Merlin is the three-cabin layout version:

  1. Master cabin forward with ensuite head.
  2. Aft port cabin with adjacent head.
  3. Starboard cabin has been converted into a storage/work space (slightly different than shown).
Beneteau 473 forecabinThe forecabin
Beneteau 473 forward headThe forward head
Beneteau 473 portside aft cabinThe portside aft cabin
Beneteau 473 aft headThe aft head

2014 Upgrades

Some of the upgrades during our ownership are noted here:

  • All wire rigging replaced (original turnbuckles, toggles, etc. left in place)
  • New Furlex S400 roller furling for genoa on forestay.
  • Existing ProFurl roller furling factory rebuilt and installed as inner Solent stay.
  • Custom stainless-steel arch built over cockpit, including davit system for dinghy.
  • Solar Panels: three Kyocera 250w panels install on stainless steel arch.
  • Spectra Cape Horn Extreme Water Maker installed.
  • New Garmin 740s chart plotter installed at port helm station.
  • New Garmin GMR 18HD radar installed on mast; interfaced with Garmin 740s.
  • New Digital Yacht AIS receiver interfaced with Garmin instruments.
  • Original brass thru-hull fittings and valves replaced with bronze.
  • Racor 500SM dual filter system installed.
  • Propane/CO Safe-T-Alert installed.
  • New Frigaboat refrigeration system installed, with external keel cooler.
  • All interior ceiling light fixture bulbs replaced with LEDs.
  • Custom storage cabinet system installed in starboard aft cabin.
  • iCom 802 SSB and AT140 automatic tuner installed
  • KISS SSB antenna installed
Beneteau 473 mastheadThe masthead, showing the attachment point for the Solent Stay

2015 Upgrades

  • New custom cockpit cushions.
  • New Neil Pryde tri radial dacron in mast furling mainsail.
  • New Neil Pryde tri radial dacron 130% genoa.
  • New Quantum laminated staysail.
  • New B&G Zeus2 9” MFD with wireless modem installed at nav station.
  • New B&G Trident instruments (3) installed in cockpit; wind transducer and traducer.
  • New Lofrans’ Tigres windlass installed.
  • Fireboy automatic discharge fire extinguisher installed in engine room.
  • New acrylic galley countertop.
Beneteau 473 cockpitTwin wheels and a spacious cockpit

2016 Upgrades

  • All new canvas, dodger, Bimini, side curtains, hatch covers.
  • New Electromaax 140A alternator installed with external regulator and remote panel. Engine modified to accommodate serpentine belt.
Beneteau 473 starboard quarterGood shelter from both sun and rain when at anchor

2017 Upgrades

  • New B&G V50 vhf installed at nav station with wireless H50 handheld remote at helm station.
  • Raymarine autopilot computer upgraded with sensor core. New p70s control head.
  • New PYI Classic three blade feathering propeller installed.
  • Various sheets and halyards replaced.
  • New engine start battery Excide 1000 MCA
  • New Xantrex Freedom charger/inverter installed.
  • New primary anchor and rode: Spade S-120 55# anchor and 200 feet G4 10mm chain.
  • Original wire life lines replaced.
Beneteau 473 propellorThe three blade feathering propeller

2018 Upgrades

  • Batteries House Bank: Six LifeLine 6v AGM batteries installed in series and parallel. 660Ah total.
  • Victron MPPT 150/70r controller and wireless remote monitor installed.

2019 Upgrades

  • New Jabsco Quiet Flush electric head pumps replaced.
  • Air Breeze wind turbine - purchased used and installed with charge control monitor.
  • Plastimo 6-person offshore life raft in hard container; mounted on stainless steel cradle.
  • New cockpit cushions with added foam.

2021 Upgrades

  • New North Sails 3DL staysail.
  • Galley faucet - Kohler Mistos
Beneteau 473 galley'Merlin's galley


Deck & Cockpit

  • All lines are run back to the cockpit; clutches for most lines. Lewmar D2 HD clutches on mast for halyards.
  • Primary winches - Lewmar self-tailing.
  • Secondary winches - Lewmar self-tailing; one winch is electric.
  • Anchor locker - deck hatch; anchor rodes (2), fenders (6), dock lines and miscellaneous equipment. Windlass mounted inside anchor locker, protected but accessible. Washdown pump.
  • Sunbrella dodger, connector and Bimini. Complete Phifertex side curtains for enclosure.
  • Custom teak table with canvas cover. Storage for companionway hatches underneath.
  • Two large storage lockers, port and starboard under seats.
  • Two helm stations. Two deep storage lockers under seats.
  • Swim platform with stainless ladder and H/C water shower.


  • Plexiglass companionway hatches with two locks; custom stainless steel security grate.
  • Custom upholstery for settees in Salon.
  • Salon teak table convertible to make into a berth.
  • Cabin fans - Caframo fans located in all cabins.
  • Custom plastic laminate fiddles at shelves in forward and aft cabins.
  • Additional custom storage cabinets in Salon and Forward cabin (2016).
  • Storage lockers under seats and in bilge.
  • Samsung 21" flat screen smart TV (new 2014) is on the port side of the salonPioneer stereo system DVD/CD/AM/FM/ with with USB connection; 2 speakers in the salon, 2 in the cockpit
  • Aft head is complete with sink, storage and shower area with shower track, manual Jabsco Twist n Lock head. Y-valve discharge. Holding tank with macerator (not operational).
  • Forward head is complete with sink, ample storage and full enclosed shower. Head is electric Jabsco Quiet Flush. Y-valve discharge. Holding tank with macerator (not operational).
  • Navigation station has chart desk, immediate access to electrical panel. Storage for manuals and navigation accessories. LED nav light and red night light. BlueSea Dual USB chargers - socket mount, 1 at salon,1 at nav station, 1 in aft cabin, 1 in cockpit. 12v socket mounts are also up in the cockpit
  • Forward berth in master stateroom has custom Tempurpedic style mattress with hypoallergenic cover, 4” regular foam and 4” memory foam.
Beneteau 473 navigation stationThe navigation station


  • Fresh water system - selector manifold for water tanks, Jabsco water pump, filtration system and accumulator tank.
  • Hot water tank - 11-gallon Seaward steel tank. 120v and engine heating.
  • Force 10 gimbaled propane stove with oven and 3 burner stove top.
  • Propane system - 2 new 10# steel tanks (2022) in sealed cockpit compartment.
  • LPG regulator and Trident gas control and alarm panel.
  • Backup European gas tank and connector located in lazaret.
  • Refrigeration - top loading freezer/refrigeration compartment; front opening refrigeration with spill over fan. See Specifications for details.
  • Daewoo microwave oven new (2021)
  • Double stainless-steel galley sink with Kohler Mistos faucet (2021). Foot operated single source water pump and spigot. Ample dry storage lockers for food and sundries. Pots, pans and cooking utensils. Spice rack. Knife rack. Dinner ware and utensils.

Noted Issues:

  • Holding tank system (2) are not operational
  • Deck fills - the waste tank and forward water tank screw in caps are frozen.
  • Propeller - does not feather automatically, locking gearbox in reverse works.
  • Transom locker pump is not working.
  • Combination mast light - steaming light works, deck light does not. Complete new fixture aboard.

Asking Price and Contacting the Owner

Beneteau 473 sailing

We're asking $179,000 for 'Merlin', our 2004 Beneteau 473 sailboat.

An inventory of equipment, spare parts, tools and supplies aboard can be provided on request, so if you wish to get in touch you can find our contact details here...

Owners: David Tesar & Donna George

What is the Beneteau 473 sailboat like to sail?

Based on Published Design Ratios for the Beneteau 473:

A Sail Area/Displacement Ratio of 17.2 suggests that the Beneteau 473 will, in the right conditions, approach her maximum hull speed readily and satisfy the sailing performance expectations of most cruising sailors.

A Ballast/Displacement Ratio of 33.6 would usually suggest a tendency to heel excessively in a gust, and need to be reefed early to keep her sailing upright in a moderate breeze. However, as she has much of her ballast concentrated in a bulb at the foot of the keel, she's likely to be considerably stiffer than her published Ballast/Displacement Ratio might suggest.

A Displacement/Length Ratio of 129, tells us the Beneteau 473 is clearly a light displacement sailboat. If she's loaded with too much heavy cruising gear her performance will suffer to a degree.

More about Design Ratios...

You refer to a Solent Stay. What is that?

A Solent Stay, or a Solent Rig as it's also known, is a second forestay set a short distance astern of the main forestay. It's there to provide an alternative sail to that on the main forestay, and should not be confused with the cutter rig which provides for two sails - a high-cut yankee on the forestay and a lower cut staysail on the cutter stay.

But Is the Cutter Rig More Useful than the Solent Rig for Offshore Cruising?

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