Bente is a small German shipyard that was led by the son of Rolf Vrolijk, the famous Naval Architect (Judel & Vrolijk). The company had a very successful start with the Bente 24 (120 boats sold) but instead of going on with the Bente 28, chose to turn out all its resources to the Bente 39 production.
On the net the success of the project was huge, they announced a very low price for a boat that was deemed to be incredibly fast and able to perform extremely well while racing.
At the time I expressed my doubts about many of those claims and in the end, the Bente 39 turned out to be an interesting sailboat, with several interesting characteristics, and some shortcomings in regard to interior design and interior quality, that was never able to fulfill their claims regarding racing performance and price.
A very naked and simple boat (in regards to rigging) could be bought for a relatively low price but a fully equipped boat cost as much as the others that competed with him, sometimes more and furthermore they could not maintain the announced prices without losing money.
The result was a quick bankruptcy (2020) with very few Bente 39 (2 or 3) produced. Somehow, under judicial protection, they were able to find new investors and were able to launch the Bente 28, a boat that was in development when they were bankrupted, and that should have been the logical choice to produce after the Bente 24’s success.
The Bente 28 looks nice and innovative. It was already tested by Yacht.de and they said very positive things about everything. To me what looks particularly interesting in this sailboat is the interior volume, without a noticeable loss of performance, namely the height and luminosity that are provided by a transparent acrylic structure, with an unusual “door” as the boat entrance.
Great if you sail in cold places but on the Med the sun on all those transparent surfaces will make it unbearably hot and you will have to cover them all, and it does not look easy to do that.
The Bente 28 starts where the Bente 24 finishes and while the 24 (certificated as Class C) is an inshore cruiser and daysailer the Bente 28 is an offshore cruiser (certified as Class B). While the Bente 24 offers conditions for camping cruising the 28 offers all the space that is needed for cruising in relative comfort for extended periods.
The difference of only four feet between the two boats doesn’t really give the right idea about the huge difference between them. The displacement and the price give a better indication: while the 24 displaces 1500kg the 28 displaces 3200kg and while the more basic 24 version costs 47.520,00 €, the 28 more basic version costs 109.159,66 €, both prices excluding VAT.
With a 2.99m beam, the Bente 28 is a moderately beamy sailboat, taking inspiration from the mini racers (even if those are beamier), a light sailboat, displacing about 3200kg and a powerful one that adds to a big hull form stability, righting moment provided by 995kg of ballast in a cast iron torpedo keel with a 1.60m draft (31.1%B/D).
Probably the lighter (800kg) and deeper keel (1.95m) with a lead torpedo offer even more stability (26.6 B/D). The Bente is a 28.4ft (8.65m HL) sailing boat and offers an optional big bowsprit (1.38m). It comes with two winches (in both versions) a tiller that operates a twin rudder, an optional refrigerator and an optional induction cooker. The rig does not have a backstay.
Regarding the induction cooker, I wonder why the hell they put an induction cooker on a boat that has only a small service battery. The thing can only be used at the marina and provided that there is electricity. An offshore cruising boat where it is not possible to cook while sailing or at anchor? I don’t get it.
It has a 55L water tank, a 60L diesel tank, and a 50L black water tank. No doubt the black water tank is big compared to the freshwater tank, which is a flexible one. An offshore boat deserved better. The First 30.1 is not much bigger (8.99 to 8.65m) and it offers standard 160L water tankage.
The engine is a 13hp Volvo with the option for a less powerful electric motor.
It offers an upwind sail area of 55,2 m2, a lot for a boat with this displacement, and the two different versions, one with very little equipment and the other with better sail hardware and better cruising equipment cost 109.160 € and 138.571 €, excluding VAT.
I have no doubt that the Bente 28 is a very nice sailing boat, that sails very well, it is well built, using a sandwich hull, that is infused as an option ( standard on the more expensive version) but as a cruising boat it seems to have some basic flaws in what regards equipment, that is very insufficient on the standard version and leaves much to be desired on the more expensive version.
Kind of a disappointment to see a boat that has great potential as a cruising boat, have that potential wasted due to the lack of appropriate equipment. Not enough water tankage and a cooker that can only be used on a marina, are big limitations.
As a daysailer or a weekend cruiser, it will face huge competition and I have some doubts that the kind of sailor that has the money for this kind of sailboat would not prefer something less extreme and more elegant like a Saffier, a Black Pepper, or even a much cheaper First 27.
As a cruising boat, something like a bigger Hanse 315 will make more sense: less expensive, with more cruising ability. Not as fast but with a bigger overall stability and a similar B/D, curiously designed by Judel&Vrolijk as the Bente 28.
I hope they can find the right market niche for the Bente 28, but I am a bit skeptical about it. I hope to be wrong, and if you have the money for it and this is the kind of boat you want, go for it. It will not disappoint you in regard sail performance, I mean, the more expensive version because the other, with simplified rigging, will not allow perfect sail trimming.