New Beneteau First 36 sailing yacht secured for Asia in 2022
The Beneteau First 36 sailing yacht will debut at Boot Dusseldorf, with a stock unit arriving in Asia through regional dealer Simpson Marine.
The First 36 features naval architecture by Sam Manuard
A new Beneteau First 36 will arrive in Asia in spring 2022 following the model’s world premiere at Boot Dusseldorf from January 22-30. Asian dealer Simpson Marine has secured a stock model of a boat that Beneteau believe “will be a weapon for club handicap racing” yet has a 12ft 6in-wide hull with a spacious three-cabin interior that offers similar living volume to the First 40.7.
Richard Allen, Group General Manager of Simpson Marine, said: “This will be a very popular model as it goes back to the Beneteau heritage of building fast cruiser-racers that can perform well on a racecourse but also be perfect for a family cruising. We have one secured for 2022 and have the possibility to get one more.”
Featuring a 36ft 1in hull, the yacht has an all-star design team including French naval architect Sam Manuard, whose designs have won Mini, Class 40, Orma, Multi 50 and IMOCA 60 classes. Manuard is also the designer of Beneteau’s new First and First SE series from 14-27ft, following Beneteau’s partnership with Slovenia’s Seascape in 2018.
Exterior styling is by Italian Lorenzo Argento, with the First 36 following the design language of Beneteau’s First Yacht 53 and Oceanis Yacht 54. New Zealand’s Pure Design & Engineering are responsible for structural engineering, having worked on some of the world’s most advanced sailing boats including TP52, AC75, AC72, IMOCA 60s and Club Swan, as well as high-end production yachts. Slovenia’s Gigodesign worked on innovation and research.
The First 36’s mission is “to bridge the gap between high-tech development in the world of racing and mainstream racer-cruisers” and a low displacement means even the standard version will fully plane in a moderate breeze. As well as bringing the experience of planing into the hands of amateur sailors, the yacht has a carefully designed deck layout that enables both short-handed and fully crewed racing, while a practical three-cabin interior allows for cruising.
Positioning six winches, steering wheels, and other deck gear was thoroughly tested on several mock-ups and a full-scale testbed sailboat. Details like an offshore hatch on the foredeck or removable cockpit benches show the priority of sailing functionality over style used throughout the design process.
A standard aluminium rig and cast-iron keel were chosen to keep the boat accessible, while the draft of 2.25m was chosen as a compromise between performance and ease of use.
In the racing layout, the wide and modern cockpit allows for different helm and trim positions, either for short-handed or fully-crewed sailing. In this setup, the table and bench extensions are removed, opening the working area in the cockpit. A higher-than-average steering wheel position leaves enough room for the helmsman to move forward towards the mainsail winch when sailing shorthanded.
The cockpit winches’ positioning allows one or two crew members to sail with legs in and work the mainsail or primary winches in full crew mode. It also allows cross-sheeting of all sheets to the windward side. Harken, Ronstan, Spinlock and Antal deck gear were combined for performance. The First 36 has an upwind sail area of 80sqm (860sqft) and a downwind sail area of 180sqm (1,930sqft).
The First 36 set up for racing
For cruising or day sailing, the cockpit benches with cushions increase the seating area and add storage space and rope organisation. The cockpit table is big enough to seat a crew of six, while an ultralight bathing platform gives easy access to the water.
The interior features three cabins full-sized double berths, while Beneteau describes the galley with a large central fridge as the largest in her class. A corridor created together with the foldable, removable table helps sailors move around the saloon safely and offers stacking possibilities.
Tables out, transom down for cruising
The First 36 features a full-sized navigation table, which can also double as a home office. Two portlights in every room allow air flow and natural light, while sectional indirect lighting with a red racing option illuminates the boat at night.
The French builder’s flagship sailboat has been sold into Hong Kong by long-time dealer Simpson Marine.