Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: Annapolis, Md
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I assume that you mean the Beneteau First 345. I have always been very partial to that model. They have a very nice layout for a boat this size. They sail well in a wide range of conditions but are especially good upwind. The deep keel versions were generally lead keels and not iron (at least those that were raced around here).
The 345''s with the traveler in the cockpit have an excellent cockpit layout. I raced one of these in the early 1990''s and they work well as racers or cruisers. (I would avoid one with a cabin top mounted traveler on this model even more than on other boats)
They have a light helm when trimmed properly and the tiller is a wonderful way to go, expecially if you will be sailing shorthanded.
They have held their value extremely well, (clean and well maintained examples typically selling for more than their price new nearly 20 years later). They have very good tankage for a boat this size and from my experience sailing on them they seemed to be quite well constructed and hold up very well. Some of the French hardware was less than ideal, but workable. These boats are at thier best in 10 knots of wind or more but were good boats for thier day in light air and surprisingly good sailing boats when snugged down in a blow. They are a bit rolly downwind and lack the break away speed when power reaching that you would expect on a more modern design. This is a wonderful sized boat. Big enough to be comfortable and so almost anything and small enough to be handy to sail short-handed or alone.
As a point of comparison, in that same relative price range a friend of mine has a Contessa 33 for sail which rates pretty similarly but was a little better built boat. This is a particularly clean boat. I sailed on this particular boat for something like 7 or 8 years in row and it is a wonderful boat. As far as I know it is not listed on the web but the owner is asking $42,500 and can be reached at 410 867 3379. Tell Bill that Jeff sent you.