First thing is understand there is no general protocol in purchasing a boat for a "test sail". A purchase process will often involve a sea trial, but the stated purpose of the sea trial is to confirm the operation of equipment not otherwise subject to verification. At this point the deal is signed and final, the outcome of the sea trial only affects how any escrow is disbursed.
Looking at a brand new boat is different, as dealers may have a demo, and dealers are somewhat desperate to make a sale. I have unfortunately nil personal experience with buying a brand new boat ('cepting a R19) but would expect a dealer to bend over backwards to accommodate a test sail, especially for a new design like the First 30.
You may be barking up the wrong tree with this model. Want to race seriously with a consistent crew of eight adults - I would say this is the boat. Cruising alone with the wife, maybe not at all.
Originally Posted by NewportNewbie
...I just REALLY like the look of the new Beneteau First 30 and my wife said she would sail with me more if it was better than the S30 in choppy conditions...
The First 30 looks to be a wide boat with a flat bottom, I would expect her to pound in any chop. If you have your test sail in San Diego bay with 6 knots of wind, the First 30 will be dream and you'll all be hot to go; go out on the ocean in 25 knots of wind afterwards you may find your wife will never get on a sailboat again.
That said, I would be very happy to be sailing one...
There are a number of reviews around: