Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: Annapolis, Md
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Around the time of the Annapolis Boat Show I saw one out in lightish wind. The boat seemed to be sailing reasonably well. There were a lot of people on board so I assume they were doing demo sails or it was the Cruising World Boat of the Year jury. If you are concerned about light stuff I would not get the in-mast furling.
On most Beneteaus there is a standard shoal draft iron keel and a deeper lead keel option. The lead keels are usually more stabile and also offer less resistance, which is really important in light air as well. So if you are interested in light air performance then you might want to look into the deeper lead keel.
Lastly you might want to look at the Beneteau First 47.7 which is really optomized for much better sailing preformance than the 473.