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  #1  
Old 12-13-2001
msl msl is offline
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Beneteau First 285

Anyone care to comment about this one. I''m interested in one but have not sailed it. Also ... comments about it for extended coastal cruising and carefully planned island hopping through Caribbean.

Thanks.
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  #2  
Old 12-13-2001
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Beneteau First 285

In MHO the 285 is a fairly good boat for its
size but nothing remarkable. Its a pocket
cruiser/weekender and not that well set up for long voyages in the islands. Limited
tankage etc. I''d move up to a 30+ boat if I
were you. JeffH, a frequent poster to this
board, has some great insights, so you might
want to search the archives. Since some 285s
can be pricey, I''d keep looking. I''ll bet
you''ll find a good classic that will meet your needs much better in the low 30 ft range
for about the same price.
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  #3  
Old 12-14-2001
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Beneteau First 285

I do not have a lot of direct contact with this model. I believe that I looked at one at the boat show back in the late 1980''s. They looked like a nice boat. I liked their layout down below and fractional rig. At the time I thought that they were a little over weight and a little short on sail area for the Chesapeake where I sail.

I thought that the 285 had a nice layout for a couple doing coastal cruising (very similar to the layout of the Laser 28 that I ended up buying and am now selling after 13 years) but it is not as good when cruising with other couples.

I would think that the deep keel version of the 285 would be fine for the kind of cruising that you are proposing but I would be hesitant to try it with the wing keel. To explain why I say this. Boats of this size and style really depend on accelleration as one way to disbuse the energy of a big guy of wind. As you load a small boat like this down it sits lower in the water ans so takes more energy to accellerate. That increased drag means that you are more likely to heel noticeably further in a gust. Now then the wing keel version starts life about 400 lbs heavier than the wing keel meaning that the wing keel version that all other things being equal the wing keel version will feel more tender and will be less comfortable carrying the weight of gear and supplies that it takes to go on an extended cruise.

Traditionally, it was thought that minimally you needed about 3 long tons of displacement per person to go voyaging (with the minimum displacement often being quotes a a bit more than that.) While this number shoudl have crept down because we can produce lighter boats of equal strnegth, ithas remained pretty constant because people tend to try to carry so much stuff with them. I think that if you were dilligent about what you took along, and more significantly dilligent about what was left behind the 285 shoudl work fine. (My wife and I have cruised our 4100 lb Laser 28 for 11 days at a time without a problem.)

All of that said,I have no idea whether the 285 has adequate fuel and water tankage. I believe that the 285 came stock with 25 or so gallons of water and less than 10 gallons of fuel. I would probably want to have 20 to 25 gallons of water per person, and as much as 20 gallons of fuel (60-80 hours or so).

Good luck
Jeff
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Old 12-17-2001
R33 R33 is offline
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Beneteau First 285

A close friend of mine bought the fin keel version new, in either 88 or 89, with a view towards racing. The boat a very poor investment in that respect, as he rated in the high 180''s or low 190''s, and could never sail to the rating, despite some very expensive modifications, and first rate sail inventory.He would lose regularly to the local Pearson 26. One very negative quality was the excessive helm. He was known as the "spin out " king of the fleet. In 10 true he already had excessive helm, and on a reach, for some reason, water worked its way over the stern swim platform and into the cockpit sole.The boat also had a cast iron keel which cracked each year at the seam, and bled through.
Apart from these aggravations, the boat never leaked in the 10 years he owned her, and was comfortable for a couple as a weekender.IMHO, I would spend my money elsewhere based on the unfavorable sailing qualities.
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Old 12-21-2001
msl msl is offline
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Beneteau First 285

Thanks all. I''ll keep looking.
MSL
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Old 01-08-2002
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Beneteau First 285

I have to disagree with a great deal of what has been said. I currently own a 1989 Liberty Cup model which I have found to be an excellent weekend cruiser and a round the buoys racer. My PHRF rating is a 186 and we have been able to sail to it. The biggest change that we made to the stock setup was a folding prop. If this is not done the boat will just not perform.

The tankage is minimal with a 26 gallon water supply and a 7 (yes 7) gallon fuel tank. I have taken my boat on two extended cruises (Ft Myers to Jacksonville and Jacksonville to Key Largo). I have added a 27 gallon bladder to my v berth locker for water and carry a few extra 5 gallon tanks of fuel in the very large cockpit locker. We have been able to comfortably survive with this setup.

The joinery in the interior is wonderful. I have two major complaints about the interior. The bilge is too shallow for a standard bilge pump so you must place it outside of the bilge. This is a bad design as the factory allows the shower to drain into the bilge. The other complaint is the headliner. Beneteau has discovered that their materials just do not stand up to the tropical sun (the boat lives in Fl).

Her sailing characteristics are wonderful. I wonder how she can be considered underpowered and in the same discussion considered tender. If you do not tend to the main she will round up. It is a big sail for a small and light boat. In several offshore races we were the front boat in our typical light air until the wind built and allowed the larger boats to use their length to overtake us.

I also have the wing keel and consider it to be an excellent facilitator to island and florida sailing. Her 3'' 11" draft is exactly what this area requires. I have been through Angel Fish cut at low tide.

Unlike the 265 she is adequately powered with the 18 horse Volvo. I have pulled a Freedom 33 off the bottom and have never (knock on word) been unable to free myself in the inevitable groundings that occur in our shallow water.

I would highly recommend my boat for large river, bay and lake sailing. She has been a joy.
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Old 01-10-2002
R33 R33 is offline
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Beneteau First 285

Pedalboat,
I''m surprised to hear that your 28.5 was so very different from my friend Jeffs'' boat. He did have the fin keel model, with a folding Gori prop. At the end of the first season the boat was such a poor performer on the race course he bought a NEW MAST from Beneteau which was taller than the standard. He also bought a new North kevlar main and 3 jibs. We never went after his rating, despite the new rig, as he continued to lose regularly on the race course to much ''slower boats'' ie P26, C&C24 etc. The following season he removed the few coats of ablative paint on the hull and applied VC Offshore polished to a mirror finish. Still got murdered even w /the guys from North aboard. He then built a bolt on stern scoop out of fiberglass which added waterline . We left him alone in his misery because he continued to come in 4th or worse, and we all felt sorry for him. He sailed with an outstanding skipper as crew . I even raced w/him though I usually competed against him. The guys from North kept suggesting he dump the boat which he did. Im sure he would be happy to speak to anyone considering this boat.

Jim
gabdale@aol
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Old 01-17-2002
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Beneteau First 285

Jim:

It sounds like your race course must be much more competitive than ours. If North rock stars can''t get the boat to move....

I am surprised that high tech sails and bottom did not solve the problem. Liberte'' is racing with dacron sails and trinidad paint on a very unfaired bottom.

So in what conditions did she not perform? As I have stated, in light air offshore races we have been very competitive.

Does your friend''s boat have wheel or tiller steering? I have found the wheel to hide a great deal of rudder movement and a corresponding loss of performance.

Other than conditions or helm I am at a loss.

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Old 01-17-2002
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Beneteau First 285

Jim:

One other thought. The 285 comes with a swim platform transom. How did your friend modify the transom to add more waterline?

To be honest, the major set of reasons that I bought this boat was 1) looks, 2) swim platform, 3) coach roof mounted traveler and 4) interior. The entire package results in a very comfortable weekend cruiser for a small boat. The added benefit was her ability to keep up with the 30''s
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Old 01-17-2002
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Beneteau First 285

Pedalboat,
I have a way for you to see the stern scoop. Go to www.syc1.com, click on ''photos'' on the main page, then click on ''Orient Express'',which is on the upper right hand side of the page. The scoop, in all of its ugly glory, is visable in both of those shots. The photo was taken from a chase boat. My friend is overpowered as you can see in the relative heel angles, vs. the windward Catalina (W/open dodger), and the Pearson 30 in front of both of them. .

Jeffs boat was well set up for racing. He did fair in lite air but in about 8-10 true had VERY bad weather helm, and spun out all the time. He would take an occassional 3rd out of a fleet of 6-8. In anything above 10 true his goose was cooked.
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