If you took the length of the queue of people waiting to get aboard as an indicator, one of the more popular boats displayed at last months big in-water sailboat show in Annapolis was the new Farr-designed Beneteau 40-foot racer-cruiser. Yes, racer-cruiser.
No, interest in all-out racing in the United States hasnt taken a sharp increase but something has happened to the level of comfort now being offered on a high- performance sailboat. With the new First 40.7, production boatbuilder Beneteau has come up with a savvy mix of the usually disparate boat qualities of competitive and comfortable — and it feels and looks like just the right amount of each.
The Beneteau First 40.7
As refinements to the classic dual-purpose boat go, the Beneteau First 40.7 presents a seamless blend that doesnt seem to tilt to either race-boat or to all-out, blue-water-cruiser compromises. Whether you race a little, a lot, or just savor exceptional sailing performance, this boat makes racing and cruising one mission: high quality sailing. On the First 40.7, you should be able to expect great performance and fine comfort. Heres a summary of the First 40.7s interesting characteristics.
The First 40.7 presents a smart look that is both dignified and unobtrusive with its low topsides, simplified deck layout and artfully balanced ends, which post an extraordinarily long waterline. With varnished teak toe rail setting a classy tone, the decks are clean with broad sidedecks. The cockpit marries cruising qualities, like secure seats, seakeeping width, silled companionway, to efficient boathandling considerations. The First 40.7 shoulders a big, brawny wheel, which is separated by a beam-sweeping traveler. The wheel is on a molded binnacle. The sides of the binnacle housing are perfect for mounting instruments — for easy viewing on either side by the helmsman when sitting out.
The cockpit comes with teak slat-laid seats. A clever feature is the removable cockpit seat/locker on each side, just fore of the helm. When racing or when more cockpit space is desired, the lockers can be removed and replaced by turning the easy hand screws.
The sail-handling gear includes headsail furler, four cockpit winches and eight sheet stoppers at the aft end of the cabin. The aft-swept, discontinuous, three-spreader rig is available with wire or rod standing rigging. For exceptional upwind performance, the Firsts simple shroud bases are tucked well inboard for.
The First 40.7s polars show shell be capable of 6.5 to 6.75 knots upwind in 12 knots. With an E measurement of 177", power is concentrated in the main . The J measures in at 14.5".
Going below, the First features three private cabins: mirror aft doubles and a forward cabin with head en suite. The interior is golden hued, featuring pear-wood finish for the copious wood surfaces. The wood sole has been treated with the scratch-resistant finish Wear Right.
The cozy facing settees-berths are slightly forward of amidships. This area, while a bit confining, receives good light and ventilation from the four large deckhouse ports and the opening centerline hatch, which is just above the table. The L-shaped galley, which comes with refrigerator and two-burner LPG gimbaled stove/oven, is just opposite the nav center to starboard. The navigator faces forward at the chart table which is large enough for a chart folded in half. The aft stateroom, with 62" headroom, is really all-berth, the dimensions of which are 49" by 66". Headroom in the main cabin is also 62" and 510" in the head compartment.
The underwater configuration of the Beneteau First 40.7 betrays the credential of its famed designer known for his Whitbread 60s. This moderately beamy Farr hull has a short, deep keel, long run aft in the broader sections and deep, high-aspect rudder. A choice of keels, a deep at 79" and shoal at 62", is offered.The auxiliary is the Volvo 2030 30hp diesel with the Volvo saildrive and two-blade fixed propeller.
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