Thoughts on the Beneteau First 305? - SailNet Community

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Old 02-13-2013
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Thoughts on the Beneteau First 305?

I'm about to look at an 80's vintage beneteau first 305 fin keel version this weekend and the internet is kind of sparse on reviews etc. Most of what I've seen are the "I love my boat" type reviews, not very helpful.

For what it's worth, the internet says its new england phrf is 168, which is the same as a j/24. This doesn't make much sense to me unless it's a gift rating or something...

Has anyone sailed/owned this boat, or another of the 80's vintage Benny First line? Thoughts, experiences, opinions? How early do you reef, how does it surf, is the helm light or heavy, how stiff is the boat upwind, etc.?

Is the quality of the FIrst line of beneteau's a step up from the standard? I own a 1981 Hunter 25 and while I like the boat (we all love our boats don't we), the laminate is thin and the quality of bulkhead tabbing plus the huge companionway hatch etc means it's not really an offshore boat, it was never meant to be. My father's '81 C&C 32, on the other hand, inspires confidence. Where is the Benny 305 on this scale, for offshore?

I posted this on SA too but I think I'll get more of a cruising perspective here, since that is what this boat is really for.
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Old 02-13-2013
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Re: Thoughts on the Beneteau First 305?

The problem with the B First 305 (nice sailing, good looking boat) is that it's essentially a 30 foot boat with a 35 foot interior squeezed in. Berths are VERY tight, short and narrow. I'm not tall and we found the Vberth and the so-called aft double very cramped. Anyone 6 ft tall or more would have real problems with space. The nav table is a drop down affair in the aft cabin that isn't much better than useless.

Cockpit is pretty nice, the rig looks good and I'm sure it sails OK. But I wouldn't say it's a comfy liveable long term cruiser.

I think the First series is not necessarily a quality step up or down vis a vis the Oceanus/cruising series, more a different focus (performance/rigging/handling) over cruising (storage/galley amenities/space). I think they are tough boats.

Coming for a H25 it probably looks big, the problem is 'trying it out' long enough to get a real sense of how liveable it might be....

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Capt G E Ericson (from "The Cruel Sea" by Nicholas Monsarrat)
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Old 02-13-2013
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Re: Thoughts on the Beneteau First 305?

I owned a First 305E for several years. Faster's comments all fit. It's a nicely made boat that makes an excellent daysailer or overnighter but...the cramped quarters and no ventilation meant the first week of couple cruising was the last and only. Bring your SO and try to bunk down somewhere ...

A 168 rating is no gift - as the boat has a small foretriange resulting in a small spinnaker. You need to pull a horizon job on the windward leg to not have competitors with full size spinnakers roll over you downwind. In mid to strong breezes the boat could sail to that rating, otherwise not a chance.

Again, I think it a nice boat, but not very all around, two years ownership was it. Depends on how you want to use it.
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Old 02-13-2013
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Re: Thoughts on the Beneteau First 305?

I saw a Beneteau hauled out in Nanaimo with 38 white plastic thru hulls, mostly below the waterline. I'd give one of these a kick and see what a happens to it. They usually shatter when anything hits them. Beneteaus of that era had lots of osmosis problems and they are horrendously complex.
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Old 02-13-2013
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Re: Thoughts on the Beneteau First 305?

Not sure what difference there is between a 1st 30 and a 305, the 1st 30 was initially choosen for the sailing equal around france race. Then the mumm/farr30 was the boat, now it is an Archambault 3x' boat, I am recalling a 32 or 33' size.

It is probably similar to my Jeannea Arcadia, which is 28' on deck. But I have a mast head rig, so the downwind part is a bit better than a fractional. Any boat of this size will be cramped if you will, better than your 25' boat, but not as good as a 35'! Then again, as I was growing u in the later 70's to early 80's, boats of this size were real boats, today you do not seem to get into a real boat unless you are 35-40' minimum.

The bee was designed for offshore use, as part of the tour de france was offshore! Along with some coastal etc. even lakes IIRC are part of the race.

many french built boats of this era had a foam backed vinyl hull liner, and the foam is now to the point it is failing. If this repair has been done, ie remove ALL the liner and, if not, figure about 40-60 hrs if you do it yourself. At least that is the amount of time it took me!

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Old 02-14-2013
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Re: Thoughts on the Beneteau First 305?

I have 1984 First 42, which is much bigger, but it's great. Solid boat, solid hardware, and damned quick. The First series are racer/cruisers, typically faster and and carry more sail and stronger hardware than the Oceanus series of the same size. This is at the expense of some interior space/cruising comfort. My buddy has a Oceanus 423 that is the same length as mine and seems like it is twice the size.

Some had some issues with blistering on the bottom in the 80s. However, Beneteau repaired these for the owners who took notice, so there is a good chance this was taken care of by the previous owner.
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Beneteau First 42
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