Boats

2011 Best Boats Performance, 30ft+: Beneteau First 30

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No Volvo 70 designer has been more successful than Juan Kouyoumdjian, so it should come as no surprise that Juan K’s first foray into production monohulls has produced a boat that resembles a miniature VO70—but with a cruising interior.

The First 30’s performance pedigree starts with her hull form: hard chines run from either side of her wide transom and carry forward to the boat’s max beam. Slab sides lead below the waterline to a flat, surfing-friendly underbody; foils consist of a T-shaped keel strut and bulb and two transom-hung rudders.

The First 30’s cockpit features a long traveler track right aft running almost the entire width of the boat’s broad stern section. The stainless steel tiller, the coarse and fine sheets for the mainsail and the traveler controls are situated exactly where you want them. Uncompromised sight lines complete the driving experience.

The two-spreader deck-stepped mast has wide swept-back spreaders that eliminate the need for a backstay and allow the boom under the big square-topped main to reach all the way aft. This in turn allows the mast to be set back a bit. The main is till big enough to really drive the boat and the larger, more powerful 105 percent jib is still easy to tack. During our test sail we were impressed by how easy it is to control the rig and by the stable helm. For a fast boat with fine foils, the First 30 tracks very well.

Belowdecks the First 30 offers more accommodations than most boats with such high-speed credentials. The interior includes a reasonable galley, a generous quarter-berth, short settee berths, a removeable table, an aft head and a V-berth that should keep a couple or a young family comfortable for a week or more.

The First 30 should do well under IRC, and will hopefully shine as a one-design class. If you’re looking for a boat that can win races while enticing the family to give cruising a try, this could be your new ride. For more information, visit beneteauusa.com

SPECS

LOA: 32ft 2in
LWL: 31ft 2in
Beam: 10ft 6in
Draft: 6ft 3in (std) 4ft 11in(shoal)
Displacement: 8,267lb
Sail Area: 664 sq ft

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