Design teams from Italy, France, Slovenia and New Zealand collaborated to create the new First 36, a high-performance, high-volume 36ft cruiser-racer.
Beneteau has revealed the First 36, the new flagship of a seventh-generation First series also featuring the 14, 24 and 27 models released last year. The product of an international collaboration of designers, the 4.8-tonne 36-footer has a 12ft 6in beam, a 7ft 5in draft, and upwind and downwind sail areas of 80sqm (861sqft) and 180sqm (1,930sqft) respectively.
The exterior is by Italian Lorenzo Argento, who has also worked on the First Yacht 53, Oceanis Yacht 54 and upcoming Oceanis Yacht 60, while Slovenia’s Gigodesign handled the interior, both studios collaborating with teams from Beneteau and Seascape to shape the project.
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Naval architecture is by France’s Sam Manuard, who also worked on all the current First and First SE designs from 14-27ft, and has experience in Mini, Class40 and IMOCA 60. New Zealand’s Pure Design & Engineering, which has also worked on IMOCA 60s as well as AC75 and TP52 designs, handled structural engineering and provided further experience of high-speed sailing yachts.
“We believe this is the first time a mainstream-production boat with full-cruising facilities, a mid-market price tag and the full support of a worldwide dealer network has been pushed this far towards true high-performance sailing,” Beneteau stated.
“But what we’re really proud of is making this level of fast, fun sailing available to everyone. Because First 36 has made speed easy, we believe owners will simply sail more.”
Aiming ‘to take the drama out of going fast’, Beneteau focused on the balance of the sail plan, underwater body and steering system. The result is a yacht that can be steered with fingertip control on a hard upwind as well as a fast, planning ride downhill, according to the builder.
Beneteau says the main difference from most ‘cruiser-racer’ boats is that the First 36 is ‘no longer locked in displacement speed’ due mainly to a significantly lower weight. “Going 9-11 knots instead of 5-7 knots makes sailing more fun,” the company stated. “It also makes your cruising radius bigger. You will not only enjoy sailing more with this boat but spend more time under sail.”
The entire boat is a vacuum-infused, fully-cored GRP composite structure that includes bulkheads and most interior parts. Almost all interior elements contribute to the structural strength of the boat.
With the First 36 Designed to fit a variety of sailing styles including cruising with family and friends, shorthanded sailing, club racing or distance racing with a full crew, the cockpit has two distinct modes: one for racing/shorthanded sailing and one for cruising. In racing mode, the open T-cockpit has space enough to move effortlessly between work positions.
In cruising mode, the cockpit is supplied with removable boxes to lengthen the benches and a cockpit table, which transforms the cockpit to a more relaxing, lounge-like environment. Deck gear is upgraded from industry standard, both in size and quality.
The living quarters below deck are a reinvented layout of the First 40.7 and offer huge volumes for a 36ft sailing yacht. Even though most of the interior is structural elements in vacuum-infused GRP, warm wood has been used for floorboards, doors, table and trim. A smooth inner liner and ambient light settings create a relaxed, homely atmosphere.
A freestanding kitchen island contains a huge fridge and can be connected to the pantry with a removable cutting board. The bathroom footprint is significantly reduced, due to a foldable sink. Both multipurpose aft cabins can sleep two people. When needed, they can also be transformed into huge storage rooms, big enough for a surfboard.
This article first appeared on Yacht Style.
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