One of a kind
Bénéteau marks a major change in its product line with the First 50, its new flagship that previewed at the Cannes International Boat Show in 2006. This is the first sailing yacht designed for France’s largest manufacturer by Philippe Briand, an architect renowned for his outstanding technical performance and aesthetics. He has designed a sleek cruising yacht in true Sport Cruiser style, a must for all mega-yacht fans.
For Briand Yacht Design, the First 50 concept is all about elegance and enjoyment. The sleek, delicate lines and the deck plan combine to create a very smooth and uncluttered silhouette. The functional elements and deck fittings, including the Genoa furler drum, are all fitted into the deck. The forestay is further back, there is an option for a collapsible bow roller, and the coachroof has been given a low profile for a racy look. The long, slim hull with its modern fittings (a torpedo-type bulb keel for a low wetted surface and an optimized centre of gravity position), and the carbon mast give the fifty-footer a real feeling of power and speed. Yet, although determined to provide some stiff competition for the Sport Cruisers, the architect has also thought seriously about comfort. For manoeuvres, the plan is simple and efficient: a central island with the genoa and mainsail winches close at hand for the helmsman, large, high-end fittings, hydraulic control of the preventer shroud and hydraulic boom vang. The two helm stations are positioned for easier access to the fore and for a better view of the bow and sails. With this kind of layout, owners can enjoy regattas to the full or simply sit back and savour a comfortable day cruising.
Showers of praise
The new flagship in the First range has a racy outline and innovative design features. This inventive approach is also visible below deck, where Philippe Briand’s colleague Veerle Battiau was given carte blanche to design the boat’s living quarters. There are plenty of flush and open deck hatches to flood the interior with light. The L-shaped chart table with swivel chair also serves as an office and can be equipped with a flat screen TV. For enhanced wellbeing and a modern look, Bénéteau has used new materials, including light oak. All of these innovations were met with enthusiastic applause in the sailing press, with the First 50 being nominated Best Boat 2007 by “Sail Magazine” in the US, which also awarded the boat a prize for excellence in its Interior Design category. After another award from the Italian magazine “Vela et Motore”, this distinction confirms that Bénéteau can be justifiably proud of this first-class sailing yacht. And if it had any doubts, the French manufacturer has just been named “European shipyard of the year” at the Düsseldorf boat show.
More details : www.beneteau.com