BENETEAU FIRST - 46 years of iconic brand heritage2023-06-02
Early 70's - Beneteau is the market leader in the recreational fishing boat segment, but customers are now asking for faster sailboats.
As luck would have it, the molds of S/V L’Impensable, the 1973 winner of the Half Ton Cup, are available for sale. Beneteau buys them, hires the original architect of this boat André Mauric, the first non-family architect, who promptly starts redesigning the sail plan, keel, interior layout, and shape of the coachroof .
1976 - Mme Annette Roux, President of Beneteau and grand-daughter of the founder Benjamin Beneteau, and her husband travel to Los Angeles, CA to visit a boatyard. They discover and fall in love with the country. On her flight back she decides that the name of the new boat will be “The First”.
1977 - Paris Boat Show. The First is launched and sends shock waves through the industry and the market: no one was expecting such a boat from Beneteau.
1978 - The First 30 is awarded Boat of the year at the Cannes Boat Show. The First range becomes legendary in its class, racing and winning major regattas.
1987 - A decade after the launch, the First needs a revamp - Annette Roux invites designer Philippe Starck, of Hotel Costes fame, to redesign the First. Starck, acknowledging that boats were not his speciality, asks to spend a few nights in a boat before he accepts the challenge. Beneteau delivers a First 35 to his home and Starck, after a few nights on board in his garden, agrees to work on a new interior design. The First 35 S 5 is born and, once again, Beneteau makes waves at the Paris Boat Show
1990 - A long time Italian customer and one of the designers with Pininfarina, tells Mme Roux that he “could no longer dream” because all boats look alike. He talks of the new shapes in the car industry, and compares them to the boat decks which are too angular. This led to a partnership with7 Pininfarina for the design of the First 45.
The legend continues with the First 45F5 by Bruce FARR, the First 456 sailed by Sir Peter Blake in the Admiral’s Cup in 1983, and the First Class series. Followed by the famous “.7” series, with the 40.7 and 36.7 making a clean sweep of the Sydney-Hobart and other IMS world championships.
Since 1977, the signature features of the FIRST range have not changed – these boats have always been designed for sailors who enjoy club racing as much as cruising, the proverbial best of both worlds.
With beautifully slender hulls and a style second to none, First yachts have always caught the eye of seasoned sailors. From the outset, they were designed to thrill keen regatta racers and demanding performance sailors and they epitomize the joy of sailing like no other boat. Boasting the most advanced engineering, their performance under sail is a gauge for winning races whatever the sailing grounds.
Today these boats offer simplicity, performances, comfortable interiors and cockpits geared towards daysailing and coastal cruising. Renewing the competition spirit of the brand, they represent a true adaptation to the needs and expectations of the widest variety of sailors.