The epic legend of the First : 40 years on
In 1977, the wonderful brainchild of Francois CHALAIN was launched: the First range of sailboats. Now in 2019, over 24,000 Firsts have been built, consisting of 70 different models and uncountable victories in leading international regattas. BENETEAU has written the finest chapters in the history of sailing and has given generations of keen ocean racers a chance to sail on this legendary boat. Avant-garde, high-performance, exclusive trims, the identity of the First is here to stay.
The father of all the First sailing yachts was the half-tonner by MAURIC, called Impensable. Driven by François CHALAIN, an incredible visionary and first-rate yacht racer, Impensable became the First 30 in 1977.
It was an instant success with 1,000 boats built and excellent racing results fuelled by the talent of Michel MALINOVSKI in the Course de l’Aurore and Paul ELVSTROM in the Half Ton Cup, boat of the Tour de France à la voile. This was just the beginning of the First sailing yachts family, which stemmed from a true desire to produce boats that performed well and were comfortable.
CONTINUALLY BLAZING A TRAIL!
“Annette ROUX was committed to using international architects who were well-known in offshore racing and in the worldwide yachting community. GERMAN FRERS designed the First 42 in 1981. This set the tone!” tells Eric INGOUF, in charge of the prototype at the time, with 35 years experience at BENETEAU working on the First.
The legend continued with the First 35S5, with an interior by STARCK, the First 45F5 by Bruce FARR, the First 456 sailed by Sir Peter BLAKE in the Admiral’s Cup in 1983, the First Class series in which many an amateur regatta racer wore away the seat of his all-weather pants.
Then followed the famous “.7” Firsts in the 1990s, with the 40.7 and 36.7 making a clean sweep of the Sydney Hobart and other IMS world championships. Performance became natural and her interior comfort an ever-present detail.
BENETEAU boatyards owe its success to the fast, easy to handle, top-performing First sailing yacht range, which quickly became mainstream. The First 50 by Philippe BRIAND, launched in 2006 is a fine example of this, making her an affordable fast luxurious yacht with cutting-edge technology.
7TH GENERATION WITH ALL THE USUAL HALLMARKS
With the integration of Seascape in 2017, the First range began a new chapter, but the style remains the same: sailing yachts mixing pleasure, easy handling, and performance. The new generation First 14, 18, 24 and 27 are a distillation of sensations and simplicity designed by Sam MANUARD.
The First range has grown to meet the expectations of the most demanding sailors, and the First 53 will make its début on the water this autumn. A fast luxurious boat, successfully combining the talents of two well-known designers, Roberto BISCONTINI and Lorenzo ARGENTO.
Published on 16.04.2019