First 35, an elegant yacht designed by Bruce Farr, remains true to the performance spirit of Beneteau cruisers without losing its own individuality, especially with an interior layout striking for a boat of this size.
The first First 35, created by Jean Berret, was launched back in 1979. It was a typical performance cruiser based on IOR measurements at the time, but even then, the yacht’s hallmark was its large interior volume. Thirty years later, Farr designs a boat for Beneteau to meet the same requirements: to compete in IRC and become the most comfortable yacht in its class.
In terms of driving performance, the main goal is to compete with the A 35, the undisputed champion of the last three seasons. The definitely better equipped First 35 monolithic body (versus the A35’s sandwich design) is naturally heavier.
It should be noted, however, that Beneteau is slightly longer and has a larger sail area than the Archambault. Next season we will have an exciting rivalry between two yachts with approximately the same IRC rating (for the First 35 it is 1.025) and different concepts.
First 35 under sail
To hide from the storm that was about to cover the Bay of Saint-Gilles-Croix-de-Vie, we took a long tack to the fordewind. Despite its weight, the First 35 demonstrated excellent planing performance. The troublesome steering of the First 34.7 and the naughty First 36.7 steering wheel, the older models that the First 35 will replace in the lineup, are a thing of the past.
The large steering wheel (1.6m in diameter) and the straight line of the steering ropes guarantee excellent steering precision, the yacht is completely obedient to the helmsman. It feels like the rounded hull is very strong and you can go pretty steeply to the wind despite the huge spinnaker (103 square meters).
It seemed to us that with a team of 3-4 people, this yacht will fully reveal its potential. The German wiring of the boom sheet allows very fine tuning of the mainsail, but the helmsman’s footrests leave much to be desired – in the sitting position, the leg rests against the console. The deck is superbly equipped and allows riders to optimize the length of the running rigging and the size of blocks and pulleys.
Life on board
The interior of the boat is impressive at first sight. The sense of volume is unusual for a 35-foot long performance cruiser. Even the ladder through which you descend into the salon is made wider. And these few centimeters are very important when you move around the yacht, and even more so when you lower kitties with sails. The bow cabin has two doors. The latrine is moved to the stern.
Unlike the first First 35 with 3 cabins, the new Beneteau offers just 2, but that seems more than reasonable. The idea of 2 doors leading to the bow cabin, on the one hand, seems practical, again from the point of view of moving kitties with sails and other voluminous things; on the other hand, one wonders whether it was worth sacrificing the central pillars that reinforce the deck to make one wide aisle.
The feeling of volume in the boat is also created due to the fact that the headroom is increased compared to what is usually found on yachts of this class and size.
The chart table is L-shaped, just like the First 40. The side lockers, folding square table in the saloon, light wood, leather and stainless steel finishes give the interior a modern and elegant look.
In summary, the First 35 is a very balanced performance cruiser yacht. He is undoubtedly the leader in terms of internal volume and offered options. With a good set of sails and a rigging fit, the boat becomes a strong player in any race.
-internal volume and offered options
– significant weight
The test was carried out at Saint-Gilles-Croix-de-Vie for one day, wind 12-15 knots, slight roughness.
Results under mainsail, staysail and spinnaker:
13 knots + 40 degrees true wind = 6.25 knots
13 knots + 70 degrees true wind = 7.3 knots
13 knots + 135 degrees true wind = 8.1 knots
13 knots + 170 degrees true wind = 7.2 knots
The total volume of lockers is 3,916 liters.
The weight distribution in this yacht deserves special attention. There is a large locker under the sofa in the bow, the reservoirs are located under the banks on the sides in the cabin, in the table support in the center of the cabin there is a water heater. The galley and the chart table are full of shelves and drawers. Instead of removable cockpit lockers, as was done on the First 40, here we see a large locker and space for a life raft.
Source: Voiles et voiliers magazine, September 2009