Only a year has passed since we honored First 45 on the podium and now First 35 shares first place with another newcomer: Boreal 44. So, a promising Farrow project at a fair price.
At first we considered the new 35th to be another “fashionable thing”, and did not expect to find it, just two months later, in the top of our voting. Did the jury mislead the word “First”? Of course it is not.
First, both readers and the professional jury agree that the First 35 is undoubtedly a successful replacement for two legendary models from the Benetu racing series: the First 34.7 and First 36.7.
But, you see, this is not enough to win the hearts of experienced judges.
There are many objective reasons for this.
Let’s start with our expectations. The first impression is the most correct. The First 35 definitely has character. The aggressive outer contours are pleasing to the eye. In this respect, the First 35 does not disappoint, especially since appearance is not the main thing for this type of boat. Also obvious is the expectation of great racing performance that should lead you straight to the top of the podium. This is more difficult. For objective assessments, we will have to wait for the races.
Spi Ouest is one of the first in which First 35 must enter with a 1.025 IRC score against a coalition of rivals, among others, A35, X34 and Dufour 34. Theoretical estimates and our inferences, of course, cannot be compared with real rivalry in the water. But everything speaks for the fact that on this boat you will not be an outsider. In any case, no matter what role you are in: a helmsman at the helm, an opener, or a clew, it is pure pleasure to ride this boat.
The new First is completely different from the previous 34.7. It maneuvers surprisingly quickly thanks to its optimized genoa (106%) and new generation Harken 46T winches. Deck equipment is beyond praise. The boom-sheet is guided according to the “German system”.
Sheets are brought out on both sides to the stern winches. The mainsheet is displayed aft in the hoarding and is adjusted by the crew member sitting in front of the helmsman. All other settings are displayed on the roof of the deckhouse: posting of the settings for the epaulettes of the jib sheets, barbers and the jib sheets themselves.
Finally, we move on to the interior, while it is available in one version of the finish, but from the new year there will be two of them, and radically different in color: light oak or dark teak. The interior design aligns with its dual purpose: racing minimalism and cruising comfort.
For example, a folding table in the saloon, which can be lowered down during the race for the convenience of storing the sails on the other side in the raised position, does not impede the passage to the bow cabin, which also has a double door.
Perfectly crafted on the new First, the navigator’s table is truly a full-fledged navigator’s place of work, not a narrow gap between the sofa and the bulkhead, as is usually the case on yachts of this size. A big plus is that the architects placed the latrine in the stern.
The First 35 will no doubt keep us in the dark until next spring when the racing season kicks off. But it is already absolutely clear that this machine has everything you need to win.
I was impressed with the steering precision. The boat is perfectly equipped for racing. The double doors for access to the front cockpit are really ingenious.
The boat is optimized for IRC. This is a real athlete with a comfortable interior. The boat literally turns on a patch, excellent control. The staysail sheet routing does not require much improvement.
OLIVIER LE MORVAN
This is the archetype of a cruise-racing boat. Very pleasant with well designed deck space. But, I don’t think this boat is ideal for cruising.
This is a great boat. You get real pleasure at the helm. A boat without surprises. We are in a famous territory, this is the Benetu brand. Everything is well thought out and assembled: the spasplot is stored where necessary, the aft winches are used to control the boom sheet, two pairs of front ones for the jib halyards and spinnaker braces. An excellent chart table, but working behind it you block access to the latrine. The lockers are quite spacious and well organized.