This yacht found its first admirers at the Boatshows in La Rochelle and Southampton in autumn 2009, and finally the first results at sea! Stylish and fast First 40 is already at the start! This yacht has attracted both experienced riders and sailors seeking new experiences.
On the last weekend of March, the weather in Trinite-sur-Mer (Atalanic coast of France) was truly spring-like: rains interspersed with sun glimmers. Such conditions were the best suited for the next stage of the Spi Oest France regatta.
Among more than 150 yachts, 3 First 40 boats were entered: Courrier Zen, Coup de Coeur and Cornouailee Magic, for whose crews this competition was a step towards winning the main prize in the Atlantic Trophy this year.
At the start, all three crews had equal opportunities. The boats were launched only a few weeks before the start, and the teams did not have time to properly study their features and make precise settings.
Bruce Farr Project
We were invited to complete the first stage of the race aboard the Cornouaille Magic. Team leader Olivier L`Helgoualc`h made no secret of his delight in starting the season on what he called “the flagship of the new First line.” The boat is designed by Bruce Farr, its lines are elegant, the internal volumes are impressive, and the deck is extremely ergonomic. “Our rivals must keep their eyes open!” – laughs Olivier.
I must admit that this 40 feet have been waited for a very long time. Ideal for cruising, this size allows for IRC rated 1 races, competing against many other yachts of the same size. Race results could be seen in real time and the First’s ride performance could be assessed without waiting for measurements.
Volumetric and habitable
When 30 boats in Group 1 were lined up on the starting line, it became clear that more than half of them were about 40 feet in length.
“… 10 seconds, 5 seconds, 4, 3, 2, 1-start!”
The start signal sounded just as the wind increased from 10 to 18 knots. It was too late to change the staysail; it doesn’t matter, we started in the top three, the crew on the sides, the helmsman and the tactician in the aft part of the cockpit at the helm. On board the Cornouaille Magic, the cheerful pre-launch atmosphere was instantly replaced by general concentration. This is not surprising, because the motto of the team is “Have fun and race!”
Under Genoa, the boat accelerated to 7 knots. Yvon, the helmsman, seemed pleased, but it is difficult to get a significant lead on the first tack. The first sign appeared, the team prepared to turn. At that moment, the rivals approached us from the left side, and we had to sharply shift the steering wheel to the right to avoid a collision.
The wind turned 30 degrees. It was impossible to make a turn immediately, the tension was palpable, and the maneuver was far from perfect. Fortunately, the boat responded quickly and clearly to the movements of the helm. Finally, the spinnaker was delivered. We went into the wind.
The removable lockers were removed and there was enough room in the cockpit for 7 people, everyone felt comfortable even when maneuvering.
The wind gradually died down to 12 knots, but the Cornouaille Magic moved forward without noticeable heel at a speed of 7 knots, and outrunning many rivals, pursued the Courrier Zen. The second sign was approaching, and we prepared to change tack. At a sign from the helmsman, the boat changed course and the spinnaker was lowered.
Everything worked very quickly and harmoniously, and the yacht quickly picked up speed, which allowed us to leave a few more competitors astern. Stephane, tanker, for whom this was his first season in the First after years of racing in the Grand Soleil 40, told us he was impressed with the fluidity and ease of maneuvering. He also really liked the deck plan and the arrangement of the deck equipment.
Good results in medium winds
After a dozen tacks between two lane marks, the Cornouaille Magic ended the race just behind the Courrier Zen, leaving most of the fleet behind. “Despite the good weather, we performed poorly” – Olivier was disappointed – “Tomorrow we should be more attentive to the choice of sails and work more on the coordination of the team’s actions. In our hands is a real gem, which today has shown that it is capable of much in an average wind, everything else is in our hands! “
Beautiful as a heartbeat
Сoup de Coeur is a story of friendship between four members of UNCL (National Organization of Offshore Racing), who competed together at the most famous regattas, acquiring yachts in joint ownership. We met with two of them – Marc de Saint Denis and Philippe Serenon, with them was the helmsman Eric Varin.
“We changed yachts every two years, and when Beneteau offered us the First 40 in a racing version, we decided to swap our First 44.7 for a new 40 foot. It is this size that is most popular in modern racing. It allows you to compete in semi-one design and most competitors with the same rating have older yachts. It is very interesting to master a new boat.
This is especially true for First, who, in our opinion, will have a wonderful racing career. We didn’t think long when choosing a name for our yacht. It is as beautiful as a heartbeat! We liked her at first sight, even when she was standing on the keelblock. At sea, we were able to appreciate the strong bow lines and compact stern, which create a very attractive silhouette.
On the go, the impressions are the same. The ergonomic deck, cockpit and interior are superbly planned. Yes, 40 feet is less than 44.7, so we got the impression that all the rigging is at hand, the sails are very light and the equipment is thoughtful.
The balance of volume, comfort and driving performance is truly remarkable. The yacht instantly accelerates to 10 knots and demonstrates stability in moderate winds. We look forward to the strong winds to get the best out of the First 40. “