img7688The Australians called the Beneteau 40.7 "Beachballs" when they showed up to race in IMS and IRC regattas. The derision ended quickly though, as the 40.7 won race after race. The combination of favorable ratings in IMS and IRC and a superb design by Bruce Farr turned a lot of heads and kept a lot of riggers, hull and appendage specialists busy optimizing the boats. Savvy sailors were picking up used 40.7s and tuning them up for a fraction of the cost of a one-off IMS boat. And winning.

The 40.7 has other advantages over many racing one-designs and most of the IMS fleets: you can cook a meal, take a shower, and comfortably spend the night aboard — even go cruising in it. A lot of owners discovered that if one emphasizes the racer in racer/cruiser you can these days get a truly great multi-purpose boat.

This was not lost on Farr International and Carroll Marine, who this past fall introduced the Farr 395. Lots of would-be buyers of the Farr 40 were put off by its spartan interior: it's a racing boat, pure and simple. I saw half a dozen prospective buyers at a boatshow in 1998 get told "no way, we can't even spend a weekend in that thing" by their spouses.

Now there is a new racer-cruiser coming to the US, designed by the same team that drew the 40.7 and the Farr 395: Bruce Farr and his team at Farr Yacht Design. It's the new Beneteau First 36.7. The first hull has been built and is in testing in France. That boat will be freighted over to the US in August, for an appearance at the Newport and Annapolis boat shows. Production will then begin at the newly expanded Beneteau US facility in South Carolina.

"We have implemented many new proprietary, production techniques at our recently expanded factory in Marion, SC. These leading edge processes coincide with the sophisticated design of the 36.7 making her a very unique boat. This is the first "First" series boat that has been built in Marion for quite some time, and we are very excited about her debut this fall," said Gerard Martineau, Beneteau's Vice President of Manufacturing.

A buyer can tilt the scale even further in the racer/cruiser balance with the First 36.7, as it will be available in two versions, standard and pure racing. The latter will be sold without a standard set of sails. The racing version will also have a choice of keels, double or triple spreader rigs and rod rigging.

As with the 395, the cockpit is dominated by a large steering wheel. Deck lockers are removable to give greater cockpit space when racing. Ditto with the cabin's removable table, giving fast access through the salon to the foredeck hatch and sail storage.

Both versions have the same 3 cabin interior: a forward double cabin, separate head compartment and 2 aft double cabins. The L-shaped galley is port-side and includes a 2 burner LPG grill with oven, a 12 volt refrigerator and double stainless steel sink (with mixer tap pressurized hot and cold water).

Deck hardware is from Lewmar, Harken and Spinlock. As with the 40.7, the hull is solid fiberglass with a structural hull liner; the deck is a fiberglass and balsa sandwich.

The price has yet to be determined for either US or European sales, but Beneteau is going to be very aggressive (and will have to be, as Farr International has over 35 of the Farr 395s sold and a backlog of orders stretching into next spring). The US division is under no small amount of pressure from the parent company to ramp up production numbers on all the models; Beneteau has made a sizable investment in the expanded US manufacturing facilty. "As we continue to improve upon our building efficiencies in combination with the new factory processes, we are able to build a better boat at an outstanding value. As the world's largest sailboat manufacturer we have access to resources that our competitors will find tough to match." said Wayne Burdick, Executive Vice President.

The First 36.7 has followed the pattern of the 40.7 (and to a lesser degree the 47.7) in keeping sail area relatively conservative. How this will match up against the Farr 395's enormous sailplan will be interesting to watch: does the US market for racer/cruisers favor the former or the latter characteristic?

img7685Comparison Specifications

Note: provisional, approximate in many instances

Beneteau 40.7Farr 395Beneteau 36.7
Draft7'9" (lead standard keel)
6'2" (iron shoal-draft keel)
7'10" (deep)
7'2" (race version)
5'9" (standard)
Displacement15,211 lbs.12,500 lbs.11,552 lbs.
Sail Area799.83 sq. ft.1000 sq.ft.677.25 sq. ft.
Auxiliary30 hp40 hp29 hp
Fuel34 gals.38 gals.20 gals.
Water84 gals.40 gals.79 gals.

Hull : Solid fiberglass/GRP with structural hull liner, laminated for load bearing and distribution.
Deck : fiberglass/GRP balsa
sandwich for rigidity reinforced with unidirectional rovings, weight saving, insulation and soundproofing.
Interior Wood: Cherry stained finish.
All bulkheads bonded 360 degrees to hull and deck for structural strength.
Composite fiber rudder and stock.

Stainless steel stemhead fitting with roller.
Self-bailing anchor locker with cleat.
Stainless steel bow pulpit with navigation lights.
Teak toe rail along the hull-deck junction.
(4) Aluminum mooring cleats
Stainless steel stanchions s/s bases and double lifelines
(1) Lewmar racing mainsheet
traveller track with ball-bearing car adjustable under tension.
(2) Lewmar racing genoa sheet tracks adjustable under tension.
Mainsail tackle with ball-bearing blocks.
(2) Lewmar 40 AST maneuvering winches
(2) Lewmar 44 AST genoa sheet winches.
Spinlock XT deckstoppers.
Wichard foldaway padeyes for spinnaker blocks.
(2) semi-recessed shroud chainplates.
Wheel with compass.
Self-aligning upper and lower rudder bearings.
(2) Lazzarette cockpit lockers
Teak helmsman seat.
Teak-slatted cockpit seats and lockers.
Aft lockers : port for gas bottle, starboard for stowage.
Liferaft compartment below helm seat.
Emergency tiller.
Stainless steel aft pulpit with aft pulpit opening lifelines and horseshoe buoy holder.
Stern light on pulpit.
Stainless steel removable swim ladder
Hot &Cold cockpit shower

9/10 fractional rigging ( cruising)
Double spreaders
Anodized aluminum boom.
Mast step fitting with Lewmar blocks.
Stainless standing rigging
Backstay adjuster
Sparcraft rigid boom vang
Profurl Genoa furling system.

Running Rigging
(1) Mainsail halyard
(1) Genoa halyard
Double-ended mainsheet.
(2) Genoa sheets
(2) Reefing lines.
(1) Outhaul line, vang line.

Optional cruising mainsail and roller furling genoa.

Settee with cushions and back rests.
Removable salon table with folding leaves and stainless steel bar.
Lockers above the seat-backs
Stowage in the settee backs rests
Lewmar opening hatch with blind.
Fixed hull portholes.
Overhead halogen lights.
Opening ports.
" Formica" floorboards

Chart table with storage.
Space for instruments.
Stowage for charts.
Stowage under nav seat.
12v electrical panel.
Wooden hand rail.
Lewmar opening porthole.

Double stainless steel rectangular sinks with mixer tap pressurized hot and cold water.
Gimbaled 2-burner LPG stove with oven and stowage underneath.
12 volt electric refrigerator.
Cutlery drawer.
Trash can.
Stowage compartments with doors.
Overhead lights.
(1) Lewmar opening porthole with roller blind.
Wooden hand rail.
Halogen lights.

Fully molded head compartment with USCG approved marine toilet and holding tank(10gal).
Round wash basin with mixer tap, pressurized hot and cold shower.
12v sump pump for shower.
Towel racks and accessories.
Overhead light.
Lewmar opening hatch

Double v-berth.
Storage under berth.
Shelves alongside hull.
Hanging locker.
Opening Lewmar deck hatch.
Halogen reading lights.

Double berth.
Hanging locker.
Shelves along the hull.
Stowage space under berth.
Reading light.
(1) Lewmar porthole opening into the cockpit.
(1) Lewmar porthole opening into the cabin side.

Electric bilge pump.
Hand- operated bilge pump.
79 gals fresh water capacity.
Pressurized water system with expansion tank.
12v sump pump for shower.

12 volt circuit
1 x 70 amp battery - engine
1 x 105 amp battery - house
14-functions electrical panel
Navigation lights.
110v shore power
110v battery charger (20 amp)

21 gal fuel tank.
Engine compartment
soundproofed and insulated to CE standards.
Engine29 h.p. Volvo 2030 saildrive
Two-blade folding propeller.
Hour meter and fuel gauge.

Maintenance kit.
(2) Winch handles.
Owner's record and

Triple spreader mast
Rod rigging.
Tuff Luff.
Blocks cascade backstay adjuster
Spinnaker gear and pole.
(No sails included in racing version)

Raytheon ST60 Tridata
Raytheon ST60 Wind
Standard Horizon VHF with Antenna

The manufacturer reserves the right to alter equipment and specifications without notice. All specifications are approximations and are not contractual in nature.

Beneteau USA
24 North Market St., Suite 201
Charleston, SC 29401
Phone: (843) 805-5000