Offshore Yachting : April May 2008
offshore | 65 BENETEAU PUT A LOT OF EFFORT INTO GETTING RACING PERFORMANCE OUT OF ITS NEW CRUISER/RACER, THE FIRST 45. THEY HAVE SUCCEEDED: THE BOAT IS FAST, PARTICULARLY WHEN CARRYING THE OPTIONAL CARBON RIG. YET IT'S ALSO COMFORTABLE, GOOD-LOOKING AND SPACIOUS By Barry Tranter BENETEAU'S First 50, introduced last year, was a statement of intent by the French company. The 50 was conceived as a fast cruiser/racer but Beneteau went to Philippe Briand for the design because they wanted a superyacht look. And Briand delivered. Beneteau's intent was to follow the 50 with a new line of craft cut from the same cloth. The first of these, the 45, will be released here at Sanctuary Cove Boat Show at a price of $599,000 for the base boat fitted with the optional race keel. The cruising keel version costs almost $38,000 less. Two distinct streams of effort went into the design of this new First series. The company frequently points out that these are cruiser/racers but they have put a lot of effort into hull design, deck layout and options to make them go fast for their rating. The second stream of thinking has gone into the remarkable interior design. But first, the sailing qualities. The 45 has a choice of two keels : Standard is a shallow-draft (2.40-metre) upside-down T in iron, and the option is for a 2.75-metre lead keel, which is a more conventional fin flared a bit at the bottom as favoured by the IRC. And there are no less than three rig options. Standard is an aluminium mast with Dyform rigging. The racing version of the 45 has a triple- spreader alloy mast with rod rigging, or carbon 2 spreader mast both with PBO backstays, the rigs favoured by Vicsail, the Beneteau importers. This rig's P measurement is 1 metre longer than on the standard rig -- 18 instead of 17 metres. The J measurement is also slightly greater. The racing rigs run non-overlapping jibs which contribute to the low IRC rating. The IRC produced a test TCC figure of 1.113 for the alloy rig and 1.119 for the carbon. The actual 'live' carbon TCC came in at 1.120, a figure which Vicsail's Nicholas Bedggood reckons will make the carbon- rigged boat very competitive. "The 45 and 50 were developed to expand the capabilities of the FLAIR There are no less than three rig options. Standard is an aluminium mast with Dyform rigging. The racing version of the 45 has a triple-spreader alloy mast with rod rigging, or carbon 2 spreader mast both with PBO backstays.
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