sail-beneteau_first_45-largeThe automotive industry coined the term crossover; I guess that should be the word we now refer to for those boats that have high performance and comfort cruising. In this vein, the Beneteau First 45 is just that boat.

At first glance, I could see why Anchor Yacht's affable Colin Andrews was so excited about this boat. The hull shape just breathes 'power to burn'; our test sail proved that point first hand. Its acceleration and tracking are amazing; it's definitely got a home in the performance cruiser market. This new performance cruiser niche has a few manufacturers innovating their own designs to address the growing need for bigger boats influenced by the ever-increasing participation in events like the Lake Ontario 300. It's driving innovations on all fronts; the Beneteau First 45 designer Philippe Briand does not disappoint. Taking a page from his First 50 launched previously, this also has a lot going for it.

Results so far – from the Rolex Middle Sea race off Malta in October to the Australia's Hamilton Island Race Week regatta – have more than proved this boat's racing pedigree. Impressive results early in its career are reinforcing the scuttlebutt about this boat fast.

The sail plan is optimised for IRC, has a large and powerful full-batten main and a non-overlapping jib set on a roller furler system and a triple-spreader, 9/10 tapered aluminum spar with Dyform wire.

The hull configuration of solid glass is laid up with a unidirectional, bi-axial glass fibre with an inner structural liner affixed with adhesive. The hull and deck are joined both "mechanically" with fasteners and a polyurethane adhesive. This liner carries the chain plates, deck mast, engine and keel. The infused fibreglass and balsa sandwich deck – reinforced by solid glass where mounting points are needed – is supported by hull and deck bonded bulkheads.

Right away, this boat means business! Its neat features such as the open transom, teak cockpit sole, dual steering wheels, flush mount hatches and lines under the coach roof deck to its huge aft lockers and fold away anchor all add up to a boat that's made to race and comfortable to cruise. We loved the comfort and feel above decks immediately and the wide forward access and open cockpit is perfect for racing and wonderful for cruising.

The double composite steering wheels and well-positioned primaries and the cockpit sole mounted mainsheet all add up to an ergonomically pleasing and efficient sailing trim system that is both comfortable and safe to operate. Harken 60 primary winches are positioned well in reach of either steering wheel as well as the travellers lines for powering up after a tack – while the mainsheet is led aft ending at a pair of 48s.

Below decks, this boat is a dream with neat features abound – its lighter oak wood trim to its well done upholstery. The three-cabin layout is a natural for this boat. From the forward cabin with its wonderfully spacious head and stateroom to a huge saloon with an outward facing navigation table, it's well thought out. The nav station's unique lap top insert feature is cool, complemented by great space to add numerous electronics.

We liked a few features from the neatly camel-hide, wrapped hand rails to the leather desk pad.

In the salon, the multi-position seats swivel through 360 degrees and actually slide under the dining table to allow unbelievable space below underway. The interior natural light is perfect but the small reading lights positioned throughout are a neat touch. We also noted a unique hot dish grille in the center of the dining suite table protected by fiddles.

The starboard-positioned galley is well laid out with ample storage. The centerline mounted sinks with the L-shaped configuration and complementary bar area (as I call it) lead neatly forward into the saloon. Refrigeration is a well done and more than adequate and the option of adding other appliances is quite doable.

Opposite the aft head (that can double as a wet locker) can accommodate a 6-foot plus 220 pound crew to move about easily.

The aft cabins, similar to the First 50, are functional and provide more than ample room, including tasteful, fabric-lined hanging lockers.

Our test sail provided a great insight to this boat's power. In a light fading fall breeze upwards of seven knots, we were powering though at a solid five plus knots easily. The medium depth keel (7'10") and rudder (6'8'') allowed this boat to track with a single tweak on the rudder and to turn effortlessly as we tacked easily though 100 degrees.

Heading home, the standard Yanmar (54 HP) configured with a 3-blade sail drive performed well, pushing the boat at the obligatory 6 knots, as needed.

By John Kerr

To see if this boat is available, go to www.boatcan.com to check listings!

Destinations

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At the 2019 Vancouver International Boat Show I had the pleasure of meeting up with Allyson and ...
Following the harsh impact of Hurricanes Irma and Maria, The British Virgin Islands is making an ...
For the adventurous boater Bunsby Marine Provincial Park is a special place, situated due south of ...
There is good anchoring in Cowichan Bay and nearby, and salt water enough to make any boater happy. ...
We’re gliding through green-blue waters, colours so vivid and bright they hurt your eyes. We’re set ...
The Halifax waterfront has been attracting more and more large yachts in recent years. However, a ...
Ah Canadian simplicity at its finest; small town, big marina. Little Hilton Beach (population ...
Vancouver-based Big Blue Yacht Charters Worldwide owner Emma Murdoch explains that luxury crewed ...
In the 1920s, a small cove in Canoe Bay was used as a shipping point and safe-haven for rum runners ...
Here’s an update from Caroline Swann with some news for the adventurous types who may be heading to ...


The Marina at Blind ChannelOne of my favourite places

By Marianne Scott

Sailing north of Desolation Sound, the Discovery Islands and the Broughton Archipelago offer cruisers a bevy islands with ample anchorages. Tides cause swift currents to run through the islands’ waterways. Few marinas are found in this large, sparsely populated region but one that provides all the services boaters need and especially enjoy is Blind Channel, a marina and resort operated by the Richter family located on Mayne Passage on the east side of West Thurlow Island (50 24. 82N, 125 30. 00).

Read more about the Blind Channel Resort...

 

Lifestyle

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At the end of last month, Canadian sailors gathered on the Palma Beach in Palma de Mallorca, Spain ...
In 2019, C-TOW celebrates its 35th anniversary of providing 24/7 “Peace of Mind Boating” for ...
West Vancouver Yacht Club reports that following an independent certification process the Georgia ...
It has been hot in the Abacos this winter. Whoever said this area was cool this time of year must ...
Unfortunately this is not a picture from a boat but was taken on the evening of February 27, 2019 ...
On March 1, Tom Ramshaw of Stoney Lake Yacht Club was honoured with the most prestigious National ...
Vero Beach, aka Velcro Beach, lived up to its reputation again. Our original plan was to be there ...
My husband and I were visiting the Bra d'Or Lake from Newfoundland in our 39 foot Sea Ray ...
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This issue, to kick off 2019, we have an unofficial Photo of the week and this, the unofficial ...

Swift Trawler 47By Andy Adams

You might look at the pictures of the new Beneteau Swift Trawler 47 and think that this is not a “performance boat”, but I think it certainly is, and here is why; it can top out at 30 mph to get you from A to B quickly or to beat the weather in, so it’s pretty fast, but it can also loaf along doing 1,250 rpm making 9.3 mph and at that pace, it travels 2.4 miles on a gallon of fuel. That’s great performance in my books!

With a light displacement of almost 28,000 lbs, this is a big boat. In fact, it looks and feels more like a small ship than a big boat.

Read more about the Swift Trawler 47......

 

Beneteau Oceanis 46.1By Andy Adams and John Armstrong

Beneteau Oceanis 46.1When Beneteau introduced their new Oceanis 46.1, they were inspired by the fact that their previous Oceanis 45 was one of Beneteau’s best sellers and the new 46.1 had to be a clearly superior boat. The Oceanis range is about space and comfort for cruising while still delivering strong performance.

The yachting world has now recognized the Oceanis 46.1 as being just such a worthy successor. On January 19th, 2019, the Oceanis 46.1 won the highly regarded title of European Yacht of the Year in the “Family Cruiser” category.

Read More about the Oceanis 46.1......

DIY & How to

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Sea to Sky SailingSea to Sky Sailing has just been approved as the only Royal Yachting Association (RYA) recognized training centre on the west coast of North America just in time to deliver an epic 2019 season!

“This transition from our previous International Yacht Training (IYT) certification to RYA is a huge benefit to our students as it provides them certification that is known globally as the gold standard for yacht training.  The RYA requires training centres to undergo annual inspections of their vessels, business practices and training delivery in order to maintain a strong standard and guarantee a high quality experience for students. 

Read More about Sea to Sky Sailing......

 

  

Marine Products

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Gina de Vere approached me at the Canadian Yachting booth at this year’s Vancouver International ...
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After developing the Figaro Beneteau 3, the first production foiling sailing yacht, Groupe Beneteau ...
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This past decade has been a real up-and-down ride for the companies who make boating equipment. ...