Test / Positioning and architecture of First Yacht 53, A seductive renaissance

During our test of the First Yacht 53 on the Catalan coast, we returned to the great tradition of the First range since its beginnings: performance and evolutionary features. The new spearhead of the range also sports a luxurious and trendy label.

An aestheticism that sets the tone

It has been twelve years since the First 50 ...the last great racer-cruiser, was in the catalogue. For the renewal of the First range, having opened the way to export in 1977 with the First 30 The Vendée shipyard has chosen an elitist positioning with a large, elegant and very modern boat, destined to become a new trend on the water. The taut silhouette on the transom as wide as the master beam and the dark hull colour, in line with the most wicked international-rated racers, leaves no doubt about the target sought: fast cruising and prestigious regatta for chic and hurried people who will be happy to arouse admiration once at anchor.

Le First Yacht 53
The First Yacht 53

An avant-garde development

Etude de forme de carène
Study of hull shape

Three years of development were necessary to achieve a subtle balance of the essential components of this yacht that we discovered at the 2019 Cannes boat show. An architect's competition presided over the selection of the designers. Roberto Biscontini for the naval architecture and Lorenzo Argento for the design and interior have thus collaborated with the French group's design offices. They have taken over from Philippe Stark and Sergio Pininfarina, who have worked in the past. But the technique has evolved, the virtual hull basin designed by the Cap Horn company has enabled them to carry out tests with hundreds of different settings until they have found the ideal performance/ease compromise for the crew, whether reduced or racing. The weight of the ballast has also been optimised in relation to the shape stability created.

Le First Yacht 53 sous voile
The First Yacht 53 under sail

Evocative attributes

Plan du First Yacht 53
Map of First Yacht 53
La coque du First Yacht 53
The hull of First Yacht 53

The softened hull chines rising to the stern highlighting the angled bisafans, the deep lead bulb, the large carbon mast with three spreader levels and canoe boom, the 3DI North sail set are all signs of speed, while the flush teak deck, black anodised stanchions, grey-blue hull, cockpit with separate areas, welcoming bench seats and a dinghy garage are attributes of elegance. Finding top-of-the-range European manufacturers in their natural market segment is Bénéteau's undisguised aim. This flagship positions the new First range to come, with a 45 in the pipeline.

L'accueillant carré du cockpit
The welcoming cockpit saloon
Le garage à annexe situé dans le tableau arrière
The annex garage located in the transom

A building that lives up to its ambitions

Construction du First Yacht 53
Construction of the First Yacht 53

The strength of the world's leading yachting group can be seen in its ability to adapt its production tool to the level of finish required while at the same time developing production standardisation.

Thus the use of Alpi veneers contributes to an ecological way of producing joinery. While the option of brushed light oak Alpi is convincing, this is not the case with standard Alpi teak, which has a surface uniformity that is not very compatible with the desired finish. The matt white lacquered woodwork is very beautiful.

Hull and deck are made of glass/balsa sandwich under infusion with a structural monolithic counter-mould. This counter-mould is glued to the hull and thus prevents the water from stagnating between the two. At the level of the sump and valves, this double skin is absent for easy access. The weight quotation of 15.5 tons of light weight proves the efficiency of the whole system.

Construction du First Yacht 53
Construction of the First Yacht 53
Read the report : Test of the First Yacht 53

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