A First 375 has appeared on Afloat's Boats for Sale this week and there’s a timeless elegance to the general appearance and lines of the First 375 which suggests something beyond basic naval architecture in her creation writes W M Nixon. So it’s no surprise to learn that designer Jean Berret was a student at a very distinguished art school before his love of sailing, and offshore racing in particular, steered him into the professional designing of boats which he’d like to sail himself, and in 1985 the First 375 for Beneteau was signed off from his drawing board.
This 1988-built First 375 is based in Howth Yacht Club Marina, and is for sale through Leinster Boats. She certainly seems to have done what’s expected of her, as she has had only two previous owners. But as she is largely unchanged from new – including the original 28hp Volvo Penta diesel auxiliary – her sensible price of €31,950 reflects this, as some potential owners might think in terms of an early engine upgrade for this 28-year-old boat, planning on installing a more powerful yet lighter type of motor.
Against that, I was with a couple of happy co-owners on another cruiser of a certain age the other day who still cruise with their original vintage Volvo, and they wouldn’t dream of having anything else. Its weight gives it endurance, and it’s tops on fuel consumption too – “It would run on the smell of an oily rag” I was assured.
In this version of the First 375, the accommodation has been so arranged that you could sleep eight if needs be, but as there’s only one toilet that might feel a little crowded, and a more civilized approach would be no more than six with the saloon settee berths used only as settees. For four, she would be decidedly commodious, a very civilised fast cruiser which could give a good account of herself in local racing. As for her looks, you’re almost into “Spirit of Classics” territory here, she looked good when she was new, and she still looks good.