At first glance, the First 310 makes you restless. You sense there’s more to this than meets the eye writes W M Nixon. And you’d be right. The First 310 and her cousins are something else too, as they’re actually based on the Figaro Solo OD.
Of course, as a production cruiser-racer known as the First 310, the former Figaro flyer becomes a slightly more sedate proposition. But oddly enough, it’s when she’s sitting still on calm water with no spray flying around that you realise this Finot-designed cruiser-racer packs a hidden oomph, with beautifully hollowed waterlines forward leading into an easily-driven hull which nevertheless has as much accommodation as a forty footer of yesteryear.
The 310 variant was first produced in 1990 and stayed in production for five years, with Beneteau producing a hundred boats a year. When we add that total (it’s actually 496 boats) to the many boats to the designs which are the Figaro Solo, the First 31.7 which races as a One Design class in Dublin Bay, the Oceanis 300 and the Oceanis Clipper 311 which all share the same basic hull shape, we’re looking at a very impressive fleet which has been giving a lot of people worldwide a considerable amount of sailing pleasure. This is definitely a boat to be saluted.
And there’s one distinctive characteristic of this particular generation of Beneteaus (or should that be Beneteaux?) for which I’ve to confess a weakness. They all feature a circular portlight in the topsides. It’s not some fancy art nouveau mini-window, but a proper circular traditional porthole like you’d find on any genuine classic cruising yacht. Irrational I know, but somehow it speaks eloquently to me of genuine cruising.
In fact, her cruises have been modest enough, but West Cork has frequently seen this boat when she’s not in Dublin Bay doing great things in the racing, as she won the first series this season in Class 5, and has been overall ECHO Champion of the Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta and a winner in the Kish Race.
When you add in the cruising option with the proven racing performance, the package becomes complete, as there’s overnight accommodation for six, though if cruised by just three or four, she’d seem luxuriously roomy. This 1990 boat is in Dun Laoghaire and comes with all the best credentials - she has been in the same ownership for ten years, yet recently she got new sails and her standing rigging was renewed. An asking price of €29,950 seems a reasonable deal, details on Afloat.ie sailing cruisers for sale right here.