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Beneteau First 310 Packs a Lot of Comfort Into a Classy Figaro Solo Hull

14th September 2016
The First 310’s slightly hollowed waterlines forward hint at the performance potential of a boat which is the hull sister of the Figaro Solo OD The First 310’s slightly hollowed waterlines forward hint at the performance potential of a boat which is the hull sister of the Figaro Solo OD

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 sailing cruisers for sale right here.

Published in Beneteau 31.7

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Beneteau 31.7 sailing in Ireland

In Ireland, the Beneteau First 31.7 Ireland One Design Class Association encourages and develop the use of the Beneteau First 31.7 yacht as a one-design keelboat, mainly for racing. 

Each year the association stages national championships with boats coming from different sailing across Ireland. The main centre is Dun Laoghaire Harbour where the bulk of the fleet (15 boats) are based at the National Yacht club but are moored at Dun Laoghaire Marina.

The Beneteau 31.7 boat is not new to Dublin Bay, as boats of this size and type have competed in DBSC in the Cruiser 2 class for some years.

However during the 2006 season, due to their increased numbers, DBSC granted the class its own racing start, thereby facilitating one-design racing for this cruiser/racer. 

Since then it has become one of the biggest one-design keelboat classes on the Bay.

One-design rules were drawn up to discourage modifications, maintain a level playing field and set a generally ‘Corinthian’ ethos.

To preserve the cruising dimension, the boat races with cushions aboard.

Numbers entered in DBSC have settled down to approx 15-18 boats, and regular Thursday and Saturday attendances over the season are usually of the order of 14 to 16 boats, reflecting good participation by members. Racing is close and competitive. 

In addition to scratch results, ECHO results are also posted. This combines the best of both worlds, providing one-design racing which the members like, while also providing an incentive and interest in turning out for those boats who may not always approach podium position on scratch.

At A Glance – Beneteau First 31.7 Specifications

L.O.A 9.61 m
Hull length 9.50 m
L.W.L. 8.80 m
Beam 3.23 m
Draught min (Deep draught keel) Cast iron 1.90 m
Ballast weight (Deep draught keel) 1 025 kg
Air draught (max) 13.90 m
Light displacement (EC) 3 750 kg
Fuel capacity 30 l
Freshwater capacity 160 l
Engine power 21 HP

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