The Beneteau First Class 7.5 was designed in 2002 by Jean-Marie Finot and Jacques Fauroux, as a successor for the First Class 8. It was d Voile Magazine’s Boat of The Year 2005 and since then the First Class 7.5 has become a model of international one-design.
The RYA and the Federation Francaise de la Voile (FFV) have both embraced the use of this particular Beneteau yacht for teaching, training and racing. The FFV uses this model as a starter boat for their keel boat tuition and their national match-racing circuit. She is also Team Alinghi’s choice for crew training and for the Alinghi Academy sailing races, which provide an opportunity for the partners of the America’s Cup holder to practise flotilla and match-racing. In Italy, the BMW Match Racing Academy has chosen the First Class 7.5, as have the Sailing Teams of Nieuwpoort in Belgium and Valencia in Spain.
The hull and deck of the First Class 7.5 are constructed using infusion technology, to achieve consistency of both weight and shape, which are of course essential qualities for a racing boat. She has a swing keel like the older Beneteau Firsts and this allows the bottom to be scraped without too much damage (a useful feature for novice sailors and for those who enjoy exploring coastal inlets!). The large cockpit of the First Class 7.5 (4m long) allows the crew to move around easily and she is fun to sail and arguably easier to manoeuvre than her predecessor, the First 8. Her resin-coated hull makes her delightfully easy to maintain, whilst her smaller size and compact lines also make her easy to transport, which is particularly useful for those seeking a suitable regatta racing boat.
The First Class 7.5’s performance, build quality and general seaworthiness continue to make her a firm favourite with owners, racers and yacht clubs alike.