Bluewater Sailboat – Beneteau First 47.7


The Beneteau First 47.7, designed by the bluewater Sailboat Designer Bruce Farr, builds on the incredible success of her smaller sister the 40.7, of which over 300 are currently at sea.

The Beneteau First 47.7 appears poised to follow in the yachts’ recent predecessors’ footsteps. Although price has undoubtedly played a significant role in their appeal, there are other important factors, with adaptability coming in at the top of the list. (you can now calculate the price for your boat with the sailboat calculator)

A range of conventional rig, keel, engine, and accommodation options are available on the Beneteau First 47.7 to allow for the creation of a sailboat that is best suited for either cruising or racing. Although many of the major production builders already employ this strategy, Beneteau seems to use it most effectively. At the Hamble Series, three Beneteau First 47s placed second, third, and fourth overall in IRC Class 1 while additional cruising variants with a shorter mast, a more condensed sail plan, and a shallower draught have been spotted nearby.

Beneteau First 47.7
Beneteau First 47.7
  • Length 47′ 7″
  • LWL 41′ 4″
  • Beam 14′ 9″
  • Std. Draft 7′ 7″
  • Deep Draft 9′ 2″
  • Ballast 8,377 lb.
  • Displacement 25,353 lbs.
  • Sail Area (100% Foretriangle) 1,046 sq. ft.
  • Standard Sail Area 1,324 sq ft.
  • Power 78-hp Yanmar diesel
  • Water 185 gal.
  • Fuel 66 gal.


First off, Beneteau is the moniker given to a line of performance-focused cruiser/racers by the French bluewater sailboat maker. First has also been the position held by the First 40.7 model at the majority of IMS handicap regattas since its introduction in 1998.

It’s difficult to recall another mass-produced cruiser/racer that has achieved such a high level of racing success, especially in Australia where sailboats like Smile, Fruit Machine, and now Fireball have dominated important competitions like the Hamilton and Hayman Island regattas and the Telstra Cup.

You have to question if Beneteau employees were truly ready for the First 40.7’s extraordinary success given that more than 284 of them have already been sold, including 19 in Australia.

It has undoubtedly signalled a very fruitful partnership between Farr Yacht Design and the leading worldwide yachtbuilder. With numerous victories in world championships, the Sydney to Hobart and Whitbread Round-the-World races, and a current portfolio that includes the Farr 40 One-Design class (leading the international push towards owner/driver fleet racing), as well as several new Volvo Ocean Race competitors being built, Kiwi-born, US-based Bruce Farr and his design team have certainly had success.

Given everything said above, it’s not surprising that orders for the First 47.7 began to pour in even before Beneteau and Farr Yacht Design announced the development of a new, larger cruiser/racer. Australia, a region that has long been a Farr-boat bastion and where Vicsail, the local Beneteau partner, has set the standard for production-yacht marketing, has seen particularly significant interest in the new type.

It makes sense that the Beneteau headquarters selected Sydney as the location to photograph the new 47.7 for its global promotional brochure. Four of the new model boats are already sailing in Sydney (one more was launched in Adelaide, and nine more were ordered), and they are undoubtedly attracting attention.


A moulded structural hull liner laminated and bonded to the solid GRP hull of the 47.7 allows for the inclusion of various interior layouts as standard while also distributing rig and keel stresses. Balsa/GRP sandwich deck with fully moulded deck liner. The keel uses lead ballast and comes in two versions: the conventional version draws 2.3 metres, and the deeper “racing” keel draws 2.8 metres. The carbon fibre composite rudder stock is mounted with the spade rudder.

All of the bluewater sailboats that have been imported to this point have the racing rig and keel, claims Beneteau-Vicsail. The mast ‘I’ measurement of the normal rig is 17.25 metres, while that of the higher rig is 18.05 metres, with proportionally bigger sail sizes.

Both boats have a tapered, anodized aluminium mast supported by three sets of swept-back spreaders, no runners, and an adjustable backstay that is hydraulically controlled. With numerous fixed and opening ports and portholes along the topsides and coachhouse as well as a perspex sliding door above the companionway, the deck plan is neat and uncomplicated, and one of the most notable aspects is the attention made to getting light and air to the interior. Additionally, there are two dorade vents on either side of the cabintop, forward of the companionway, which are surrounded by useful stainless steel handholds that also serve as support braces.

On the coachroof, halyards connect to clutches and Lewmar 44 self-tailing winches. The Australian Beneteau-Vicsail team incorporated the 2:1 buy mainsail halyard to the standard specification.

The Lewmar 58 three-speed self-tailing winches are connected to the genoa sheets by ball-bearing genoa cars running on the inboard edge of the sidedecks, which can be tweaked under load using tweakers.

The mainsheet has a fairly typical racing setup, leading from blocks at the boom’s end and the traveller to blocks at the gooseneck and sidedecks close to the bases of the shrouds, then returning along the sidedecks to the Lewmar 48 self-tailers on the coamings on either side of the cockpit behind the primary winches. The mainsheet traveller, which has a ball-bearing car and a block-and-tackle adjustment to cleats on both sides, is anchored on the cockpit seats and runs from coaming to coaming.

When the bluewater sailboat is heeling, the moulded GRP pedestal for the 1600mm diameter steering wheel serves as a very useful and strategically placed foot brace for both the mainsheet trimmer and the steerer. The ergonomics of the steering area as a whole have received careful consideration, and there are several pleasant standing and sitting driving positions, whether to windward, leeward, or on the centerline.

The teak-laid boarding platform may be lowered using a block-and-tackle system in the aft locker to modify the transom after the race is finished. There is a cockpit shower and an attached bathing ladder. Around the cockpit, there are large compartments for the liferaft, gas bottles, and boating supplies.

Above Deck

No matter what kind of internal configuration the 47.7 has, the deck layout never changes. A pair of Lewmars (a 58 primary and 48 aft) are buried into each coaming of the cockpit, which is broad (too wide to brace your feet on the opposite seat) and well-arranged for cruising or racing. These Lewmars should readily manage even the largest headsail. The helmsman’s office is distinguished by a huge wheel that enables the skipper to use the scalloped bench seat across the transom and plant his rear on the teak-side deck each side of him.

The boom is so high that even the tallest sailor may stand on the cockpit seats without fear, and three cockpit lockers—one of which is specifically designated for stove fuel—provide enough storage. At the forward end of the cockpit, all sail controls connect to Lewmar 44s with Spinlock stoppers.

Excellent non-slip surfaces throughout the rest of the deck (even on the side of the cabin, for use while heeled) and built-in Dorade vents in blister mounts with protective guards are its standout features. Double lifelines with gates on each side, an aft gate, and a varnished mahogany toe rail surround the deck. An electric windlass is kept in the front anchor locker, and slightly aft, a separate sail locker is perfect for storing extra sails or a deflated tender. A teak-planked fold-down platform with room for swimming or boarding the tender is located at the transom.

Below Deck

The First 47.7 is a racer with a cruising interior, like its smaller sister the 40.7, but here the focus is more on the cruising component of the equation. Below decks, the 47.7 really is a large, opulent vessel. A lot of cherry-colored woodwork gives the cabin a rich, cosy atmosphere, and the headroom of more than 2.1 metres in most areas combines with the numerous portholes and opening hatches to provide a sense of spaciousness, light, and air.

The interior design is offered in four different iterations. A soft white leatherette sofa and a double berth (2m x 1.4m) are located in the forward owner’s cabin. In addition to a hanging locker, an armrest storage unit, and lockers along the hull, there is storage space under the mattress. Overhead, there are two opening hatches, and the hull has fixed portholes. A marine toilet, a sink with pressurised hot and cold water from a mixer tap, a shower seat that folds down over the head with a hand-held shower unit, hose, and holder, an electric sump pump, a storage cabinet, and an overhead opening hatch for ventilation and light are all located in the ensuite bathroom to the front of the bluewater sailboat.

The forepeak, which sits behind the anchor locker and front of the ensuite, has space for storing sails. Two distinct cabins, each with upper and lower single bunk beds, storage cabinets on the centre partition wall, and access to the forward bathroom, are placed here in an optional layout. The main cabin comes in two different iterations. The kitchen aboard Trieste is what Beneteau refers to as the “lateral galley version,” and as the name implies, it is located next to the dining room, which features an island seat for two, an adjustable table, and settee seating for four or five, on the forward port side of the hull. The main bathroom compartment is located behind the galley and is equipped similarly to the forward bathroom.

The main bathroom is located behind the galley and is outfitted with the same amenities as the bathroom up front. On the other side of the bathroom is a spacious and comfortable navigation station. The main bathroom and dinette area remain in their current locations in the alternate arrangement, which swaps the navigation station for the galley. In this configuration, the nav station appears to lose some nearby storage space, but the cabin adds a port-side sofa, and the galley is moved into an L-shaped room that, while still next to the eating area, may be a little more private, small, and self-contained.

A front-opening 100-liter 12V refrigerator, a top-opening icebox, a two-burner stove and oven protected by a stainless safety rail, a double sink with hot and cold pressurised water supply via mixer tap, a seawater foot pump, a hidden trash can, and numerous cabinets and storage spaces make up the well-equipped galley in both layouts.

There are once more two configuration alternatives as you get aft. Trieste has two aft staterooms that are essentially mirror images of one another, each with a double bed measuring 2 metres by 1.5 metres, hanging storage along the hull, and access to the engine room. A larger double cabin on the portside would be an alternative, leaving the starboard side open for storage.


The 47.7 is sailed around Sydney Harbor and outside the Heads in a moderate southeasterly breeze that gusts to 15kt. In these conditions, the boat glides smoothly along under the main and No. 2 headsail, reaching speeds up to 10kt. According to the B&G instruments, when sailing offshore, the boat cruises at speeds of seven to eight knots with an apparent wind angle of about thirty degrees. With only occasional minor modifications required, it nearly guides itself.

While the helm’s balance is impressive upwind, downwind it takes more effort to prevent over-steering. The 47.7 is a large boat that prefers to track straight off the breeze and takes time to respond to helm commands. This can lead to over-steering if the helm is spun more than necessary.

The cockpit setup is user-friendly, except for the headsail winches, which require significant force to trim in stronger breezes. The first sailing on the sailboat has been limited to races and harbor twilights, and the current setup of a Spectra mainsail and No. 2 genoa on a roller furler has been powerful enough for enjoyable sailing without a spinnaker or No. 1 genoa.

The 47.7 is large in every aspect, particularly in its beam, freeboard, and interior space. A forward sail hold with an electronic windlass and wide sidedecks make it easy to move around the boat. While the toerail along the gunwales provides a useful edge for bracing a foot against when navigating the decks, it may be uncomfortable for windward rail-sitters during races.

Under sail, the 47.7 is a pleasant boat with a lot of sail to trim, making it neither an easy singlehander nor a ma-and-pa boat. With good sight over the house and from the lee side, it is light and responsive at the helm. The sailboat heels readily as the breeze increases, but stiffens up and feels like a gale would be needed to push it down further. Once it finds its rhythm, the 47.7 accelerates upwind quickly, making eight knots in a 15 knot breeze. The wide beam allows for a large chute, and Beneteau is proud of the performance of this large Farr design as reflected in the complete polar diagrams included in the booklet.

Quick Notes

Once again, Beneteau has produced a stylish, contemporary boat with a racing history and cruising appeal. Yes, the package is pricey. However, it provides an enormous amount of performance and features for purchasers in this price range.

Simply because it’s a considerably bigger boat with heavier loads, racing this sailboat seriously around the buoys will necessitate a bigger, more experienced crew. However, it’s not sure why you would want to subject that lovely interior to the kind of punishment the southern races can dole out when it could be raced to Hobart more comfortably than the 40.7.

The 47.7 will likely focus on club racing, twilights, family weekend and holiday outings, coastal passage events, and northern race weekends, and it will succeed in all of those endeavors.

You can precisely calculate the expenses and income related to boat ownership with the bluewater sailboat calculator. Using this tool, you can investigate many possibilities and come to wise selections depending on your financial objectives and sailing requirements.

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