2019 Boat of the Year: Figaro Beneteau 3

Published on October 4th, 2018

Sailing World magazine named the Figaro Beneteau 3 as its 2019 Boat of the Year, after evaluating the latest high-performance raceboats introduced in North America. The 35-foot one-design, built by Beneteau (Chevine, France, and Marion, South Carolina) is designed for shorthanded offshore racing enthusiasts, and utilizes new and innovative foil technology.

“The Figaro Beneteau 3 is purpose-built for competitors of France’s annual Solitaire du Figaro Race, the unofficial world championship of offshore singlehanded sailing, but it is also designed to serve a blossoming segment of the sport,” said Dave Reed, Sailing World editor and director of Boat of the Year.

“Through a collaboration of offshore sailing legends and top French marine companies, rank-and-file sailors now have access to a foil-assist platform once exclusive to elite offshore racing sailors and bigger boats. Its foil system, however, is only one element of an excellent overall package.”

After a thorough dockside inspection and sea trials in various wind conditions, Sailing World’s independent judging panel agreed that the Beneteau 3 is built to notably high standards and strict one-design tolerances, and performed beyond expectations under sail.

“When you turn downwind, you can immediately feel the foils start to work; the bow rises, the boat lightens up, and it feels really amazing,” reported Chuck Allen, a professional sailor and veteran Boat of the Year judge. “Upwind too it has a great groove, and as soon as the boat leans onto the foil, you can feel it make a big difference.”

BOTY judge Tom Rich, a custom-raceboat builder, described the Figaro Beneteau 3’s construction as “structurally solid,” with good use of infusion technology to minimize the overall weight of the boat. Its sail-handling systems, he added, were neat and simple, making for “a very cool boat overall.”

In September 2018, the magazine’s independent judges conducted tests in Newport, Rhode Island. Over the course of a week, the judges tested five other new raceboats, including the TF10 foiling trimaran from DNA Composites, the IC37 by Melges, the Seascape 14 dinghy, and two from RS Sailboats in England: the RS21 keelboat and RS Cat 14 XL catamaran.

Each of this year’s entries received high accolades from the judges, but in the end, they agreed the Figaro Beneteau 3’s innovation, affordability and design purpose placed it atop the shortlist.

“This is essentially Beneteau’s grand-prix model,” said longtime BOTY judge Greg Stewart, a naval architect. “It delivers as promised to a growing market, where young and amateur offshore sailors can campaign this boat in any distance race, and have a blast doing so.”

More about the Figaro Beneteau 3 will be in the 2019 Winter issue of Sailing World, which will feature the 2019 Boat of the Year Awards and detailed reviews of all nominees.

Sailing World has conducted its Boat of the Year Awards since 1985, making it the industry’s longest-running and most respected award for new performance sailboats.

Source: Dave Reed, Sailing World Magazine

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