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Figaro Beneteau 3

2017 March 1

This foiling monohull is coming to the masses


Boy, things in the world of yacht design are moving fast, literally and figuratively. Beneteau, working with the design team of Van Peteghem Lauriot Prevost, is producing what they call the first foiling production monohull. When I was a kid the epitome of the fast boat was the 12-meter class. But that was 55 years ago. Seems like yesterday. To help put that into perspective, consider the 12-meter had a D/L of 269, about the same as a Valiant 40, very sedate and by today’s standards “heavy.” The new Figaro Beneteau has a D/L of 111. One of the things that fast boats of today have in common is that they are very lightweight. The old idea that you needed displacement to punch through the waves is gone.

I don’t have much to go on for this review. I have a rendered sailplan, which is fine. But I don’t have a deck plan. I have more renderings that show the deck. I have nothing at all for the interior. So we will have to guess there. But given the nature of the design that should be easy and I suspect Beneteau would build you any interior layout you would like, so long as you keep it light.

The sailplan shows a hull with a single chine running from the ax profile stem to the transom in almost a straight line. There is perhaps 8 inches of total rocker to it as it rises aft. Maximum beam is carried aft as we have come to expect these days and the topsides at the stern are slab and close to vertical in section.  Don’t think of it like clipping off the topsides. Think of it like pulling the chine beam outboard to flatten the buttocks for planning speeds. There are twin rudders, of course, which are needed with that wide stern. Draft is 8 feet 2 inches with a fixed fin and L-configuration bulb. I’d be interested in hearing why the bulb is not a T-configuration type. 


Then there are the foils. They  are manually controlled and retract into the hull when not needed. They are there to add lift, but according to the designers, these foils are also intended to reduce leeway. The foils do not lift the entire hull clear of the water like you see on an AC cat. As noted earlier, the D/L for this design is 111 and the L/B is 3.19.

The boat is almost 36 feet long, so you could have some interior, but with the short, tapered cabintrunk, headroom would be severely limited. Let’s just accept the fact that the sailor who buys this boat is not concerned with an elaborate layout or headroom. A couple of sea berths, mini galley and nav station will be about it, I reckon. Rules would probably require a head.

This boat is all about horsepower per pound and using it to the fullest. The SA/D, using the specified light displacement and all of the square-topped mainsail is 35. This is about double what you would have found in the racing boats of the mid-1960s. A fixed sprit allows you to fly either a hounds asym or a near masthead asym chute. Note how far aft the mast is stepped.

The deck layout is very clean with lines lead aft to emerge from cowlings on each side of the cabintrunk. Transverse jib tracks are just aft of the foils. There are only four winches. 

I’d love to go for a sail on one of these boats.

LOA 35’7”; LWL 29’6”; Beam 11’2”; Draft 8’2”; Displ. 6,393 lbs.; Ballast 2,425 lbs.;  Sail area 753 sq. ft.; SA/D 35; D/L 111; L/B 3.19; Auxiliary 21-hp.; Fuel capacity 10 gal.

Our best estimate of the sailaway price 175,000 to 200,000 

Beneteau America

105 Eastern Ave.

Annapolis, MD 21403