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Beneteau First 53

2019 September 1

Combining performance with a luxe interior, this performance cruiser is ready for the open sea

Here’s a new boat for Beneteau’s First series. The hull design is by Biscontini Yacht Design and the layout and deck design is by Lorenzo Argento.  Like the Mark Mills 68, the design target is a fast cruising boat but “fast” is subjective and this boat is designed for the production boat market.

The D/L of this design is 118 and that’s pretty low for a boat with this much accommodations. But the only displacement the company lists is a “light displacement.” I’m pretty certain it does not reflect the weight of the boat ready to go out for a long cruise, so it’s best to consider any displacement-based figures “optimistic approximations.” 

The L/B is 3.42 and that’s textbook medium beam. Looking at the hull in plan view note that like the Mills 68 max beam is carried almost all the way aft. The big difference in the two hulls is that the Mills design is much finer forward. For fun let’s measure the half angle at the deck as a measurement of how fine the bow is. Usually I’d use the half angle of the DWL but I don’t have hull lines for the Beneteau. But given how slabby the topsides are on these designs, it will be close. 

For Mark’s 68 the half angle at the deck is 16 degrees. For the First 53 the half angle at the deck is 19 degrees. This is primarily a function of the max beam on the Beneteau being quite a bit farther forward than it is on the Vismara. 

Draft with the standard iron ballast and the T-keel is  8 feet 2 inches. If you go for the Performance lead T-keel the draft is 9 feet 10 inches. The sectional shape of the First 53 is similar to that of the Mills design but the turn in the topsides (no chine) is softer and the topsides do not look so brutally vertical. Twin rudders are used leaving room on centerline for a big dinghy garage. 

Two interior layouts are available. You can have three sleeping cabins and three heads or you can have three sleeping cabins and two heads. If you go with the three-head version you get two really small sleeping compartments aft. If you get two heads, the port aft cabin is slightly bigger. I’d go for the two-head model. 

The galley is to port and looks quite large. Forward of the galley on the port side is a small dinette. To starboard there is a long settee that I think is used as the nav seat aft. Forward of the main cabin is the owner’s stateroom with centerline double berth, head to starboard and shower stall to port. There is a generous fo’c’sle forward.


The deck configuration of the First 53 is quite similar to that of Mark’s Vismara and both take great advantage of that extra broad stern. Lines are lead aft under covers. There is no mainsheet traveler on the 53. The mainsheet leads to a  block on centerline slightly forward of the twin wheels. All deck hatches are the flush type. The short jib track is mounted on top of the cabintrunk leaving the side decks clear. The bowsprit allows the anchor roller to be brought forward so that the chain will not rub on the plumb stem. There is a hatch into the fo’c’sle. As mentioned earlier there is a large dinghy garage aft and when the garage door is hinged down it provides a large swim platform. This is a very nice deck design. 

There are two rigs available. There is an aluminum mast and a carbon fiber performance mast. The mainsail and working genoa are slightly larger on the performance rig. The standard rig gives you a SA/D of 27.13 and the performance rig gives you a SA/D of 28.13. That’s not much difference. I don’t have a sailplan of either rig but I would suspect the performance rig has a square topped mainsail. The specs suggest that perhaps the performance rig also has a slightly larger I dimension.

For a cruising yacht with luxurious accommodations, the Beneteau First 53, with its powerful rig and high performance options, promises exceptional sailing speed.

LOA 56’4”; LWL 50’6”; Beam 16’5”; Draft standard 8’2”, performance 9’10”; Displ. 34,162 lbs.; Ballast 9,918 lbs; Sail area 1,785 sq. ft.; Auxiliary 80-hp; Fuel 106 gal.; Water 190 gal.; D/L 118; L/B 3.42 ; SA/D standard rig 27.13, performance rig 28.13


105 Eastern Ave., Ste. 201

Annapolis, MD 21403