The Beneteau First 30E Sailboat
Specs & Key Performance Indicators

The Beneteau First 30E is a product of the renowned Beneteau shipyard, a company with a long history of producing high-quality, performance-oriented sailboats. The First 30E model, in particular, is known for its performance, design, and value for money.

A Beneteau First 30e on her slipA Beneteau First 30e

Published Specification for the Beneteau First 30E

Underwater Profile: Fin keel with spade rudder

Hull Material: GRP (Fibreglass)

Length Overall: 30'6" (9.3m)

Waterline Length: 26'11" (8.2m)

Beam: 10'8" (3.3m)

Draft: 5'6" (1.7m)

Rig Type: Masthead Sloop

Displacement: 7,055lb (3,200kg)

Designer: Jean Berret

Builder: Beneteau (France)

Year First Built: 1981

Year Last Built: 1984

Number Built: 443

Owners AssociationBeneteau Owners Club

Published Design Ratios for the Beneteau First 30E

1. Sail Area/Displacement Ratio: 18.7

2. Ballast/Displacement Ratio: 36.5

3. Displacement/Length Ratio: 204

4. Comfort Ratio: 16.6

5. Capsize Screening Formula: 2.2


In terms of performance in a seaway, the Beneteau First 30E boasts impressive design ratios. With a displacement to length ratio (D/L) of 204, it falls into the moderate displacement category. This means that the boat has a good balance between speed and stability, making it suitable for both racing and cruising.

The sail area to displacement ratio (SA/D) of the First 30E is 18.7, which indicates that the boat has a good amount of sail area relative to its weight. This means that the boat can perform well in light wind conditions, but it also has the stability to handle stronger winds.

The ballast to displacement ratio (B/D) of the First 30E is 36.5%, which is relatively high. This means that the boat has a good amount of weight in its keel, which contributes to its stability and ability to right itself after heeling over.

Pros & Cons

The boat's strengths lie in its performance, versatility, and build quality. The First 30E is known for its speed and agility, making it a popular choice for racing. However, it is also comfortable and well-equipped enough for cruising, making it a versatile option for those who enjoy both aspects of sailing.

The First 30E's weaknesses, as reported by some owners, include a somewhat cramped interior and a lack of storage space. However, these are common trade-offs in performance-oriented sailboats, and many owners feel that the boat's sailing capabilities more than make up for these shortcomings.

In terms of pros, the First 30E is praised for its responsive handling, impressive speed, and solid construction. It is also noted for its attractive design and good value for money.

On the cons side, some owners have reported issues with the boat's engine access and the quality of some of the interior fittings. However, these issues are relatively minor and can be addressed with some maintenance and upgrades.

The Secondhand Market

The recommendation for prospective buyers is to consider the First 30E if they are looking for a performance-oriented sailboat that can also be used for cruising. The boat's design and build quality make it a solid investment, and its performance characteristics make it a joy to sail.

The Beneteau First 30E is relatively available on the secondhand market, with prices varying depending on the boat's age, condition, and equipment.

As of the time of writing, the asking prices for a used First 30E range from around $20,000 for older models to over $40,000 for newer, well-equipped examples.

When buying a used First 30E, it's important to consider the boat's maintenance history and current condition. A well-maintained boat can be a great value, while a neglected boat may require costly repairs and upgrades.

The Competition

The Beneteau First 30E is a popular choice among sailing enthusiasts due to its blend of performance, comfort, and affordability. Here's how it compares to other similar sailboats in its class:

1. Jeanneau Sun Fast 3200: The Sun Fast 3200 is a more racing-oriented boat compared to the Beneteau First 30E. While the First 30E offers a good balance of comfort and performance, the Sun Fast 3200 is designed for speed and agility, potentially making it less comfortable for long cruises.

2. J/30: The J/30 is another popular choice in this class. It offers similar performance to the First 30E but is often praised for its spacious and comfortable interior. However, the J/30 may be less affordable than the First 30E.

3. Catalina 30: The Catalina 30 is known for its spacious interior and ease of handling, making it a popular choice for family cruising. However, it may not offer the same level of performance as the First 30E, particularly in more challenging conditions.

4. Hunter 30: The Hunter 30 offers a similar level of comfort to the First 30E, with a spacious and well-designed interior. However, some sailors find that the Hunter 30 lacks the performance and responsiveness of the First 30E.

5. Dehler 29: The Dehler 29 is a high-performance cruiser-racer like the First 30E. It offers excellent speed and handling, but some sailors find its interior less comfortable and spacious than the First 30E.

The Beneteau First 30E offers a good balance of performance, comfort, and affordability, making it a strong contender in its class. 


The Beneteau First 30E is a versatile, performance-oriented sailboat that offers a good balance between speed, stability, and comfort. Its strengths lie in its sailing capabilities and build quality, while its weaknesses are relatively minor and can be addressed with some maintenance and upgrades.

The First 30E is a solid choice for those looking for a boat that can perform well in a variety of conditions and sailing styles. Whether you're interested in racing, cruising, or both, the First 30E has the potential to deliver a satisfying and rewarding sailing experience.

Other sailboats in the Beneteau First product range include:

A Beneteau First 28 sailboatThe Beneteau First 28

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