The world's oldest and largest
manufacturer of sailing yachts!
Our Beneteaus have all passed Vessel Safety Checks. We were the
first, the only for many years, and now one of only two New York schools
with the Gold Star/Green Dot status. More details below.
Above: blueprint of our Beneteau First 21.0 (top),
and a Mini Transat design (bottom).
Note the starboard (right) rudder.
a blueprint of our Beneteau First 21.0, the 21-footer we use to
teach you how to sail (Start Sailing course). It's a performance
cruiser-racer, and it's an award winner, having sailed off with Cruising
World's Boat of the Year award in 1993 in the Pocket Cruiser category.
Most other boats in sailing school service were already entering a mid-life
crisis by then, or worse.*
Series is it's performance line up, as opposed to more cruising oriented
designs (such as the famous Oceanis Series). This gives the First
21.0 some serious performance pedigree.
The Beneteau 21.0
is an ingenious modern design. One unique trait is its dual rudders
fins) for extra control with less physical work. That makes learning
to sail more efficient and enjoyable without sacrificing the feel that's
so critical to get from a training boat. Far from a gimmick, this
system is used in the most serious ocean racing fleets:
Globe (Around Alone) - the singlehanded race around the world with
no stopovers and no outside assistance!
Twin rudders - best for you to learn on;
5 Oceans Very similar event that alternates with Vendee Globe.
650, also called the Mini-Transat - 6.5 meter boats, or 21 feet
- sailed singlehanded across the Atlantic. Very similar to our Beneteau
21! Also see the "Unofficial"
Transat 650 site - the 3 pictures on top tell it all!
Ocean Race -
the Volvo Open 70 class, where the fleet does a circumnavigation race with
a team on each boat.
- 40 foot one design offshore racer/cruisers. Also see this private
site maintained by an enthusiastic owner: Class
the links above to read about these boats, the races, and even see photos
best for the world's best to race across oceans with!
The dual rudder system
makes learning so much more efficient. Why? Because it's much
more forgiving of errors, which you'll make plenty of when you're learning.
The difference with our boat is that you'll be able to figure out what
your error is while still maintaining control of the boat. The boat
will suggest what it "wants" to do, but won't force you and go on its own.
In the process, you learn more quickly, and with less confusion.
You'll develop better sailing skills, too.
What happens when
you first get on a boat with a single rudder after our course?
You can sail it easily
- better, in all probablity, than if you learned on it! It's all
about proper training, and a proper foundation. Once
you achieve that, everything else is easy. Our program is all about
giving you that foundation.
As far as we know
(and our heads aren't buried in the sand), the Beneteau 21.0 is the
only production sailboat with dual rudders, and we're the only school that
uses it for teaching. That would be a true exclusive - not a vague, unfounded
Want a free test
ride with no obligation to see for yourself? Contact
-one of our Beneteau First 21.0's with students and instructor.
S. Card, photo.
is its cockpit seating area. It's more spacious than most other school
boats, and less cluttered than any other. Even the deck is easy to
navigate. Yet the First 21.0 doesn't sacrifice any of the gear you
need to be prepared to sail other boats. Its layout is fairly similar
to typical performance cruisers up to around 40 feet, making it easier
for you to adapt when renting or chartering, or even crewing on races.
One reason the cockpit
is so spacious is that there is no traveller cutting across the
cockpit. (A traveller is a track that runs "athwwartships," or side
to side, to which the line controlling the mainsail is attached, or "mainsheet.")
Travellers make the constant moving around and position rotating you do
(or not, depending on the program) at sailing school a pain - both literally
and figuratively. Naval architects often face the quandary of where
to put the traveller - in the cockpit where the mainsheet has better leverage,
or up forward where it's out of the way but results in inefficient "mid-boom
sheeting." If the traveller is not set up ideally, it's a liability for
students learning the basics.
The traveller is
not on the American Sailing Association's (ASA) list of sailboat equipment
and controls whose functions a student must be able to describe.
Our Beneteau 21 has all the ones that are on the list, and more: main &
jib sheets, winches, outhaul, cunningham, boom vang, adjustable fairleads,
reef lines, rope clutches, and adjustable backstays.
Before we started
using these boats for teaching, we saw the advantage of the extra space
afforded by not having a traveller immediately, but we were mildly concerned
that this would be an educational problem, as travellers are pretty standard
despite not being on the ASA list. However, we quickly discovered
that the opposite was true. The extra cockpit maneuverability far
outweighs not having a traveller for easier fine tuning in some wind conditions,
and students are better off getting their basic sail shape and trim down
before worrying about the traveller. In fact, we found that having
no traveller made students focus on more important devices that are needed
more often, particularly the boom vang. So, we found it to be a large
net improvement in sail training. Besides, we can explain how a traveller
works to students in under a minute.
From a safety standpoint,
the 21.0 is top tier. Lifelines, real seats, a self-bailing cockpit,
positive floatation (lacking in most other school boats), and a stable
design all contribute to her overall safety and comfort. Fittings
are thoughtfully laid out to ensure safe movement around the deck.
And that deck stays drier than any boat put into service at a sailing school,
period. So, for that matter, does the cockpit!
all other schools use boats designed anywhere from 18 to over 30 years
ago. That doesn't mean those boats are about to fall apart, even
if they were actually built 20 or more years ago. Well-made modern
fiberglass hulls (boat bodies, for landlubbers) last almost forever.
But so do any outdated design properties! Of course, wear & tear
items like sails and lines (ropes) must be kept after. A young boat
with shot rigging and sails is worse than an old hull whose fittings, rigging
and sails have been kept after and replaced as needed.
Above: our Beneteau First 21.0.
Below: the 60-foot IMOCA, designed for the open seas.
A Beneteau First 21.0 as seen at idle on her mooring. Note the twin
rudders. Long bench-style seats with back rests make her comfortable
and safer. The cutout transom (back, for landlubbers) is both to
save weight and to allow water to escape the cockpit area quickly (with
no tendency for it to come in) should the need ever arise in a serious
storm. This is nothing to worry about under sailing school conditions,
however. Racing students will appreciate the 21.0's complement of
proper rigging and sail shape controls, and at the same time enjoy user
friendliness. Her spiffy and maneuverable design doesn't hurt, either.
In fact, the Beneteau
First 21.0 has the best balance of properties we've found on teaching boats,
and we've used many over the decades. No quirks! Many other
boats have issues that make it hard for experienced sailors to handle them,
let alone beginners. The Beneteau doesn't have any of these issues.
It handles as a sailboat should in all conditions with no extreme tendencies.
Many other boats suffer from issues such as...
We're not saying
that all other school boats are bad - there are several that are good for
training. However, having used a number of them, and having sailed
or seen most of the others, we think ours is significantly better.
Our students and renters seem to agree!
heavy helm (too much
force need to hold and turn the tiller)
the need to be sailed
flat to behave well (as opposed to heeling too much).
excessive weather helm
(tendency to turn into the wind)
squirrely handling downwind
(boat rolls frequently or wants to turn one way or the other)
no seats and backrests
nowhere to sit without
landing on hardware
Mainsail or genoa that's
disproportionately large (needlessly tough for learning)