Fi­garo Beneteau 3

SAIL - - Best Boats -

There has long been a trend to­ward race boats re­quir­ing fewer or no crew, in part to ac­com­mo­date the dif­fi­culty of find­ing re­li­able, skilled sailors given the pace of life these days. As ev­i­dence, look no far­ther than events like the Ber­muda 1-2, the Pa­cific Cup and an in­creas­ing num­ber of dou­ble­handed sec­tions in races like the Chicago-Mac. En­ter the Fi­garo Beneteau 3, the per­fect boat for skip­pers in search of a solo or dou­ble­handed ad­ven­ture, not to men­tion a se­ri­ous adren­a­line rush. Most ob­vi­ous, of course, are the boat’s rad­i­cally curved twin lat­eral dag­ger­boards, which de­ploy and re­tract man­u­ally via a pair of sturdy hous­ings. Although the blades are not in­tended to pro­vide full-foil­ing per­for­mance ˆ la the Amer­ica’s Cup, they do pro­vide re­sis­tance to lee­way and a pow­er­ful right­ing force as the boat ac­cel­er­ates, thereby al­low­ing de­sign­ers to min­i­mize weight in the keel bulb with­out hav­ing to in­cor­po­rate wa­ter bal­last. Be­yond that, when the wind and seas are up the boards also pro­vide sta­bil­ity and lift for­ward, smooth­ing out the ride and pre­vent­ing the bow from sub­marin­ing. As for those scep­tics who think the whole blade thing is just a gim­mick, the “Fi­garo” in the boat’s name refers to the fact it is now the official one-de­sign for France’s an­nual solo off­shore La Soli­taire Fi­garo, long a prov­ing for such sail­ing leg­ends as Franck Cam­mas and Charles Cau­drelier. Suf­fice it to say, these are sailors who de­mand noth­ing but the best. As for SAIL’s Best Boats judges, the boat struck them as one of the most ex­cit­ing de­signs they’ve come across in years, promis­ing a truly ex­cit­ing new kind of sail­ing. beneteau.com/us

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