First 42
S / Deep draft

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Based on Gitana VII winner of the Two Ton Cup in 1979 in Poole, the First 42 was launched in 1981 by Bénéteau to compete with high-end shipyards. She was at that time the largest sailboat built by the Bénéteau. The structure and accommodation have received particular care to be top-class but you must pick options for stainless steel tanks or lead ballast.

The sleek hull hosts comfortable accommodations by keeping excellent performances. The volume, however, is a bit smaller compared to a cruising oriented sailboat. While she is perfectly capable of cruising First 42 remains a sharp sailboat and requires fine tuning to go at her maximum.

The First 42 was available in two drafts (1.72m – 5.6ft and 2.2m – 7.2ft) and 2 sizes of rigs, the S model with a 80cm – 2.6ft taller mast.

See the First 42's specifications on

Main Features

ModelFirst 42
VersionS / Deep draft
Sailboat typeCruising-racing monohull
DesignerGerman Frers
Building years (first/last)1981 / 1985
SuccessorFirst 435
Regulation1ere cat. 8-12 pers.
ConstructionFiberglass/polyester, monolithic hull, balsa sandwich deck
Appendage typeTrapezoidal keel
Ballast typeCast iron
Rudder bladeSingle under hull rudder
RudderSingle helm wheel
Main dimensions
Length over all43.3 ft
Hull length41.9 ft
Waterline length36.2 ft
Beam over all13.1 ft
Waterline beam11.2 ft
Fore freeboard4.1 ft
Middle freeboard3.5 ft
Draft7.1 ft
Mast height57.3 ft
Light displacement20944 lbs
Full load displacement22377 lbs
Ballast7937 lbs
French customs tonnage16.14 Tx

Rig and sails

Rig typeMasthead Sloop
Rig materialMast and boom in Aluminum
Number of rows of spreader2
Spreader anglePushing
Spinnaker typeSymmetrical spinnaker
Upwind sailarea1109 ft²
Downwind sailarea1970 ft²
Mainsail area398 ft²
Genoa area710 ft²
Working jib area484 ft²
Jib area353 ft²
Stormsail area154 ft²
Spinnaker area1572 ft²

PMainsail hoist measurement (from tack to head)

49.2 ft

EMainsail foot measurement (from tack to clew)

14.6 ft

IFore triangle height (from mast foot to fore stay attachement)

55.4 ft

JFore triangle base (from mast foot to bottom of forestay)

16.7 ft

LLGenoa hoist measurement (from tack to head)

59.2 ft

LPGenoa perpendicular measurement from clew to luff.

25.1 ft

SLSymmetrical spinnaker hoist measurement (from tack to head)

55.0 ft

SMWSymmetrical spinnaker width

30.1 ft


Wetted surface375 ft²
Transverse section maximum surface21 ft²
Ballast ratio37.9 %
Upwind sailarea / displacement116.7 ft²/Ton
Downwind sailarea / displacement207.3 ft²/Ton
HN (French rating)25.5
IOR rating32.7 ft

Auxiliary engine

Type1 x 4-108
Engine power1 x 50 hp
Fuel capacity39.6 gal
Fuel typeDiesel
Transmission typeShaft-line
Propeller typeTwo-blade propeller


Number of cabin (max./min.)3 / 2
Number of berth (max./min.)8 / 6
Number of shower room (max./min.)2 / 1
Fresh water capacity105.7 gal
Headroom max6.3 ft
Catwalk width2.6 ft

Based on specification1982

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