I’m attracted to pocket cruisers. When I dream of cruising I dream of doing it by myself with a minimum of technological aids. I think back to the cruising stories of L. Francis Herreshoff and Uffa Fox. They did it without GPS, hot water and gen sets. I tried to duplicate that experience on my 26-foot Perrywinkle but I did have a depthsounder and a knotmeter. A nice little, one-cylinder diesel engine can add some security. So, when I look at this new First 25 S I see a boat that would fit in my picture of minimalist cruising. It is in many ways similar to the Perrywinkle but it does have some advantages.
The 25 S, designed by Finot-Conq et Associes, has a really broad transom. I suspect that Finot-Conq has put to use some of its experience in the Mini Transat class in developing this hull. Twin rudders will provide the control you need when the boat is heeled. Unfortunately I did not receive any drawings of the underbody but there is a retractable keel that reduces the draft from a respectable 6 feet 1 inch to 2 feet 9 inches. The twin rudders can be much shorter in span than a single rudder and this avoids the need for a retractable rudder. There is the option of a fixed keel drawing 4 feet 9 inches. The D/L is 151 and the L/B is 2.88 indicating a moderate displacement, very beamy boat.
The layout is pretty much identical to the layout of Perrywinkle with one huge advantage. On Perrywinkle the head is tucked under the aft end of the V-berth. So if you are cruising with your partner and nature calls in the middle of the night both of you will have to get up most likely. But the advantage to that disadvantage is that having the head there opens up the rest of the interior. On the First 25 S there is a head compartment that spans the boat aft of the V-berth. The near plumb stem of the 25 S lets the V-berth move farther forward opening up this area, that spaa Perrywinkle didn’t have due to the bow overhang.
The port settee extends under the mini galley area so it can be a berth if needed. Where the First has a nav table the Perrywinkle has a quarterberth. I prefer the quarterberth as it is a great place for my guitar and I use an Igloo cooler that also fits nicely back there.
I like the square-head mainsail. There is no standing backstay and the spreaders are swept eliminating the need for any runners. Like my boat, the mainsail sheets to a pad eye on the cockpit sole with the traveler functions being taken up by the vang. I have found this works perfectly fine.
The rig on the Perrywinkle is much smaller than this rig on the First 25 S. I sailed Perrywinkle a few times before I bought it 15 years ago and I never calculated any of its ratios. But I loved the boat and in those 15 years I never put a reef in. The 25 S has 358 square feet of total sail area even without adding the area afforded by the squaretopped main. So this is a big rig with a SA/D of 20.3. I’m sure if you added the roach area you would be up around 24.5 for the SA/D.
Poor little Perrywinkle. I still love you. I recently handed over the keys to Perrywinkle to the new owner, a nice young gal. It’s her first boat. My wife and I have 15 years of memories sailing our boat. They were good times. My two boys learned to cruise by themselves in that boat. Spike is gone. Max has a new baby and Jill and I have not been using the boat much. If I were going to replace it right away, and I’m not, the First 25 S would be a good candidate.
written by Clay Babcock , December 09, 2012
Good stuff, Bob, just one correction that was caused by an incorrect image that Beneteau USA gave you..
The photoshopped image shows a mainsheet system as you describe.
The actual boat has a traveler mounted to the transon beam and runs the entire width. This is made practical due to the lack of backstay, and the boom which is slightly longer than expected but allows the mainsheet to pull vertically.