“The new Beneteau First 35 Carbon Edition [has] many of the ‘optional’ features on the previous version of this boat [as] standard: Carbon mast, rod rigging, deep fin keel, upgraded electronics.”

Exocet, Beneteau 35′

Interview with the Captain —Kevin Taylor

About the Boat 

Why did you choose to buy a Beneteau?
This is my third Beneteau. The first one was an 24’ F235 in the 80’s, then an F310R for many years, and then in 2015 this First 35 Carbon. Beneteau has always produced boats with an incredible combination of styling, features, and performance that I have found appealing. I have not been disappointed.  

What other kinds of boats did you consider before buying this particular model (and how did they compare)?
We were looking for something big enough to just hang out on with friends and family, and had enough creature comforts if/when we decide to go somewhere. Actually wasn’t necessarily looking to buy another sailboat…..I was just trying to sell my current (Beneteau F310R) sailboat and while re-considering my next move, the Beneteau dealer contacted me about trading up to the new Beneteau First 35 Carbon Edition. There were other sailboats like the J boats (105/109), but even used versions seemed a bit over priced for what they offered. The dealer gave me a deal too good to not consider/act on, so we did it.

How did you come to find/locate her before purchasing (and what’s the boat’s history if you know it)?
The Beneteau dealer brought it to my attention. There were quite a few of them all over Europe, but only a few in the US. One was in RI, so we went to look at it. It had so much room and was a really well appointed down below.  Exocet was built at the Beneteau factory in France, and shipped to the US/Padanaram for outfitting. That experience is a whole ‘nother story.  

What features/improvements have you added or do you plan to add?
I upgraded some of the “wireless” electronics with wired functions. Other than that, there are minor tweaks that were made due to the “why would/wouldn’t they do that?” factor and had to be remedied.  

What are the features you like most about your boat?  
The swinging wheel is pretty cool. Once you get the hang of it (after 45yrs of a tiller), it is really slick. It opens up the cockpit and the berth below….and there is A LOT of space down there. Many of the “optional” features on the previous version of this boat became standard on this one: Carbon mast, rod rigging, deep fin keel, upgraded electronics. Nice additions.

Who first introduced you to boating/sailing?
My Dad… when I was about 11… bought a 12’  flat-bottom wooden sloop rig one summer to keep me “busy”. He/we didn’t know how to sail or anything about sailing, so I spent a lot of time self-learning and bopping around Westport Harbor/Buzzards Bay. My friends/families had sailboats….Sunfish, Beetles, Rhodes 19, Hobies….we did a lot of sailing on each other’s boats.

Do you belong to a yacht club or other boating/sailing organizations?
Boston Yacht Club, and the usual local MassBay, PHRF-ne, US Sailing…

What boats have you previously owned?
12’ wooden sloop-rig, Sunfish, Cape Dory Typhoon, Beneteau First235, Beneteau First310R

How do you typically use your boat over the summer, and where do you go?
We are a very consistent (>30yrs) BYC Weds Night participant. Day racing has become less of a draw. Lots of day sails, a few overnights. Some of the best days on the boat have been just sitting on the mooring in MHD harbor and taking in the “marine life”. We get the boat in early May and don’t come out until around Columbus Day. Really try to maximize the season as much as possible.  

What is the biggest challenge you have in servicing your boat?
Keeping the bills in check. The cost of ownership goes up exponentially with the length of a boat. Otherwise, the standard maintenance is still manageable by me (and crew!!), and I enjoy doing it.  

Do you have any notable boating resources you use?
Over the years I have made some good contacts for a variety of boating needs and issues. There’s a Facebook group just for this model boat (worldwide—-most of them are in Europe). Chris Caldwell at Piranha Sails has been great to work with, and the guys at MHD Trading where I store this and the previous boat are awesome and always on top of things. I sail/race with some of the same guys for the past 20+ yrs. Solid connections help keep things on track. Of course, you can’t beat Google when you get stumped.  

Do you have any advice for those looking to buy a Beneteau like yours?
Beneteau support is great, and I have always had great luck with my previous Beneteaus. Fast, roomy and lots of features. However, I probably would not buy another brand new out of the box boat. You think you are just going to get it and go, but there are so many punch list items/gotcha’s that keep coming up. Takes a lot of patience…especially if it has to be “put together” here. It’s easier if it’s a house. Not so much with something floating in a harbor.  

What’s the story behind the boat’s name?
The first Beneteau was named Exocet, which is a French-made water skimming missile. Seemed appropriate since all subsequent boats are all Beneteau’s/French, so…..pourquoi pas?

Click the gallery below for more photos and information about Exocet!