Figaro Beneteau 3 named Sailing World’s 2019 Boat of the Year | Cruising World
Walter Cooper/Sailing World

Figaro Beneteau 3 named Sailing World’s 2019 Boat of the Year

Presented by Helly Hansen

Sailing World magazine named the Figaro Beneteau 3 as its 2019 Boat of the Year, following a week of evaluating the latest high-performance raceboats introduced in North America. The 35-foot one-design, built by Beneteau (Chevine, France, and Marion, South Carolina) is designed for shorthanded offshore racing enthusiasts, and utilizes new and innovative foil technology.

Sailing World has conducted its Boat of the Year Awards since 1985, making it the industry’s longest-running and most respected award for new performance sailboats. In September, the magazine’s independent judges conducted tests in Newport, Rhode Island, for the first time and welcomed Helly Hansen, a leader in technical sailing apparel, as presenting sponsor.

“The Figaro Beneteau 3 is purpose-built for competitors of France’s annual Solitaire du Figaro Race, the unofficial world championship of offshore singlehanded sailing, but it is also designed to serve a blossoming segment of the sport,” said Dave Reed, Sailing World editor and director of Boat of the Year. “Through a collaboration of offshore sailing legends and top French marine companies, rank-and-file sailors now have access to a foil-assist platform once exclusive to elite offshore racing sailors and bigger boats. Its foil system, however, is only one element of an excellent overall package.”

After a thorough dockside inspection and sea trials in various wind conditions, Sailing World’s independent judging panel agreed that the Beneteau 3 is built to notably high standards and strict one-design tolerances, and performed beyond expectations under sail. “When you turn downwind, you can immediately feel the foils start to work; the bow rises, the boat lightens up, and it feels really amazing,” reported Chuck Allen, a professional sailor and veteran Boat of the Year judge. “Upwind too it has a great groove, and as soon as the boat leans onto the foil, you can feel it make a big difference.”

BOTY judge Tom Rich, a custom-raceboat builder, described the Figaro Beneteau 3’s construction as “structurally solid,” with good use of infusion technology to minimize the overall weight of the boat. Its sail-handling systems, he added, were neat and simple, making for “a very cool boat overall.”

Over the course of a week in Newport, the judges tested five other new raceboats, including the TF10 foiling trimaran from DNA Composites, the IC37 by Melges, the Seascape 14 dinghy, and two from RS Sailboats in England: the RS21 keelboat and RS Cat 14 XL catamaran. Each of this year’s entries received high accolades from the judges, but in the end, they agreed the Figaro Beneteau 3’s innovation, affordability and design purpose placed it atop the shortlist.

“This is essentially Beneteau’s grand-prix model,” said longtime BOTY judge Greg Stewart, a naval architect. “It delivers as promised to a growing market, where young and amateur offshore sailors can campaign this boat in any distance race, and have a blast doing so.”

More about the Figaro Beneteau 3 is at sailingworld.com and in the Winter issue of Sailing World, which will feature the 2019 Boat of the Year Awards and detailed reviews all nominees.

About Sailing World

Sailing World connects the community of racing sailors through words, images and shared experiences. Across many mediums, it explores the sailor’s passion and showcases the lifestyle, destinations and technology. It links knowledge-hungry participants to the sport’s top experts, providing unrivaled instructional content.

About Helly Hansen

Founded in Norway in 1877, Helly Hansen continues to develop professional-grade apparel that helps people stay and feel alive. Through insights drawn from living and working in the world’s harshest environments, the company has developed a long list of first-to-market innovations, including the first supple waterproof fabrics almost 140 years ago. Other breakthroughs include the first fleece fabrics in the 1960s, the first technical base layers in the 1970s, made with Lifa® Stay Dry Technology, and today’s award winning and patented H2Flow® temperature regulating system.

Helly Hansen is a leader in both technical sailing and performance ski apparel. Its ski uniforms are worn and trusted by more than 50,000 professionals, and can be found on Olympians, national teams, and at more than 200 ski resorts and mountain guiding operations around the world.

Helly Hansen’s outerwear, base layers, sportswear and footwear are sold in more than 40 countries, and trusted by outdoor professionals and enthusiasts around the world. To learn more about Helly Hansen’s latest collections, visit hellyhansen.com.