Just shy of 21 feet, the Beneteau First 20 is the smallest boat in this builder’s lineup. But don’t let the size fool you. The First series is the performance-sailing line from Beneteau USA, and like the First 20’s larger siblings, this boat is designed for a good turn of speed. And going with the theory that the easier a boat is to sail, the more likely you are to do so, things have been kept simple. As an updated version of the popular Beneteau First 211, the First 20 has dual rudders, an all-new backstay-less rig, and flies a large square-topped mainsail and 100-percent roller-furling headsail. This Finot-Conq design has higher freeboard than a pure sportboat, which will keep you drier, but still has a modern, sharp look. The First 20 comes standard with a fiberglass bowsprit for flying
an asymmetric spinnaker.
I’ve always thought that when I’m done with big cruising boats, I’d love to have a simple trailer-sailer, and the First 20 (with a base price of $37,700) would fit that bill. The lifting keel and fold-down mast fit nicely on a trailer, and with a weight of less than 3,000 pounds, the First 20 can be towed by typical trucks and SUVs, opening up your cruising range to include any number of inland lakes and waterways. Try doing that with a full-size cruising boat.
The cabin is weekend-getaway ready with a double V-berth—it can be separated from the saloon with a privacy curtain—and two decent-sized quarter berths, a small sink, and a portable toilet.