Beneteau’s striking new Juan K design causes a stir at Cowes Week – but pink?!

Since we first got wind of the new First model many months ago, we’ve been excited about seeing it in the flesh. The combination of radical Argentinean designer Juan Kouyoumdjian’s hull lines and Vendee Globe supremo Michel Desjoyeaux’ technical tuning feedback, this isn’t your normal new production boat. In fact in our September issue (out next week) we feature a 12-page special feature about exciting must-see designs at boatshows across Europe this autumn, which kicks-off with this 30ft pocket performance package, something that’s far from your average white boat launch. In fact, alarmingly, it’s pink!
Standing proudly on the hard in the centre of Cowes Yacht Haven for all the competitors to admire as they quell their post-racing thirst in the beer tent, this is one of the first three brand new 30’s to launch this summer – all of which have been given this effeminate livery. The sleek coachroof windows with ‘eyelids’, fiendishly deep (1.9m) T-keel, chined hull and muscle-flexing beam aft all look seductive enough, so why the garish colouring that makes it look more like a cross between Sam Davies’ old Open 60 Roxy, and Jessica Watson’s Ella Pink Lady?! “It’s all to do with marketing” was the unsurprising explanation we were given. I guess when you’ve got those two ‘names’ involved with her conception, Beneteau can be pretty confident it’ll go quickly – otherwise, if dressed so conspicuously, one could stand to look like a bit of a pillock…!
I’d advise getting aboard if you have the time – this particular boat has yet to hit the water, and will be shown at Southampton Boatshow too. The cockpit is striking – or rather its beam is, creating enough space to spoil the crew of a 40 footer. There’s even room for a navigator to slot in behind the helm’s sitting-out seats each side. The running rigging set-up looks highly ‘tweakable’ and having both a bowsprit and pole should entice those after offwind thrills. Down below is a tidy family-cruising set up, with all areas well-proportioned, including standing headroom, a ‘proper’ galley, chart table, heads and forward cabin, and a huge double berth tucked under the cockpit aft.
At £100k all-in this is a very tempting package that you can be sure will both be racing and won’t be the only First 30 at Cowes Week next year – presuming it’s available in other colours!