On this page I try to gather all information on the Slovenian-built Seascape 27 aka Beneteau First 27 SE which, starting in January 2021 was my new sailboat after I have sold the King´s Cruiser 33 to a new owner mid-2020. The GEKKO is now sold to another young skipper late 2022.
The First 27 is a Sam Manuard-Design and has first hit the water in the year 2011. The boat was conceived by Andraz Mihelin and his Seascape team to blend their Mini Transat offshore-experience with a bigger, cruising-capable, trailer-ready fast sailboat which should be prone to winning races. I´ve talked to Andraz Mihelin on the development of this boat – read the article here.
Up to now more than 150 units have been made and sold, which makes up for some 15 per cent of Seascape´s annual production.
I went for the First 27 after a long process of decision making which boat to buy and what for. After opting for a big, aluminium made oceanic cruiser which was meant to serve as platform for a TV-project and the first, brutal developments of the Corona-crisis early 2020 I decided too skip the “big project” for some time and instead go for a smaller boat. Originally opting for the Oceanis 30.1, as well made by Beneteau, I ended up to choose the First 27 for these reasons:
- Priceworthiness: The boat boasts high building quality (vacuum infusiuon) and top-notch equipment (Carbon-Rigging, Laminate sails, Ronstan fittings to name a few) for a comparatively moderate price
- Trailerable: The boat is area-independent and can be towed anywhere a car can drive to – no need for a fixed berth or to determine a certain sailing area
- Fast sailing: As I have not much free time to spend, I want to cover longer stretches when sailing – being able to move quicker is the solution
- Micro cruising: Less is more. I tend to try to simplify things to a minimum. The First 27 urges me to improve these skills both in the demands of living standards and in equipment
My First 27 was the last unit to be delivered with One Sails laminate garments but the First so-called “SE”-boat. “SE” stands for “Seascape edition” which is basically the original Seascape with carbon, laminate and “thrills”. There is another plain “First” launched end-2020 which comes with Aluminium-rigging, Dacron sails, bachstays, fixed keel and a small galley. You may read a dedicated article about the differences of both boats soon.
First 27 SE by Seascape: The Boat
The Seascape-built First 27 has a small but very dedicated and loyal clientel as well. The boat is mostly sold to the Adriatic, Germany and mid-European countries. I know of at least 5 German owners to whome I have talked beforehand the purchase and not a single one tried to advise me against buying the boat: “If you can deal with the small size of the boat, she is a blast!” – that has mostly been the comment.
Technical data. The main technical data of this sailing boat are listed here.
Length over all (Loa) 26.21 ft. / 7.99 metres
Beam 8 ft. 4 inches / 2.54 metres
Draft 6 ft. 7 inches / 2.00 metres
Mast length 35 ft. 9 inches / 10.90 metres
This boat has a displacement of 1.45 tons and offers a very stable weight/ballast ratio of 42 % which makes for a a strong righting moment. The ballast weight is 610 kilograms in a swing keel that is moved by electro-hydraulic means.
Sailplan. The First 27 SE comes in standard configuration with a full Cabon-mast and boom. Lines of the running rigging are provided by high quality Robline-products. The boat can be eqipped with the full set of sails, for delivery I chose to go for the standard three-sails-configuration, which is North Sails (as mentioned above, my own boat is the last one that comes with One Sails. I will post a dedicated article on possible differences of these two brands)
Mainsail 280 sq.ft. / 26 sq.metres
Jib 226 sq.ft. / 21 sq.meters
Gennaker 861 sq.ft. / 80 sq.metres
That makes it to a combined total max. upwind sail area of 506 sq.ft. / 47 sq.metres
SA/D ratio 37.4
Yardstick Handicap 88 to 91 (depending)
When mostly used in races the boat is driven with a classic Jib on job hanks, I went for the cruising- and single handed sailing-friendly furling-option for the Genoa. For the boat even more fractional Gennakers, storm sails and variants of all types are available.
Engine. Being a small boat the First 27 is porposed to be driven by an outboard engine of some 10 hp. In this, the company offers a Tohatsu internal compustion engine. I opted to go for the all-electric alternative also offered by Beneteau, which is a Torqeedo Cruise 4.0 configuration. The advantages for me are clear: Same power without the compustion downsides: Stinking, toxic odors of gasoline, no carburetor-works – just “plug & play”.
The engine is suspened in a moving mount in the middle of the cockpit which makes the shaft and the screw retractable. It´s a bit of a hazzle to clear the engine for use, but on the other hand there is neither a screw nor a shaft hampering the hull´s flow through the water whatsoever when retracted. A whole detailled article on the engine-configuration of the First 27 will be posted soon, as well articles on the energy management and solar power-array of the boat.
Building quality & construction. The boat is manufactured utilizing vacuum infusion technology for both hull and deck. One bulkhead near the mast stand will make for lateral stiffness, some stringers moulded into the hull add longitudinal stiffness. The boat has a CE B category certification for up to 6 people and a CE C for 8 people. A buoy element of 3 cubicmetres will make for better survivability in case of distress at sea.
Interior Appearance. A Seascape/First 27 is not a cruiser in the sense of the word as this boat is conceived for fast racing and minimal cruising comforts. I´ve developed the term #microcruising for this kind of approaching comforts at sea. Nevertheless, the First 27 offers 4 berths for adults of which two are situated in the fore cabin, two more on the side bunks in the saloon.
Design and Comfort: The First 27 / Seascape 27 is a “pure” sailboat. The makers haven´t taken any efforts to make this boat “comfortable” in a cruising sense. no wooden surfaces or panels at all. The boat is painted in plain white top-coat. The flooring is a light grey rubber/foam material. I am going to have this replaced with a more significant material soon. Buyers may choose from a variety of colors for the cushions and the – ingenious – hanging bags which is the only colorful touch of indibvidualism you might add to your boat by the yard.
I like that approach as it reminds me on other “pure” or “no frills” sailboat-makers like Pogo or – in wider sense – JPK of France. In the end, less stuff by the yard opens up a wide range of possibilities by the owners.
Hygiene & WC: I opted for the First 27 because of this one fact too which is missing in my list above – there is a proper marine toilet with a sealable “room” aboard which greatly improves cruising capabilities. Relieving oneself is a basic human necessity and as I do not like myself or my kids, let alone guests or ladies, peeing into a Port-a-potty (in the middle of the salon), this was the only small boat offering it. The WC can be closed off by folding magnetic doors which also act for closing the forepeak from the salon.
Regarding the rest of personal hygiene, there isn´t much. There is no sink, no fresh water, no galley. In the “Alu-version” there will be a very small solution, but not in the “SE” Carbon rocket. I will work out a portable solution provide the WC of my boat with at least a small sink or possibility to wash one´s hands after using the WC. This will also be a set of detailled articles in the Yacht Upgrade & Refit-section.
Stowage: The First 27 has six hanging bags which are a very unique and ingenious concept. You take the empty bags home, pack them with your clothes and hang them into the boat. no wasting of precious interior volume for stowing away big travel bags or suitcases. Then there is a small cooling compartment (which I haven´t ordered with a fidge-unit) under one of the steps of the entryway and two big compartments under the salon´s benches. We will see if this is sufficient, I would reckon yes.
I´ve come to order two “bean bags” for the First 27 as well because these are great when at anchor or at the jetty to lay down, recline and enjoy boat life. Other than that, the bpat is pretty “naked” and the yard leaves it upto the owner to configure and equip the sailboat to every single skipper´s needs.
Boat upgrade projects
In this, I naturally have some projects in the pipeline to upgrade my boat to a standard I find fit for #microcruising, these are in particular:
Replace interior flooring– read full articles here and here Fit fake Teak-flooring panels (EVA-foam) to cockpit– read full articles here, here and here
- Fit a larger solar-power array – work in progress, see here and here and here
… to be continued.