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The Beneteau First 38s5 was introduced in 1989 and continued in production until 1995,with 120 hulls completed. The design was a collaboration of designers Jean Berret and Philippe Starck, who designed the interior.
Jean Berret, who was responsible for the hull and rig, designed what was to become one of Beneteau?s most successful fractional rigs. The design he achieved created a very fast boat that could be raced competitively and yet easily handled by a cruising couple. The 38s5 handles responsively in all wind conditions, from light to heavy air, close hauled, on a reach or down wind.
The hull of the 38s5 is constructed of solid GRP laminates. The integrated GRP grid system is bonded into the hull and used to transfer the rig loads evenly throughout the hull structure. The decks are composite, with a variety of core materials in different areas and have radiused transitions from the house top to the deck and non-skid over the entire house and deck surface. The interior makes extensive use of GRP liners, with pre-cut and fabricated modules. The bulkheads are all bonded 360 degrees into both the hull and deck, which results in a light but extremely rigid structure.