Beneteau America and the American Sailing Association (ASA) are entering in a new strategic partnership, as disclosed on October 11th, during a press event at the Annapolis boat show, the largest sailboat show in North America.
Laurent Fabre, President of Beneteau America, and Lenny Shabes, ASA’s founder and chairman of the board, have announced their joint collaboration on the design of a new ASA-exclusive sail training vessel. The new sailboat, ASA First Trainer, will be produced in Beneteau’s factory in Marion, South Carolina.
Beneteau America and ASA presented the initial drawings of the future ASA First Trainer to the press and the ASA affiliated schools and ASA certified instructors.
The R&D team at Beneteau created a product brief taking into account the specific requirements of ASA to meet the needs of their affiliates in terms of ergonomics, layout and safety. The Finot Conq & Associates design resembles that of the popular First 20, but with a deck and rig specifically designed to enhance the learning experience of the students. The new ASA First Trainer is expected to be revealed a year from now, at the 2014 Annapolis sailboat show.
“Over the past few months, we’ve been pleasantly surprised to see such flexibility and cooperation from the foremost sailboat builder,” noted Shabes of ASA. “Throughout the process, we have sought the feedback of a representative group of affiliated schools and instructors. Since they have influenced the initial design of the boat and continue to offer valuable input, we’re confident the new ASA First Trainer will be a great success.”
Charlie Nobles, Executive Director of ASA, further commented, “This new introduction is the perfect extension to our educational system, especially as it coincides with ASA’s 30th anniversary.”
“This project is particularly relevant and exciting to Beneteau; building small sailing vessels to invite more people to experience the thrill of sailing is exactly what our company’s success is built upon,” explained Laurent Fabre. “We feel very fortunate to partner with ASA to rejuvenate their associated schools’ fleets geared towards new sailors. We’re confident this new vessel will enhance their students’ and instructors’ time on the water. And it’s just the beginning!”