A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to be part of the unveiling of Lenny, Beneteau’s new First 44, dedicated to the memory of my mentor and friend Lenny Shabes, founder of American Sailing. As his wife, and ASA President, Cindy Shabes unveiled the name of Beneteau’s new First 44, I felt emotional and happy. It’s a world-class yacht — a befitting tribute to our founder— and I’m pleased today to be able to share this beauty with the community of sailors Lenny founded 40 years ago.
We were joined by ASA Board Member Charles-Etienne Devanneaux and Don Smith, President of Beneteau America on a sunny April afternoon with the air crisp and the breeze light. It wasn’t long before the conversation made its way to reflections on Lenny and the stories we love about him while we admired the craftsmanship of the Naos Yachts team and their dedication to detail in every aspect of commissioning the boat. The boat is Charlie’s vision and it was quite an experience to see his Naos Yachts team customizing the boat into a vessel fit to win trophies.
Lenny was a legend whose legacy lives on every day in the lives of sailors around the world. It’s appropriate that Lenny will first enter a legendary race, the Transpac, that spans from the Los Angeles coast to Honolulu, HI, crewed by a seasoned group of sailors who I am confident will make their mark in this historic opportunity.
Following the Transpac, Lenny will be configured for several other events, and end the year in Sydney, Australia to participate in the Sydney-Hobart in December.
We at American Sailing are honored by the friendship we share with the Naos Yachts team, and we wish them fair winds and following seas with this gorgeous new performance cruiser addition to the BENETEAU First line. We hope to see many First 44’s on the water very soon.