Skip to main content

Top European yachts picked at boat show

It was Oscar time at the Düsseldorf Boat Show. Four hundred invited guests, among them Jessica Watson, who last year became the youngest person to sail non-stop around the world, attended the awards ceremony last Friday of the 2011 European Yacht of the Year contest.

After several years of focusing on volume and comfort below deck, the pendulum is swinging back in the other direction, as several manufacturers are shifting attention toward performance, balance and control.

"It was the closest contest since its inception eight years ago," wrote the German magazine Yacht. "In all categories, there was more than one promising candidate." Two boats did not make the final cut after missing the sea trials, one of which was the J/95 by U.S. builder J/Boats.

A jury composed of editors from 11 European sailing publications sea-trialed the 18 nominees in the Netherlands and in Spain and picked the following winners:

Performance Cruiser: Elan 350. Three entries in this class, including the winner, featured a wide stern with chines and twin rudders, as seen on modern offshore racers in the Vendee Globe and Volvo Ocean Race. Lots of downwind speed under gennaker combined with solid control and cruising comfort netted the win for the Slovenia-built Elan

Family Cruiser: Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 409. A near unanimous decision put the Sun Odyssey 409 ahead of strong contenders from Hanse and Bavaria in this category, thanks to her variable sail plan, well-organized line handling in the cockpit, sleek lines, elegant interior and lively performance.

Luxury-Cruiser: X-Yachts Xc 38. The jury found the Xc 38 equally convincing under way and at rest. Roomy yet manageable for a shorthanded crew, the Xc 38 - timeless in design and solid in construction - won the award for X-Yachts for the second time in this category since 2009.

Special Yachts:
Saffier 23. The smallest contestant was the one that stood tallest in the end. Judges found this little Dutch beauty to be solid yet agile under sail and easy to handle. Simple and fun, she is equipped with an electric motor.

Dieter Loibner



Industry Pushes Back Against Speed Restrictions

A NOAA Fisheries proposal would restrict boats 35 feet and larger to a 10-knot speed limit along the East Coast to protect right whales from vessel strikes.


Magonis Opens Connecticut Office

The Spain-based, electric-boat builder offers an 18-footer that’s available with motors from Torqeedo and Mag Power.


Bill Seeks to Increase Youth Fishing

The bipartisan Coastal Fishing Program Act of 2022 would ease barriers to accessing the outdoors in underserved communities.


Fall Is in Full Swing

With the autumnal equinox ushering in a new season today, the fall boat-show circuit is in high gear. Here are some recent reports and a look at what’s to come.


Manufacturer Confidence Drops

Still, U.S. builders remain largely optimistic despite ongoing constraints with the supply chain and workforce, as well as yesterday’s interest rate hike.


Defender Adds TEMO Electric Boat Motor

Defender Industries is the official U.S. dealer for the French company’s lightweight, portable electric motors.


Twin Disc Sells Belgium Facility

The transmission manufacturer is still using the facility in a leaseback transaction as it looks to reduce costs.