Tuesday, January 26, 2016


Solaris 50
The European boat of the year is a more meaningful contest than the boat's of the year that are selected by many American and some European magazines. Regarding the American ones the number of boats considered by the European contest is hugely superior due to the bigger dimension of the market. While on a magazine's Yacht of the year the choice is the one from just a magazine, making it easier that choice to be influenced by publicity on the magazine or other factors, the European boat of the year is the choice agreed by 11 different European magazines from eleven different countries, making it a more impartial one.

That makes a lot more difficult external influence, like publicity on the magazines or the nationality of the shipyard. There are several categories and all the nominated boats on each category are tested. From those  the finalists are chosen and then tested again by the main testers of all magazines involved.

The knowledge of the market and the boat knowledge that are reunited during those secession is huge and the exchange of opinions contribute to a meaningful choice. Sometimes the  new boats that appeared on the market are not many or at least not many great boats but that was not the case this year, with a great vintage. I am glad to say that the choices seems very good to me.

 All great looking boats, not a single obviously "fat" one, meaning sailor's boats more than condo boats, that are also sailboats that can sail relatively well but where interior space considerations determines a certain level of fatness, to use a expression that my daughter use to apply regarding sailboat: she doesn't like fat boats :-)

And the winners are:

 Performance cruisers : the Solaris 50, a boat that I fall in love with on the last Dusseldorf boat show, it has not only beautiful lines, a great hull, as it is very well built, with a great high quality interior and surprisingly not as expensive as his quality may suggest. The other nominees were the Django 980, the Ice 52, the  Italia 9.98, the J 112 e, all great sailboats. A very difficult choice indeed. They said about the reasons why they had chosen the Solaris:

"The Solaris 50 is the most current, desirable new production yacht design, a bonafide trendsetter, with engineering quality to match her looks. She represents the melodious meeting of South American design flare with Italian styling. The result is luxurious performance. The Solaris 50 is sexy, elegant, sophisticated and a positive delight to sail."

I have already posted about it here, including a boat test movie:

Grand Soleil 47 LC
Luxury cruiser category: The Grand Soleil 43 LC, a boat that showed that a main market cruiser can offer a voluminous interior without becoming too fat or losing its sail potencial....for a price.
Two Italian boats between the choices show why I have been calling your attention to Italian boats and Italian boat design, I mean not only because I own an Italian boat LOL. The Grand Soleil was chosen among other impressive sailboats: Adventure 55, Maxi 1200, Oyster 475, Sunbeam 40.1.   They said about the choice of the Grand Soleil:

"The first real cruiser from Cantiere del Pardo in over 40 years, the Grand Soleil 46 LC, is for those after something a bit sexier, a little more luxurious, a bit classier, and a bit quicker than the norm. This thoroughly Italian product has bold, angular if somewhat stark styling that combines with a very light, spacious, inviting interior. She particularly suits warm weather cruising. The deck design offers both plentiful comfort at anchor and practicality at sea – she is easy to handle and nimble enough to enjoy light-wind sailing."

Post about the Grand Soleil 47 LC with video tests:

Hanse 315
Family cruiser category: Hanse 315. It seems that I have guessed this one ;-)  On a recent post I called your attention to this little boat that really does not look very innovative or out of the ordinary, but that is good looking and most of all surprised positively all that tested it. Like on the other categories the competition was big with particular focus on the RM 1070 that I believe it didn't won because it was just a remake of the previous boat, the RM 1060 and not a really new boat. They said about the Hanse 315:

"A family-friendly pocket cruiser, the Hanse 315 has a seductive hull shape that proves a delight to sail and has the beam for cockpit and aft cabin space. The 315 stimulates the small end of the new yacht market admirably. Space is apportioned wisely, with standing headroom and a great aft cabin. The Hanse 315 is a highly versatile and impressive new compact cruiser."

A post about it and a test video from Yachting world:

Multihull category: Dragonfly 25. I confess that I did not expect this one to win face to a very hard competition but then it won by the fun of sailing and obviously I did not have sailed the boat: "The more fun and more sportive Dragonfly" Wow!!! it seems the boys and girls of the jury had a blast with this one LOL. The competition: Bali 4.3, Comet Cat 37, Dazcat 1495, Slyder 47. They said about the Dragonfly 25:

"Jens Quorning, the founder and designer of Dragonfly has a knack of keeping a family look, yet one that is updated to look contemporary – in the Dragonfly 25’s case, particularly with the reverse stem floats. As well as being genuinely towable, this offspring of the range is perhaps the most sporty, fun Dragonfly yet. Innovative outrigger designs and the ability to helm from either float ensure an exhilarating ride. "

Post about the boat and two test movies:

Special Yacht category: Quant 23. I am really happy Quant won. These guys really deserved it and even if the competition here was big and a high quality one, Quant is really on another level: The really first flying dinghy, if we do not consider "things" like the Moth that can only be sailed by specialists. The competition: Bente 24, Corsair Pulse 600, Fareast 28R , Farr 280.

"The Quant 23 is a design that promises much but somehow delivers even more. Even if you didn’t even fit the foils you’d still have a blast on this super-fresh sportsboat – a lake sailer that ensures scows continue to have cult status. Add Hugh Welbourne’s Dyamic Stability System and you have a sportsboat on steroids, a craft that puts serious fun back into sailing, and makes foiling approachable. The Quant shows exactly what the ‘Special Yacht’ category is for."

A post about it with more videos: 

1 comment:

  1. It is really great to see how healthy the sport / industry is in terms of innovation and commitment to quality and fun. The Dragonfly 25, performance version, is the boat I would like to have if the money was available (not counting the SeaCart 26, which is a bit too scary for everyday sailing). But all the boats selected for recognition are boats that would be a pleasure to sail, if not to own, as well.