Friday, February 1, 2019


There are many followers asking for my impressions about the boat show and it is more than time to make some comments about it. Let me say that for the ones that really like sailboats Dusseldorf boat show is a bit like Christmas, a yacht Christmas, where one is able to see many new boats, revisit some favorite ones and take the pulse on yacht industry.

Swan 65
The relative importance of bigger cruising yachts has become dominant. Brands chose to expose mainly boats 44 feet and over and the number of exposed cruising boats with 40ft or less is shrinking every year and the few that are there almost pass unnoticed among the bigger ones.

Swan 65, above and below.
What is the explanation? I believe we have to look at the global sailing picture and regarding that it is also true that weekenders and daysailers, some of them quite luxurious, are presented in large number. This probably means that more and more sailors only buy cruising yachts when they retire and before, besides doing charter, they buy much smaller boats to enjoy sailing or week end cruising.

Like on cars and houses, Europeans have become used to travel and live in increasingly bigger spaces and since cruising boats are bought mostly at retirement age (or close) to live considerable time aboard, most cruising boats that are now bought  are 44ft or more. The increase in yacht size has a parallel in the increasing living space in houses.

Nice hull, well finished gelcoat
Of course, not all have the money for a new boat but the ones that can't buy a new 45ft boat prefer to buy one with that size on the used market, than buying a new 37 or 40 ft boat. People become used to living with more space and small cruising boats that were once considered more than enough to live aboard are today considered, by most, cramped and uncomfortable.
V35 Boom traveller and nice wheel

A more unfortunate tendency regards the diminution of the sailing market and the increasing of the motorboat market. In what regards that Dusseldorf boat show is by far the one where that disproportion is smaller but even so, talking with people from brands that produce sailing boats and motorboats, they all say that they are making much more motorboats than sailboats and in many cases they were brands that started doing exclusively sailboats.
Viko 35, agreeable interior

And cruising sailboats are becoming less and less sailboats and more and more 2nd houses that can be moved around and that can also sail.

 They are used for sailing almost exclusively coastally, downwind or on a beam reach and never on demanding conditions and therefore sailboat design follows the trend: the engines have become bigger, money is saved on sailing hardware and on designing boats with low B/D, because that will only be needed to sail upwind or to sail in demanding conditions.

In what concerns saving money in sailing hardware the new Dufour 390 beats some kind of record being equipped standard only with two small winches over the cabin and, as almost all boats now, with a auto-tacking jib, without genoa traveller. On the Dufour, more than in others, they spent all the money on the interior, that is a very nice one.

Solaris 44, above and below
The Dufour 390, as many, comes standard with an auto-tacking jib, a fashion started by Hanse that is now dominant on the market, being standard even on some more expensive boats and sold as the easier way to sail. Yes, maybe it is slightly easier but it is not on that account that they have all changed from a small or medium genoa to a autotacking but because it is cheaper.
Solaris 44, above and below

A genoa is the better overall cruising set up regarding a single frontal sail and the real reason they have changed is because the setup with a jib allows them to save a considerable amount of money.

 A traveller for the auto-tacking jib is less expensive than a bigger genoa track and it allows them to save on two winches and on a standard smaller sail. All put together we are talking about a considerable amount of money.

They will try to sell it to you saying that the jib works very well together with a geenaker for weak winds. 
Arcona 435
But a geenaker to work well needs also two dedicated winches and besides the geenaker does not sail well upwind so in fact you will need a code 0 for that and no way you will have space for those sails on boats that have almost all space turned into interior space, leaving a small storage space. Besides it is way more complicated and way more dificult than working with a big genoa.

Arcona 435
Another thing that has become almost universal is the use of low quality plastic blocks on the mast foot and everywhere, even on 45ft boats, blocks that are rated for 2000kg but that have a lower working load, not to mention the tiny winches.

I am not saying, by any means, that these boats are not well designed, quite the contrary, the hulls are normally very good as well as the interior design and all the rest is aimed at bringing the price as low as possible and that is a correct philosophy because it gives at the best price a boat adapted to the use most users are going to give it. Why should one pay for what one does not use? not to mention the commercial advantage of a lower price.

Sunbeam 46.1
If you belong to the minority that are going to sail more than motoring, that will sail upwind and not only with nice weather, that will sail offshore or cross oceans, then even if you don't know much about boats there is an easy way to see what are the boats that are suited for you: the ones that have a genoa track, six winches ( bigger than the ones of mass market yachts ) and metal or carbon blocks.

Of course it is not enough to make a more seaworthy or better sailing boat but if the boat has all that the chances are it will have a decent B/D, a good hull, a good stability, including the final one and a good AVS. Today almost all the boats are designed by good naval architects so practically all the boats are well designed and what becomes important is to know for what they were designed for, the boat program.
Sunbeam 46.1, above and right

And regarding this new trend of boats where sailing performance is not the main drive it becomes more and more evident the need for one more  RCD class, with stability and safety requirements above class A, to distinguish cruising boats that were designed having sailing as first concern from the others and this because those differences regard not only sail performance upwind and in bad weather but the degree of boat safety and seaworthiness. I will make a post about this soon.
Maxus 24
Maxus 24, below and above

These are the new boats I found more interesting: the Swan 65, certainly costs a fortune but if you have a fortune to spend, what a boat! Absolutely beautiful, being also practical, fast and with a cozy interior, nothing fancy or fashionable like on the Oysters of the same size, just very adapted to be used while sailing, well designed and impeccably finished with good taste all around.

The Viko 35 surprised me with a very agreeable interior with a nice design and reasonable finish I was not expecting so much, taking into consideration the price. Sure, the sail hardware and the boom are not properly top of the shelf and I certainly would not consider it (as standard) for nothing more than coastal cruising but that is what 90% of the sailors do.
Hallberg Rassy 340
The Solaris 44 is a gorgeous boat, well finished, with a good layout and at an interesting price, for the quality. They said to me that they are making an effort to keep the price on this boat specially low, expecting to sell a lot of them. Of course I would change things that would increase the price, like the horrible color of the wood, a genoa track and two more winches, but even so if we compare with an Halberg Rassy 44, a lower price and a faster boat, with more storage even if not with so much interior space.
HR 340, above and right

The Arcona 435, also beautiful in a different way, maybe more cozy and just a bit more classical on the interior design (and I don't say this in a negative way). This one comes already with 6 winches and a genoa track but with a chain locker not very adapted to cruising, one that takes little chain. But it is easily modifiable and they say that it would not be a problem to do it. This one comes with plastic blocks on the mast, so it would cost a bit to better the sail hardware.

The Sunbeam 46.1 is also very nice but again in a different way, not as fast, with a big keel whose design I did not like so much, but besides that an almost perfect boat with a very good cruising interior, very well finished, lots of storage and a very interesting integrated spraywood with multiple possibilities in what regards protection and ventilation. It comes with 6 winches and a genoa track but with plastic blocks on the mast, the only thing that needs to be changed. An interesting price too.

Hallberg Rassy 57
The Maxus Evo 24 was a surprise, with a much better hull design than previous models, very good interior with possibility of having a marine bowl (standard a chemical one).

It can have an interior engine but I would not do it because it would ruin the interior. They have a version with a swing keel that is a class C boat but two more interesting versions that make class B, one with a fixed keel another with a bi-keel. Nice little boat, certainly not very fast but offering a great cruising potential in a very agreeable space, being easily trailerable, all at a very good price.

Hallberg Rassy 57
The Hallberg Rassy 340 is a lovely boat with everything to please those that don't need a lot of space to live. The interior is cozy, with a classical flavour, very well finished except on the sliding cabinet doors, that could be nicer. Lots of storage for a 34 ft boat and the potential and seaworthiness to sail offshore without problems or fears.

The Hallberg Rassy 57 is also a great yacht but has proportionally less storage when a dinghy is in the garage. Apart from it and a small imperfection on the finish of one of the hatches, a very beautiful boat with a great hull and a great stability. The interior is very comfortable, in the traditional modern/classical taste, the galley is perfect to work while sailing and the technical compartiment of the boat is huge.

Continuing with big yachts the XP 55, the Solaris 55  the Grand Soleil 52 and the Euphoria 54 are all very beautiful yachts. The XP 55, offering cruiser-racer performance, has an interior that is simply unbelievable in such a fast boat, first rate finish, great design and a cruising comfort of the highest level.

The Solaris 55, only slightly bigger than the 50, offers a much better interior, with a touch of Italian luxury design that makes it easily distinguishable. Lovely boat.

The Grand Soleil 52 offers also a very good finish, a very well designed interior but not so outrageously chic even if as comfortable. Very well thought in what regards cruising, slightly less fast but offering a proportionally bigger interior, specially in what regards standing height.

The Euphoria 54 seems narrower and longer when in fact it is not, maybe due to its more classical hull shape with a narrower transom. It has the feeling of a mini maxi yacht, with a very beautiful well designed interior.

Xp 55, Solaris 55, GS 52LS and Euphoria 54
 The choice will be dificult except if one likes to sail a bit faster and in a more sportive way, than the choice will be between the XP and the Solaris, but the two others are far from being slow yachts. Off course price will be an important factor even if we are talking here about boats that cost a million or more.

X 4-3
As you can see the choice between yachts between 50 and 60ft has become huge and difficult for the ones that have the means for such an option.

 These boats come fully equipped with electric systems that will power everything and are commanded from the steering wheel. That allows them to be sailed by a couple with sailing experience but in reality all of them come with a huge sail locker that is also a cabin crew with wc and all and I bet that very few of these boats will be sailed without one or two paid crew men.

X 4-6
X 4-3 above, below X 4-6
Back to more reasonable sizes to be sailed exclusively by a couple, the X 4-3, the X 4-6 and the X 4-9 are all very well designed boats with a well finished and well designed cruising interior.

Maybe the one that I found more balanced was the 4-6 that has a very good storage space and seems just the right size to sail comfortably solo. Unfortunately if you want to have 6 winches you have to pay for two of them as well as for a genoa track.

Of course, it is all thought and prepared to have those equipments mounted and the boat does not come with all that to be cheaper on its standard version. Curiously the smaller boat, the X 4-3 still comes standard with all that...but it seems that they are going to change it, for obvious reasons.

X 4-6
Regarding interesting boats that left me a bit disappointed, let's start with the Bente 39. Certainly a very nice hull with a low displacement, but with an interior made of painted plywood, I would say much nicer on the photos than in reality. 

Another thing I did not like were all the doors banging without any way to fix them or the very uncomfortable raised seat. They say that they will take care of that later. But what left me more disappointed was the price. The version I saw, with carbon mast and rig but apart from that nothing special except good sail hardware costs (with VAT) 380 000 euros. So much for an inexpensive fast boat!

Bente 39
The Oceanis 46.1, boat of the year and all, has an average interior and although with a good galley, had not a great finish neither looked very agreeable or comfortable. The Sun Odyssey 440 seemed better finished all around and gives a better feeling, although I prefer the Oceanis galley. 

Bente 39, below and above
Both boats have very nice hulls, being the one of the Sun Odyssey narrower and both have a relatively low B/D, even if the one of the Sun Odyssey is considerably better. 

Jeanneau SO 410
Certainly boats with a relatively low AVS and a not very good reserve stability, especially in what regards the Oceanis.

Finally the Faurby 460, that I was expecting with a lot of interest, was a bit of a deception due to a well done and very well finished interior but not a very well designed one. Not that it was that bad but the smaller Faurby are among the boats with a more beautiful interior, in a classic way.

 I cannot say the same about the big brother. Did not like also the huge transom, not in beam but in height. A pity because I do love the smaller Faurby and I was expecting this one to be as beautiful as them. I am sure it is a very well built boat and fine sailing yacht for the ones that like narrow boats.


  1. Thanks, very comprehensive! Can I ask you what’s yr view on the walk-around sidedecks concept on all the new Jeanneaus? They market it as the smartest thing on earth - but I’d like to understand / discuss the negative side as well. Eg. Less seating at helm, less storage on the side, very wet in upwind / tough comditions, etc

  2. Paulo has left a new comment on your post "DUSSELDORF 2019":

    Olá Teodoro,

    It is a mixed compromise. If you sail with a lot of people, like on charter, the lateral pass is useful since it allows to go forward without disturbing the ones that are seating on the cockpit.

    It does not take out interior space but as you say it makes storage on the cockpit smaller.

    In what regards sailing the only real bonus is that it allows you a perfect winching position, specially on the 440. They could have made better since due to rigging set up you still need to go forward by the cabin to work on the cabin winches.

    What would have make sense was to have the four winches back, one on the position that is on the 440, the other on the position that is on the 410. That way the "guests" on the cabin would not be disturbed with sail trim and it would be more easy for the helmsman to the all the work from the wheel.

  3. Hi Paulo, this was nice reading however i think you're about € 100.000,- too high with the price of the Bente 39.... I'm sure it was € 280.000,- but new ones would be just a bit more around € 300.000,-

  4. The specs of the exhibited boat were near the version with higher specs and I am pretty sure it was 380 000 euros, Vat included.

    They have the boat in several versions with different specs and the higher one is what they call the Ocean Challenger version.

    I am looking at those specification on the printed page that I brought from there. It has the price too: 411 484 euros (vat included).

    The less expensive version, a lot downgraded from the one that was exhibited, costs 246 353 euros with vat. As you can imagine there are big differences between the two.

  5. Sorry, there is a third version even less expensive, at the price of 197 540 euros (incl. Vat).

  6. Paolo- Did you see any interesting boats with shallow draft in the 42-46' range?

    1. If I was Italian Paolo would be my name but I am not, so the name is Paulo LOL

      It depends on what you call swallow draft. I like sailboats that sail well and there are no alternative to draft in what regards that, unless you sail a catamaran with daggerboards.

      In what regards having a good performance on a monohull with a swallow draft there are 3 options: lifting keel, swinging keel and twin keels even if those don't reduce draft so much.

      Twin keels have increased on the market but mainly on smaller boats, swing keels as well as lifting keels too, even if the last one are used mostly on bigger yachts do to the interior space they need.

      What is the size of boat and type you are interested in?

    2. I am interested in 42-46'
      swing or lifting keel, or just dhallow bulb or t keel
      Ive sen your previous posts on RM and Comfortina

    3. There are many boats that fit that general requirement. You have to specify more:

      what is the max draft you will accommodate? Do you want a fast boat or just a boat that dos not sail badly? Do you want a kind of luxurious conservative finish and design (like for instance on the Comfortina) or do you want a luminous more modern interior like on the RM?

      By the way I saw the plans for a new Comfortina a 42 on the lines of the 46, a bit conservative but fast without doubt. Probably the swallow draft will be between 1.80 and 2.00m draft (I cannot remember).

      And also the use you want to give to the boat is important. A boat adapted for sailing extensively offshore and to cross oceans frequently will probably not be
      as adapted for coastal cruising on the Caribbean and the med, with sometimes an ocean crossing.

    4. Paulo, Thanks- That is very interesting about the Comfortina
      I prefer more clasically styled boats like that or the Arcona
      Im looking for draft between 4'6" and 6''
      my current boat is an Omega 42 with 5'-6" draft which is o
      is ok. A new boat needs to have 2 heads and comfortable
      criusing for two couples
      I do a lot of long single/ short handed racing and passages
      and short cruises with my wife and another couple
      my Omega has PHRF 90
      Doesnt need to be a rocket, a bit faster than that is fine but
      must be fun to sail, and not too comprimised upwind

    5. No wonder you want a classical looking boat after an Omega 42. Beautiful boat even if with little interior space for a 42ft boat. That should be a rare boat in the US and I guess you surprise many with the boat performance.

      Regarding draft for a 44/46ft cruising boat try to rise those 6' to 6'5" and then I would say you will find plenty of boats.

      The Arcona 435 I saw has all your requirements at a bit more than half what costs the Euphoria and it has a 2.0 meter swallow draft version. I have a friend interested in it so they had send me the price of the boat and extras and I can send it to you if you are interested.

      There is another boat that probably you don't know and that will suit your taste for the classical, the Luffe 45, beautifully made and with great interiors. I like it a lot:

      The boat is designed and built by Oluf Jørgensen so I have no doubt that he can make it with a 2.0 draft even if the standard one is 2.25m.

  7. Hi Paulo, I would like to read ur words about the new grand soleil 48

  8. And I would love to write about that....except that they did not had the Grand Soleil 48 at Dusseldorf. Yes, quite stupid, nominated for boat of the year anda all. Instead they had the Grand Soleil 52LC that had been already at the boat show last year.

    I asked them why? Well typical Italian disorganization: something about not having managed to have the boat finished in time, I mean the one that was meant to be there.

    That's a Marco Lostuzzi design. He continues to design the type of transoms that he used to design for the Slys. Cannot say I like them. I like the rest of the boat and the interiors look great.

    1. thank u for ur response , i hope u can have a closer look soon