Yachts of the Year
- Sat, 22 Jan 2011
The four production boat winners of the 2010/11 European Yacht of the Year were announced at a drinks reception last night on the first night of the Dusseldorf Boatshow.
The Catergory winners are:
Elan 350 - Performance Cruiser
Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 409 - Family Cruiser
XC38 - Luxury Cruiser
Saffier 23 - Special Yacht
The picture shows the four yard representatives receiving their prizes flanked by the 11-strong judging panel made up of European yachting magazines.
Below are the comments on the winning boats from these titles.
GBR - Yachting World
Light, direct and responsive on the helm, the 350 is an absolute pleasure to push hard. Like many modern cars, she is capable of plenty more than most people will have the nerve to try. And that bodes well when it comes to more everyday performance where she is nimble, light to handle and easy to sail at a brisk pace.
This is a boat that uses her hull shape to generate some of her stability rather than relying more on the lead slung beneath. Getting her back uphill in gusty conditions requires you to either reef her early, or sail her closer to the breeze in order to keep her on her feet.
For those used to racing boats there will be nothing unusual here and indeed, this boat is a perfect match for those who are looking for a boat that strikes a balance between good performance and practical requirements of family sailing. There are plenty of boats that have claimed this territory, but few that really deliver.
Below decks, despite her modest yet modern looks, she's attracted praise and criticism is equal measures. For me she's spot on, a mixture of sparking performance and a simple practical layout below.
Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 409
This Philippe Briand designed cruiser has many modern design features such as plumb ends, hull chines, an aft cockpit and twin wheels, but it is her accommodation that says more about what really lies at the heart of her design.
Her modest and elegantly fitted teak or oak interior is the first thing to grab your attention. While subtle in colour, the horizontal grain might not be a major feature, but it sets the scene for a boat that challenges the norm. The square doors with their rounded corners are another good example. Many production builders have been quick to take the build cost savings here and produce square frames in the name of style.
Behind the scenes the evidence continues with a solid laminate hull with all the associated structure glassed in.
The message is clear, Jeanneau are heading back to their roots with a good looking, solidly built boat that has an eye on the future as well.
On deck this theme continues with a cockpit that incorporates twin wheels allowing a walk through to the fold down transom. Just in front of each of the wheels lies a Harken 50.2 self tailing winch onto which the mainsheet and genoa sheets are led ensuring the primary controls are close to hand for the helmsman, while also allowing the crew can operate them easily as well.
Where the layout struggles a little is in the friction of the sheet systems and in winches that are a bit underpowered fro the task. Taking the option for electric primaries would be money well spent and electric Re-winding winches even better.
At a starting price of €128,740 she is very good value for money for a well built boat that has looks that will last.
When X-Yachts came out with their first cruising model, the Xc45, it was very hard to fault. This 38 proves it was no fluke. It does everything - from using the space to the premium (the inside is capacious throughout), to build and finish quality, to sailing performance - exceptionally well. The 38 defines ‘luxury cruiser', in a very manageable size. The fact that X have now won this category prize twice for the same range speaks volumes
The 26 helped us to remember what the simple pleasures of daysailing was all about. With a more refined, cleaner, more efficient deck layout, even prettier lines and more slippery performance, the 23 takes this to another level. With all lines hidden from deck view, but led perfectly to hand of the helm or crew in the remarkably spacious cockpit, this makes a thoroughly rewarding dayboat to sit within or even sat out on the side decks for the odd race (where her bowsprit prodder and asymmetric will delight further).
GER - YACHT, Jochen Rieker
Jeanneau SO 409
Dufour set a benchmark last year with her well designed 405. So it was quite a challenge to better that. However, Jeanneau succeded well. The 409 does not only have a very elegant appearance. She also features clever details on and below decks. The option of different headsails is a big plus. And the accomodation is both warm and roomy - something that doesn't always go together well. In fact, even though she is fairly priced she feels rather rich and very comfortable. A bit stiff on the helm, maybe. And with a bit too much friction in the rope arrangement that leads all aft. But otherwise very hard to fault.
Happy marriage between a fully fitted-out cruiser and a fast beast when ist blowing. She needs wind and sail area to fly, but when she does she makes you want to go forever. Great steering despite the twin rudders and twin wheels. Good cockpit layout. Super bow sprit solution. Built well. Downsides? Only one biggy: The base price is a bit misleading, fully spec'ed she will easily cost 150k or more. But of all contemporary performance cruisers her size that is still a fair deal.
The boat to take you everywhere - and quick. The cockpit is designed for relaxed cruising. Very safe, with exceptionally well dimensioned winches, jammers and fittings. Helming is fine. But she will need a reef or two when the breeze picks up - which makes for good lightwind performance. Astonishingly roomy for a 38-footer, very bright and nicely done below. The yard is to be praised to only offer her in a two-cabin-layout as this makes ultimate sense if you also need storage for long cruises. Even though the lines are rather classy, the feel onboard is always privileged, not pretentious - nor old-fashioned. Price could be an issue, but in this class - not really.
Lovely boat for coastal or inshore daysailing. A real doll with beautiful lines. And environmentally ahead: no wood throughout. E-drive as an option. Great sailor, too. Even sporty. And always relaxing at it. So for a discerning owner the thing to own. Just two dents in an otherwise perfect package. First: The lines are all led under deck and through numerous blocks which makes for a clean deck but produces too much friction. Second: Options boost the price easily to the level of a basic 32-footer. So beware of falling in love without consulting your bank account.
ITA - Fare Vela, Vanni Galgani
Sun Odyssey 409
The more complete boat of the category, she looks more luxurious and refined than her class. She seems to be back to the Jeanneau best times, when they were realized in medium quality and far from cusins Beneteau.
+ very well designed
+ good deck solutions, many details well resolved
+ functional interior layouts
+ well done interior finishing, quality materials
+ good value for money
- heavy construction, and a bit tender
- not fast or funny under sail, heavy at the helm
- interior design a bit heavy looking
- wood veneer looks a bit "plasticous"
- primary winch position too close to helmsman position
Even if similar to the rest of the family, and not perfect, it's impossibile not to give the price to this lovely boat. Very good looking, even better than bigger sisters despite the smaller size, quite perfectly resolved in every part in terms of space and solutions, and very well livable, on deck as well as inside. Good sailing behaviour, even if with some probles in upwind angles. In my opinion the best of the cruising X-Yachts family.
+ very nice looking
+ optimum space distribution on deck, with functional areas for living and sun bathing
+ classic interior lay out with good space organization, seems bigger than her size
+ honest quality for fittings and materials, clean and elegant interior design
- a bit tender under sail, needs early main reefing (for a pure cruiser)
- position of genoa tracks a bit too out, problems with upwind angles
- extremely expensive
- steering wheels too low
- materials quality not always at her class level
Maybe one of the best and more complete example of new age fast cruisers, she proved good speed and fun under sail with lots of very well thought solutions, either on deck or inside. And all this in a good looking and refined design, specially considering the hull shape. Easy to sail fast with a loto f fun, good space inside, a perfect fast cruiser for young and sportive families.
+ fast and easy to sail
+ many good solutions on deck
+ good building quality considering the price
- a bit too heavy for really Flying
- some inside finishing not perfectly realized
- not easy to sail upwind in strong wind with the racing keel
Finally the perfect daycruiser for normal people at an (almost) reasonable price, even for Mediterranean Sea! Fantastic style in a modern hull, good sailing performance, easy to handle and well organized also for pleasure and sun bathing. Very reliable the solution with the electric engine. A small boat to be proud of.
+ one of the most beautiful modern small boat
+ easy to sail, all adjustments are at your fingertips
+ totally green with electric engine
+ spacious cockpit organized also for life at anchor
- with all the options the price increases significantly
- wet in heavy waves
- some adjustments are a bit confused and complicated to handle
NED - Waterkampioen, Jan Briek
Jeanneau is with the 409 back on track. The ship goes back to the old ‘Jeanneau-tradition': designing and building yachts that are for the ‘big market' but still stand out on several points. The 409 has several nice design-features out and inside, sails easy (also shorthanded thanks to the good cockpit lay-out) and that all for a very good price.
The succes of a new design-line: X proves it again with the Xc 38. In my opinion not as good as the awarded 45 and too much of a small copy of it to win, but so be it. Still: very good design, good sailing performance for a type like this, excellent below deck with a lot of space for a 38-foot boat. A guaranteed succes for X-Yachts. (Pity we have to award them again next year for the new Xp-line......) ;-)
After the small 310 which was a bit disappointing if you ask me a fantastic performance cruiser from Elan: the 350. It combines perfectly the luxury you need for (family)cruising with great sailing abilities. Easily planing downwind, fantastic upwind. A boat that I - almost - would like to own myself.
Fantastic result for the Saffier: European Yacht of the Year two times in a row. And they deserve it. Great daysailer, as in sailing but also in design and style. Relatively cheap, with a lot of attention for modern ways of doing things: electric engine, Estec decks. Very good sailing abilities both in light airs as in heavy weather.
FRA - Voile, Error! Contact not defined.
A wide transom, with two rudders and a chine : it looks promising and it is ! Rob humphreys did for sure a superb job for the boat is very well balanced and the stern is always very smooth. It is not so frequent when having a double rudder. The boat goes fast and with ease, even in the lights winds. A very good cruiser racer from whatever point of vue.
It looks good, it feels great : you cannot be disapointed when sailing this Xc. But this doesn't come as a surprise. The best part of the boat is to be discover under the deck. With only two cabins, the layout is great. Very classy but roomy altogether. A boat you would like to go cruising with and to show your friends.
Sun Odyssey 409
Those guys from Jeanneau are very clever : you can hardly beat them in term of value for money. You have lots and lots of space, the boat is rather good under sail and you feel you are on a special boat. Still, it is a mass production boat and the price is very good but you really enjoy living aboard and nothing reminds you of anything « low price ». Well done.
A cute little boat. Nice to look at. Easy to sail. And fast. No accomodations ? It's a day-boat ! The electric engine needs power supply ? It's a day-boat ! No life-lines ? It's a day-boat ! Surely the good formula for those who just want to sail.
AUT - YachtRevue, Roland Duller
Sun Odyssey 409
You feel the experience of the yard, when you are sailing the boat: good upwind performance and comfortable trim options, when you have choosen the electric sheetwinshes. Other fine features:
- Variable sailplan: especially the possibility to use three different foresails
- Ambiance under deck: The interior is made with brain and charm; well done woodwork with good working fittings; multifunctional navigation place and salon table
Exciting Design, exciting performance: We like the smooth movement in the waves, the way the boat accelerates going downwind and the layout of the fittings in the Clubracing-Version. Under deck: There is more space as expected and some really nice details.
There are four main-reasons for the success of the Xc-38: build quality, sailing performance, the feeling on the helm and the aft-cockpit-concept. It's difficult to find something on this boat that is not working. And that is a good signal.
Smart combination of retro-design with modern requirements of sailing: She is a good looking boat with a clean deck, a sophisticated under-decks-layout and excellent sailing performance.
SWE - BatNytt, Curt Gelin
Performance: Elan 350 Head-on-design with comfort
With Elan 350 regattasailors, shorthandracers and families alike get seldom seen performance. Chines, twin rudders, extreme beam aft, give unrivalled control when cruising and inspire adventurers to test limits. When testing the boat in 25 knots wind, we noted 14 knots on the speedo and no wipeouts. Expect even higher numbers when surfconditions are up. At the same time the 350 sports Elan´s ususal attractions, environmentfriendly vacuumlamination, raceboat deck-layout, smartlooking lines and normal familycomfort.
Among the innovations we like the carbonsprit smartly hidden in the foredeck, wellconstructed and lowfriction steeringsystem with GRP wheels resulting in the lightest grip experienced on any twinrudderboat so far.
Inside styling might divide fans, but light woodwork, dark floorboards and angular corners, create a without doubt a very modern atmosphere onboard. Only traditionalists might miss Elan´s old mahogany for more obvious qualitysense.
Luxury: Xc 38 The perfect mixture
Xc 38 is the very best Xc and a very happy design. Traditional, good lines via trunky coachroof, pleasing sheerline, classic stern, is in harmony with the deep powerful hull. In terms of looks, sailing, comfort and needs for cruising, Xc 38 scores top points. It might not be the cheapest boat of her kind, but neither the highest priced, thus giving buyers good value for the money.
In heavy winds Xc 38 proved her point, really good stability with 40 % ballast which help tracking. Bite upwind is firm and the boat kept going when the wind gusted to 30 knots, no broaching and great contact in the twin wheels. Tailor-made rudder and rig, well positioned mast and keel, exemplifies how well raceexperience can be married with relaxed cruising.
The decklayout features more good ideas like easy moving around due to inside shrouds, high bulwarks, grabrails, jibroller above deck and wraparound cockpitwindow.
Aft-cockpit, high hull, good beam, give exceptional volume inside for a 38-footer The saloon feels and is big, it is light and the styling qualityminded with light mahogany and white linings.
Family: Sun Odyssey 409 The new level
I you want a boats to give good vibrations, Sun Odyssey 409 is a splendid example. It combines trendright chines, big beam aft with a coachroof ending in "shoulders". If EYOTY was a beautycontest, 409 would have won it too.
Besides having Philippe Briand onboard again, Jeannau has included some new neat features for relaxed sailing, like selftacking jib, low integrated jibtrack on the coachroof, sheets led under a deckcover to electric winches in the cockpit, This demonstrates fresh thinking.
By moving mast and keel backward, ample sailarea and good balance has been provided.
Inside Sun Odyssey 409 collects even more points with inviting space, clever layout with one or two aftcabins and toilets, and a genious charttable doubling as bar.
Finishwise the 409 feels de luxe, with leatherhandles, leathercovered charttable, rounded fronts.
Under sail the boat balances a family´s needs, enough sailarea for good speed in light air and solid ruddergrip with lots of control in high winds. Even more familyplus is proper ballastratio for comfortable ride when wind picks up.
Overall Sun Odyssey 409 represents a new level on family cruising in design, sailing, inside volume, finish and value for money.
Special: Saffier 23 Charming gem
To elect the Saffier 23 swedes had to take a standpoint, go for a gem or a topnotch multihull? In the end charm won, Saffier 23 goes into the sailor´s mind, this is a boat we dream of having at the dock, to watch or to stroll with.
The lines has class with sheerline, proportions, royalblue hull, traditional stern. Still Saffier 23 has some novel solutions for a dayboat like jibfurler through deck, teaklike Estech deck, selftacking jib, sportboat controls and a long GRP tiller.
For daytrips the cockpit is perfect with good depth, long benches and stowage under the slightly raised foredeck. A sprayhood give shelter so you can stay out over night.
When sailing Saffier 23 feels as good as it looks, light with a distinct, pleasant contact in the helm, balance is super and speed nearly like a sportsboat. Downwind in 20 knots of wind, we flew, we surfed on waves and hailed fun sailing. Upwind in the open sea is not what Saffier 23 is made for, but the bulbkeel takes care of the stability and although lively, Mr Honnevangers gem felt adequately secure.
An electric engine give green power in harbors, four knots in more than one hour when transporting and noiceless, nonsmelling driving when wind is down. When joy in life matters, Saffier 23 is a the gem of dreams
NOR - Seilas, Axel Nissen-Lie
Sun Odyssey 409
Better by design: Jeanneau have managed to make an affordable family cruiser witch looks luxurious, but not on the price tag. With a self-tacking jib as an option, the boat will have a big appal on Norwegian buyers and are perfect for up wind sailing in the Norwegian archipelagos. Hanse has always done this with a big success in Norway, and it's nice to see other yards making sailing more enjoyable and fun.
Wide hull with a lot of stability is the new trend. A few yard have been pushing the ideas from the Open-classes to the mass marked, but non have made this in such a clever style as Elan. Elan 350 looks good, works well, and will sett the benchmark for performance yachts for this class. It's fun to sail with double digits on the log, not only at the face of a wave, but for hours.
X-Yachts have managed to transform their recipe of Xc 45 to a yacht of only 38-feet. Xc 38 is fast an enjoyable, but also smart and comfortable to live on board. The accommodation will also work at sea. It's a sporty cruiser with a tall rig.
Saffire 23 is a charming little daysailor with a beautiful hull and powerful rig. The little yacht has a big and social cockpit. The deck is made clean with most of the trimming lines hidden. The boat will also have an appeal to the eco friendly buyers. Saffier 23 has an electrical engine and fake teak deck.
SUI - Marina.ch, Lori Schüpbach
The category of the performance cruiser was the most exciting this year. At the end, the Elan 350 won, because she has the best chances on the market. She combines classy sailing-performance with the comfort-needs of a non-professional crew. A plus is the feeling at the helm - a weak point on many yachts with double-rudder configuration.
Sun Odyssey 409
The first model of Jeanneaus refitted Cruising-Line - self-confident and convincing. The versatility of the yacht will be liked from various sides - to fit private and charter needs, Jeannau offers three different interior layouts. But the most conspicuous work of Philippe Briand and his team is on the outside of the yacht. Modern lines, a steep stem and a almost vertical stern comply with the trends in boatbuilding.
The «little sister» of the XC-45 shows the experience of the Danish yard. To reduce a good and winsome yacht into a smaller size often fails - Niels Jeppesen and his crew succeed. The XC-38 has everything to go around the world - but her sailing performance may tempt to take part in regattas. The biggest «wow-effect» is under deck: it seems quiet impossible to offer that much space on only 38 feet.
A nice small daysailor, perfect for our lakes in Switzerland. Retro-design in combination with modern boatbuilding. The deck is free from any lines or sheets - what gives a complicated layout under deck. And: the nice concept may tempt you to order some options... E-drive, S-teak and performance sails lead to a quiet high price level...
DEN - BådNyt, Morten Brandt
Modern looks, lots of comfort both in terms of sailing abilities an down below. The wide transom and the twin rudder setup is the signature of the boats of the coming decade. It reaches planing speed with ease and stays there for long. The two wheels are both nice to look at and nice to control the boat with. It is a clear winner destined for succes.
In my opinion the most seamless of the Xc series from X. Of course it sails well but never the less you are surprised that a quite heavy boat feels so light on the helm. It feels just right going upwind even in heavy breeze. Down below you are amazed that a 38 footer can be so roomy and also with a nice focus on the details that makes it all come together to a unique cruiser.
Sun Odyssey 409
Jeanneau has the skill to keep things simple and functional. The 409 feels like a bigger boat especially down below. You could argue that it feels a bit heavy and numb on the wheel but never the less I'm quite certain that Jeanneau targets their audience close to spot on. And as opposed to the Xc where you get a lot of boat for a lot of money the Jeanneau gives just a lot of boat for the money.
The Saffier 23 makes you feel kind of cool when sailing it. It simply facillitates a feeling of mental surplus and laid back attitude. In fact is like being part of the 1800 century impressionist painter Gustave Caillebotte's works - which is good . At the same time the boat sails well as the construction offers good fun e.g. when the genakker is out. The electrical engine is also a nice feature that suits the boat well.