Getting boats afloat for European Yacht of the Year judging after the Barcelona Boat Show is no easy matter


Like Southampton, Annapolis and HISWA boat shows, Barcelona Boat Show is partly ashore in the main exhibition hall and partly afloat in the city’s Port Vell marina.

Now for the builders and agents of the boats afloat, if they are shortlisted for the European Yacht of the Year Award, making them available for the judges from Europe’s leading yachting magazines for test sailing immediately after the Show presents few logistical problems. But for those with them ashore it becomes a major operation.

Firstly they have to be stripped down while they await their turn for lifting onto a transporter and then, for the larger boats such as the Beneteau First 50 and Dufour 525, waiting for a police escort through the city’s streets in the early hours of the morning, then re-launching, mast stepping and re-assembling and commissioning ready for the International Jury members to test sail them before the final judging. All this in the three days immediately after the Show – and remember that many of them have never been afloat before so it’s an anxious time for their builders. But it’s equally rewarding time to be shortlisted let alone lifting the overall prize in each of five different categories.

Here the riggers and fitters re-assemble the Dufour 525. The final results are announced at the Dusseldorf Boat Show in January – and in YW’s March issue published in early February.