If you want to know which are the best new production yachts out on the market at the moment, the best indicator is to look at the winners of the European Yacht of the Year (shown below).
The European Yacht of the Year is the most thorough competition there is for production boats, the only one that comprises 11 different magazines, from 11 different European nations, testing 25 yachts in five different categories, over two weeks in two different seas.
Following the running of the seatrials in the autumn of 2014, and the long jury discussions, the awards for the winners of the European Yacht of the Year 2015 were announced tonight, Saturday 17 January, the opening night of the Dusseldorf Boatshow.
The five categories comprise Performance Cruisers, Family Cruisers, Luxury Cruisers, Special Yachts, and, for the first time to reflect the growing interest in this sector, Bluewater cruisers. As usual, there were some close decisions, particularly in the Family Cruiser and Performance Cruiser divisions, where debates raged and voting was tight. The winners, accompanied by our thoughts, plus some quotes from the European judges further below, are as follows:
JPK 1080 [Performance Cruisers]
As the appeal of racing shorthanded grows steadily there is a greater incentive for owners to find boats that are suitable and competitive for both shorthanded and fully crewed racing. In the 36ft range, two boats in particular are attracting a great deal of interest: the Sun Fast 3600 and the JPK 1080. Little surprise then that both boats made it to the EYOTY shortlist.
When it came to the judging, the competition was very tight between these two. There was little to choose between their accommodation and layout, both are well thought out and easy to sail. When it came to performance, both handle well and already have promising racing results. But the JPK has the edge when it comes to configuration when fully crewed and appears to be slightly more versatile. We also prefer the construction of the JPK.
[Up against: Corsaire Cruze 970, Dehler 46, Jeanneau Sun Fast 3600, Mylius 15E25]
Wauquiez Centurion 57 [Luxury Cruisers]
With the 57, Wauquiez is certainly sending out a clear message that it is back in the business of producing quality cruisers for discerning sailors. The Centurion 57 represents good build quality at a reasonable price, a comfortable and well-finished yacht throughout. It was also one of only a couple of yachts to venture out in the big seas and swells when the wind was up to a Force 7, and cope commendably with the conditions. It is not the most modern looking of the category, indeed the Berret-Racoupeau hull is taken from the seven-year-old 55 Pilot Saloon, but it is perhaps the most timeless, with the heart of a real cruising yacht. More versatile than radical she feels robust, well thought-out and finished with a warm and calm interior. [See Yachting World’s boat test of the Wauquiez Centurion 57]. €659,000. www.wauquiez.com
[Up against: Euphoria 54, Italia Yachts 15.98, Moody 54DS, Xc35]
Bavaria Cruiser 46 [Family Cruisers]
The Bavaria 46 is perhaps proof that you can get both a cheap yacht that is value for money. The German production giants continue to diligently improve build quality year after year. Many of the judges spoke of this being the best Bavaria they had tested (see quotes further down), and the most solidly built. Our Italian colleague Vanni Galgani, editor of Fare Vela, perhaps summarises her the most eloquently (including some Italian enthusiasm of course):
“Maybe the best Bavaria ever, for sure the best of this new generation, she puts together excellent performance, both down and upwind, with outstanding interior spaces that suit perfectly both owner and charter versions. It may not be very pretty, but it is far better than the 45, with a completely new deck. And these are only the things you can see immediately, because the biggest improvements are done in the hidden parts, with general quality the best of her class. All this, not to forget, at a very, very good price.”
[Up against: Dufour 310GL, Jeanneau SO349, Nautitech 40, RM 890]
Boreal 52 [Bluewater Cruisers]
There cannot be many brochures that describe their boat’s accommodation as having, ‘a desk in every cabin where bluewater children can do their homework.’ But this is just one of many examples of what this boat is all about – live aboard, go anywhere. Solidly built above and below decks the Boreal 52 is the result of many miles at sea with a family aboard. While her chined alloy hull won’t appeal to everyone, the same rugged style will instil confidence for many.
When it came to her performance, at 18 tonnes she was surprisingly nimble, even in the light winds during our test, and was a very easy boat to handle with well thought out control line runs. All this for a custom-built boat with a price tag that is still considerably less than some popular alternatives even when you’ve added all of the listed options. The Boreal 52 brings home what a real deepwater cruiser needs to be like. A go-anywhere boat, with a lifting keel, that is full of clever and innovative details, especially the doghouse/navstation that is based on the experience of many hard-fought miles. [See Yachting World’s boat test of the Boreal 52].
[Up against: Broadblue Rapier 550, Garcia Exploration 45, Ovni 52 Evolution]
Advanced Yachts 44 [Special Yachts]
Sometimes you have to reward the will to do something wild and different. The Advanced 44 lives up to her name by being the most contemporary monohull of 2014, and one that puts sailing pleasure above any trivialities like practicality and cost. And what a sensation she provides… the ride is stable, direct and super-responsive – this is a true supercar of the sea.
The 44 is an innovative, flamboyant plaything, a high performance race boat that has a luxury pad within for day cruising, and even a sailing clinic arranged by the builder to help clients manage the boats and help get the best from them. A great job by Nauta Design and Roberto Biscontini, she has performance to match the style –and congratulations to Advanced for having the balls to do such a project! [See Yachting World’s boat test on the Advanced Yachts 44]
[Up against: Astus 24, Pogo 3, Pointer 25, Saffier Se 33]
JURY QUOTES ON THE WINNERS
“A racer-cruiser designed by sailors for sailors. Deeply thought out for short-handed racing, the boat is delivered with a close to perfect deck layout and top-level deck gear. Speed is easy and its size makes it a cool and roomy sailboat for those who love to have fun when cruising. A great boat even if we might have say the same of the Sun Fast 3600.” Voile Magazine, FRA
“The best ‘trimmable’ boat that ever entered this election and: everything works perfectly. A twin rudder boat that steers like a yacht with one, she sails incredibly high upwind and you can steer and tune this machine with you fingertips. Good building quality for a fair price.” Waterkampioen, NED
“The tireless and enthusiastic Frenchman Jean Pierre Kelbert has put his initials on yet another very versatile performance cruiser. All trim lines, deck hardware and other equipment is placed exactly where they function in the smoothest way, either for hard single-handed racing or for a fast cruise with some friends. The sailing feeling is amazing!” BatNytt, SWE
“If you want to collect trophies, the JPK 1080 is your boat. Optimized for IRC, light and stiff, she belongs to the few that can fly downwind without huge punishment in rating, and still take you cruising with your family for holidays. But it’s the kind of boat you will spend your time on deck sailing, not down below. And nothing beats tiller steering.” Seilas, NOR
“It has everything you need for winning long distance offshore races, but in the first instance its easy handling makes sailing pure fun.” YachtRevue, AUT
“A fantastic boat in terms of pure sailing: light but consistent, fast and very, very reactive, a pure joy to steer and to sail.” Fare Vela, ITA
“More on the racy side, but a dream to drive, easy to trim, fun to push and comes ready for shorthanded sailing ex works. Though she lacks wooden cozyness in the cabins and beauty in styling she does offer proper cruising comfort. Great choice for owners who seek the extra edge in terms of speed and fun.” YACHT, GER
“The cockpit layout is adapted for small crews, but the yacht can also be sailed single-handedly. The double-rudder gives a perfect feeling at the helm.” marina.ch, SUI
“The stiffness of the boat is remarkable as is the feeling on the tiller. Also the cockpit layout is impeccable and will hopefully be of inspiration to other designers and yards in their work to make functionality, safety and comfort go hand in hand.” BadNyt, DEN
Wauquiez Centurion 57
“A ‘safe’ choice maybe, but a just one, offering the best complete package of all. Good build quality, good sailing, everything works and is well thought out.” Waterkampioen, NED
“A sensible choice – a bit anonymous from the outside, but I fell in love when I came aboard, strengthened after sailing her in 30 knots + wind. A very good boat for sailing and living on board, she is as safe as a typical cruising boat, but with a lot better performance.” Seilas, NOR
“Luxury is not just about show-off and this very classical yacht just proves it. As soon as you enter the saloon, you can feel you are in a very chic atmosphère. The square proportion of the design, the warm feeling of the leather, the neat work on the wood parts: everything you see, everything you touch makes it clear. This is true luxury.” Voile Magazine, FRA
“Good performance all round, very well built and with a good interior style, all at an interesting price”. Fare Vela, ITA
“In severe conditions the Wauquiez 57 proved to have just the right combination of skills. Strong, safe and still quite quick on her heels she was easy on the crew and refreshingly simple to sail. Her clever layout and a positively rich and warm ambience down below put her first on the jury’s list.” YACHT, GER
“The Wauquiez 57 comes in a classical style, no extravagant curlicue and it convinces on the sea (sailing abilities, cockpit layout) as well as in the harbour. A real luxury cruiser.” marina.ch, SUI
“A pure French luxury cruiser that is sailed with a smile on your face, despite her 22 tons of weight. She offers an elegant and attractive exterior as well as a very proper interior, including a generous master forecabin.” BatNytt, SWE
Bavaria Cruiser 46
“The most well-rounded Bavaria of them all. Based on the already well-balanced 45 this thoroughly refined and reengineered family cruiser scores in almost any respect, most notably in build quality and rigidity. Not an easy benchmark to set in a market where price is a major factor.” YACHT, GER
“Very well built and by far the best value for money in this category. Building quality of Bavaria has improved enormously within a few years, which only is enough for the prize, but it is also a very nice sailing boat with a cockpit and deck that function very well, and a classic nice, roomy interior. The Bavaria 46 is the best boat you can buy in this section of the market.” Waterkampioen, NED
“Where yards save money on details you don’t see, Bavaria does the opposite. The improvements lie in the details, like the steering. You don’t feel it on a boat show, not before you go sailing. The Bavaria Cruiser 46 sails well, is strongly built, and has a lot of space.” Seilas, NOR
“Hats off to the Bavaria team. They have started from the Bavaria 45 and turned the ugly duckling into a wonderful swan. They did a much better deck design and took some risks on the inner layout. There is no more chart table, no more handrail at the helm and we all love it: times they are a-changing.” Voile Magazine, FRA
“The solid workmanship reflects the shipyard’s efforts made in production and quality improvements. At the same time the Bavaria still offers reasonable value for money.” YachtRevue, AUT
“The boat sails remarkably well considering the high weight. More importantly, the level of the craftsmanship will put pressure on the rest of the builders and become a model for how to combine price and quality.” BadNyt, DEN
“The best finish and highest quality seen so far from this still developing south German budget boat builder. In combination with perfect balance and excellent feeling while sailing, this is definitely the boat that offers the most value for money in this category.” BatNytt, SWE
“Long-distance sailing has evolved from a dream of few to a reality for thousands of owners. Hence this new category, which the Boreal 52 wins convincingly. For higher latitudes there can hardly be a better boat.” YACHT, GER
“If you really want to enjoy the Boreal 52’s best side, you must prepare yourself for some bad weather. This aluminium yacht is made for sailing on planet Earth’s outer limits. It’s a tractor on the sea. Boreal is not for everyone, it’s for the special kind of people – the real sailors.” Seilas, NOR
“Designed to sail as far away as the polar circle or the remote channels of Patagonia, the Boreal gives it’s crew a really great protection from the wind and the cold. The good point is to know that the quality of insulation, the ease of maintenance and the stability of route are still very much appreciated when sailing under the sun.” Voile Magazine, FRA
“Every detail of the Boreal 52 is well-thought-out and based on the first-hand experience of the shipyard’s owners, experienced circumnavigators.” YachtRevue, AUT
“The ultimate go-your-own-way-cruiser, with an ideal separation between ‘sailing’ and ‘living’. Very good technical systems and a surprisingly nice sailing boat – also in light weather.” Waterkampioen, NED
“Not fast but very soft and not nervous, easy to steer and very gentle with the autopilot, entirely designed for real extreme navigations as well as for tropical cruising. And she is not too ugly, a rare quality for this kind of boat.” Fare Vela, ITA
“She offers comfort and safety, the doghouse is sheltered place that shows perfectly the concept. In every detail, one can feel bluewater-experience of the designers. And even though she weighs more than 15 tons, the sailing abilities are quite surprising.” marina.ch, SUI
“Boreal 52 is the kind of boat you would want to be on board for an expedition to … anywhere on the blue planet. It’s aluminium structure, the protected cockpit and the attention to functionality and details that will improve the safety level, is impressive.” BadNyt, DEN
“She is certainly not the most elegant yacht seen, but nevertheless a more than appropriate boat for any excursion, well equipped, safe and with outstanding sailing abilities.” BatNytt, SWE
Advanced Yachts 44
“An extreme and expensive weekend fast sailer, which shows one of the best open-style hulls ever tested. We sailed the Advanced 44 in extreme conditions, not exactly her field, but she moved softly and powerfully in big and confused waves, as well as surfing for long periods in a very stable way, even when underpowered. Plus she has a very interesting interior concept.” Fare Vela, ITA
“If a boat deserves this nomination, it is the A44. Yes it is much too big for a day cruiser, much too expensive for the average sailor and much too powerful for a crew of two. But its sailing ability upwind is nothing short of fantastic – a characteristic that overruled the awkward sides of this beast.” Voile Magazine, FRA
“This disturbingly new yacht, which refuses to fit in any known market segment, elevates performance sailing to a new level. In cross-seas and fresh breeze she keeps her groove almost by herself, allowing fingertip steering and offering the finest feedback. Simply the best serial production big boat I have sailed to date. Its a Ferrari Enzo on the water: expensive, unreasonable, impractical – but oh so great.” YACHT, GER
“Italianità at its best! With the Advanced 44, an experienced crew will win regattas. But thuis it is also a luxury daycruiser and weekender.” marina.ch, SUI
“A small big yacht – The Advanced 44 has a cockpit of a 60 footer, and can keep a 60 footer’s pace through the water. We did 15 knots downwind with a gennaker in 18 knots wind! The upwind performance was like a racer. The interior is open, modern and stylish. This is Italian craft at its best.” Seilas, NOR
“The Advanced 44 is an individual design with extraordinary performance, smart styling, sophisticated deck-layout and a special atmosphere below deck.” YachtRevue, AUT
“A statement of what is to come to the keelboat market in the near future. It goes with the trend that weight is becoming essential for both the performance and in particular for the sensation of sailing.” BadNyt, DEN