The winners for the five categories of European Yacht of the Year 2012/13 are…

As one of the 11 judges for these awards, now in their 10th year, I have just attended the awards presentation during the first evening of the Dusseldorf boatshow. With hundreds of guests and representatives from most European yards attending it was an impressively high profile event.

The winners for the 2012/13 European Yacht of the Year awards are:

Family Cruiser – RM1260
Performance Cruiser – Dufour 36 Performance
Luxury Cruiser – Italia Yachts 13.98
Special Yacht – J/70
Multihull – Outremer 5X

There was also a new award given out by German Publishers Delius Klasing entitled ‘Seamaster 2013′, and I’m delighted to say it went to the incredibly accomplished and equally amiable Loick Peyron, who traveled from San Francisco to collect the plaque to the cheers of an extended standing ovation.

Here’s my snapshot of the winning boats.

Family Cruiser – RM 1260

It’s not just her construction method that’s different. Everything about the plywood built RM is refreshing, different, fun yet highly practical. A beamy, spacious offshore cruiser with light contemporary interior, that will look after her crew and can easily be managed shorthanded – plus she sails well in all conditions. Choose wood, you know it makes sense! See our test video here

Luxury Cruiser – Italia 13.98

The ultimate combination of luxury and elegant performance, the Italians have proved they can match style with substance. For a new boat from a relatively new yard, the 13.98 shows her creators’ formidable experience, both through her sublime handling on the water, and her impeccable finish throughout. A winner in a very impressive, tight category. See our test video here

Performance Cruiser – Dufour 36 Performance

She’s a smart, contemporary boat to look at, and lots of thought has gone into the 36P, including excellent deck details that allow her to be easily sailed short-handed, and a practical layout below with items that double in purpose throughout. A clever blend of family cruiser or Corinthian racer – the most pleasure is reserved for the helmsman.
See our test video here

Special Yacht – J/70

Don’t be surprised to see this one design pocket rocket, the smaller yet more modern sleeker, refined sister of the J/80, sell in the thousands. She sails as good as she looks, fast and fun, stiff as a board, and manageable but with more than a twinkling of J-style offwind thrills. She represents good value too as I’ve no doubt she’ll command a high resale price. See J’s video here

Multihull – Outremer 5X

Quite simply, this provides the best helm sensation of any big cat I’ve sailed. The tiller steering from the comfortable bucket seats is fantastic, matched by her performance and sleek looks. With the 5X, VPLP and Outremer have proved you can have your cake and eat it with an offshore cruising cat, as she’s addictively rapid yet certainly still boasts a very comfortable liveaboard platform and interior for a competitive price.