A brief test sail of the Pogo 36 was enough to convince us that this yacht is something special.

Pogo: a boat that brings fast fun to normal sailing. These are not racing yachts, but light and stiff (composite sandwich) cruising yachts that can plane away the miles.

Having announced the 36 painfully early – we had to wait two years to see it in the flesh – the hype grew and over 30 orders were taken before the first boat launched.

But it was worth the wait, although the design of the 36 may cause mixed reactions.

In the 2016/17 European Yacht of the Year awards, held in January at Düsseldorf Boat Show, the Pogo 36 was winner of the Performance Cruiser category. The other nominees: Dehler 34, Grand Soleil 58, J/112E, Ofcet 32.

The aggressive, angular coachroof, the liberal beam, hard chine, bluff bow and rocker line (longitudinal curve) look more suited to an open class racing yacht, while the super-high aspect square top mainsail makes the rig look as if it’s been borrowed from a catamaran.

Yet this Finot Conq design is a wonderful machine on the water – so easily driven; a powerful shape but with light enough feet to tiptoe through the calms.

Pogo performance is normally judged purely in terms of its offwind planing ability, but the 36 should banish any notion that a beamy design has to be sticky in the light. She performs handsomely upwind too.

I know because I was one of the unlucky ones to sail her in the light, sub ten-knot wind range. But she still clocked up to 7.5 knots reaching with the gennaker in the same wind speed and was only 0.5 knots less than true wind under genoa.

My fellow jury members reported that in 15 knots and above, the 36 remains in double figures when sailing offwind – confirmed by the Sentinel onboard tracker fitted to all the European Yacht of the Year vessels we tested this year.

Further reading
Pogo 36 review continues below…

What is the interior of the Pogo 36 really like?

It’s not just the lightwind and upwind performance that took the jury by surprise. The 36 has a much more cruising friendly interior than past models, which is credit to the layout and the improved finish quality.

This is a very large 36-footer – the 10.50 she replaces would fit inside its hull says Pogo.

The coachroof height creates the headroom lost to a flat bilge and allows forward vision from down below. The large three-cabin layout (or two cabins and a technical room) plus a proper heads (at last!) give her more universal appeal than past Pogos.

The interior is light, spacious, simple and easy to maintain. Like all cruising Pogos she’s offered with a pivoting keel both for optimum performance and shoal draught versatility.

Pogo only sells direct to keep costs down and offers attractive rates for the Axxon carbon mast and the lifting keel option to encourage owners to go for the full performance benefits.

The test boat was €240k including tax and all options. With so many orders for the 36 already, the problem now will be the lead time.

Pogo 36 specifications

LOA: 10.86m (35ft 8in)
Beam: 4.0m (13ft 1in)
Displacement: 3,600kg (7,937lb)
Lift keel draught: 1.1m to 2.8m (3ft 7in to 9ft 2in)
Base price ex VAT: €133,000 (£116,679)
Contact: www.pogostructures.com

Toby’s conclusion

If you are a fan of the open race-boat looks of the 36, she is a boat that just keeps giving on the water. A Pogo guarantees fast cruising fun downwind, but the 36’s performance upwind and in light airs was a pleasant surprise. Pogo has worked on making its interiors more comfortable for cruising and the build quality throughout is commendable. A clear winner.

Bert Bosman, Waterkampioen, The Netherlands
This French sailing machine provides tons of potential, with civilised manners. Bring the family to enjoy easy mileage and a neat, practical interior.

Joakim Hermansson, Båtnytt, Sweden
Sailing a Pogo is always sailing with a big smile. Still you feel secure and protected in the cockpit, with a lot of smart solutions to make boat handling easier.

Roland Duller, YachtRevue, Austria
A boat with a masculine design and exciting performance in light and heavy winds, up and downwind.

Loïc Madeline, Voiles & Voiliers, France
A true Pogo: really fast and really different from all the production boats. A clever and very functional layout. Some will love it while others will not even think of sailing it.

Jochen Rieker, YACHT, Germany
Downwind or on a beam reach she can take a lot of pressure and transforms it efficiently into speed – but she was almost equally convincing upwind.

About European Yacht of the Year awards

The European Yacht of the Year is judged by journalists from 11 different magazines from 11 different European nations. Each jury member tested every yacht from the five different categories, over two separate weeks in two different locations.

Take a look at last year’s winners and the winners from the year before.

After the decisions were finalised, the five category winners were announced in January at a prizegiving held during the opening night of the Düsseldorf Boat Show.