Dusseldorf Boat Show, Jan 20. The winners of the first European Yacht of the Year were announced in Dusseldorf today

In the first of the new European Yacht of the Year Awards the Beneteau First 27.7 was announced as overall winner. The awards, which have been established as a result of an initiative by the German magazine Yacht, were judged by the Editors of 11 leading European yachting magazines from the UK (Yachting World), Denmark, Italy, Sweden, Norway, Switzerland, France, Germany, Greece, Austria and Spain, in all representing over one million committed yachting readers, a powerful lobby within the sport of sailing.

The yachts were judged in three categories: under 10m, 10-12m and under 15m. The First 27.7 won the under 10m category and overall, with the Hanse 311 second (third overall) and the Australian sportsboat, the radical JS900 third.

In the popular 10m – 12m class the Hanse 341 was first, Dufour 40 second and Dehler 34 third. Under 15m the winner was the Hallberg Rassy 40 (2nd overall), with the Sweden Yachts 42 second and Centurion 45s third.

For 2003 a new category for yachts over 15m has been established as well as an individual award for technical innovation. Each magazine will nominate eligible boats from their respective countries before an initial vote will shortlist five for each category. These will be invited to several days of test sailing after the Southampton and Barcelona Boat Shows before the winners are announced at the Dusseldorf Show 2004.

Yachting World Editor Andrew Bray commented ‘this is an exciting development which brings a much-needed Europe-wide award to the Industry’.