New yachts abound and plans for the largest privately owned yacht in the world are unveiled

The doors opened yesterday in Düsseldorf to Europe’s biggest boat show. The week-long exhibition of all things maritime runs until Sunday 30th January and features 1,666 exhibitors from 42 countries.

Among many new sailing boats on show here for the first time is a new Privilege 37 catamaran from French manufacturers Jeanneau, a new Beneteauu 47.7, and a chance to see some of the boats built in Scandinavia and the eastern part of Germany that aren’t on show elsewhere.

Düsseldorf also proves that the big boat market is buoyant. Dutch yard Huisman yesterday announced that they are to build a new boat for American billionaire Jim Clark, owner of internet company Netscape. His new boat Athena will be the world’s largest. She is to be an 89m three-masted schooner and has been designed by Gerry Djikstra.

The largest yacht here at the show is Jongert’s new 3400M, which dwarfs one of the enormous yacht halls. This boat features Jongert’s ingenious new lifting keel, the two sections of which lift upwards through a diamond section to lie flat against the hull. This is deservedly drawing crowds of onlookers.

Meanwhile, outside the show, Yachting World was yesterday involved with a cruising seminar run in association with World Cruising Club. Some 45 German yachtsmen gathered at the Düsseldorfer Yacht Club to learn more about the practicalities of sailing across the Atlantic.