A bumper crop of mono- and multihulls debut at international boat shows this autumn. Toby Hodges, Rupert Holmes and David Harding preview the headliners at Cannes 2022

Hosted every September in the Port of Cannes, the Cannes Yachting Festival is Europe’s biggest on-water boat show, with dozens of world premieres among the line-up. Here’s our pick of the most interesting new yachts on display at Cannes boat show 2022.

Photo: Guillaume Plisson

Solaris 50

I still clearly remember sailing the previous Solaris 50 from Aquilea in 2015, and the realisation that it was as special to helm as it was to look at. It became iconic, admired and imitated, and a European Yacht of the Year winner. This new incarnation has big shoes to fill then, but from these first sailing pictures, Solaris’ long term mercurial Argentinian designer Soto Acebal seems to have worked his magic with the sleek hull lines once again. Solaris is promising even more performance thanks to the powerful, latest generation hull lines which are beamier aft and warrant twin rudders. This has created a particularly wide cockpit and enough space below the aft deck for a forward facing tender garage.

The new 50 has also included some of the better ideas from last year’s Solaris 60 and 40, in particular the side decks and helm seats. The steps to the side decks are forward of the helm pedestals for easy access, with the two winches in a practical to work space inboard each side yet within reach of the helms.

Yet again we see the historic Italian yard focussing on helming pleasure – the pedestals are comparatively far outboard to create full visibility of the jib telltales even with the sprayhood raised, while the folding seats provide a neat addition of comfort for those wanting to spend long periods on the wheel. The integrated carbon bowsprit will suit a Code 0 or gennaker to bolster the standard self-tacking jib set up.

The three cabin layout can see a centreline or offset master berth forward and the option for a twin instead of one of the doubles aft. There’s also the choice of three heads with a linear galley or two heads with a C-shape galley. The yard has collaborated with Poltrona Frau to offer a range of materials, colours and finishes.

The Solaris 50 will be displayed at Cannes, Genoa and Barcelona boat shows this autumn.

Solaris 50 specifications

LOA: 15.50m / 50ft 10in
LWL: 14.68m / 48ft 2in
Beam: 4.78m / 15ft 8in
Displacement: 15,900kg / 35,053lb
Price: ex VAT €595,000
Builder: solarisyachts.com

Excess 14

Since its launch just three years ago this Groupe Beneteau spin-off brand has made significant inroads into the ever-expanding market for cruising catamarans, beating initial sales targets by an impressive margin. What’s more, Excess achieved this despite the first two models being based on the lower third of existing Lagoon hulls.

As a result to date it has not been able to demonstrate its full vision. That changes with this design, which is conceived from the ground up exactly as the Excess team wanted, guided by input from the yard’s customers and potential clients via the Excess Lab. This is a mix of online and real world conversations and testing around a broad variety of issues ranging from acceptable draught to electric propulsion.

In the latter case, to learn more about pros and cons at first hand, an Excess 15 was fitted with twin electric motors, plus two diesel range extenders and extensive battery packs. The boat was then sailed from the Atlantic coast of France to the Mediterranean, including cruising to Sardinia, covering close to 2,000 miles. A more recent topic explored with the online community is that of how best to configure a yacht for those who need to work while on board.

A key requirement for the 14 was for a boat that would sail well. The hulls are therefore relatively slender, especially forward, and they are also asymmetric in shape. Product manager Hervé Piveteau tells us this has three benefits: it reduces the drag that arises from the interference of the inner wave trains from each hull; It also reduces slamming; and stability is increased as the centre of buoyancy of each hull is moved outboard.

As with earlier Excess models the helm stations are aft and outboard, but the 14’s coachroof is shaped to give a better view forward. There’s also an almost uninterrupted 360º view from the saloon, with no tall furniture or cabinetry obscuring the view, making it a viable place from which to con the boat at night or during inclement weather.

The world premiere will be at Cannes.

Excess 14 specifications

Hull length: 13.34m / 43ft 9in
Beam: 7.87m / 25ft 9in
Draught: 1.48m / 4ft 10in
Displacement: 11,700kg / 25,794lb
Price: TBA
Builder: excess-catamarans.com

Beneteau First 44

Ever since the launch of the stunning First 53 three years ago we’ve been looking forward to the prospect of more designs of a similar concept to fully revive Beneteau’s once dominant First brand of production cruiser-racers. Like its larger stablemate, this new boat is a product of Roberto Biscontini, responsible for naval architecture, and Lorenzo Argento who designed the deck and interior layout. Once again the duo have not been afraid to break new ground in producing a comfortable and civilised fast design that can be built in sufficient numbers to create a desirable yacht at a price point that means we can expect to see a lot of them on the water.

I saw one of the prototype boats in Les Sables d’Olonne soon after it was launched. Like the 53 the hull has a lot of flare above the waterline at the transom, but the chine is relatively soft and is not carried right forward. This approach has a couple of important benefits, especially for owners intending to spend extended periods in Mediterranean waters, where a lot of time is spent in light airs, but equally sustained winds above 30 knots can also be encountered.

Wetted surface area in light airs is less than that of many twin-rudder wide transom designs, which translates to good light airs performance and therefore less time spent under power when on passage. Yet as the wind increases and the angle of heel builds the chine right aft starts to dig in, which increases stability.

Below deck the arrangement follows a similar philosophy to that of the 53. These are not intended as charter boats with a maximum number of cabins. Instead the layout is optimised around the needs of four or six people who will often eat ashore when in port, or on deck when at anchor.
Pricing of the First 44 will be announced shortly before it’s unveiled at the Cannes Yachting Festival.

Beneteau First 44 specifications

LOA: 14.15-14.65m 46ft 5in-48ft 1in
Beam: 4.24m 13ft 11in
Draught: 2.15m 7ft 1in
Displacement: 10,300kg 22,700lb
Price: TBA
Builder: beneteau.com

Fountaine Pajot Aura 51 electric

Available in a standard or electric propulsion format, We featured this spacious but powerful semi-flybridge design in more detail in our July issue. Fountaine Pajot now has the first of its electric versions sailing and it is this model which will be shown at Cannes in September.

Fountaine Pajot Aura 51 electric specifications

LOA: 15.54m / 51ft 0in
Beam: 8.08m / 26ft 6in
Displacement: 18,100kg / 39,900lb
Draught: 1.3m / 4ft 3in
Price: POA
Builder: catamarans-fountaine-pajot.com

Photo: Eva-Stina Kjellman

Swan 55

A measure of Nautor’s success has to be in the sheer number of models it produces in sufficient numbers to be viable. The new 55 sits between the Swan 58 and the smallest model in the range, the Swan 48.

Designer Germàn Frers Snr says it has a new generation hull shape developed over the past couple of years: “These are hulls with a powerful back end that attain maximum sailing length and low resistance while heeled… they provide excellent balance through the range of heel angles in combination with the well proven twin rudder set up.”

Five electric winches allow single-handed control, while comfort on deck has been improved both in the forward part of the cockpit and an extensive ‘beach’ area aft that allows easy access to the water and safe boarding from the tender. Four different styling moods developed by renowned interior designer Misa Poggi are offered for the three-cabin, twin-heads arrangement.

The 55 can be seen at Cannes and Genoa.

Swan 55 specifications

Hull length: 16.6m / 54ft 6in
Beam: 5.0m / 16ft 5in
Draught: 2.5m / 8ft 2in
Displacement: 22,450kg / 49,494lb
Price: TBA
Builder: nautorswan.com

Dufour 37

Dufour released first images of its new 37 in July, and it’s due to make its debut at the Cannes show. Umberto Felci’s design continues the recent work done on models each side, such as the 470 we reviewed last year, and the 32 from earlier in 2022. Notable on the 37 is the amount of foredeck and cockpit space, which is helped by a beamy hull shape with full volumes forward – it all equates to a seriously roomy 10m yacht.

The Italian designer has given it some go-faster treatment on the large angled hull and coachroof ports, features which should give the interior masses of natural light and good views. The two cabin version has an athwartships double berth aft, the three cabin has two conventional cabins aft.

Dufour 37 specifications

LOA: 10.77m 35ft 4in
LWL: 9.31m 30ft 7in
Beam: 3.8m 6ft 5in
Displacement: 6,474kg 14,273lb
Price: TBA
Builder: dufour-yachts.com

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