This year will be a bumper one for new yachts at boat shows around the world. Toby Hodges picks his favourite debutantes and indicates where you can go to see them
We tested the new Jeanneau 64 a year ago from Marseille during a Mistral. It proved a revelation. Her looks, build and finish quality gave a bona fide feel of luxury throughout. But it was her ease of handling – proved by two of us sailing her during two days in winds gusting over 40 knots – that made her the standout yacht of her size and class.
And now it seems Jeanneau is set to repeat the performance with this smaller incarnation, the 54. The French production marque has reunited its trusted design team from the 64, Philippe Briand and Andrew Winch, who have created an equally impressive-looking cruising yacht that brings with it some innovative concepts – and all for an equally impressive price.
There are a number of clever ideas on the deck alone that I think we will see replicated by other manufacturers. There are enough leisure areas to rival a beach resort, including a sunbed incorporated into the foredeck, aft-facing armchair seats with drinks holders designed into the forward end of the cockpit benches and sun loungers integrated into the folding bathing platform.
The latter also allowed Jeanneau to include a clever safety feature: a liferaft can be stowed at the aft end of the cockpit table and be easily deployed without opening the transom. The whole deck is kept neat yet practical, epitomised by retractable davits designed to carry a tender. It is a particularly spacious cockpit for leisure use, thanks to all sailing systems being led to the aft helms.
Expect similar canny solutions below. Layouts from two to six cabins are offered.
LOA 16.16m/53ft 0in
LWL 14.25m/46ft 9in
Beam 4.92m/16ft 1in
Price ex VAT €335,600 (£241,040).
Hinckley Bermuda 50
Hinckley has returned to the sailing market with a bang. The Maine boatbuilder, which has not produced a yacht in a decade, launched this stunning cruiser-racer this summer.
The original Bermuda 40 was Hinckley’s first glassfibre yacht, designed by William H Tripp Jnr in the late 1950s. Bill Tripp was commissioned to draw a ‘worthy successor’ to his father’s most famous design and the result is this powerful-looking Bermuda 50.
The B-50 is built to such a high standard that she’s more comparable to a scaled-down performance superyacht. For example, she has a stainless steel fin to her keel that lifts hydraulically to access shallow anchorages. This retracts into a carbon fibre trunk clad in the owner’s choice of wood, which also forms the bulkhead to help support the coachroof.
The retractable carbon bowsprit, plus the furler, vang, outhaul, backstay and garage door are also hydraulically operated.
Carbon fibre is used extensively throughout the build of a B-50 – 22,000ft2 of it, in fact – including for the reinforced bulkheads, chainplates and rudder. The foam-cored carbon and aramid hulls are laminated with vinylester using the efficient SCRIMP process
The B-40 was a successful offshore cruiser-racer and it is intended that this B-50 should be a natural follow-on. Take a seat before looking at the price, but it does include a very full spec, including carbon mast and vee boom – remember, she is a Hinckley…
LOA 15.20m/49ft 10in
LWL 13.69m/44ft 11in
Beam 4.35m/14ft 3in
Draught 3.50-1.98m/11ft 6in-6ft 6in
Price ex VAT US$2,450,000 (£1.57m).
Sailors who find they never quite have enough space aboard might want to consider this new Neel 65, the largest production trimaran ever built. The Joubert-Nivelt design boasts 110m2 (1,200ft2) of accommodation alone – the equivalent of a four-bed apartment – in a flexible layout with up to eight cabins, each with a heads. The odds are on this becoming a popular charter boat.
If you have not seen the original Neel 45, I would challenge you not to be impressed on boarding. It really makes you wonder why no one has produced cruising trimarans in series like this before. What really strikes you is the cabins on the same level as the living and cockpit areas – truly rooms with a view.
This new 65 offers the same concept, with potentially two VIP cabins on the main deck, each side of the central galley, complete with 2.5m bay windows. The saloon spans the entire beam forward.
Outdoor space is hardly found wanting either. The vast aft cockpit includes an exterior galley and a huge ‘swim deck’ terrace with bathing steps on the central hull.
A dinghy garage is concealed below this, and there is capacious stowage for sports equipment in the aft sections of the floats. There is a table for eight on the 33m2 flybridge.
The founder of Neel is Eric Bruneel, who spent 26 years developing the Fountaine-Pajot brand of catamarans. He designed, built and successfully campaigned his own 50ft trimaran, Trilogic, before settling on the idea of producing comfortable cruising tris.
Neel trimarans are built in La Rochelle and a ‘high performance’ version of the 65 is available that can shed 1.1 tonnes in weight.
LOA 19.81m/65ft 0in
LWL 18.98m/62ft 3in
Beam 12.00m/39ft 4in
Draught 1.79m/5ft 9in
Disp (half load) 22,498kg/49,600lb
Price ex VAT €1,880,000 (£1,350,290).
Vismara V50 Pret-a-Porter
Here is one of the most exciting and innovative new designs we have seen in quite some time. Vismara builds high-end composite craft, particularly racer-cruisers, from its yard in Viareggio. And if you haven’t heard of its founder and designer Alessandro Vismara, this project illustrates that he is somewhat of a visionary.
The model name may not translate that strongly to English – Vismara has translated it as ‘basic for ever’ – but don’t let that detract from the clever concepts throughout. It is a brand that is particularly skilled at bespoke building, after launching more than 150 custom yachts in the past 30 years.
“The idea was born in late 2013 when we were struggling with a terrible market,” reports Vismara. “We decided our core business has to be what we call ‘individual yachts and services’.”
The new V50 was developed for those who “will go to enjoy a lunch in a bay and use the sail without any effort when there is light wind and go as fast as you can to a port in case of stormy weather”.
The design is all about easy handling. Vismara has taken a performance-style epoxy sandwich hull and added a large decksaloon and fixed bimini to create a fast and spacious bluewater cruiser. She has twin 38hp saildrives for reliability, autonomy and manoeuvrability. And 1,000lt of tank capacity resides under the saloon.
The large aft deck conceals a tender garage, while also acting as a sunbathing deck and providing seating at the twin helms. The ultra-deep cockpit has complete protection on the same level as the decksaloon.
There are nine layout options for the forward cabins, including one with a walk-in wardrobe opposite the central master cabin.
You can go onto Vismara’s website and configure your own V50 from the multiple options, including hull colour and layout. Mine looks classy in blue and the kids will love the bunk cabins.
LOA 15.50m/50ft 10in
LWL 13.60m/44ft 7in
Beam 4.30m/14ft 1in
Draught 2.50m/8ft 2in
Price ex VAT €750,000 (£538,680) ready to sail.
A yacht guaranteed to turn heads at the Southampton Boat Show will be a new Spirit 46, the 11th of this successful model to launch. She may be one of the smallest in the Ipswich builder’s range, but the 46 is a veritable rocket.
She is built for speed, weighing just 4.5 tonnes with carbon spars and rigging, and can reach 18+ knots, says Spirit.
She can be sailed short-handed thanks to sail controls led aft and will accommodate up to five for regattas. With just 33ft on her static heeled waterline, however, space may be a little confined below.
But who needs volume when a yacht looks as good as this?
Price ex VAT £ 467,000.
Wauquiez Pilot Saloon 48
Wauquiez proved it was back to its best last year with the Centurion 57, which scooped the Luxury Cruiser category of the European Yacht of the Year award. This year it celebrates its 50th anniversary, a reminder that this yard near Lille has produced over 2,500 yachts.
Wauquiez has a reputation for producing performance cruisers and pilot saloon yachts. Henri Wauquiez established the pilot saloon concept 25 years ago with an Ed Dubois-designed 60-footer, so it seems only fitting that the company marks this anniversary with news of this 48-footer.
She is designed by Berret-Racoupeau and has deck features that include a self-tacking jib, angled spreaders to negate the need for runners, a deep, protected cockpit, plus a tender garage with bathing platform.
The benefit of that curved superstructure is obviously the raised living space below, which seems tastefully fitted out. And the aft owner’s cabin looks pretty sumptuous too.
LOA 14.77m/48ft 4in
LWL 12.75m/41ft 10in
Beam 4.61m/15ft 2in
Draught 2.10m/6ft 11in
Price ex VAT €389,000 (£279,395).
Hallberg-Rassy 40 Mk II
The Swedish maker of luxury bluewater yachts continues to move through its range, updating designs with more natural light via flush hatches and improved interior comfort.
Among improvements over the original, this 40 MkII has a taller rig for a more generous sailplan, hull windows in the saloon and a shallower companionway entrance. But the sweet Frers hull remains untouched.
Price ex VAT SK3,312,200 (£254,000).
Lagoon 450ST and 52ST
The 450 and 52 are two of Lagoon’s most popular models. However, in recognition that some sailors aren’t comfortable with flybridge steering, Lagoon has developed these ‘SporTop’ or ST versions.
These have more conventional steering positions and, although the sail areas are the same, the rigs are lower for increased stability.
There are updated layouts below too, including new U-shaped galleys.
Price ex VAT 450ST – €350,000 (£251,384).
52ST – €610,000 (£438,126).
Together with preferred design partners Judel/Vrolijk, the German giant introduces this new baby of the range, a family cruiser with a vertical stem and stern to maximise volume and waterline length. The tiller gives her a sporty look; however twin wheels are offered too, as is a fixed table.
A deep 1.85m keel is an option to increase stability and make CE Category A for ocean sailing. Owners can choose a traveller for better sail trim and open or closed transoms.
Down below are two double berths plus a single, counting the saloon sofa. It’s a clever use of space, as the aft berth lies athwartships, below the cockpit. The forward cabin can have an open bulkhead to create a larger berth, or a kid’s berth with standing room. All credit to Hanse, this looks like a promising cruising yacht at an appealing price.
Price ex VAT €59,900 (£43,023).
Bali Catamarans is the brainchild of Olivier Poncin (formerly of Poncin Yachts and Dufour) combined with the build experience of Catana.
This Bali 4.0 is the new baby that completes its three-boat range and uses many of the features seen on the popular 4.3 Loft, launched last year. So the cockpit and saloon area are left open, creating a combined living space of 25m2. A tilt-and-turn style glass door with gas struts can transform it from an open lounge to an enclosed saloon.
The 4.3 Loft will be on display at Southampton.
Price ex VAT €253,000 (£181,715).
Swallow Boats is a small yard in Wales that builds great little pocket cruisers and trailer-sailers with classic looks in plywood or glassfibre. It seems to have the knack of blending accommodation volume with performance, the latter with the aid of water ballast tanks.
This new 26 has been designed for trailer-sailing and to be rigged and prepared for sailing by one person in about 30 minutes. She has 750kg of water ballast to increase her sailing weight and performance in light airs.
Down below are four berths, a slide-away galley and an enclosed head, all with standing headroom.
Price ex VAT £58,250.
RM 1270 and 1070
Three years ago we travelled to La Rochelle to visit the RM factory and sail the 1260. Both her type of construction and manners at sea proved an eye-opener.
RMs are built in plywood epoxy. They are a refreshingly different cruising concept – fun to sail and shallow draught, and they are offered with twin and lifting keels. The popularity of RMs has been high since our visit, particularly on this side of the Channel, where five have been delivered this year alone.
RM has now updated the 1260 with a longer waterline length, thanks to a reverse bow. It says this should give her better planing ability – and a lifting keel is now a new option.
RM is also launching a new 1070 and has already sold 19. www.rm-yachts.com
Price ex VAT 1270 – €211,250 (£151,728) 1070: €155,000 (£111,327)
This new flagship stays faithful to the Allures brand’s go-anywhere DNA. The Berret-Racoupeau design has an aluminium hull with composite superstructure and a deep, lifting centreboard. Her three-cabin layout offers
a large and light saloon with linear galley and
a forward owner’s cabin.
Obviously not content with launching one aluminium 52-footer in a year, parent company Grand Large Yachting is also building a new Garcia 52. This will be a larger version of the original 45 that was conceived for Jimmy Cornell last year, and is due to premiere at Düsseldorf Boat Show in January 2016.
Price ex VAT €508,470 (£151,728).