Boats

SAIL's 2014 Best Boats Nominations

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Every year, we here at SAIL magazine wonder how the boatbuilding industry is going to top the previous year’s effort, and every year the industry surprises us with both its enthusiasm and ingenuity. Among the standouts making their debuts at this year’s fall boat shows are a pair of spunky little racer/daysailers from China, a very interesting new motorsailer, an equally interesting sportboat that includes an optional swing-keel configuration, and the usual bevy of ground-breaking multihull designs. There is also a fresh take on a venerable collegiate racer and not one but two inflatables.

Once again this means a full plate for the judges in SAIL’s Best Boats program, the results of which will be published, as always, in our December issue. It also means a wide selection of new designs for the consideration of those who matter most: the sailing public. So enjoy!


Click the Name for a Specific Boat

DEHLER 38 FAREAST 18/18R FAREAST 26 TIWAL 3.2
Z420 ALERION 41 ARCHAMBAULT 27 CATALINA 275 SPORT
BENETEAU FIRST 25S BENETEAU OCEANIS 38 BLUE JACKET 40 CONTEST 42CS
PROUT 63 SF OUTREMER 5X HANSE 345 CORSAIR CRUZE 970
BENETEAU OCEANIS 55 VICTORIA 67 SWAN 80FD GUNBOAT 60
BAVARIA CRUISER 41 GUNBOAT 55 BAVARIA VISION 42 NAUTITECH 542
RUSTLER 36 SHANNON 38 HPS CATANA 42 DUFOUR 410
DUFOUR 500 LAGOON 52 TAG 60 LAGOON 39
AEROYACHT ALPHA 42 J/88 HYLAS 63 SMARTKAT
AMEL 64 TATOO 26 TATOO 22 MX-NEXT
M32 JEANNEAU SUN ODYSSEY 469



DEHLER 38

Dehler yachts have long been known for their performance and build quality, and the new judel/vrolijk-designed Dehler 38 looks to be no exception. Twin wheels, a plumb bow, high-aspect fin keel and slippery hull form will please the racers, while a large, drop-down swim platform and well-appointed accommodations will keep the cruisers happy. dehler.com

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FAREAST 18/18R

The spunky little Chinese-built Fareast 18 features a lifting high-aspect bulb keel for easy trailering and a stable, easily driven hull with a large cockpit that makes her equally well suited for either racing or daysailing with the family. The 18R “racing” version of the boat boasts a deck and cuddy that have been further optimized for speed on the racecourse. fareastboatsusa.com

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FAREAST 26

Holland’s Simonis Voogd design firm packed a lot of boat into the trailerable Fareast 26, including standing headroom, a lightweight vacuum-infused hull and a retracting high-aspect bulb keel. The boat’s plumb bow maximizes sailing length while a large transom-hung rudder with carbon tiller enhances maneuverability under sail. fareastboatsusa.com

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TIWAL 3.2

More than just a blowup raft with a mast stuck on top, the 10ft-long Tiwal 3.2 high-performance sailing dinghy is a legitimate sailboat, compete with a V-shaped underbody, daggerboard, tiller extension, full complement of sail controls and hiking racks. The entire setup weighs just 111 pounds and can be assembled on-site in about 20 minutes. tiwal.com

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Z420

The Z420 is an all-new take on the venerable collegiate racer, with a hull that is 40 percent stiffer and an all-up weight that is 50 pounds less than its predecessor. An “Omega” version is also available with a fully adjustable mast ram, tapered mast and a square-top laminated mainsail for extra horsepower. laserperformance.com

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ALERION 41

This new boat has been a long time coming from the Rhode Island-based builder, but it has been worth waiting for. Beautiful lines, a powerful rig, modest beam, a slim underbody and finely sculpted foils all add up to a boat that is easy on the eye and fun to sail. She will sleep six in two cabins plus saloon and is well equipped for coastal cruising. alerionexp.com

Click here for SAIL's full review and video of the Alerion 41

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ARCHAMBAULT 27

With its slippery-looking hull form, retractable bowsprit, wide-open cockpit and aggressive hiking “wings” aft, the Archambault 27 is clearly a boat designed to get places fast. But there’s more to this sporty little racer than meets the eye, including Spartan, but comfortable accommodations belowdecks. Two versions are available: a performance version with a single large, high-aspect rudder and bulb keel, and a swing-keel cruiser with twin, shallow-draft rudders for thin-water exploring. archambault-boats.eu

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CATALINA 275 SPORT

A Capri 26 for the modern age? If this new performance cruiser meets anywhere near the success of the venerable Capri, Catalina will be delighted. The 275 is light, pretty, has weekending accommodations for four, and can be powered up with a masthead A-sail set on an optional retracting sprit. All that, plus a competitive price point, makes it an attractive package. catalinayachts.com

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BENETEAU FIRST 25S

This trailerable twin-rudder/centerboard boat has been around for a long time in Europe, but is a welcome addition to the ranks of pocket cruisers here in the United States. This latest version has had the “turbo” treatment, a square-top mainsail and a transom-mounted traveler adding to the performance vibe. A couple or young family would find the accommodations surprisingly comfortable. beneteau.com

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BENETEAU OCEANIS 38

Not only is the Beneteau Oceanis 38 available in three versions—daysailer, weekender and cruiser—it is configured in such a way that there is substantial flexibility in switching from one version to another over time as your sailing needs change. All three versions feature Beneteau’s trademark mainsail arch (although it’s optional in the daysailer configuration) a deep T-keel, twin rudders and a chine running the length of the hull. beneteau.com

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BLUE JACKET 40

A collaboration between longtime Tartan/C&C designer Tim Jackett and Island Packet’s Bob Johnson, the Blue Jacket 40 is an upscale fast cruiser with twin wheels, a powerful rig with a self-tacking jib set abaft a lightweight overlapping genoa, a deep fin keel and spade rudder, and practical, well-finished accommodations. bluejacketyachts.com

Click here for SAIL's full review and video of the Blue Jacket 40

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CONTEST 42CS

The Dutch-built Contest 42CS offers a variety of different options to accommodate everything from family cruisers to shorthanded sailors and those looking for extra performance. For example, shorthanded sailors can opt for a central cockpit console mounting a sheet winch and multifunction display, while more performance-oriented sailors can forego the console to create a wide-open cockpit with plenty of room for the crew. contestyachts.com

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PROUT 63 SF

The Prout brand goes back a long way, to the very infancy of production cruising catamarans. Over time, the boats have morphed from small to midsize bluewater cats built in England to large luxury boats produced in China. The 63 SF is an opulent flybridge cruiser, sumptuously fitted out and equipped with all the essentials to ensure comfortable cruising.
proutinternational.com

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OUTREMER 5X

The Outremer 49 that appeared in Annapolis a couple of years ago was an impressive fast cruising catamaran, and its bigger sister is even more so. The 59-foot 5X has been a top-selling boat for the French builder, and its emphasis on speed and seakeeping rather than outright load-carrying capacity makes it a go-anywhere cruiser that will clock up to 250 miles a day with ease.
catamaran-outremer.com

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HANSE 345

Germany’s Hanse yard has managed to pack an awful lot into a small package with this boat. The large cockpit features twin wheels and a walk-through transom with a drop-down swim platform. Down below, accommodations are bright, airy and roomy. Zippy performance is enhanced by a sailplan that’s powerful but easily controlled by one person. hanseyachts.com

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CORSAIR CRUZE 970

An evolution of the proven Corsair 31, the trailerable Corsair Cruze 970 retains its predecessor’s predilection for exhilarating speed, while providing 15 percent more space belowdecks—with full standing headroom, a larger galley, more practical cockpit and a fully enclosed head. Extra volume in the amas means additional comfort and security for non-sailing family members and guests. corsairmarine.com

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BENETEAU OCEANIS 55

The latest addition to Beneteau’s Oceanis line features the same distinct styling that has become a hallmark of the veteran French boatbuilder. Practical features include a good-looking cockpit arch to keep the mainsheet out of the way, a substantial sprit/anchor roller forward to prevent the hook from dinging the stem, and twin rudders to ensure helm control in the puffs. beneteau.com 

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VICTORIA 67

Fountaine Pajot’s new flagship, the Victoria 67, promises a whole new level of comfort from the Veteran French multihull builder. As was the case with last year’s Helia 44 and Sanya 57, Fountaine Pajot and the Berret Racoupeau design firm have included a wealth of lounging space at the same level as the helm station so no crewmember need ever have to suffer through a long trick at the wheel without plenty of company. fountaine-pajot.com

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SWAN 80FD

Long an innovator in both construction and design, Nautor’s Swan has been pulling out the stop in recent years, as is evident in the Swan 80FD. Among the many highlights of this boat are its pre-preg, cored carbon-fiber construction, high-aspect underwater appendages, and clean deck and cockpit layouts. The “FD” stands for flush deck. “S” and “RS” cabintrunk and raised-saloon versions of the boat are also available. nautorswan.com

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GUNBOAT 60

Company founder Peter Johnstone and the rest of the Gunboat team have built on their earlier-generation boats to create a whole new look that is as curvaceous as it is fast. As with the rest of the Gunboat line, the Gunboat 60 features the latest in raceboat design and materials to create a performance cruiser that is as quick as it is comfortable, whether racing around the buoys or crossing oceans. gunboat.com

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BAVARIA CRUISER 41

An evolution of the Farr-designed Cruiser 40, the Cruiser 41 features an attractive new cockpit, deck and cabintop molding that transform the boat’s appearance. Special attention has been paid to the cockpit, which is roomier and more functional, while the larger portlights in the revised cabintop brighten the interior. Standing headroom has also been increased. bavariayachts.com

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GUNBOAT 55

While echoing many of the styling features of the Gunboat 60, the Gunboat 55 is very much its own boat. Among the innovative features found onboard are a retractable moonroof and windscreen to provide truly indoor/outdoor helming and sailhanding from a single station at the front of the large combination saloon/cockpit. Gunboats always attract a crowd at the fall boat shows, and undoubtedly, this boat will be no exception. gunboat.com

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BAVARIA VISION 42

Following in the footsteps of the Vision 46, which made its debut during last year’s fall boat show season, the Farr-designed Bavaria Vision 42 shares the same dramatic styling and cruiser-friendly deck, cockpit and accommodations. Bavaria has put a lot of effort into learning what makes its customers happiest under sail, and it shows in the many practical details both above and belowdecks. bavariayachts.com

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NAUTITECH 542

Another multihull that made its U.S. debut at the Miami boat show last fall, the Nautitech 542 provides what might be the perfect blend of performance and comfort afloat. Twin outboard helmstations put you out where you need to be to get the most out of the boat’s powerful sailplan and lightweight, easily driven hulls. nautitech.fr

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RUSTLER 36

It’s new to the United States, but this long-keeled cruiser has been in production for nearly three decades in the UK. From the board of noted British designers Holman & Pye, the Rustler 36 is built to high standards and is the epitome of a tough-as-nails cruising boat that’ll take on Cape Horn as happily as Long Island Sound. rustleryachts.com

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SHANNON 38 HPS

The Shannon 38 HPS is a motorsailer that can just as easily beat to windward in 36 inches of water as it can power along at 12 knots. Options include either twin 75hp engines or a single 165hp engine and bow thruster. There is also the choice of an extended fiberglass hardtop over the cockpit or a roll-up bimini. The rig is optimized for shorthanded sailing. shannonyachts.com

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CATANA 42

French-based Catana has been in the business for years, and all that experience shows in the company’s latest 42-footer, set to make its U.S. debut this fall. Unique tulip-shaped bows, daggerboards and infused carbon construction all serve as evidence that the company is serious about maximizing performance at the same time it provides an elegant, comfortable platform afloat. catana.com

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DUFOUR 410

The Dufour 410 replaces the company’s 405 and features an all-new hull form, with chines, and a wider transom and drop-down swim platform. Like the rest of the Dufour line, the 410 is available with the company’s new Oak veneer joinery work. Twin helms provide excellent steering positions, while a plumb bow and truncated stern maximize sailing length. 
dufour-yachts.com

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DUFOUR 500

The Dufour 500 replaces both the 485 and 525, with an all-new hull and a unique approach to life afloat, in which the galley, which spans the entire width of the hull, is located forward of the saloon. To compensate for the fact that this makes it harder to pass food up from below, the cockpit has also been appointed with a sink, reefer and grilling capabilities, so that not just dining but cooking can be done al fresco. dufour-yachts.com

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LAGOON 52

The Van Peteghem-Lauriot Prevost-designed Lagoon 52, which replaces the popular 500 and made its debut at last winter’s Miami boat show, represents a departure for the company, with its vertical bows, beveled hulls and a mast positioned well aft to facilitate sail handling through the use of a smaller main and larger, furling headsail. cata-lagoon.com

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TAG 60

With its curvaceous lines, the South African-built, carbon-fiber Tag 60 makes one heck of an aesthetic statement, but it’s far more than just a looker. An array of sophisticated systems, including a max-heel angle function that automatically releases the main when the boat becomes hard pressed, make it possible for a couple to not only control the boat but log some serious knots in a wide range of conditions. tagyachts.com

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LAGOON 39

The Lagoon 39 shares many of the design features found aboard the larger 52, including vertical bows, beveled hulls and a rig positioned well after in the interest of promoting ease of handling. By moving the rig aft, designers VPLP also helped reduce pitching motion to create a more comfortable ride in sharp seas. cata-lagoon.com

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AEROYACHT ALPHA 42

With its wave-piercing bows, aggressive carbon-reinforced bowsprit, optional daggerboards and distinctive styling, the Aeroyacht Alpha 42 is clearly no ordinary cruising cat; nonetheless, the rig has been specifically configured for ease of handling by a smaller crew, or even a single-hander. Built by New York’s Alpha 1 Composites, the boat is sure to be a head-turner at this fall’s boat shows. aeroyacht.com

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J/88

Fitting in between the J/70 and J/111, the new 29ft J/88 is a mid-size family speedster offering a combination of stability, style and sparkling performance. The boat includes a large sit-in cockpit, open transom, overnighting interior complete with a head, a high-aspect non-overlapping sailplan, carbon fiber deck-stepped double-spreader mast and a retractable sprit—yep, sounds like a 21st century J/boat to us! jboats.com

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HYLAS 63

This new German Frers-designed 63-footer from Hylas Yachts features a nearly plumb bow and powerful stern sections to provide a combination of good performance and seakindliness under sail. The hull is vacuum-bagged and built with Twaron. Like all Hylas yachts, the H63 is custom-built to each owner’s particular needs and includes a finish both inside and out that is second to none. hylasyachtsusa.com

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SMARTKAT

The inflatable hulls of the 14-foot SmartKat are built from tear-resistant, fabric reinforced PVC, and the entire 92-pound package can be tucked away into two bags. A single rudder and central daggerboard keep the boat on track when sailing to windward. Remove the mast and attach a light outboard, and the boat can double as a tender. smartkat.at

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AMEL 64

The Amel 64 is proof positive that the cruising ketch concept, though out of fashion, is alive and well. Big, bold, fast and spacious, the 64 is the biggest (and arguably the prettiest) boat yet from the legendary French cruising-yacht builder, and is designed and built to be sailed by a husband-and-wife crew. Every conceivably cruising essential—and quite a few luxuries—is included in the standard spec for these boats. amel.fr

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TATOO 26

The brainchild of two long-time MacGregor distributors, the Tattoo 26 fills the void in the trailer-sailer market that followed the retirement of boatbuilders Roger and Mary Lou MacGregor. The boat’s MacGregor lineage is evident in its lines and the blend of both sail and power performance. The boat features a high-aspect daggerboard and twin rudders, for fingertip control. With a 60hp outboard, the Tattoo 26 is capable of speeds up to 20 knots, enough to tow a water skier. tattooyachts.com

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TATOO 22

The Tattoo 22 pocket cruiser pushes the envelope in any number of directions. Constructed with epoxy resin and a cored hull for lightness, the boat will do 20 knots under power but still offers good sailing performance through the use of water ballast and a ballasted daggerboard. Oh, and did we mention is also sleeps five and includes both an enclosed head, galley and pop-top with permanent screens to provide standing headroom? tattooyachts.com

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MX-NEXT

An offshoot of the SpeedDream campaign—which envisions a 100-foot monohull backers hope will someday steal away many of the offshore speed records currently held by multihulls—the mx-Next, designed by Vlad Murnikov, is a wet ride and most definitely not for beginners. But get your weight out on one of those wings and the boat up on a plane, and life suddenly becomes very good indeed! mxspeeddream.com

Click here for SAIL's full review and video of the MX-Next

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M32

Brought to you by Marstrom Composites, the same company that builds Tornados and Extreme 40 catamarans, the M32 is basically a beach cat on steroids—a lot of steroids. Designed to be sailed with a crew of three or four, the boat features hiking racks and sophisticated curved daggerboards as part of a platform designed to go faster than similar cats with a 40ft LOA. marstrom.com

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JEANNEAU SUN ODYSSEY 469

Jeanneau is going from strength to strength with yet another user-friendly family cruiser in its successful Sun Odyssey line. Slotting neatly in the middle of the model range, the 469 boasts an efficient deck layout, a versatile rig and a voluminous interior with clean Euro-styling. As with all new Sun Odyssey boats, the 469 can be ordered with 360 Docking, which combines a pivoting saildrive leg and a bowthruster with an integrated joystick control to make close-quarters maneuvering a snap. jeanneau.com

Click here for SAIL's full review of the Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 469

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