I first saw the Dufour Grand Large 500 on paper, not on the water, when Eric Macklin of Dufour Yachts let me have a sneak peek at the French builder’s new flagship. A year later, there she was, afloat at the Annapolis boat show, packed with innovations that seemed to break the mold of traditional thinking in yacht design.
Since the company’s inception a dozen or so years ago, Gunboat’s no-holds-barred Morrelli & Melvin-designed boats, with their distinctive angular slab-sided hulls, have become the ultimate objects of desire for a whole generation of multihull sailors.
In the ranks of dedicated bluewater boats, a few names crop up time and again that are synonymous with solid construction, reliable engineering and good seakeeping. One of those names is Hylas, whose stable of cruisers, from first Sparkman & Stephens and latterly Germán Frers, have an enviable pedigree.
The business maxim that you have to innovate your way out of a recession seems to have been taken to heart by boatbuilders. After a comparatively small field of new boats in 2009, this year's boat shows were crammed with talent. There was genuine innovation, a great degree of variety, and a good many excellent examples of the art of boat design and building.
Two days after the close of the Newport Boat Show, we had a chance to take out a couple of the smaller new boats we’d visited there, the Scandinvian Cruiser and Class 2M. Despite their diminutive size, both were standouts at the show, with their striking good looks, unique design and excellent build quality.
Germany’s Bavaria Yachts, not long ago the 800-pound gorilla of European boatbuilding, took a pummeling during the recession. For years its philosophy of strict engineering practices and budget control had seen its value-priced cruising boats flying off the factory floor. By 2007 the factory was cranking out nearly 3,500 boats a year to feed a seemingly insatiable, mainly FULL STORY