2012

2012 Best Boats Winners

by Sail Staff, Posted November 21, 2011
Among this year’s 2012 Best Boats Award winners are a cat with two cockpits, another cat with two tillers, a variable-displacement daysailer and a pair of red-hot raceboats. Clearly it takes more than a little bad economic news to keep the boatbuilding industry down!
Among the many large, expensive sailing vessels at this year’s Annapolis show, the crowd-stopper was this diminutive 23-footer with a tall pilothouse. Something about it—perhaps the proportions, perhaps the novelty, perhaps the accessibility— made people pause, do double takes and smile.
Passport has been creating strong, beautifully detailed cruising boats at its yard in Xiamen, China, for 20 years and each new model evolves slightly from the previous one. Looking at the new Passport Vista 545 CC at Annapolis made us wonder if the factory locks a man inside the boat each night and gives him breakfast only after he has come up with some small improvement.
The Farr 400’s all-carbon construction, powerful sailplan and excellent deck and cockpit layout  make it a convincing successor to the aging Farr 40. The 400’s lifting keel and two-part carbon mast (supported by EC6 standing rigging) also allow for cost-effective shipping in a 40-foot container, facilitating international competition.
Britain’s Southerly Yachts has been building shoal-draft cruisers for decades, so the 49 has a serious pedigree. Designer Rob Humphreys also works for Oyster, so there is a generous splash of luxury in the 49’s detailing and accommodations.  
This quick cruiser from France was entered in last year’s Best Boats but never made it to the shows. It’s a handsome cat with twin wheels and a number of layout options to suit everyone from charter operators to world cruisers.
The twin rudders on this beamy cruiser ensure excellent helm control even when hard on the wind at an aggressive angle of heel. The wide transom incorporates an enormous flip-down swim platform that is raised and lowered with an electric motor and will undoubtedly make you the envy of the anchorage.
South African builder Robertson and Caine consistently hits the mark with its cruising/charter cats, designed by American firm Morrelli & Melvin. The new 44 combines practicality, volume and decent performance in a capable-looking package.  
The BayRaider 20 may look traditional with her ketch rig and saucy sheer, but she is very much a modern boat, with features like a self-draining cockpit and a water ballast system to help tailor performance to your particular sailing needs.
From the same design team that brought the world the Viper 640 comes a new sport boat configured for two- and three-person racing. The boat is designed to be both affordable and accommodate a wide range of experience levels.
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