Skip to main content

Düsseldorf: A Walk Around the World’s Biggest Boat Show

Azuree 33

Azuree 33

As if there was any doubt, January’s Boot Düsseldorf show once again lived up to its billing as the world’s top boat and watersports show. A quarter of a million boat nuts flocked to the massive exhibition center on the banks of the Rhine for the nine-day event. Although this show caters to just about anything you can do on, in or under water—from fishing to wakeboarding, surfing, canoeing, kayaking, scuba diving, kiteboarding or paddleboarding—you’ll no doubt be happy to know that, unlike power-centric mixed shows Stateside, it’s sailing and sailboats that draw the biggest crowds. Hence, this is now the prime venue for boatbuilders to introduce their new models.

Bavaria's new 34-footer.

Bavaria's new 34-footer.

Bavaria Cruiser 34

Bavaria Cruiser 34

As always, there was no shortage of new product for boat aficionados to feast their eyes upon. Bavaria unveiled—literally, the boat was enveloped in a white shroud—its new Cruiser 34, which features the now obligatory twin wheels along with a three-cabin layout that looks ideal for coastal cruising with a young family.

Dehler introduced a pretty new 42-footer, a fast sport cruiser that looks just as sharp as the 38 and 46 that preceded it. No hull chines or twin rudders for the Dehler 42—designers Judel/Vrolijk are sticking with the tried and tested deep fin, deep spade rudder and balanced hull combination they’ve been refining for so many years.

[advertisement]The Europeans do this kind of boat really well, and there were several other debutantes of the sport cruiser ilk. Sirena Marine showed its new Azuree 33C, a colorfully decorated boat that shows lots of original thinking. Various elements of the interior can be unbolted and removed at will to optimize accommodations for cruising or racing.

Italia 9.98

Italia 9.98

Italia Yachts brought two new boats, both featuring the clean styling and first-rate build quality this relatively new brand has become known for. The 42ft Italia 12.98, a nicely laid-out cruiser that would take one or two couples along the coast or around the cans in great style, and the 9.98, a finely honed sportster that benefits from the latest thinking in deck layout and sail handling gear.

At the opposite end of the hall, the classy new Solaris 47 sat alongside its two bigger sisters, minus keels and rigs, in an artsy display that showed off these boats’ immaculate moldings and keen styling. With a self-tacking jib and all sail control lines led aft to the helm, it’s designed to be easily handled by a couple while still providing a rewarding platform for a race crew.

Swan 60S

Swan 60S

The queen of the sports cruisers, though, was the new Swan 60S. Although it shares a hull with the 60FD, which has been around a for a few years, everything else is new, from the rig and deck plan to the accommodations. It’s a design in which the scale has tilted from out-and-out performance to a more accessible cruising layout that harks back to older Swans, but in a thoroughly modern package.

The new Garcia Exploration 52, complete with beautifully fair aluminum hull, well built and tough as nails. If you're heading for high latitudes put this on your wish list.

6
7
8
9

In terms of hardcore cruising boats, one of the standouts was the Garcia Exploration 52, a bigger version of the twin-rudder, swing-keel aluminum workhorse aboard which Jimmy Cornell transitted the Northwest Passage in 2015. If you want to go high-latitude sailing in comfort and maybe break some ice, this boat is for you. If not, perhaps the Delphia 46DS would work. It’s a capacious long-distance cruiser, well decked out for the long haul, with a choice of keel configurations to suit just about every sailing style.

Lucia 40

Lucia 40

Like so many boatbuilders, Wauquiez had a financial day of reckoning a few years ago, but emerged from its crisis in good shape. The new Wauquiez Pilot Saloon 48 offers her crew a panoramic view out of the deckhouse and luxurious accommodations to go with it. Beneteau had the new Oceanis 41.1 on display and going by the lines to get on board this should be another strong model for them.

The logistical difficulties of transporting big multihulls means there simply are not as many of these on display as the strength of the market would indicate. However, to commemorate its 40th anniversary Fountaine Pajot brought along its new Lucia 40, a roomy, handsome boat from the Berret/Racoupeau team. Lagoon, not to be left behind, showed its replacement for the long-lived 420, the Lagoon 42, which shares the high-aspect mainsail/self-tacking genoa of the bigger VPLP designs in the range.
Danish trimaran builder Quorning had a strong display, including the revamped Dragonfly 28 Sport, which now has a wave-piercing float design for added buoyancy at speed. Another new arrival was the Astus 16.5, a small trailerable tri that looks just the thing for a breezy Saturday afternoon.

LA 28

LA 28

As always at Düsseldorf, the real fun is in prowling the darker recesses of the halls to see what inventive smaller builders have come up with. To my mind the star of the show was the exquisite LA28 daysailer, whose lovely cold-molded contours were clad in khaya mahogany. The daysailer craze seems to have died down in the United States, but it’s thriving in Europe.

[advertisement]
I was tickled by the ePoH, a high-powered skiff for the mere mortals among us—it has “training wheels,” ski-shaped floats attached to the hiking rails that hit the water if things get squirrely and prevent the boat from pitchpoling. Less time in the water, more time on it—sounds fair.

Düsseldorf is also the place to spot new trends in boatbuilding and design. This year’s takeaways: yet more emphasis on concealing lines belowdeck, and more “snouts”—long anchor platforms that double as tack points for A-sails, often covered by a fiberglass molding. Faux-teak decking is being used on more and more boats, and ash and oak interior trim is in, as are lifting keels, perhaps because crowded mooring fields are driving boats closer to shore.

The Epoh is a skiff with "training wheels;" the floats prevent the hiking rack from digging in at speed and capsizing the boat.

1Epoh
2
3

Even the CNB 76 looks lost in one of the giant halls at the Düsseldorf show.

4

 Folding sailboat, anyone?

10

The Bente 24, made of flax fibers and recyclable resin, a sporty, roomy little entry level cruiser for the very reasonable base price of 30,000 euros.

11
12
13

The Xcat weighs under 200lb. Just pop it on the roof rack and head for the beach.

14

New Lagoon 42 makes a strong statement at the Düsseldorf boat show.

16

First look at the new Dehler 42, at the Düsseldorf show.

17

What other boat show has an indoor river you can canoe around?

15

CONTACTS

Astus astusboats.com
Azuree azuree.com
Bavaria Yachts bavariayachts.com
Beneteau beneteau.com
Dehler Yachts dehler.com
Delphia Yachts delphiayachts.com
Dragonfly Boat dragonfly.dk
ePoH epoh.eu
Fountaine Pajot fountaine-pajot.com
Garcia Yachting garcia-yachting.com
Italia Yachtsitaliayachts.it
Lagoon Catamarans cata-lagoon.com
LA Yacht la-yacht.de
Nautor’s Swan nautorswan.com
Solaris Yachts solarisyachts.com
Wauquiez wauquiez.com

April 2016

Related

promo-2048x

Just Launched Mid-sized Cruisers

With so many manufacturers dreaming up bigger production boats, more and more mid-sized cruisers fall on the smaller end of their lines. However, “smaller” does not mean less, and the tricks for optimizing larger models have helped with squeezing more enjoyment into less LOA. As ...read more

05-DSC_0638

Charter: Lake Tahoe

A sail on Lake Tahoe has been on my bucket list since the day I first laid eyes on it, and come hell or high water, I decided I was going to someday charter a boat there. North America’s largest and deepest alpine lake, Tahoe sits at 6,225ft above sea level and straddles the ...read more

East-River-Rapids

Escape from New York Part 1

I was never supposed to take my boat through New York City. After getting sucked backward through the Cape Cod Canal on my way south from Maine, when the speed of the current exceeded the maximum speed of my little electric auxiliary, I wanted nothing to do with Hell Gate and ...read more

LEAD-Celeste-in-the-Tuamotu

A Watermaker Upgrade

As a classic-boat sailor, I’ve long held that simpler is the better. I still think this is true: a simpler boat is cheaper, she has less gadgets to break down and there’s a certain satisfaction in knowing you’re able to handle a bit of discomfort. Thus, for a long time, I sailed ...read more

01-LEAD-IDECsport_180919_032

Sailing Speed Records

Although the 1903 defender of the America’s Cup, Reliance, was deemed a “racing freak”—the boat pushed design rules to their limit and couldn’t be beaten, at least in very specific conditions—designer Nat Herreshoff was nonetheless onto something. A century later, purpose-built ...read more

BVIFeetup

Chartering with Non-sailors

Three tips on managing the madness First-time charterers and first-time sailors aren’t at all the same thing. One group may struggle with beginner chartering issues, like sailing a multihull, catching a mooring or dealing with base personnel. For the other group, though, ...read more

AdobeStock_455372159

A Gulf Stream Crossing at Night

Even the dome of light glowing above the city behind us had disappeared as if swallowed in a gulp by Noah’s whale. The moon was absent. Not a star twinkled overhead. The night was so dark we could have been floating in a pot of black ink. The only artificial lights to be seen ...read more

00-Lead-549215sJL2uLEa

Summer Sailing Programs

Every year, countless parents find themselves navigating the do’s and don’ts of enrolling their children in a summer learn-to-sail program for the first time. While the prospect of getting your kid on the water is exciting, as a sailing camp program director, there are a lot of ...read more