Just Launched: At the Dusseldorf Boat Show - Sail Magazine

Just Launched: At the Dusseldorf Boat Show

If you were looking for the ideal boat show venue, your first choice probably wouldn’t be a German city 110 miles from the sea. Yet the nautical extravaganza in Dusseldorf, on the banks of the mighty Rhine, has grown to be the world’s biggest boat and watersport show.
Author:
Publish date:
 Bavaria Vision 46

Bavaria Vision 46

If you were looking for the ideal boat show venue, your first choice probably wouldn’t be a German city 110 miles from the sea. Yet the nautical extravaganza in Dusseldorf, on the banks of the mighty Rhine, has grown to be the world’s biggest boat and watersport show—17 cavernous halls packed with everything from pool toys to superyachts. Sailing, powerboating, houseboating, fishing, paddling, scuba diving, kitesailing, wakeboarding, surfing; if it can be done on the water, you’ll find it here. 

Each year around 250,000 showgoers pass through the turnstiles and half of these cite their primary interest as sailboats, which is why Dusseldorf is a must for European boatbuilders. German builders invariably save their new-model introductions for this show, announcing them with great fanfare. 

One of the first invitations we received was from a resurgent Bavaria, which introduced yet another new Farr design. The Vision 46 has nothing in common appearance-wise with Bavaria’s Cruiser line, and indeed, it’s aimed at a different market. 

“Comfort, elegance and easy handling” are the selling points; the first is achieved by dint of a spacious two-cabin layout that has just one head/shower (a three-cabin, two-head layout is optional). Yes, there is an inarguable elegance to her lines, and as for easy handling, well, if you tick the right options you’ll have a seriously well-mannered boat. You can have not only a drop-down bow/stern thruster combo to shuttle you sideways into your slip, but also a push-button jib and main trim system (using reversing electric winches) that avoids all that tiresome grinding and line-handling.

The reason for the offset companionway becomes apparent when you press a button and the cockpit table lowers itself to form the base of a double bunk—talk about comfort under the stars. There are too many other clever features to enumerate here; suffice it to say that Bavaria expects big things from this boat. Others in the new line are in the works.

 Hanse 415

Hanse 415

Just along the way, the new Hanse 415 stood shoulder to shoulder with its siblings. It replaces the popular 400, but is nearly two feet longer on the waterline and has more sail area, which should make it a lot quicker, especially in light air. It has a beamy hull, powered by the customary full-battened mainsail/self-tacking jib sailplan seen on these German boats for nearly two decades. Down below, the layout is effective, and the finish is bright and cheerful. This boat can be ordered with Hanse’s new Smart Mooring System (SMS), which couples bow and stern thrusters for joystick-controlled docking.

 Beneteau Oceanis 48

Beneteau Oceanis 48

Beneteau’s new models included the Oceanis 48, an impressively roomy and good-looking cruiser. The boat’s drop-down transom gate runs the width of the stern, making for a spacious boarding/swimming/lounging area abaft the twin wheels—an excellent example of how design trends are making cockpits more user-friendly than ever, especially when the boat is at rest. 

 Beneteau Oceanis 48

Beneteau Oceanis 48

 Beneteau Sense 55

Beneteau Sense 55

Even more impressive was the Beneteau Sense 55, which carries the “monomaran” concept to a new level. As on the smaller Senses, the large cockpit and airy saloon are integrated as closely as possible, with the sleeping accommodations concentrated forward. It’s a concept that works extremely well for coastal and warm-water sailing, though I think most people would opt for one of the more conservative Beneteau designs if they wanted to go bluewater cruising. It’s certainly a boat I’d be happy to punt around the Caribbean for a year or three.

 Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 509

Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 509

 Grand Soleil 50

Grand Soleil 50

Jeanneau’s new Sun Odyssey509 is a more straightforward fast cruiser, nicely fitted out with a choice of three layouts. It’s a real looker, proving that the styling themes set by the 379, 409 and 439 also work well on a bigger canvas. I see it as a competitor to the Grand Soleil 50 in terms of looks, and a performance match-up would be interesting. This latest Grand Soleil is a handsome boat indeed—long, low and lean—with some interesting touches to the well-finished interior. The boat on show had its galley forward of the saloon seating area, though you can specify a more conventional layout. This company—now owned, like France’s Dufour, by Bavaria—has new representation in the United States and hopefully we’ll soon see more of these sporty steeds on this side of the Atlantic.

Dusseldorf is also a great place to spot new trends in sailboat design and equipment. Things I took away: Flush hatches are becoming almost mandatory. If your performance cruiser doesn’t have a torpedo keel and/or a hull chine, it’s in a minority. Extending bowsprits for A-sails, ditto. More boats are sporting big hull ports. LED lighting is now commonplace. Almost every major builder now offers some kind of sophisticated docking system. Big mains, small jibs are where it’s at.

Related

daviscards

Davis Instruments: Quick Reference Cards

CHECK THESEIf you’re sailing with new crew this summer or your kids have suddenly and inexplicably started to look up from their phones and take an interest in the finer points of cruising, these Quick Reference Cards from Davis are a great way to further their boating education. ...read more

01-rbir18-596

Another Epic Round Britain Race

There are basically two kinds of offshore sailboat races out there: those that take place annually, like the Fastnet and Chicago-to-Mackinac races; and those that take place every other year, like the Transpac and Newport-Bermuda race, in part so the competitors have sufficient ...read more

01b_WALKING-KEDGE-OUT-cmykpromo

Getting More Use From Kedge Anchors

If you are cruising, you need at least two anchors on board for the simple reason that you must have a backup. Imagine having to slip your anchor on a stormy night with other boats dragging down on yours, or having your rope rode severed by some unseen underwater obstacle, ...read more

SailAwayCharter

How-to: Navigating on a Bareboat Charter

So you graduated from navigation class where you practiced dead reckoning, doubling the angle on the bow and maybe even celestial nav, and you now feel well prepared for your first charter trip. Well, you won’t be doing any of that on vacation—not past the first day, anyway.Most ...read more

04-Turtle-rescue

Turtle Rescue in the Vic-Maui

Strange and often wonderful things can happen in the course of an offshore sailboat race, and one of the strangest and most wonderful things we’ve heard of recently took place during the 2,300-mile 2018 Vic-Maui race, from Victoria, British Columbia, to Lahaina, Hawaii.It ...read more

dorcap-open-blue

ATN Inc: Dorcap

COOL SLEEPYou’re fast asleep in a snug anchorage, forehatch open to catch the breeze, when you’re rudely awakened by a sneaky rain squall. Now you’re not only awake and wet, you’re sweltering with the hatch closed. Sucks, right? That’s why ATN came up with the Dorcap, an ...read more

HIGH-RES-29312-Tahiti-GSP

Ask Sail: Who has the right-of-way

WHO HAS RIGHT-OF-WAY?Q: I sail in Narragansett Bay, which is a relatively narrow body of water that has upwind boats generally going south and downwind boats generally going north. When sailboats are racing, the starboard tack boat has the right-of-way over the port tack boat, so ...read more