SAIL 2013 Best Boats Nominees

A strong lineup of new boats from domestic and foreign builders will be on display at the Newport International Boat show in September and the U.S. Sailboat Show in Annapolis in October. SAIL’s judging team will be inspecting them closely for the 2013 Best Boats awards.

A strong lineup of new boats from domestic and foreign builders will be on display at the Newport International Boat show in September and the U.S. Sailboat Show in Annapolis in October. SAIL’s judging team will be inspecting them closely for the 2013 Best Boats awards; here’s your chance to get a first glimpse at the contenders.

Bavaria Cruiser 50

It’s been on the water for a year or so in Europe, and now the Cruiser 50—big sister to the Cruiser 45 that won a 2012 Best Boats award—has made it to this side of the Pond. It’s a powerful offshore boat with a choice of interior layouts to suit just about any cruising plans or styles. The roomy hull is from Farr Yacht Design and performance should live up to the name.

Bavaria Vision 46

The first of a new line of cruisers from German yard Bavaria, the Vision 46 embodies some fresh thinking in design and layout. It’s aimed at couples who cruise with occasional guests and is more opulently fitted out than the company’s Cruiser line. Comfort is a key criterion: hence the padded recliners for the helmsman, and cockpit seats that convert to a double berth.

Bavaria B/One

Not content with having cranked out new cruising boats at a ferocious pace for the last two years, Bavaria has diversified into the realm of sport boats. The B/One is a zippy-looking 23-footer from Farr Yacht Design. It’s intended to be both a potent one-design racing weapon and a functional weekend cruiser. The keel and rudder retract for trailering, and all interior furniture can be removed to minimize racing weight.

C&C 101

A new C&C is always a welcome sight, and the 101 looks set to build on the marque’s reputation for fast sailing. Designed by Tom McNeill, the 33-footer displaces less than 4 tons and carries a carbon-fiber rig. She’s tiller-steered and has a huge cockpit that should prove popular with both racing crew and daysailing guests.

Dufour 36P

European builders have been pushing the performance cruiser concept hard over the last decade, and Dufour’s 36P is as fine an example of the state of the art as you’ll find. Aggressive lines, a retracting sprit and a tall rig promise excellent speed, while the deck and cockpit layout are optimized for easy handling; belowdecks there’s a comfortable cruising interior.

Tartan Fantail

Tim Jackett’s latest design for Ohio’s Tartan Yachts is a 26ft daysailer that, in the best traditions of the breed, combines traditional good looks with up-to-the-minute thinking in hull design and sail-handling systems. A fractional rig with self-tacking jib and an extending sprit for an A-sail provides the motive power, and there’s room for six or more people to sit comfortably in the long cockpit.

Hanse 385

This lively 38-footer quickly shot to the top of Hanse’s bestseller list upon its introduction in Europe last year. All the ingredients that mark the German builder’s range of boats are present here: twin wheels, plumb bow, a powerful yet easily handled sailplan and a voluminous, bright interior.

Hanse 415

Like the other boats in Hanse’s new 5 series, the 415 has more volume and better performance than its predecessor, the immensely popular Hanse 400. It’s nearly 2ft longer on the waterline and with increased beam aft there’s more interior space to play with. A long list of options and alternatives allow owners to semi-customize the boat to suit individual tastes.

Moody AC41

Distinctive styling and sweet sailing performance are two of the Moody line’s signature traits. This 41-footer is the smallest in the Bill Dixon-designed range now being built at the Hanse plant in Germany. White paneling and glossy wood trim feature strongly belowdecks, and there’s a large choice of layouts, with up to three cabins and two head compartments.

Beneteau Oceanis 48

The reasons for the popularity of Beneteau’s revamped Oceanis line are plain to see in this roomy cruiser—user-friendliness chief among them. The large cockpit is transformed into a play area by the full-width drop-down transom. The accommodations plans are well thought out, and sailing performance is pretty good too.

Seaward 46RK

This innovative cruiser was designed to be right at home in the shoal waters of the U.S. East Coast. With the keel and rudder retracted she’ll sail or motor in two feet of water; with her foils down she’s capable of crossing an ocean. There’s plenty of fresh thinking in the deck and interior layout too.


Already looking like a big hit, this boat was introduced in the spring to widespread acclaim. It’s simple to handle, trailerable, fast, rock-steady at speed and you can sleep aboard—what more could you ask of a 23ft sport boat?

Nautitech 441

This good-looking cat from France comes with steering wheels located aft on each hull, in which case it’s called the 442, or with a single helm station in the cockpit (441). It has all the hallmarks of a comfortable, quicker-than-average production cat. Finish quality is good, and the boat has excellent manners under sail.

Beneteau Sense 55

The Sense 55 supercedes the 50 as the new flagship in Beneteau’s Sense line of monohulls with catamaran-style accommodations. A super-wide cockpit leading straight into a spacious saloon with sightlines running the length of the boat make this a great craft for socializing and family cruising. A powerful rig and a 75hp Yanmar engine (Beneteau’s joystick-controlled Dock & Go system is optional) provide lots of motive force, and twin rudders will keep her on track.

Beneteau Sense 46

Here’s a brand new mid-size addition to Beneteau’s ever-growing fleet of super-wide “monomaran” cruising machines. Like her other Sense sisters, the 46 has a very horizontal layout and a nearly uni-level cockpit and saloon. Two spacious staterooms forward and two separate heads round out her light, airy interior. The open stern and fold-down transom provide easy access to the water. Twin helms and twin rudders provide unparalleled control.

Fountaine Pajot Sanya 57

This French cruising catamaran offers an abundance of space and comfort with a choice of a five- or six-cabin accommodations plan (not counting crew’s quarters!) and scads of lounging space on deck. The efficient raised helm layout offers maximum visibility while maintaining an attractive low profile. A balanced sailplan featuring a large square-headed mainsail provides lots of get up and go.

Fountaine Pajot Helia 44

Cruisers who prefer to do their sailing on board cats will find plenty to like in this latest offering from the renowned French builder. Designer Berret Racoupeau has managed to fit split-level lounging and social spaces into a low-slung hull-and-cabin profile that is both sleek and comfortable. Belowdecks there’s room enough for both a family and guests in a layout that features four staterooms and four heads.

Catalina 315

Catalina has successfully downsized its award-winning “5” series family-cruising concept without sacrificing any of its practical functionality. The new 315 combines good sailing manners with comfortable accommodations and a number of intelligent design features, like a watertight collision bulkhead up forward, superior rig support and excellent systems access. This boat should enhance Catalina’s reputation as a leading builder of domestic cruising boats.

Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 41DS

Fans of Jeanneau’s successful contemporary deck-saloon designs can now look forward to slipping into something a bit smaller if they like. This new Sun Odyssey 41DS wears its distinctive blister-shaped coachroof well and offers comfortable cruising accommodations. Owners should appreciate the surprisingly large aft master stateroom, as well as the generous aft head. Guests will revel in the forward cabin with its ensuite head. Crew will appreciate the wide cockpit and twin wheels.

Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 509

This new flagship in Jeanneau’s well-respected Sun Odyssey line has a traditional three-stateroom layout with an especially well thought out galley and saloon. The versatile sailplan allows you to fly your choice of a big genoa, a small overlapping jib or a straight self-tacking jib. The hard-chined hull and tall rig should make for some stiff, spirited performance. The double-ended German mainsheet makes the boat easy to sail shorthanded.

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.

Neel 45

Here’s an intriguing trimaran that manages to fit catamaran-sized living accommodations into a three-hull format. With two full-size double staterooms in the solid bridgedeck, plus a small one forward, plus four single berths in the amas, the Neel 45 can sleep up to 10 people. And thanks to the super-fine bows and big roachy mainsail, she sails like a witch. The saloon offers wraparound views of the world outside, and the systems space below the cabin sole is both large and easily accessed.

Sig 45

This high-performance cat is both a souped-up racing machine, with a carbon/epoxy hull and a rotating carbon rig, and a stylish family cruiser. The narrow hulls, canted daggerboards and open bridgedeck layout speak of speed; the simple, but well-appointed interior looks both attractive and comfortable. One-design class rules (not to mention a gorgeous teak deck) promise to make this a unique racer-cruiser multihull.

Harbor 30

There are still plenty of sailors who want small, simple cruising boats, and they’re the Harbor 30’s target audience. The Steve Schock design is moderate in all respects, and should therefore be a fine, well-rounded sailing boat that has no surprises in store for its crew. Four can sleep below in comfort, enjoying such essential conveniences as an enclosed head and full galley.

Sage 17

New pocket cruisers are few and far between these days, so it’s always good to see designs like the Sage 17 cropping up. From the pen of trailer-sailer guru Jerry Montgomery, the Sage 17 is built in the hills of Colorado. It’s a pretty, seamanlike little thing that’s sure to draw admiring looks way out of proportion to its size.

Motive 25R

You couldn’t look at this carbon-fiber trimaran and not think “I want one!” Designed by Wurmfeld and Persak and built in Massachusetts, the Motive 25R will be equally at home blasting around a racecourse or taking a group of family and friends out for a daysail. It’s a tribute to the big ocean-crossing trimarans that have been breaking records these past few years and shares many of the same design features.

Seawind 950

Here’s a big little cat from Australia with plenty of cruising potential. The 30ft Seawind 950 packs a lot of accommodation into a small footprint, and looks like a great option for a couple or young family. It can be ordered with fixed keels or daggerboards for better windward performance.

Leopard 58

The biggest boat yet from this South African builder makes its world debut this fall. It offers all the accommodations a cruising family could conceivably need, with three levels of living space. A plethora of options includes a six-cabin charter layout, and there are three distinct outdoor living spaces. The sailplan features a self-tacking jib, a rarity on a catamaran but one that makes sense on a boat of these proportions.

SeaRail 19

The SeaRail 19 is an affordable, lightweight, trailerable trimaran built to accommodate to a wide range of sailors and uses, including day sailing, sail camping and racing. The boat can be quickly folded and unfolded for trailering and launching, and offers blistering speed afloat with the help of an optional furling spinnaker.

Rivolta Vintage 43

Don’t let the Rivolta Vintage 43’s traditional lines fool you. With its square-top main, furling A-sail, retractable bulb keel and infused/cored E-glass hull, the boat is very much a product of the 21st century, providing a combination of performance under sail and shoal draft for thin-water cruising.

Tofinou 8

Designed by naval architects Joubert and Nivelt, the Tofinou 8 combines classic lines topsides with a modern rig and a high-aspect rudder and bulb keel below, making it both nimble and easy to handle under sail. Oh, and it’s also drop-dead gorgeous.

XP 38

The new XP 38 from X-Yachts follows in the footsteps of the XP 44. A high ballast ratio and generous sailplan promise excellent performance, while multiple rig and keel options allow owners to tailor the boat to their particular sailing needs.

S&S 30

Based on one of the late, great Olin Stephens’s favorite designs, the S&S30 is a thoroughbred daysailer that just oozes class. There’s a large cockpit and adequate accommodation for a weekend cruise for a couple. Classic lines above the waterline and finely sculpted foils below promise a pleasing blend of form and function.

First 20

Beneteau’s lively little First 211 trailer-sailer was a huge hit when it was launched in 1998, and it has remained popular through several iterations. The latest is the First 20, with an all-new rig boasting a square-topped mainsail that should give its already sprightly performance some extra sizzle.

First 25 S

This Finot-Conq design also gets a makeover, with a square-top mainsail and updated styling. Along with the First 20, it heralds a new push into the small-boat market from Beneteau USA. The twin rudders and sporty rig will ensure a thrilling ride.



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