The European Yachts of the Year have been chosen again at the Dusseldorf Boat Show, aka 'Boot'.
At a glittering function with just 400 invited guests the results were announced in four categories: Performance Cruiser, won by the Elan 350, Family Cruiser, won by Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 409, the Luxury Cruiser, won by X-Yachts Xc 38, and finally, the star of them all, in the category of Special Yachts, the Saffier 23 with its electric motor.
The guests at the awards ceremony included a Who's Who of European sailing, and among them was seventeen-year-old Jessica Watson, the brave little Australian who at sixteen last year rounded the globe solo via the Southern Ocean in her S&S 34.
The winners show a shift in how the yachts are appraised. For the past few years, the focus has been on volume and comfort below decks, whereas this year's finalists showed an emphasis on the performance aspects of the yachts, as well as control and balance.
Every year the jury is composed of journalists from eleven European sailing publications, who judge them twice during the year, including a sea-trialling session in November.
There were eighteen nominations, from which the four were chosen. Some of the jury remarked this year that it was a very close contest Performance Cruiser: Elan 350.
Elan-350 - .. .
Popular this year in this class among the nominations were yachts with a wide stern, chines and twin rudders, mirroring the trends in the world's great ocean races. It's not the first time that Slovenian manufacturer Elan has figured in these awards, showing their staying power as builders of well designed boats. The judges found the yacht shows its mettle especially well downwind under spinnaker, yet remains very easily controllable. Comfortable, too, below Family Cruiser: Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 409.
Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 409 - .. .
This was a strongly contended category, with the brands of both Bavaria and Hanse competing strongly. However, the vote for the Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 409 was said to have been almost unanimous by the journalist judges. Apart from performing well in many conditions, they liked the fact that there is a lot of variability in her sail plan and the cockpit is organised well. She also has a comfortable interior for family sailing, and looks graceful on the water. Luxury-Cruiser: X-Yachts Xc 38.
Xc-38 - .. .
Ideal if you can afford her, this yacht is perfect for short handed cruising so desirable for couples on a longer cruise, and performs beautifully. She is comfortably roomy below, and solidly built. It is the second time that X yachts has won this award, underlining their consistent superior design ability. Special Yachts: Saffier 23.
saffier-23 - .. .
What a little beauty!
Ideal for the day sailor, this Dutch boat is easy and responsive to handle, but is also a solidly built, elegant sailing boat.
One of her greatest attributes is her absolute simplicity, but, even better news for the environmentalist, she sports an electric motor for propulsion.
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