The new Dehler 46 is an attractive performance cruiser aimed at owners who prioritise excellent sailing qualities but still demand a high level of comfort and space. A choice of options enables this Judel/Vrolijk designed model to be specified as either a comfortable and well-appointed performance cruiser or as a competitive race boat.

Given that Dehler expects the 46 to appeal to a wide range of buyers, it’s a boat that can be configured in a number of different ways. For instance there’s a choice of four keels – two with an L-shape bulb, with draught of 1.85m and 2.45m, and two with a racier torpedo bulb, with draught of 2.25 and 2.5m. Similarly, owners can choose between a conventional aluminium rig and a taller carbon alternative. Take a quick tour aboard in the video below.




In terms of styling, the round shapes of the roof structure, along with the outline of the windows, which are topped with an aluminium strip, echo the other models in the range. Hull construction is a full sandwich with a Corecell foam core, laminated in an infusion process. A carbon-fibre cage is designed to distribute rig and keel loads over a wide area while giving the hull a high degree of torsional stiffness. The main bulkhead is made from high-strength composite to further improve the torsional stiffness and load distribution.


Below decks

The interior has been planned to maximise space and comfort for a relatively small number of people, rather than to maximise the number of bunks. The result is two or three generously sized cabins, including a forward master with a 1.6m wide island bed, plus two comfortable heads compartments. The latter features Dehler’s patented system in which a door either separates the entire head from the saloon or swivels to separate the wash basin from the toilet and shower, thus creating separate shower areas in both heads.

Interior layout – Dehler 46 review

The accommodation is spacious and doesn't attempt to cram in as many berths as possible.


The saloon has a large U-shaped sofa around the table, with a settee opposite, plus a large L-shaped galley and a proper navigation table. Good ventilation and plenty of natural light throughout, as was as carefully configured and easily accessible stowage. Aft on the port side there’s a large accessible stowage area including a bunk berth that can be used for stowage or watersports board equipment or as a sail locker. Alternatively, this area can be configured as a second double quarter cabin.


On deck and performance

Although the hull is unashamedly modern, with wide flared (rather than chined) hull sections aft and twin wheels, Dehler has opted for a single rudder rather than twin foils. The deck layout is clean, with lines run out of sight where possible. However, this is not done at the expense of providing all the equipment needed to efficiently manage the sail plan. For instance, there’s a German mainsheet system, with each end of the sheet taken to a winch within reach of each helm station, while the traveller is neatly recessed into the cockpit floor. There’s also an under deck furler for the headsail and integrated bowsprit from which asymmetric spinnakers can be run.

Flared hull - Dehler 46 review

The flared hull of the Dehler 46.


The cockpit area is spacious and comfortable, including seats with good back support, without having so many levels that the ability to move around is impeded. there’s a removable cockpit table and good stowage on deck, including a sail locker forward, aft of the chain locker, and a lazarette for stowage of fenders and other items right aft.

The powerful rig, efficient low-centre-of-gravity keels and efficient deck layouts combine to create a boat that gives impressive performance across a wide range of conditions and yet is relatively easy to tame and sail efficiently.


Equipment and options

Aside from the different versions aimed at different styles of use, the keel choices, and the third cabin, there are a number of other options available. The open stern of the cockpit can be closed with a fold down bathing platform, with the further option of a bench, which also acts as a passarelle for use when berthed stern-to Mediterranean style. There’s also an option for a full natural or synthetic teak deck and sun cushions that fit on the coachroof.

Cockpit view – Dehler 46 review

The cockpit can be enclosed with a fold-down bathing platform, or a bench that doubles as a passarelle for stern-to Med mooring.


What it does best

The Dehler 46 is of a size that can still be handled by a small crew when in cruising mode, but is also large enough to offer a high degree of comfort both at sea and in harbour. Clean deck lines with flush hatches and the ability to swap between cruising and racing modes ensures the boat will appeal to a variety of owners. Overall, it is an attractive design with a wide range of possible configurations that will help owners to customise it to their own requirements.



Perhaps the most obvious compromise is that there’s not a four-cabin option. While this might arguably open the boat to a wider market it would be at the expense of the impressive space and stowage elsewhere in the accommodation. Some may also wonder about the choice of a single rudder, however, as the hull shape doesn’t have chines twin rudders are unlikely to be a benefit.


Other models in the range

The Dehler 46 is the largest in this six-model German-built range, which also includes a new 42 footer scheduled for launch in spring 2016.



Alternative boats

Dehler has an advantage over many builders of performance cruisers of this size in having the production might of Hanse to call on. As a result it has economies of scale that are not available to all builders in this sector. Alternatives include the Grand Soleil 43 or 47, Arcona’s new carbon-fibre 465 and X-Yachts Xp 44.


Dehler 46 review: specifications

LOA: 14.40m
Hull length: 13.95m
Waterline length: 12.90m
Draught (standard keel): 2.25m
Draught (competition keel): 2.50m
Draught (shallow keel): 1.85m
Displacement: 10,700–11,550kg
Ballast: 3,150–3,850kg
Diesel engine: 53hp
Fresh water: 450 litres
Diesel: 220 litres
Mainsail: 64sq m (standard)
Mainsail: 73sq m (carbon rig)
106% jib: 49.7sq m (standard rig)
106% jib: 55sq m (carbon rig)



Written by: Rupert Holmes
Rupert Holmes has more than 70,000 miles of offshore cruising and racing experience, in waters ranging from the North Sea to the Southern Ocean and Cape Horn. He writes about all aspects of boat ownership and marine travel, including destinations, seamanship and maintenance, as well as undertaking regular new boat and gear tests. He currently sails around 5,000 miles per year and in the past couple of seasons has cruised from the UK to the Azores, as well as winning his class in the 2014 two-handed Round Britain and Ireland Race. He also owns two yachts, one based in the Mediterranean and the other in the UK.