One of the great things about the PSP Southampton Boat Show is that it's on the water. The extensive marina section of the show, together with large outdoor viewing areas ashore, make it an ideal show to get a proper look at a wide range of yachts - as well as making it a more pleasant experience than simply wandering round a show hall. Here are a few of the models due to debut at this year's show which really caught my eye...

Discovery 57

Discovery 57
Stand/Berth: M244
Over the past decade Discovery Yachts has made a big impression on the market for serious luxury cruising yachts that will take a circumnavigation in their stride and yet are designed to be easily handled by a couple. The 57 is the result of experience gained since the company’s launch and with its first three widely acclaimed models – the 55 and 67 monohulls and 50 catamaran.

The new boat is the largest resin-infused sailing yacht built in the UK, which brings improvements in build quality and reduces weight by half a tonne, without compromising strength or stiffness. Although only marginally larger than the 55 in terms of overall length, it boasts around an extra 20 per cent of internal volume compared to the earlier design. Much of this is in the after sections of the vessel and therefore contributes to a significantly larger owner’s stateroom.

A huge amount of knowledge and attention to detail has gone into this boat. An example is that the mast is extruded from a custom die, so it suits the boat perfectly without unnecessary weight aloft. This boat should be on the short list for anyone considering a top-quality vessel for ocean voyaging. For more on Discovery see Discovery Yachts: A British Boat Builder on the up.

LOA 17.9m
Hull length 17.48m
Beam 5.10m
Draught 2.35m
Displacement (half tanks) 29,000kg


Dufour 36Dufour 36 Performance
Stand/Berth: M265
Dufour’s Performance range has won praise both from racing owners and those who want to cruise in a quick and well-mannered boat, without sacrificing comfort. Granted, there are boats of this size that squeeze in a little more interior volume and stowage – but this invariably comes at the cost of sailing characteristics.

The 36 is a welcome addition to this range, that previously had a notable gap at this size. It’s intended as a dual purpose boat, designed for speed, with a powerful rig and deep, low centre of gravity T shaped keel that helps to promote good handling. See more about the Dufour 36 in our earlier feature Dufour 36: Clever High Performer.

Length overall 10.99m
LWL 10.21m
Beam 3.61m
Displacement 6,400kg
Draught 2.2m


Yarmouth 23Fisher Yarmouth 22
This design aims to blend the best of old and new, with an efficient modern rig on a solid long-keel hull form. The good-sized cockpit is ideal for day sailing with a party of people on board, while there are berths for four, plus room for a compact galley, in the cabin. Despite the mostly low-profile coachroof, headroom is more generous than might be expected from a boat of this size and style – there’s up to 6ft 2in under the blister at the after end of the cabin top. Each boat is built individually, so many bespoke options are possible, both above and below the level of the standard specification.

Hull length 6.7m
Overall length 7.0m
LWL 5.48m
Beam 2.28m
Draught 1.0m
Displacement 2,500kg
Sail Area 22sq m


Stand/Berth: M341
For nearly 40 years the keelboat racing community has been enthused by a succession of fast one design classes that have quickly built to a large fleet, before gradually declining as the next exciting, lighter and faster boat comes along. However, it’s now been sometime since huge fleets of the last of these, the SB20 (formerly SB3), graced UK waters and no class since has been taken up its place.

However, the new J/70 could be the boat to change that – it’s a powerful and lightweight 23ft sportsboat designed as an all-out racing machine to appeal to this group of sailors. The large all carbon rig provides spirited performance, but helps to create excellent stability – reducing weight aloft has more effect than adding it to the bottom of the keel. The new boat is significantly lighter than the J/80, which makes for easy towing behind many medium size cars, and a lifting keel means it can be launched from a slipway. See also J/70: More than just a new boat.

LOA 6.93m
LWL 6.10m
Beam 2.25m
Draught 1.45m
Displacement 726kg

XP50 sail plan

Stand/Berth: M523
The latest racer-cruiser from X-Yachts, and the third in the Xp range (see also XP-38: A passion for performance), brings qualities normally associated with larger yachts to a size that can be handled by a couple for cruising, while remaining competitive when raced fully-crewed. Accommodation is in a light and spacious three-cabin layout, with the owner’s suite forward. The a large and well-planned galley has good stowage, including a top-loading fridge/freezer, optional 85-litre front-opening fridge, and a decent amount of worktop space.

However, while this design clearly offers the potential for very comfortable living, it’s sailing performance that really separates the Xp50 from its rivals. The hull shape is optimised for speed, while the structural weight of the hull is kept to a minimum though high-tech construction, with displacement close to that of many 45-footers, which allows for a higher ballast ratio and extra tankage. This boat is certainly one of the most interesting new launches of this year and will appeal to discerning and knowledgeable owners. Read more about the boat in our feature New 50-footer from X-Yachts.

Hull length 14.99m
LWL 13.31m
Beam 4.41m
Draught (shallow/standard/deep keel) 2.35/ 2.65/ 3.00m
Displacement 11,900kg
Ballast 5,140 kg

There are a host of other new boats being launched - watch out for out report on the top boats at the show.

For information on the powerboats at the Southampton Boat Show, see 8 Must See Powerboats at Southampton Boat Show.

The 2012 PSP Southampton Boat Show runs from September 14-23, 2012.


Rupert Holmes has cruised and raced more than 60,000 miles, between 60 degrees north and 56 degrees south, in a wide variety of boats. He writes about all aspects of boat ownership and marine travel, including destinations, seamanship and maintenance, as well as undertaking regular boat and gear tests. He owns two yachts, one currently based in the Aegean and the other in the Solent.

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.