Dusseldorf's boat show, Boot Dusseldorf, has grown in recent years to cement its position not just as Europe's largest show, but also the one which attracts many of the new launches that used to be spread out more between the London and Paris shows. The show has expanded so much, it's a tough task to see it all, but here's our selection of the yachts that caught our eye…
A handsome debut for Hanse's 415
Hanse premiered its 415 - a good-looking Judel/Vrolijk-design with twin carbon wheels, skipper-centric sail-handling systems, and the joystick-controlled Smart Mooring System that features fully retractable bow and stern thrusters. We also found an interior that was warmer with a few more rounded edges than in some past Hanse designs. Higher freeboards and a plumb bow and transom have maximised interior space compared to the Hanse 400, especially (says company literature) in the day head and the refrigerator! We noticed, as well, that the companionway steps offered much easier entry. Although it’s billed as a cruiser and has a self-tacking jib, the shape of the boat and its T-shaped bulb keel will make this a stiff and easy sailer.
Bavaria's prototype Vision 46
Bavaria launched its revised deck-saloon line with a prototype of the Vision 46, that follows the trend to push cockpits ever wider, offers joystick docking, and makes available an optional auto-trim system using captive-reel winches (we look forward to testing that!). The Bruce Farr design looks modern and sleek for a deck-saloon model. The offset cockpit walkthrough and companionway allow the table to be lowered to support a big cushioned lounging area to port. Sail controls are led aft, so the skipper can manage them. Dr. Jens Ludmann, managing director, described a co-development project with Garmin to support the “auto-tacking/auto-trim” feature and provide chart plotter display of a range of info from battery levels to bow/stern thruster positions.
Beneteau's Sense 55 reaches a new level
Speaking of wider cockpits, the Beneteau Sense concept pioneered by Beneteau a couple years ago moves to a new level with the stunning 55. From a distance, this boat has a superyacht look and a very straight sheerline. Get up close and you’ll see luxurious seating areas and plenty of large windows in the hull and deckhouse to light a commodious interior. Beneteau also introduced three mid-range Oceanis models at Dusseldorf that have, likewise, picked up the company’s new sense of direction.
Dehler's 41 and a promise of things to come…
If bottom shape tells a story, the Judel/Vrolijk Dehler 41 has a long chapter on flat-out boat speed. While we got a quick look at the boat at the London Show, this week we learned from MD Ralph Tapken that the design was cooked up as “one more really fast one” by long-time mates Rolf Vrolijk and former company head Michael Schmidt before Schmidt moved on. Inside, we found a boat that’s no stripped-out racer; it has yacht quality and clever details like a sliding nav table. Our only thought is: "Let’s just not throw too many sails down below and spoil the fine furniture!" Ralph also told us that a smaller 37-foot version would be coming later this year. For more on the Dehler 41 see our boat test Dehler 41: a well-rounded performer.
Modern look Delphia
From across the border in Poland, the Delphia 31 (actually 32 feet long) impressed us for its modern look, essential quality build and high standard of deck equipment. The design by Andrzej Skrzat doesn’t break a lot of new ground, but as we’ve seen in the past from the company, Delphia has made another good effort with this boat at improving quality, styling and detail. Belowdecks, we found increased natural lighting, comfortable settees, two private cabins, and a variety of wood choices for the interior. Options include fixed or swing keel and a mast-lowering system.
Looking for something different? We found a couple of other Polish builders on a different path, like Janusz Konkol, president and naval architect of Haber Yachts, who showed us his slightly unfinished Haber 34c4, big sister to the Haber 800. This cutter-rigged motorsailer will track on rails even in storm conditions, Janusz told us because of its unique four-centerboard system. The boards (he calls them “swords”) include a pair that deploy at the transom and one right up in the bow, giving the skipper the chance to balance the steering perfectly, whether the wind is ahead, on the beam, or dead aft.
Casa 33ds - a motorboat in disguise
If you’d like to buy a motorboat disguised as a sailing boat, visit the Casa 33ds, from Speed Sail Yachts at Gunther Shipyard. Equipped with a roller-furling headsail and main, the short rig can be lowered completely, and the boat will still motor at 12 knots, according to Piotr Slebioda of Speed Sail. Guests will enjoy the foredeck sunpad or a party cockpit with aft cabinets for sink and grill. The central cockpit arch can support a full weather cover, allowing the space to be heated or air-conditioned. If the weather turns really foul, the 33-footer can also be operated under power from a stand-up steering station. The centerpiece below is a multi-position saloon table that can swing and fold to fit into any festivity and even has a powered winebar that lifts up at its centre.
Elan's Impression introduction
At the Elan press event, Marketing director Luka Kepec introduced the Impression 494, to be launched in Slovenia in May. Designer Rob Humphreys said the boat would offer vast, lavish spaces and more comfort than ever, but that in his design he’d was “still keen” to perform. He compared its spirit to the 434, one of which he owns himself, and from the look of the illustrations offered, the twin-rudder design looks as if it can be sailed hard and fast. The cockpit appears fully functional, although the primary winches are set aft, providing room farther forward for guests to relax and stay clear of the sheets. Belowdecks, illustrations depict a modern, linear styling with a large athwartships galley set forward.
Allures 45: the one that got away!
We didn’t have time to see every sailing boat in Dusseldorf. One we missed touring was the Allures 45, a new aluminium-built cruiser. However, we heard a full endorsement of the design from world-cruiser Jimmy Cornell, so if a sturdy bluewater cruiser might be in your future, put this one on your list.