There has been no lack of new sailing boats – both cruising yachts and racing models – launched in 2013, which makes the task of selecting a top 10 an interesting challenge. Let us know on the comments below the feature if you think we've missed anything out... Here's hoping for an even better 2014!


Beneteau Oceanis 38 – a question of emphasis

This new model is available in a range of versions, optimised for daysailing, weekending and long-term cruising.


All share the same modern Finot-Conq hull design and are intended to be simple to sail, with a joystick parking Dock&Go manoeuvring system available as an option. Read the full Beneteau Oceanis 38 review here.

The daysailer has an open-plan interior with bulkheads removed to create a spacious area that’s open right up to the bow. The weekender offers two or three cabin layouts, with a large degree of customer configuration possible, including the extent to which bulkheads are removed and the size and arrangement of heads compartments and the galley area. The cruiser model is more conventional, with two or three cabins, a large galley facing the saloon and a separate shower stall.

Search all mid-sized Beneteau Oceanis cruising yachts for sale on


Elan 400 – A Quick All-Rounder

The aim with the 400 was to keep the fun factor and a planing capability of other models in Elan’s performance range, while creating a design that’s an all-round performer on all points of sail.

Elan 400

The Elan 400 should be capable of shorthanded offshore racing despite maintaining plenty of volume and accommodation down below.

The result is a boat that’s fun and responsive to sail that will appeal to a wide variety of owners. Offshore the boat can be expected to be both comfortable and quick – even sailing double-handed it should be possible to keep close to the boat’s maximum speed.

There’s also the bonus of a high degree of interior comfort and space, although the high performance design, which keeps weight out of the ends of the boat, loses around one metre of length in terms of accommodation compared to a pure cruiser. Nevertheless, there is still plenty of volume in the 400, with two or three cabin layouts, both with one or two heads compartments.

Search all Elan yachts for sale on


Gunfleet 58 – A Luxury Ocean Ranger

The second model from Gunfleet Marine, the East Coast based builder of quality long-distance shallow draught cruising yachts, has a modern Tony Castro designed hull with a centreboard and twin rudders.

Gunfleet 58

Twin helm, twin rudders and a lifting keel offers performance and flexibility for cruising.

A shallow draught of 1.75m with the board up allows access to shallow cruising grounds, yet the boat promises good performance, especially with the 3.60m draught when the board is lowered. On deck the twin cockpit, twin helm configuration includes a proper walkthrough from the bathing platform.

Read the full review here: Gunfleet 58: Luxurious Blue Water Cruiser.

There’s stylish accommodation for eight in four cabins, with large hull windows in both the owner’s full-width stateroom and the forward guest cabins providing panoramic seascape views. The huge saloon is similarly flooded with light thanks to the large deck saloon windows and four hull windows, making it a fantastic entertaining area.

Search all Gunfleet sailing boats for sale on


Hanse 505 – Just Relax and Sail

This new Judel-Vrolijk design was conceived with Hanse’s "easy sailing" mantra in mind.

Hanse 505

Voluminous interior with numerous layout configurations and nearly 20 opening hatches and portlights for light and air.

A maximum size self tacking jib is fitted as standard, as is a three-blade folding propeller that increases speed under sail without compromising manoeuvrability under power. Options include bow and stern thrusters, which also enables joystick docking systems to be fitted.


The 505 ( see also Hanse 505: Must-See Sailing Boats at the 2014 London Boat Show) has a voluminous interior, with a number of layouts offered, with up to six cabins and a maximum of 11 berths, excluding the saloon. There are also owner’s layout configurations including one with a full-width stateroom of a size rarely seen in boats of this length. There’s easy access to the saloon from the cockpit, with no bridgedeck to climb over, and a gentle slope to the companionway steps. More than a dozen and a half opening hatches and portlights help to provide plenty of natural light and ventilation to the accommodation.

Search all Hanse yachts for sale on


J/88 – The Mid-Sized Family Speedster

The latest model from J-Boats combines performance and impeccable manners with enough interior space and creature comforts to be able to spend weekends on board.


A winning combination of towable, easily craned out keelboat with creature comforts, inboard diesel and accommodation down below. (Photo: Rupert Holmes)

This new design is contemporary, without being radical, and is a model that can be expected to retain excellent resale value.


The J/88 (see J/88: 5 Must See Yachts at the PSP Southampton Boat Show) is small enough to be craned on a single-point lift, towed by the owner’s car and stored on their drive, which can significantly reduce the long-term costs of ownership. At the same time, it’s large enough to provide the creature comforts of a sit-in cockpit, inboard diesel, simple overnighting interior with sitting headroom and separate toilet.

Search all J-Boats for sale in UK on


Jeanneau 41DS – Supremely Spacious

The smallest model in Jeanneau’s deck saloon series, the 41DS offers supremely spacious accommodation.

Jeanneau 41DS

The smallest of three Sun Odyssey DS yachts in the current range, the 41DS features two en-suite cabins below.

The two double cabins both have sumptuous en suite facilities and are located at opposite ends of the boat in a layout that offers a high degree of privacy. The bright saloon and galley areas benefit from abundant natural light and generous headroom, thanks to the deck saloon (see Jeanneau 41 DS).

Search all Jeanneau Deck Saloon yachts for sale in UK on


Oyster 625 – Luxury Head-Turning Liveaboard

A new hull design from Rob Humphreys improves performance and handling compared to the models it replaces, yet there’s a more spacious aft cabin.

Oyster 625

Oyster's latest model allows owners plenty of latitude to customise their own layout down below.

A variety of layouts are offered, including one that provides a separate forepeak cabin for a full-time crew member. As standard there are two en suite forward cabins, a spacious owners suite, plus a mid-ships cabin that can be configured for a variety of uses (see Crossing the Atlantic on board Eddie Jordan's Oyster 885 Lush).


A powerful semi-fractional sloop rig with fully-battened laminate mainsail is provided as standard. Options include in-mast furling, a staysail to create a cutter rig, and non-overlapping headsails. The standard lead keel gives an impressive draught of 2.8m, while options include 2.15m shoal keel and a centreboard version with minimum draught of just 1.8m.

Search all Oyster yachts for sale in UK on


Sunfast 3600 – Impressive Performer

This Daniel Andrieu design looks like a scaled down Class 40 or Open 60, with a lightweight chined hull, twin rudders and lead keel with 44 per cent ballast ratio.

Sunfast 3600

The Sunfast 3600 represents forward-looking design aiming firmly at the racing results and performance enthusiasts.

Construction is of vacuum-bagged resin infusion and the layout shows a boat that’s firmly racer/cruiser rather than cruiser/racer. The 3600 shows every promise of being enormous fun to sail, especially downwind when impressive speeds can be achieved.

Search all Sunfast yachts for sale in UK on


Volvo 65 – Ocean-Racing One Design

Designed for extreme speed and endurance, the 65ft one-design yachts that are currently being built for the 2014/5 Volvo Ocean Race will make for closer competition than ever before.

Volvo 65

Designed to improve upon the record of the Volvo 70s it replaces, the VO65 one design should be more reliable and perhaps even go faster around the world. (Photo credit: Copyright Notice: Rick Tomlinson/Team SCA)

The new boat is three tonnes lighter than the Volvo 70 it replaces, yet will have similar stability and sail-carrying ability. Impressive speeds, including the potential to break records, can therefore be expected.

Considerable effort has been expended to make the new boats more reliable than the last generation of Volvo 70s, which were dogged by breakages – only three boats completed every leg of the 2011-12 edition of the race. See also Volvo Ocean Race Returns to the UK.

Search all ocean racing yachts for sale in the UK on


Xp 33 – Lightweight Offshore Racer-Cruiser

Many sailors who value the fun of sailing are increasingly recognising that the lighter the boat, the faster and more fun it is downwind.


The Xp 33 is another performance-focussed offering from 2013 that promises great fun in a breeze as well as good results (Photo: Rupert Holmes).

The Xp 33 is a very appealing boat that’s more racer/cruiser than cruiser/racer that promises to be a lot of fun to sail, whether with a full crew or short-handed.


Although more limited than a more staid out and out cruiser of this size, there’s enough accommodation and sufficient facilities to be able to spend time on board in comfort. It’s a good balance for those who plan to sail fast offshore, but don’t want to drag the performance-sapping weight of too much elaborate interior joinery, or unnecessary spare bedrooms, around with them.

Search all X-Yachts for sale in the UK on


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.