With boat show season just ahead, it is time for BWS to take a look at what is new out there in cruising boats and gear and equipment. The monohull market in the U.S. has been fairly quiet the last two years with not many new designs appearing at the shows. The big European monohull builders—Beneteau, Jeanneau and Hanse—account for about 75 percent of the new boats sold in the U.S., while traditional U.S. powerhouses like Catalina and Tartan are running at much slower volumes than they did only a decade ago.
Still, as we go into the fall, there are some very interesting new designs in the works from both large and small builders that seem to offer some promise for innovation and development in the monohull world.
Plus companies offering gear, equipment and electronics that serve both the sail and powerboat markets are constantly innovating and coming out with new and improved products.
Attending the fall boats shows is a great way to stay abreast of the sailing industry, it’s a fun way to hang out with your sailing friends and you are liable to find some very good “boat show specials” that will help you save a dollar or two.
NEW BOATS, NEW DESIGNS
Allures 40.9: If you are looking for a voyaging boat that will look after you at sea, that is incredibly strong and designed with a centerboard for shallow waters, then an aluminum-hulled Allures from France may be a great choice. Allures is part of the larger French company Grand Large Yachting so, even though it is a small builder, it has plenty of financial and organizational strength behind it. The brand new 40.9 is a pure couple’s voyaging boat that has room for extra crew when making offshore runs and will be comfortable for guests who join you in the wild far off places that boat will take you to. The design comes with either a two cabin one head layout or the three cabin two head plan. The cutter rig is sensible and allows a single watchkeeper to reduce sail in a rising gale easily and efficiently from the cockpit. For more information, log on to www.allures.com or visit the US dealer at www.swiftsureyachts.com.
Beneteau First Yacht 53: Some of my favorite Beneteau designs over the years have appeared under the First banner. The boats have always been dual-purpose racer-cruisers and have always had a bit more, if not a lot more performance built into their DNA than Beneteau’s Oceanis line of cruising boats. But, we have not seen a new First series design come on the market for many a year. So it is with great pleasure we introduce you to the new Beneteau First Yacht 53. The design is by Italian speed specialist Biscontini Yacht Design with the deck and interior styling by Lorenzo Argento. As far as I know, this is the first new Beneteau for both designers.
The 53 has a completely modern hull shape that carries maximum beam all the way aft to the open transom and is fitted with a fixed bowsprit for flying asymmetrical spinnakers and reaching sails. The rig is tall and with a carbon fiber option, will provide exceptional sailing performance. The cockpit has twin wheels and it is so beamy that it also has twin cockpit tables. The keel is a high performance T-bulb design and the twin rudders are high aspect foils. The interior layout offers either three cabins with two heads, or three cabins with three heads.
The new First Yacht is going to turn a lot of heads as she sails by and will be showing her racing and cruising companions her transom just about every time she sets sail. www.beneteau.com/us.
Catalina 545: We have been waiting for the new 50-foot plus design from Gerry Douglas at Catalina for some time now and, by the looks of the drawings and renderings, we and the Catalina family of cruisers will not be disappointed. The new 545 is part of the new family of modern cruisers that Dougas launched with the successful 425 a couple of years ago. The new Catalina look has a more plumb bow, a squared off fold-down transom and a fairly flat sheer. The cabin top is fairly low but it still has the distinctive Catalina side windows that you will always recognize across a crowded harbor. With a 15-foot, six inch beam, the 545 is not overly beamy and the hull shape looks sleek and fast. With 50 feet of waterline, this is a cruising boat that will carve up the miles at sea.
The interior shows a three-cabin layout with a giant master cabin-suite forward and quarter cabin aft. The saloon is open and uncluttered with a dinette to port, a bench settee to starboard and a proper yacht galley that has a huge amount of counter space, storage and cabinets. This is a couple’s boat but it will work very well for a family who enjoy cruising together. And, with 225 gallons of water and 130 gallons of fuel in the tanks, this is a go-anywhere, go far offshore cruiser with all of the traditional American quality that Catalina builds into each boat. Catalina Yachts
Hanse 458 & 508: The Hanse Group in Germany is a huge boat building company that is beginning to rival Group Beneteau. Their keystone brand is the Hanse line of cruising sailboats that have done a lot to influence design ideas for the 21st century. The company is constantly introducing new designs and boats that upgrade existing designs. This year, they have introduced the Hanse 508 and the 458, which are both futuristic looking sloops with self-tacking jibs and extra-large, cruising mainsails.
As it happens, I sailed a Hanse 50.1 across the North Atlantic last summer so I am familiar with this size Hanse and expect the new 508 to be very similar to the 50.1. The company has a habit of recycling good hulls with new decks and cockpits. This may be the case with the 508. Nonetheless, the boat is a huge 50 footer with three large cabins, a huge saloon, an in-line galley to port and a dinette that will seat eight to starboard. We found the 50.1 to be very fast and powerful, to the point that we often sailed with two reefs in the main.
The 458 takes all of the elements of the 508 and compresses them into a 45-foot package, which was no mean feat. The main difference is in the size of the cockpit, which is quite a bit smaller than on the 508. But, the cockpit is still ample for a crew of up to six or so. Down below, you can have either a standard three-cabin layout or you can convert the master suite forward into two smaller cabins for a total of four with berths for eight. Both the 508 and the 458 will make a great couple’s cruise boat and as we proved last summer, the quality and integrity of these German built boats is excellent. https://www.yachts.group/gb/hanse.html.
Hylas 57 & 60: With two new luxury cruising designs in the works, Taiwan-based Queen Long is reinventing the Hylas brand with innovation and style. The new 57, which is already in build, takes the center-cockpit, raised-deck saloon theme introduced in the Hylas 48 a couple of years ago and applies it to a a larger yacht. The Bill Dixon-designed hull has a very modern form with a nearly plumb bow, long waterline and a broad transom. The Solent rig with a self-tacking jib inboard and a reacher on the headstay will be easy for a couple to handle. Down below, the three-cabin layout saloon is bright and welcoming with huge windows and opening hatches. Hylas has always built stylish, couple’s cruising boats that provide a lot of quality for a fair price. The new 57 fits right into that mold.
The new Hylas 60, however, is something of a mold breaker. The builder has once again teamed up with designer German Frers but the hull he has drawn is a far cry from the more conservative hulls of his earlier Hylases. The 60 looks like a modern performance machine that will cross oceans at very high average speeds. I can see this boat doing 200 mile days pretty regularly with a favorable breeze. The company teamed up with Italian designer Hot Lab to give the new boat a true “super yacht” ambience, both on deck and down below. The raised desk-saloon is gone and replaced by a very sleek, low cabin top. The cockpit is huge and will accommodate eight or more for alfresco meals. Down below, the design effort was to make the boat feel warm, elegant and calm so a lot of pale, neutral colors were melded into a incredibly chic and modern look. This boat is gong to turn heads both while sailing and while entertaining friends aboard. www.hylasyachts.com.
Island Packet 42 Motor Sailer: The rebirth of the Island Packet company, which also builds Blue Jacket sloops and Seaward shoal-draft sloops, continues under the management of new owners Leslie and Darrell Allen. Their big new project is the introduction of the IP 42 Motor Sailer. In keeping with the long IPY tradition, the boat has a Full Foil Keel and a large barn-door rudder. The cabin is a full raised deck house with the helm station forward, the galley and a dinette aft. There are two double cabins with two heads down below.
The 42 MS has a standard IP sloop rig with an in-mast furling mainsail, a self tacking jib on a Hoyt jib boom and a genoa or reacher on the forestay. Sheets for the sails are run to Lewmar captive winches and controlled with switches at the helm. This way, you can hoist sails and control them from inside the deck house. A large hatch in the deckhouse roof allows you to see the mainsail and trim as necessary. This boat would be great for cruising the ICW or even heading to high latitudes for cold weather cruising. www.ipy.com.
Jeanneau 410: The new Sun Odyssey 410 with the walk-around side decks that Jeanneau introduced to cruising boats three years ago was designed by long-time Jeanneau contributor Marc Lombard. The boat is a little sister to the 440 and 490 that were introduced a couple of years ago to great acclaim. I sailed the 410 in Annapolis on a light airy day and found it to be easy to handle, fast and very roomy. The key innovation in the boat is the walk-around side decks which means you don’t have to crawl over the coaming to get in and out of the cockpit; instead you just walk around behind the twin helms and go forward undeterred. The look of the 410 is ultra-modern with a low slung cabin top, a slightly reverse bow, a bowsprit and hard chines that run almost the full length of the boat. Down below the saloon is bright and well ventilated. The galley is amidships to port and is a great wrap-around sea-going galley. The L-shaped dinette is to port. The boat comes in a variety of layouts, with the two-double cabin and one head version being the simplest and most practical for most couples. Interestingly, the 410 can come with a deep performance keel, a shoal keel or it can be fitted with a swing keel that greatly reduces draft when not deployed. www.jeanneauamerica.com.
Outbound 52, 56 & Voyager 52: For the past 20 years, Outbound has been building one of the finest offshore, passagemaking boats on the market, the Outbound 46. Outbounds are truly outbound since you will find them all over the world as their owners complete amazing voyages. A few years ago, they introduced the Outbound 52, which is a sleek, center-cockpit design that is a truly commodious and fast passagemaker with a bit more room below than the 46. This year, Outbound is adding a luxury 56 foot center cockpit design by German Frers that has a huge aft cabin, a large galley in the passageway aft and two comfortable cabins and a second head forward. This, too, is a couple’s passagemaking boat that comes with a very strong pedigree.
The other exciting news from Outbound, as it expands, is the introduction of the new Voyager 52 which has a truly raised saloon and a raised dinette that allows you to see the world around you through 360 degrees as you sit at the table. The renderings for the new boat, inside and out, show a handsome, sleek hull very like the hull for the 52, a well crafted raised cabin house with large windows and a fine and commodious aft cockpit. The design has two equally comfortable sleeping cabins, each with its own head. For a couple who want a go-anywhere floating home that will sail very well, the new Outbound Voyager 52 is an exciting new option. www.outboundyachts.com.
Oyster 565: Over the decades that Oyster has built its reputation as a builder of true, luxury blue water yachts, the size of the boats on offer has crept up until it was rare to find much new under 60 feet. Something in the 65 to 100 foot range and you had a lot of choices. So, it is great to see the company building this great 56-foot family cruising boat that will make a great world cruiser for a couple or a young family. A center cockpit raised deck salon design, like all of her sisters, the 565 has a powerful Rob Humphries-designed hull and a tall, sloop rig with a roller furling mainsail and a 110 percent working jib. With the bowsprit, you can easily fly a reaching sail forward of the jib’s roller furling system. The cockpit is large enough to dine with eight people and has the sailing functions aft so loungers and sailors don’t step on each other. The 565 has a number of keel options and can be built with a shoal draft keel-centerboard that will make it useful in areas with thin water such a the Bahamas and Chesapeake Bay. Down below, the standard layout offer two large double cabins and a smaller pullman style cabin. The fit and finish of the 565 is as fine as you will find on any modern yachts. Many aspire to own an Oyster but only a few can do it. Perhaps you are one who can. www.oysteryachts.com.