10 best boats of 2016
Reviews and test drives

10 best boats of 2016

The yachts that won the "European Boat of the Year" award
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Getting a blue European Boat of the Year badge in the yachting world is as cool as getting an «oscar» in the film industry. Not only the winners, but also the short-listed models deserve attention: they were carefully selected by a multinational jury of journalists from the industry. Before making their choice, they thoroughly tested all the nominees.

For sailboats and engines, the jury was different. The method of categorizing also differed: while sailing yachts were ranked by type, motor yachts were ranked by size, highlighting only one category independent of hull length - displacement yachts.

Itboat publishes the full list of all European Boat of the Year nominees. The award was traditionally presented at the exhibition in Düsseldorf.

Sailing boats of the year

Category «Family Cruiser»

Winner: Hanse 315.

The Hanse 315 is elegant and reliable, and so reliable that it was the first boat in its class to receive the CE Category A certificate. The sailing area is well balanced and the deep L-shaped keel with a length of 1.85 meters guarantees excellent handling and stability. Thanks to the clever organization of the interior space, there are plenty of storage spaces, a spacious saloon, and the height of the ceilings in the work areas, such as a similar stairway, galley and toilet, reaches 1.91 meters.

The nominees:

«Performance Cruiser Category»

Winner: Solaris 50

The successor of the popular Solaris 48, Solaris 50 follows the same principles: functionality, performance and style. Deck equipment is minimalistic: two rudders, four winches, a stacker. The dodger can be completely removed. The integrated bowsprit allows for the installation of new generation sails such as Gennaker and Zero Code. Other advantages: large tender garage, spacious galley with fridge, lots of storage space. The boat has a guest cloakroom with a separate shower cabin and a «wet» handrail. The aft cabin is equipped with two standard size bunks. In general, there is nothing extra.


Category «Luxury Cruiser»

Winner: Grand Soleil 46 LC

The first real cruiser from Cantiere del Pardo in 40 years, the Grand Soleil 46 LC is slightly faster, slightly more luxurious, slightly cooler than classmates. It has a bold, angular and sharp appearance, combined with a very light, spacious and cozy interior. The deck construction promises comfort at anchor and practicality at sea. The yacht is easy to operate and fast enough for the owner to fully enjoy the racing in low winds and good weather.

The nominees:

Category «Multihull»

Winner: Dragonfly 25

The successor to the classic Dragonfly 800, the beloved boat of Olympic legend Paul Elvström, the Dragonfly 25 trailer catamaran folds in minutes without any tools. When folded it is only 2.3 meters wide, so the catamaran will need the only marina parking space. The catamaran is equipped with reversible stems for dynamic and responsive handling. The design uses a foam interlayer which, together with several watertight outrigger compartments, makes Dragonfly catamarans unsinkable. With 2+2 berths Dragonfly 25 will do a great job as a family cruiser. The spacious cockpit can be turned into a second saloon with a dodger and awning on large company trips.

The nominees:

«Special Yachts category»

Winner: Quant 23

The world's first flying keelboat, designed by British designer Hugh Welborne, the Quant 23 has every chance of becoming the future of sailing. Hugh himself calls his creation «a flying gentleman», meaning that it is easy to soar above the water on hydrofoils thanks to the Dynamic Stability System (DSS). Steroidal sports, Quant 23 promises a lot, but gives even more. This lake conqueror returns the planes to their iconic status.

Motorboats of the Year

Category up to 25 feet

Winner: Four Winns V 255

It is a compact cruiser with impressive space and amenities for its size. There is room for sunbathing on its wide bow. The interior has lots of natural light thanks to the seven (!) windows. The boat is equipped with a bathing platform with a sofa for three as standard. The cockpit has a large L-shaped sofa and a wind bar. One of the sections of the sofa turns to form a dining area together with a removable table. The backrest at the back of the sofa flips out, together with the aft seat, forming a large sunbed. The salon is surprisingly spacious for the 25-foot cruiser: it is possible to stand without bending over, there is a mini-caboose with a sink, a microwave and a refrigerator, the big U-shaped sofa will easily fit six. Place an extra section in the middle, throw a pillow on it and the sofa turns into a large double bed. At the rear of the boat there is a cabin with a double bed and a small latrine with toilet and sink.


Category up to 35 feet.

Winner: Axopar 28

Based on the 8.6-meter deep V-type hull, the Axopar Scandinavians offer five different versions: the Axopar 28 Open, the Axopar 28 OC (Open Cabin), the Axopar T-Top with a hardtop above the control post, and two versions with a closed wheelhouse - the Axopar 28 Cabin and the Axopar 28 AC (Aft Cabin). Excellent handling, safety and an attractive price - this is what unites all Axopar 28 models. The safety is ensured by the circular deckhouse bypass and high rails, and the handling is ensured by the deep V-type housing with double-reducers. A variety of versions allows you to choose the layout of the interior that will meet the customer's requirements as precisely as possible. For example, in the 28 AU model, the central part of the aft deck has been raised to the bulwark level so that a micro cabin with a double bed can be accommodated below. Lay out the sofas in an enclosed wheelhouse (same as the Cabin versions) and the four of you can cruise safely.


Category up to 45 feet.

Winner: Steeler NG 43

Aluminum Steeler NG43 is a great option for traveling around Europe: for two, with a couple of friends or a family of six. The standard layout includes a master cabin, a guest cabin with two bunks and two bathrooms, but can be customised.

Aluminum means light and economical. At a cruising speed of 18 knots, fuel consumption is 3 litres per nautical mile. At a «maximum of» 23 knots, the boat consumes 3.8 litres per nautical mile.

The nominees:

Category from 45 feet

Winner: Galeon 500 Fly

The manufacturer calls the 15 meter Galeon 500 Fly the ideal party boat. There are almost limitless customization options waiting for the buyer: there are three aft configurations and several cockpit layouts, where you can place a full-size garage with a sun deck on the roof, a classic L-shaped sofa and crew cabin, or an innovative swiveling sofa, behind which hides a small garage. What is particularly pleasing is that all three configurations allow you to fully enjoy the «beach mode», in which the left and starboard side of the boat swing out, increasing the width of the cockpit to 6 meters. The Sandec at the bow of the boat automatically transforms into a dining area with three sofas around the table. On the flybridge you can install a windbreaker, sunbeds and an additional control station.


Category «Displacement Yacht»

Winner: Boarncruiser 1200 Elegance Sedan

Boarncruiser 1200 Elegance Sedan is beautiful on the outside and reliable on the inside. The hull length of this steel boat along the waterline is increased by a steep bow with a vertical stem. Panoramic glazing guarantees plenty of natural light and excellent views in the saloon, below deck there are two cabins and a bathroom. The 150 hp Volvo Penta Diesel D3-150 engine accelerates the 12.16 meter steel displacement yacht to 9 knots. The height of the boat above the waterline is 2.75 m, which allows it to easily pass under most bridges without waiting for their dilution.

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