Sails boot Düsseldorf: main trends and main players
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Sails boot Düsseldorf: main trends and main players

Dozens of big and small yacht yards are so different and yet so similar. A report from the Düsseldorf Boat Show about the main sailing novelties of medium and large size.
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There's a joke in the sailing community about smelly new Dusseldorf yachts. What do you think of this one? It stinks. Did you smell the new Grand Soleil? It's not a joke at all: the freshest boats really smell - and not the freshest: gelcoat, epoxy, paint... Dmitry Havansky, who in three years had walked 3 thousand miles on sailing yachts of different types, went to Dusseldorf and smelled all the sailing premieres.

As long as you take the boat for charter here and there, you don't feel involved. Dufour, Jeanneau, Beneteau... everything merges into one. And the producers don't make life easy. No one is experimenting with the layout or character of the boat, everyone is trying to make the perfect product for the average Mediterranean/Caribbean sun catcher. I am by no means judged and pleased by the competition and the abundance of quality sailing yachts offered. Five points to all those listed for rationalizing and bringing yachting to the masses.

But everything changes when you start looking at boats through the sight of the future possession, even if it is not in the near future. Call me boring, but the Germans will understand me: you have to think about retirement at 30 - what and how you will do. After all, only then will most dreamers and wanderers finally be able to throw off the rat race sled and dispose of their time the only correct way - to go along all the shores of the world.

And so when the thought moves in this direction, you'll realize that you hardly want to spend this time on a regular boat. Can you do that? Will it let you go as far as you risk swinging? And then you start to take a closer look at the variety behind the first row of the window.

The annual Düsseldorf Show is the perfect occasion for this. It is the whole world of water sports in miniature. Nowhere in Europe and probably in the world can you find such diversity. At least this year, the sailing pavilions in Düsseldorf were comparable in size to the entire London exhibition, including motor boats, equipment, tourism and accessories combined.

Although there are many boats, most manufacturers follow some general trends. I identified seven of them.

Smooth decks
All hatches and windows at the bow are flush with the deck, blocks and ropes are enclosed below deck and discreetly led backwards - as close to the helmsman's seat as possible. Some have even managed to let in the jibs inside the metal handrails.

Plenty of windows
Natural light in the salon and cabins of a yacht is one of the main values. Hardened glass is everywhere, especially on large yachts.

Tender garage

Whereas it used to be a superyacht privilege, smaller sailing yachts now have this option.

The balance of work and rest

If we take the management of a yacht as a job, there is an increasing tendency to divide the cockpit into two clear zones: 1) the steering wheel with tools and winches, 2) spacious sofas for relaxation.

Pilot house

More and more often there are models with raised roof and three-level layout: cockpit, salon, cabins. On the one hand, this makes it possible to place more equipment under the floor of the salon (or hide the lift keel, as is done in a revived cabin), on the other hand, to equip the salon with large windows through which you can admire the landscape if it is windy or rainy outside.

Small team.

Yachts of any size, even sports ones, are designed for a small crew of up to 2 people. Finding the right crew members is difficult, and many owners are keen to sail the seas without extra people on board.

Wide aft

The non-stop expansion of the yachts has not been new for a long time. More living space, more «sporty» look, twin rudders. Wide hull together with more weight in the keel promise less heel and more peace of mind for new crew members, but make the boat slower in the wind from the stern.

These trends are particularly well followed by mass producers. Funny thing is, on one of the big «brand stands, my» question is: What is the difference «between your boats?»- Answer: Nothing «distinguishes you, just good boats.

I agree, standardization is good for most customers. Knowing the technical similarity, it is more convenient to concentrate on design differences and the details that will define your yacht«. When I went on boats of many famous brands, I realized for myself that I am not part of this majority. I am much more interested in small shipyards that produce piece goods, so I went looking for boats that are rarely found in marinas. You can only really see them at such big shows. That's the list I got:


These yachts are built by our Estonian neighbors. They are not cheap, but of high quality - by their character they are quite identifiable in the Scandinavian«group. The brand presented two models - Saare 38 and 41. Neither of them are new, but you still do not see them often - production is too small. The organic presence of quite a lot of electronics attracts attention on board, and the 38th saloon has a cork sofa - a rather strange but practical thing, according to the shipyard representatives.


The Croatian yacht builder More presented the 40 and 55-foot models, which are particularly memorable for their width and their tangible claim to sportiness. This still little known manufacturer has grown out of a charter company and perhaps the owners' love of catamarans has influenced the wide and spacious hulls of the new yachts. The hull has been designed by an Italian designer and is based on a sturdy steel frame.

Salona .

The S380 is another racing cruiser from Croatia. Steel frame again, Italian design. The three cabin layout can be a very interesting charter option.


Born in the suburbs of Venice, this brand builds not just sports cruisers, but real hounds. In Dusseldorf, I have seen the 9.98 model, which has already gained a good reputation in the sports arena. The Fuoriserie version is for real sport, the Club version is for a little bit more comfort. Pay special attention to the stern shape. Racing version with a Tiller starts only from 120 thousand euros. However, if you have a love for everything Italian, but the racing is not exciting, the company has a range of cruising yachts, where much more attention is paid to the interior.

Grand Soleil

These Italians exhibited two models. The compact 34-foot model is positioned as a sports cruiser, obviously for small distances and for a small team. By default, the model is equipped with a Tiller. The larger 46-foot version retains its sporty character, but is designed for longer distances and offers much more comfort in the cabin.


Turkey is known as an excellent charter destination, but perhaps a Turkish yacht builder would not seem to be the most natural choice. However, take a look at Azuree - the quality of interior decoration is as good as that of other brands, and the style is quite comparable to Italian.


The French brand Wauquiez (pronounced «Vocé») only showed one yacht alive (Pilot Saloon 42), but she was really interesting. The main feature was the raised saloon with really large (sailing) windows. The windows are darkened in one touch, saving passengers from the scorching sun or the boring glances of the parking neighbors. The charting table, which by default has an iPad with connection to all yachting systems, adds a touch of modernity and comfort. And of course, another consequence of the layout is the rising keel. Together, this makes Wauquiez a very attractive all-purpose cruiser for all areas of navigation.


Probably the most sporty of the Scandinavian brands on show. Of course, the Danish company is also building a line of XC coisers, which has adopted many sports technologies, but still the essence of the brand is more in the lines of XP and X. At the exhibition, in particular, the premiere of X49. The first external difference of sports versions is an open stern, but the most interesting thing is hidden deep inside. The other shape of the body, low center of gravity, carbon keel and more expensive (i.e. lightweight and durable) materials. At the same time the interior of the yacht does not become completely ascetic, still bearing the imprint of Scandinavian premiumity.


In short: the standard of comfort and versatility. The 34- to 64-foot models were on display, but the freshest were the 340 and 44. Both models have delightful attention to detail and are difficult to describe in brief. The central cockpit of the older model, protected from wind and splash windshields, lifts you up high above the water for more comfortable yacht handling. Among other things, this layout of the main deck creates a lot of space in the owner's cabin. The younger model has a traditional cockpit, but the quality of the interior and the feeling of being out at sea in bad weather will not doubt the involvement of HR. Both yachts have received an almost vertical plummet at the bow, which gives them a more modern look, but does not affect the level of comfort on the move.


Another Swedish brand in Düsseldorf. The main novelty is Najad 395. The smallest model in the company's modern range, but one of the most luxurious yachts up to 40 feet. There is no point in listing all the interior details that make a yacht stand out from the crowd, but here's a funny detail: the Swedes are so worried about hiding all the equipment that they even let in the chrome handrails - now there's nothing stopping them from enjoying the space on deck.


The famous British brand has been reborn under the Discovery wing and introduced its new yacht, the Southerly 480. Climbing aboard, one immediately discovers the difference between a true sea wolf yacht and the Mediterranean amusements of several other brands. There are a million details that are important if you do not spend every night in the marina, but on a long, multi-day cruise on the high seas. What to grab for, how to dry your clothes, how not to freeze and still enjoy the view where to store really long anchor chains, how to walk in shallow water? The designers have provided everything to implement the last point by equipping the boat with a lifting keel. At the same time, the interior has remained extremely comfortable, and the control is designed for only two! And really, who else is needed in the most secluded corners of the world, except the person you love?


Continues the theme of exploring the world and its possibilities Garcia Exploration 45. Rugged aluminum hull has a rather ascetic interior, where the extra space will be given to the expedition equipment rather than additional passengers or even more luxury elements. Aft workshop compartment, huge storage in the bow, raised saloon with navigation station and 270 degree view, variable ground clearance ... and still a sea of other details. Yes, this yacht can live beautifully in equatorial waters as well, but its advantages are particularly good for high latitudes. Iceland, Greenland, Svalbard... Russian North? If you are tempted by the advantages of aluminum and the reputation of the manufacturer, but would like a little more comfort for more moderate cruises, you can pay attention to the cruise brother Garcia - brand Allures.

Although the aforementioned manufacturers offer significantly more expensive yachts, only their top models can argue with the cost and size of several other yachts in this exhibition.

The largest of these is the British Oyster 745. Among other giants: CNB 66 of Bordeaux, Dutch Contest 57, Venetian Solaris 68. Also noticed not so big, but remarkable Swan 50 (world premiere) and Amel 50 (the tiniest «model of the» manufacturer).

I don't know what impression the diversity of Dusseldorf has left on you, but I liked it. I saw great yachts on "here and now" - at a reasonable price and with a standard set of opportunities to conquer the Mediterranean beaches, but did not do without really extraordinary models. And you don't have to think of them as huge sparkling yachts.

70 feet. It was much more important for me to see yachts whose manufacturers do not forget about the joys of anchorage in a secluded bay, about keeping warm and cozy in the coldest conditions, about the convenience of the coca, cooking food in a sharply hovering and resting on the waves of the yacht, about a sensitive sleep of the crew on beds with lee cloth. Of course, it is incredibly convenient to have more space in the cabin, to hide all the rigging, to roll up the sails inside the mast and hide the rift in a deep drawer out of sight, but what if...

Dmitry Khavansky is a coastal captain who has sailed more than 3000 miles in 3 years on yachts of various calibers. On his cruises and yacht delivery Dmitry has been in the waters of Italy, France, Spain, Portugal and Croatia, but he has weekly training sessions in Scotland and England. Detailed information about his experience of RYA training he wrote in his column on itBoat.

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