As the Boot Düsseldorf Boat Show closed its doors we finally got the winners of European Yacht of the Year competition for 2014.
The rewards were given at traditional Flagship Night event which welcomed more than 400 representatives of the international maritime scene. It was not at all easy to elect the best yachts because almost 100 new yachts appeared at the market every year so far, but the situation this year was slightly different.
The title in the multi-hull category was not pronounced because there were not enough new products available among new catamarans and trimarans.
However, the jury from eleven leading European sailing magazines faced a great deal of problems when short listing 20 best nominees in yacht category. There were so many good, attractive, innovative, well balanced and special featured yachts shown at the market in 2013.
Practical test sessions took place in Southampton, England and Porto Venere in Italy, south of La Spezia. At the end of the day, intensive and rigorous trials finally brought out among four shipyards. The criteria which guided the jury were beauty, innovation, originality, quality manufacturing and performance.
French shipyard Beneteau won the prize in the Family Cruiser category with its Beneteau 38 among competitors Bavaria Cruiser 37, Dufour 410, Allure 39.9 and Winner 9.00. Major characteristics that attracted jury’s attention were Beneteau 38’s unusual design which allows this yacht to be converted from family cruiser to a day sailboat for two along with its stylishness and light below deck.
The Performance Cruiser category was won by Dehler 38 which debuted this year in Düsseldorf. The prevailing characteristic which made the difference among competitors was its balance between sport and touring performances while its production quality and the pricing policy were also taken into consideration.
The newcomer to the competition is the Special Yacht category which is for the first time won by Swiss shipyard Saphire with its model Saphire 27. It is a vessel designed for sporty day sailing and one design regattas, but also suitable for cruising.
The Luxury Cruiser category was won by Dutch Contest 42 CS which impressed the jury with its sleek and clear design combined with excellent sailing performances. This yacht provides as much luxury as those from 60 feet category while both sailing families with children and adventurous couples fell at home sailing this yacht.
Since all leading shipyards already announced their new models it will be interesting to observe the market until the next occasion for winning the “Oscars of Water Sports”.
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I wish you a calm sea, a fine wind and a strong mast!