Whenever someone wants to sell something it is inevitable to somehow attract the buyers. In modern language, this is includes advertising and all that comes with it. One of the advertising techniques or disciplines would be a testimony. Marketing gurus have found it very efficient when someone trusted by customers highlights the advantages of a product.
OK, I can live with that as long as there is someone that I really trust. However, this strategy may not be as successful as planned when it comes to social media where destinations, services and places to go to get reviewed by numerous and mostly anonymous people. A good review wouldn’t guarantee my satisfaction because tastes are different, not to say individual. OK, I am probably getting too strict but I think you get the point.
I am writing such introduction because, not that long ago, I got annoyed by numerous headlines about one Christmas destination. Almost all electronic and print media highlighted the destination as the best Christmas destination in Europe, none of which stating who or what entity had elected it and under which criteria. What does this have to do with sailing, you might ask.
One of Europe’s largest and probably the most popular boat shows is boot Düsseldorf. Among numerous interesting things this fair can offer, there is also one pretty important competition. It is the European Yacht of the Year contest. This is one of the competitions that I believe as a sailor and sailing professional.
First of all, the rules and criteria are clearly stated. The yachts which fulfill the criteria to be nominated are shortlisted and tested by the jury. The jury includes experts from 11 different yachting magazines, each from a different European nation. They have to test the total of 25 different yachts sorted in five categories. The tests include two weeks on two different seas, one week at each sea.
Such criteria put in front of the manufacturers lots of demands so test results should show the details which separate the good from excellent. At the end of the year all tests are concluded so the best and the finest from the European yacht industry is ready to be presented.
The ‘Oscars of Water Sports’ are given in five categories: Family Cruisers, Performance Cruisers, Luxury Cruisers, Special Yachts and Multihulls. This year’s ceremony took place on the Flagship Night of 23rd January. As the yachting industry went through its re-birth after a period of consolidation, it was very interesting to see who the winners were going to be. The competition was so tight that only details decided on the winner. Even if a yacht does not win but is just a nominee tells you that it is worth sailing on.
Here is a list of this year’s winners by categories: Hanse 315 (Family Cruiser category; we have written a popular blog post about Hanse 315 – check it out!), Solaris 50 (Performance Cruiser category), Grand Soleil 46 LC (Luxury Cruiser category), Dragonfly 25 (Multihull category) and Quant 23 (special yachts category).
I wish you a calm sea, fair winds and a strong mast!