9 Top Sailboats for 2013
The 2013 Boat of the Year awards represent a wide spectrum of winning designs. Meet this year's nine winners! Boat of the Year from our January 2013 issue.
Import Boat of the Year, and Best Full-Size Cruiser Over 50 feet
Beneteau Sense 55
+ Conceptually, interior space with compartments for machinery and systems aft and living quarters forward neatly defines the Sense layout and philosophy.
+ An optional aft arch with dedicated spots for solar-panel and wind-generator installations provides a nifty arrangement for onboard power management.
+ Traditional mainsail with full battens and a nonoverlapping headsail that is easily tacked and jibed provide stellar sailing performance.
When the boat of the year judges stepped aboard this flagship in Beneteau’s Sense range, they also stepped away from some of their preconceived notions about what constitutes a state-of-the-art contemporary cruising boat. But once they divested themselves of such hard and fast thinking, they came to truly appreciate the fresh ideas in this Berret-Racoupeau design. After that, they were converts, which they proved by making the Sense 55 the year’s Best Full-Size Cruiser Over 50 Feet, as well as 2013’s Import Boat of the Year.
Tim Murphy led the charge. “In the way they’ve laid out this boat, I really feel they’re onto something new,” he said. “And I don’t mean new for the sake of novelty or as a gimmick, but this 55-footer represents, embodies, and invites a different kind of living aboard a boat. It’s not traditional, but you have three great cabins that aren’t even really cabins ... they’re really nice little apartments. I just found this whole approach to be very successful.”
Ed Sherman found other features alluring. “The optional aft arch with solar panels and dual wind generators was very cool,” he said.
“It was a nice arrangement, very well done. It has a significant amount of charging capacity, which really enhanced it in terms of offshore passagemaking capability. That was pretty neat; I liked it a lot.”
“This boat is a break from tradition,” concluded Alvah Simon. “You sort of need to get over our attachment to the spit-and-polish British view of sailing, as opposed to the French adventurer. It’s definitely new. Get used to it.”