Cruising World’s 2024 Boat of the Year Competition

Nineteen new sailboats from top boatbuilders around the globe battle for this year’s coveted Boat of the Year title.

With sweet, early autumn sailing conditions on Chesapeake Bay, a strong fleet of 19 contenders competed for top honors in our annual Boat of the Year ­competition. Once the spray had settled and the votes were tallied, the judges awarded prizes in seven categories for monohulls and multihulls.

We must be getting lucky. The denizens of Annapolis, Maryland, have dubbed their city “the sailing capital of the United States” for many reasons: the abundance of yachts; myriad nearby rivers, creeks and backwaters on which to explore and cruise; the abundance of marinas and shipyards; the frenetic local racing scene; and the annual in-water Annapolis Sailboat Show, the country’s biggest and best.

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Cruising World 2024 Boat of the Year Logo

Boat of the Year 2024: Best Winner Overall

Jeanneau has long enjoyed a strong reputation for building boats that sail exceedingly well. With the Jeanneau 55, Cruising World’s 2024 Best Overall Boat of the Year, the French boatbuilder has changed the game once again.

Jeanneau Yachts 55

Overall Winner: Jeanneau Yachts 55

At first glance, there’s a certain familiarity to the Jeanneau Yachts 55. Once upon a time, 50-plus-foot cruising boats were a rarity in far-flung ports, but they are now quite common. And of all the production builders, Jeanneau has long enjoyed a strong reputation for building boats that sail exceedingly well.

Boat of the Year 2024: Winners By Category

2024 Boat of the Year judges testing the Hallberg-Rassy 40C sailboat

Best Midsize Cruiser

The first of two four-boat classes in the BOTY 2024 competition, the Midsize Cruiser division was stacked with entries.

Side view of the Jeanneau Yachts 55, Cruising World's 2024 Best Full-Size Cruiser

Best Full-Size Cruiser

Designing and building big cruising boats is a pursuit that continues to evolve, both technically and creatively.

Italia Yachts 14.98 testing

Best Performance Cruiser

A pair of sleek, fast, beautifully presented yachts from Italy were the nominees for the top Performance Cruiser.

Boat of the Year judges testing the Vision 444

Best Cruising Catamaran Under 50 Feet

Perhaps the most competitive category in this year’s contest was this class of four cruising cats.

Fountaine Pajot Aura 51

Best Cruising Catamaran Over 50 Feet

A championship-caliber battle breaks out between two iconic builders for the title of best full-size cruising cat.

Dragonfly 40 during Boat of the Year testing

Best Performance Trimaran

In this cutting-edge category’s first year, two pioneering three-hulled globetrotters left our judges swooning.

Boat of the Year Xquisite Yachts 30 Sportcat testing

Best Sportboat

Easy, fast and fun. A spicy pair of multihull nominees heat up the competition on a sporty Chesapeake Bay.

BOTY judges testing the HH Catamarans HH44

Judges’ Special Recognition

Far and away, the HH44 was the most sophisticated hull-deck structure in the 2024 fleet.

Time Until Winner Revealed


The 2024 Boat of the Year winner will be revealed right here, live, at on December 6, 2023, at 12:00PM Eastern Standard Time, and also in the January/February 2024 issue of Cruising World

And the nominees are… 

Featured Nominees

Get a closer look at some of this year’s standout contenders in the field.

BOTY 2024 Nominees (Full List)

Check out the complete lineup of nominees for CW's 2024 Boat of the Year Competition

Boat of the Year: How It Works

Cruising World’s annual Boat of the Year competition is the recognized leader in inspecting, testing and rewarding the best sailboats introduced into the US market by boatbuilders the world over. Judging and testing for this year’s awards will take place during and after the Annapolis Sailboat Show in Annapolis, Maryland, which begins October 12.

Over the course of nearly two weeks around the Annapolis Sail Show, sailboats receiving official nominations will be thoroughly adjudicated by an independent panel of marine experts who, as a team, evaluate each nominated vessel in two stages: dockside during the show, and then in dedicated sea trials. The judges measure every spec, inspect every inch of rigging, unscrew every electrical panel to examine the wiring behind it, scrutinize every element of construction, and question every layout option. And then they sail it.

No other program puts boats through such rigorous trials. It’s a testament to the legitimacy of Cruising World’s Boat of the Year competition and the reason why you see our trademark blue triangle Boat of the Year logos proudly displayed on banners at boat-show booths worldwide.

Boat of the Year: Meet the Judges

Throughout the history of the competition, our judges have tested hundreds of boats, and in doing so, helped our Boat of the Year program earn its reputation as the gold standard of international sailboat awards.  We’ve once again assembled a top-tier, non-biased judging panel based on their complementary backgrounds and skill sets, not to mention decades upon decades of combined experience, both in the industry and at the helm. If there’s a nit to pick, rest assured these experts will be all over it. 

Boat of the Year judge Herb McCormick

Herb McCormick

Over the course of his career as a sailor and yachting journalist, award-winning marine writer Herb McCormick has written hundreds of boat reviews and raced and cruised tens of thousands of miles, including the Newport Bermuda Race, the Sydney-Hobart Race, the Pacific Cup and the Transpac. His offshore resume includes a voyage to Antarctica, a successful transit of the Northwest Passage, and two roundings of Cape Horn. The author of five nautical books, he’s owned and maintained several sailboats, including his current Pearson 365 and Pearson Ensign. As a Boat of the Year judge, he concentrates on sailing performance, safety, and deck layouts.

Boat of the Year Judge Mark Pillsbury

Mark Pillsbury

Mark Pillsbury is a die-hard sailor who has owned and maintained a number of sailboats, including a Sabre 34, on which he lived aboard for 15 years in various harbors around Rhode Island’s Narragansett Bay. He has been involved with Cruising World’s Boat of the Year program in various roles for many years and has reviewed scores of new sailboats for the magazine. He is currently a Cruising World editor-at-large. As a judge, his purview is interior plans, systems and build quality.

Boat of the Year Judge Tim Murphy

Tim Murphy

Longtime CW contributor, editor-at-large and award-winning marine journalist and author Tim Murphy currently serves as education project manager with the American Boat & Yacht Council (ABYC). Having been involved with ABYC since 1998, Murphy supported the rollout of ABYC’s Marine Electrical Certification; designed and edited ABYC certification study guides as a contractor; and co-authored (with Ed Sherman) Fundamentals of Marine Service Technology, a marine-trades textbook for secondary and post-secondary education. Now a full-time staff member, Murphy has taken on the role of education project manager to oversee the creation of ABYC curriculum and certification materials, and other key responsibilities to grow ABYC’s technical education and content creation capabilities.

Boat of the Year 2023: Winners, Best Overall

When the spray had settled, at the top of the leader board was a pair of yachts destined for blue water and beyond: the Lyman-Morse LM46, the Domestic Boat of the Year, and the Hallberg-Rassy 400, the Import Boat of the Year.

Boat of the Year 2023

2023 Overall Winning Boats of the Year

In ideal conditions on Chesapeake Bay, a taut fleet of 17 contestants vied for top honors in the 2023 edition of Cruising World’s annual Boat of the Year competition.

Last year’s “Best Overall” Boat of the Year Co-Winner, the Lyman-Morse LM46, punches through the elements during a sporty test sail on Chesapeake Bay. Jon Whittle

Boat of the Year 2023: Winners By Category

Tartan 365

Best Midsize Cruiser

It was terrific to see a trio of boats in the mid-30-foot division, but also to discover that all three yachts in the class were exemplary sailboats.


Best Performance Cruiser

This division truly lived up to its name, with a solid lineup of five nominees that lit up under sail.

Tanna 47

Best Cruising Multihull

The popularity of boats with more than one hull, especially catamarans, is more evident with each passing year.

Moody 41DS

Best Full-Size Cruiser

This Euro-centric class had one important factor in common: The sailing performance across the quartet was top-notch.

First 36

Judges’ Special Recognition

As deliberations wrapped up Cruising World’s team of expert judges handed out two more prizes to boats that stood apart from the fleet.

Boat of the Year judges

Meet the Judges

This year’s team of judges put 17 sensational new models through their paces, under multiple points of sail and power, after dockside inspections in Annapolis, Maryland.