Boat Show Dusseldorf Roundup

The world’s largest watersports show doesn’t disappoint when it comes to an international cast of builders rolling out new sailboat models.

February 10, 2016
The Boat Show Dusseldorf never disappoints when it comes to the best boat show eye candy in the industry. Mark Pillsbury

In my line of work, you quickly learn that there are boat shows, and then there are Boat Shows. So far, I’ve found none that can quite compare to Boot Düsseldorf, which each winter fills 17 exhibition halls in a sprawling complex along the Rhine River in western Germany.

As soon as you arrive in town, signs for the show are everywhere. Got a ticket? You can even ride the city’s extensive public transportation system to and from for free. Try that, why don’t you, in Miami, where the U.S. hosts its biggest annual event.

The 2016 version of Boot, billed as world’s biggest watersports show, attracted 247,000 visitors from 52 countries. And every one of them came to check out the 1,800 boats that were towed, sailed and trucked in for the occasion. Leave it to the efficient Germans to figure out how to pull that off.


In the opening three days of the week-long show, we managed to catch a number of new boat debuts, providing a sneak preview of what’s soon to arrive on this side of the pond. Anyone in the market for something new won’t be disappointed at what’s coming down the ways.

In no particular order, here’s a rundown of what we found.

bavaria 34
Bavaria Yachts kicked things off with the launch of the Cruiser 34, an evolutionary upgrade of its Farr-designed 33. The boat, which they literally unveiled on Day One, features a new deck layout, twin wheels and three cabins. The company also introduced is Style package of upgrades, starting with its 46 and 51 footers. Mark Pillsbury
dehler 42
German builder Dehler Yachts, a division of Hanse, also brought a new date to the ball: its Judel/Vrolijk-designed 42. The boat includes elements found in its two siblings, the 38 and 46, including the clever “uni-door” that closes off the head in the saloon and separates the toilet and shower into two compartments. For cruising, the standard aluminum spar should do just fine, but if you’re a speed demon, carbon is an option. Mark Pillsbury
garcia 52
For the pure cruiser with a hankering for the high latitudes, the aluminum Garcia Yachting Exploration 52 might fit the bill. Designed by Berret Racoupeau, the boat’s raised saloon allowed the builder to sneak a cozy little cabin in under the cabin sole. Mark Pillsbury
garcia 52
The Garcia 52 would definitely be the bunk I’d chose for a long ocean passage. Need proof that this boat’s a serious trekker? Look no further than the rode reels built into the transom pulpit. Mark Pillsbury
elan 45
Slovenia boat builder Elan lists a number of options for its new Impression 45, an all-out cruiser. It can be built with two, three or four cabins, using a number of different interior woods. Mark Pillsbury
Elan 45
The two-cabin boat we saw had a huge aft stateroom with an island queen and couches fit outboard on either side. Mark Pillsbury
swan 60
Nautor Swan celebrated its 50th anniversary with a number of announcements of upcoming racing events, and also introduced its 60S, a raised saloon version of its 60 foot flush-deck racer cruiser. A panel of switches at either of the dual wheels makes sailing this sporty sled a push-button affair. Down below, I think styling and elegant are the first words that come to mind when you get a glimpse of the highly customizable interior. Mark Pillsbury
We caught up with Italia Yachts founder and builder Franco Corazza, who gave us a tour of the company’s new 12.98. The boat’s a slightly smaller sibling of the Italia 13.98 that won honors as Best Performance Cruising in Cruising World’s 2016 Boat of the Year contest. Mark Pillsbury
The Italia yard opened in 2011, when Franco, a veteran European sailboat racer, set out to build himself a boat. So far, the company’s launched some 50 boats and five designs. Franco’s immediate plans? No cruising, unfortunately. He says its time to take a breather and let the business catch up. Mark Pillsbury
lagoon 42
A couple of cats made a splash at the show. Lagoon Catamarans launched a stylish and innovative 42 footer o replace its 421 model. The boat was designed by French naval architects VPLP, and like others in the line, features a set-back mast that’s stepped almost amidships, and an interior by Nauta Design. Mark Pillsbury
lucia 40
American buyers will get a chance to see the new Lagoon up close and personal at the show in Miami, where Fountaine Pajot’s Lucia 40 will also make its North American debut. Mark Pillsbury
The Lucia, pictured here, is designed by Berret Racoupeau, and is quite attractive in either its owner or charter layout. Mark Pillsbury

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