New Sailboats Make an Annapolis Landfall

The 2019 U.S. Sailboat Show in Annapolis, Maryland has an impressive roster of just-introduced models to inspect and enjoy.

New Sailboats Make an Annapolis Landfall
The U.S. Sailboat Show in Annapolis, Maryland, is the largest all-sail show in North America.Jon Whittle

If you're headed to the U.S. Sailboat Show in Annapolis, Maryland, next weekend to see all the latest sailboats, you might want to scrap that Painkiller at Pusser's and stick to the docks instead, because you're going to have a very busy schedule.

The all-sail, in-water show runs Oct. 10 to 14, and by our count, CW’s Boat of the Year team of independent judges has 30 new models on its likely dance card, give or take an unexpected circumstance to two. And that’s just the new boats over 30 feet, with accommodations that range from camper-cruising to exquisite luxury. Throw in a few racing dinghies, foilers and daysailers, and, well, you get the idea: There’s a whole lot of new to ponder for 2020.

Let's start with boats built here in the U.S.A. Three longtime American builders are lined up to make a splash this fall. The Catalina 545 and Tartan 365 are brand new cruising designs from the drawing boards of longtime company designers Gerry Douglas and Tim Jackett, while Maine Cat's MC 38 LS E features a new electric propulsion system that replaces twin 9.9 hp outboards aboard the standard boat.

Two other brands with a strong U.S. presence, Beneteau and Jeanneau, have new models as well, some of which could eventually be built in Groupe Beneteau's production facility in Marion, South Carolina. Beneteau is bringing two boats to the dance, the Oceanis 30.1, a nifty entry-level cruiser, and First Yacht 53, the first in what is intended to be a stylish and sporty new model line. Jeanneau, meanwhile, is aiming for the fast lane with its short-handed racing sled, the Sun Fast 3300.

Speaking of speed, Rhode Island-based Fast Forward Composites hopes to get a rise with its unique foiling Eagle Class 53 catamaran. At present, it remains a somewhat experimental genre of sailing craft, but with the America's Cup monohulls now up and flying, there's a lot of ways soaring while sailing can evolve.

Besides the newest Sun Fast, there are several other rocketships aimed squarely at the racer-cruisier sailor. Grand Soleil will bring the GS 34 Performance to the show, and it will be joined by J/Boats' J/99 and Italia Yacht's 9.98.

In addition to Groupe Beneteau's monohulls, there will be two new catamaran models present in Annapolis, the Lagoon 46, which made it's debut last winter in Miami (read the CW review), and the all new Excess 12, the first in a fresh line of boats intended to give Lagoon a little friendly in-family rivalry.

And those won't be the only multihulls to grace the docks stretching from Ego Alley out into the Chesapeake. Sailors with plans to stray from the proverbial milk-run will want to the check out the aluminum Explocat 52 from Garcia Yachts and compare it to the McConaghy 50, the Fountaine Pajot 45; the Neel 47 trimaran, or the Bali 5.4 from Catana.

Besides the various Groupe Beneteau brands, there are a number of other French builders planning to dock new boats in Annapolis: the Allures 51.9; the Amel 50; and two new models from Dufour Yachts, the 390 and 430 (Read about them here).

German builders Bavaria Yachts, represented here in the States by Performance Yachts, and Hanse Yachts are also planning their forays across the Pond. Bavaria introduces two models from its latest line, the C50 and C57, while Hanse brings this year's new-boat flagship to town, the Hanse 675.

There are several other European builders who have set a waypoint for Chesapeake Bay, including Hallberg-Rassy, which will have its 44 and 48 Mk II on display; Elan Yachts with the Impression 45.1; Southerly Yachts with the variable-draft 480; Nautor Swan, with the Swan 48; and last, alphabetically, but not least, X-Yachts with its performance cruising X 4.6.

As I said at the outset, there’s a lengthy line-up of fresh ideas awaiting the curious in Annapolis this year. My advice: Hit the docks early, don’t dawdle and bring a well-broken-in pair of Topsiders. It’s shaping up to be a heck of a show.