Nominees: Pocket Cruisers

Meet the Pocket Cruiser nominees in Cruising World's 2015 Boat of the Year competition.

Every year, it seems, there's one boat in the fleet that does OK during the judges' dockside inspections, but absolutely knocks their socks off once they hoist sail and take it for a spin. In 2015, that boat was an import from Croatia: the Salona 33. Perhaps the most remarkable thing about it was that the sail tests were conducted in light airs hovering around 6 knots. "Some of the other boats came off looking very lackluster in that breeze, but the Salona really lit up even in that," said Murphy. "So many builders talk about 'performance'; it's a word that just rolls off their tongue. But these guys are living it. You can't get in-mast furling, it's only offered with a traditional mainsail. There are options but there's a maximum displacement figure they won't go over. Hats off to them for sticking to their guns."

“We were just loping around out there, short tacking, reaching off, bringing it back on the wind, and it just sailed beautifully,” marveled Ed Sherman. “They got it right on not only sail selection but the way the cockpit’s laid out and where all the gear’s positioned. It was a blast!”

From a sailing perspective, the Salona 33 was a very tough act to follow. But the Dragonfly 3200, built in Denmark by Quorning Boats, which has produced some 900 other high-quality trimarans in the last quarter-century, was up to the task. In other years, this nifty little sportboat might've been a better fit in the Multihull class, but in waterline length and interior volume, for 2015 it matched up well with boats of similar length overall.

“What a fun boat to sail, holy cow,” Murphy said of the folding tri, whose amas swing aft and retract, thus reducing its 26-foot beam under sail to 12 feet, a size that will fit in a normal slip. “We got the screacher up and hit 13 knots of boat speed. I think it would be a whole lot of fun to learn the boat’s intricacies.”

“I was impressed with the overall quality,” added Sherman. “While motoring, it had some of the lowest decibel noise ratings, which was mind-boggling to me because it’s a light boat and my expectation was that it would be noisy in the moderate seas we had. But that wasn’t the case. It’s actually a very quiet boat, with high-quality gear and nice installation work.”

Dragonfly 3200 Sailboat

Dragonfly 3200 Sailboat

Our judges enjoyed plenty of great sails during sea trials, but none better than a screaming reach on the Dragonfly 3200.Billy Black
Salona 33 Sailboat

Salona 33 Sailboat

One of the contest's pleasant surprises was the sailing prowess of the Salona 33.Billy Black
Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 349 Sailboat

Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 349 Sailboat

Jeanneau's Sun Odyssey 349 ghosted along well even in light air.Billy Black