To set up contest categories, CW took an initial look at boats that were introduced to the American market since the last Annapolis show via dockside visits at the Newport International Boat Show and in the days before Annapolis opened to the public. We discovered a number of builders-Jeanneau, Beneteau, and Bavaria come to mind-offering new models to fill out their existing range of boats. Other builders, including Catalina, Malö, and Island Packet, brought new designs to replace older workhorses. New faces made the scene, too, such as South Africa-built Moxie Yachts, with the only new catamaran in the show. And then there were the crossovers.
As we studied the new designs, we found that models from several builders were hard to pigeonhole because they were designed with both creature comforts and regattas in mind. On deck, they were go-fast machines, but below, accommodations promised to pamper to varying degrees a crew that might spend considerable time aboard, either voyaging or long-distance racing. This year, it was in the Racer/Cruiser category that our
preliminary round judges, CW editor John Burnham; designer, sailor, and writer Steve Callahan; and I found the most hairs to split. Early on, we realized that a few of the crossovers were too bare bones to cruise seriously and, on the other hand, that some were simply offering zippier performance than in the past.