Newport, Rhode Island--Cruising World magazine has announced the best in boatbuilding for 2006 with its 12th annual Boat of the Year Awards. The results will be featured in Cruising World's January 2006 issue.
Cruising World continued with the tradition started in 2005 by choosing two overall winners - one domestic and one import. The title of Domestic Cruising Boat of the Year goes to the Morris 42; the Import Cruising Boat of the Year is the Hallberg-Rassy 62.
"This year's final round of 26 nominees was exemplary, as strong an overall fleet as we've seen in the dozen years we've been conducting our annual contest," said Cruising World editor Herb McCormick. "And the overall winners, the Morris 42 and the Hallberg-Rassy 62, were magnificent boats in every respect, and truly deserving of the recognition."
Of the 26 nominees, 20 were imports, with entries from Canada, China, Denmark, Finland, England, France, Germany, Slovenia, South Africa, and Sweden. This year also saw two new players: Delphia Yachts of Poland and Salona Yachts of Croatia.
Of the six American boats nominated, the Morris 42 was universally praised by the judges: "Absolutely awesome," said judge Suzanne Giesemann. "What sailing should be. I think it's the best America has to offer with the quality craftsmanship. It takes you back to the art."
In a crowded field of 20 boats, Hallberg-Rassy had two nominees for Import Boat of the Year, but the Hallberg-Rassy 62 stood out among its peers the judges said: "They told us the purpose was push-button sailing and bluewater cruising, where you can do everything from the helm," said Giesemann. "They proved their point today. I was amazed. I'd need more time to get used to it, but it was so easy and comfortable to sail."
A field of 42 boats had entered the competition before Cruising World Editors Herb McCormick and Tim Murphy, assisted by Ralph Naranjo, a world cruiser who oversees the sailing program at the U.S. Naval Academy, whittled down the fleet to 26 nominees. The nominated boats were then inspected and sailed by independent judges Bill Lee, formerly of Santa Cruz Yachts; Suzanne Giesemann, the winner of Cruising World's 2005 essay contest; Peter Hogg, a New Zealand-born veteran multihull sailor who holds a slew of offshore sailing records; and Ed Sherman, who serves as the Curriculum Designer and Senior Instructor for the education programs of the American Boat & Yacht Council (ABYC). Judges toured the boats at the U.S. Sailboat Show in Annapolis, Maryland, and sailed them on Chesapeake Bay over four days.
Models introduced to the North American market between the 2004 and 2005 U.S. Sailboat Shows were eligible for Cruising World's contest. Additional information on the winners can be found at www.cruisingworld.com. The winners are listed below.
Cruising World Boat of the Year Winners 2006:
Domestic Cruising Boat of the Year
Import Cruising Boat of the Year