Different Boats for Different Folks

We draw back the curtain on the crop of new sailboat models you can expect to see at the season's boat shows

November 1, 2005

As we wander around marinas and boatyards, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the variety of craft we behold, which sets us to pondering which are good ones and which are not. Is the inexpensive trailer-sailer less good than the large, expensive yacht? Absolutely . . . not. One conclusion we could draw, and with which it would be hard to argue, is that whichever boat was used and enjoyed more by its owner was the better one. Of course design and construction quality vary greatly, and we all seek the best of both, but when comparing apples and filet mignon, it’s really your appetite that counts. As the new-boat season settles upon us once again, we present a list of offerings as varied as ever, so we hope you’ll enjoy the variety and find one among them to make you proud.

Purely for Sailing
Many people have neither the time nor the inclination to spend weeks at sea. A weekend spent sailing, maybe a night in a quiet cove, and as little fuss as possible is all they ask for. Last year, a clutch of boats appeared that fit this bill (see “The New Sailing Machines,” February 2005), and several of this year’s new boats do so too, but in very different ways.

The Bruckmann Daysailer is 42 feet of elegant dayboat and overnighter in the classic style, designed for experiencing the pleasures of messing around in boats in a very classy way.


Radically different in execution but devilishly similar in intent, the Wyliecat 44 has the accommodations of a cruiser half its length and the cockpit space of a cruiser twice its length. That it’s all about sailing is backed up by a generous unstayed cat rig and a deep bulb keel.

Fitting somewhere between these two boats in styling comes the J/124. Such items as refrigeration, 120-volt-AC wiring, and a water heater are offered as options aboard this sleek, 40-foot weekender/daysailer-optional because while some people may want them, they’re far from necessary on such a gloriously simple sailing boat.

Five years ago, Richard Hallett designed and built a 27-footer, then sailed it to the top of the fleet at Key West. He’s now building and marketing his next-generation rocket. With hard chines and pronounced flare, the Hallett 33 looks sporty, but bunks for four and a stove, sink, and toilet below give it enough interior to take the family cruising for the weekend.


Monohull Cruisers Under 40 Feet
Around the bay or around the globe, good boats can be found across the size spectrum. At the small end, the Hunter 25 has been designed to be at the junction where the aspiring long-distance cruiser meets the retiring long-distance cruiser. Enough interior to accommodate four adults and enough ballast for good performance come in a package you can easily hook up to the back of your car. Plus, being a Hunter, this boat is very affordable, probably costing less than the car or truck that will tow it.

Moving on to the Hunter 31, the designers started with a new hull shape, recreated the best of the Hunter 306, and improved the rest, packing in a lot of features. Marketed as a weekender or mid-range cruiser for a small family, it comes standard with everything you need on a 30-footer, and then has options like air-conditioning and an electric windlass.

In the 1960s, we regarded with awe a neighbor who’d sail his huge ketch to Bermuda. It was a Tartan 34. Three decades of experience later, the new Tartan 3400 comes with a carbon mast, interchangeable keel options, self-tacking jib, and far more speed and accommodations-but still with a strong emphasis on seaworthiness.


Envisioned for coastal cruising but designed and built to be capable of offshore sailing, the Dufour 365, one of two new models in the French company’s Grand’ Large lineup, is a lot of boat in less than 36 feet. Among layout options is one with three cabins with double bunks, while the cockpit seats are still long enough to sleep on.

Hallberg-Rassy has transplanted the soul of the HR 36, of which it built over 600 examples, into an entirely new hull. The result is the seaworthy Hallberg-Rassy HR 37, which has an overall length just about the same, but everything else is a little bigger. More waterline length, more beam aft, more headroom, and higher coamings are just a few of the details bred of 14 years of evolution.

A raceboat on the outside and a cruising boat on the inside, the C&C 115 is truly dual-purpose. Construction techniques employing post-cured epoxy, E-glass, and carbon fiber are top of the line, which will be appreciated by both cruisers and racers.


Since 2003, X-Yachts has been busy creating a line of performance cruisers to complement its line of racer/cruisers. This year it’s offering the smallest of the range so far, the X-37. Available with two cabins and one or two heads or with a single head/three-cabin layout, the X-37 can suit the cruising couple as well as the growing family.

Following quickly in the wake of the recently launched Impression 434 (see “An Impressive Debutante,” September 2005), Elan’s Rob Humphreys-designed Impression 384 expands the company’s cruising lineup. Built in Slovenia with an eye on the U.S. and European markets, it has a “halfway deck saloon” that provides visibility all around from below and is available in a two- or three-cabin layout with an optional second head forward.

A quick glance reveals that the new Grand Soleil 37 B&C (designed by Boltin & Carkeek, one of the hottest design teams today) is decidedly different from its precursor. With a trunk cabin replacing the wedge deck, it looks more like a sleek, contemporary IRC racer. While the waterline is longer and beam is narrower and carried well aft, the 37 B&C has lost none of its volume belowdecks.

Bavaria Yachts produces nearly 1,700 boats a year in its highly automated factory in Germany, and the brand has been steadily gaining popularity in the United States. Its latest offering, the Bavaria 39, is targeted toward coastal cruising, although built with full offshore capabilities, and is offered in two- or three-double-cabin layouts with two heads and with an in-line galley opposite the saloon settee.

Poland has had a stealthy boatbuilding industry for decades, but this year, one company-Delphia Yachts-is breaking cover and introducing not one but two models at the U.S. Sailboat Show in Annapolis, Maryland. The Delphia 37 and Delphia 40 are performance cruisers, and both come with two draft options and three cabins around a saloon that’s lit by abundant deadlights in a semi-raised deck.

All Hulls 40 to 60 Feet
Many people today think of boats between 40 and 60 feet as close to ideal for cruising–large enough to make timely ocean passages but easy enough to handle without a professional crew. Since so many of this year’s new boats fall in this range, we’ve divided them further into three styles: Classic, Contemporary, and Multihulls.

Classic Style: A tour of the Herreshoff museum in Bristol, Rhode Island, will reveal the genesis of just about every “new” marine idea of the last century. Bulb keels, plumb stems, self-tacking jibs, even multihulls–they’re all on display. More than ideas, it seems that the prime driver of improvement over the centuries has been the development of better materials, be it fibers and resins for hulls or silicon for microchips. Three boats in the 40- to 60-foot range that stand out by virtue of their well-tested styling still benefit from advances in technology.

Reserved good looks and impeccable Maine craftsmanship distinguish the Morris 42, which supercedes the Morris 40 that was Cruising World’s 1995 Boat of the Year. In addition to greater length and more storage space, the new boat boasts a modern sail plan with nonoverlapping jibs developed with the help of North Sails’ computational fluid dynamics programs.

Island Packet has added the Island Packet 440 to its lineup of full-keeled passagemakers, which range from 37 to 48 feet, bringing to it the I.P. emphasis on solid construction and a healthy obsession with details. The aft-cockpit 440 features two large double cabins with equally spacious heads. The saloon can be arranged to sleep an additional three people.

Clearly styled after Bolero, the 1949 S&S classic, the Lyman Morse-built Seguin 52 nicely marries modern technology with old-world looks (see “Fairweather and Foul,” May 2005). Belowdecks, the owner’s cabin is forward with another double cabin located aft of the nav area. The main saloon has traditional pilot berths, which are so comfortable when sailing offshore.

Contemporary Style: Hanse Yachts of Germany calls the Hanse 400e a crossover boat that combines in one model the characteristics of both a cruiser/racer and a pure cruiser of about the same size. Between company founder Michael Schmidt, who’s had a long career building racing boats before starting Hanse, and designers Judel/Vrolijk & Co., the 400e should have the background to do a pretty good job of it.

In the 41 DS, Hunter Marine utilizes a new hull shape and a significant development in deck design and styling that gives the saloon 6 feet 10 inches of headroom. The use of new materials, lighter both in color and weight, add to the feeling of interior space without compromising performance.

Jeanneau continues to update its line of deck saloon Sun Odysseys. The 42 DS has three layout options and takes its styling cues from the 49 DS. Another Jeanneau making its debut at the Annapolis show will be the Sun Odyssey 45. It’s available with three or four double cabins, and both versions have two heads.

A new company from Croatia, AD Boats, enters the U.S. market this year with the Salona 45, which has been successful on the racing circuit in Croatia while having a full cruising interior. It will be marketed in the United States by Bollard Yachts of Oxford, Maryland.

The Dufour 455 nicely complements the Dufour 365, further expanding Dufour’s Grand’ Large line. Built to the same offshore standards as its smaller sibling, the 455, by virtue of its size, is more appropriate for passagemaking. In addition to more room in general, the 455 comes standard with a second head. A four-cabin version is also available for the charter market.

Closely following the recent design revolution at Nautor’s Swan-the departure from the midships companionway/bridgedeck layout-comes another interesting departure. While the new Swan 46, in its standard setup, has a conventional keel with a reasonable draft of 7 feet 3 inches, the company is offering a shoal version with twin rudders and a daggerboard that draws only 4 feet 4 inches. This is a boat that can take you to another continent and then allow you access to all its cruising grounds.

X-Yachts is seeking to make further inroads into the performance-cruising market with the X-46, which is available in a “Modern” arrangement, with an in-line galley, or in a “Classic” setup, with a U-shaped galley.

To provide a boat interior that best suits each individual customer, Hanse Yachts is offering the Hanse 461 with up to 32 possible layouts concocted from a variety of interior modules (four aft-cabin, two saloon, and four forward-cabin options). The enclosing stylish hull was designed by Judel/Vrolijk & Co. and is constructed of a vacuum-bagged epoxy sandwich. Up top is a high-aspect-ratio rig that speaks of performance as well as a self-tacking jib that means it will be maneuverable for shorthanded crews.

The new Oyster 46 has a waterline that’s remarkably 4 feet 6 inches longer than the old Oyster 45-along with more displacement, more sail area, a taller mast, and a more powerful engine. With all this growth comes more speed, cockpit volume, interior space, and headroom, all capped by a smoother, sleeker deck design that Oyster calls Generation 5 styling.

While entering new territory in the aesthetics of deckhouses, the designers of the Wauquiez Pilot Saloon 47, Jean Berret and Olivier Racoupeau, have looked back at more traditional inspirations for the rectilinear interior arrangement. Layouts with two or three cabins are offered, and the rig is set up for double headsails.

Given its four double cabins with private heads and yet another cabin in the bow for crew, there’s little doubt that the Moorings 51.5 (built by Beneteau) will be a successful charter boat with or without crew. Because it was commissioned by a charter company, you can be sure it’s been designed for low maintenance and easy operation.

Beneteau has set the focus for the Groupe Finot-designed Beneteau 523 on pure cruising, offering one layout option with just two cabins. Another arrangement has three cabins; both layouts can be fitted with another cabin in the forepeak, in case you’re sailing with crew or guests.

Robert Perry’s challenge in designing the Stevens Custom 53 was to create a high-volume, shoal-draft yacht that sails well, motors well, and has strong charter prospects. His solution is a raised-saloon sloop with enough volume aft, and the cockpit just far enough forward, to fit two double cabins and two heads in the stern. The owner’s cabin is forward of the mast. A crew cabin with head tucked into the bow could also serve as a good forepeak locker when not chartering (see “Return of a Maverick,” July 2005).

Multihulls: It still seems natural to give multihulls their own section even though anyone thinking of a contemporary monohull should take some time to consider what multihulls have to offer, and vice versa.

The Broadblue 385 stands out most due to its rig options, which you don’t see on the competition. While it’s available with a conventional rig, the mast on the standard model is stepped aft of the house, a carryover from the boat’s Prout origins. This results in a small mainsail and a headsail-driven sail plan.

The voluminous Island Spirit 401 from South Africa is billed as a fast bluewater cruiser for around the world or around the bay. With berths for 10, it should also be a fine boat for the charter market. It’s designed by Southwell, built by Fortuna Catamarans, and marketed by South African Catamarans of Aventura, Florida.

The first Gunboat 48 arrived on its own bottom from South Africa last July and has been turning heads in Newport, Rhode Island, ever since. With two double, one queen, and one single, it has a large complement of bunks but is aimed more at passagemaking and liveaboards than at the charter market. Tall, lean hulls and generous bridgedeck clearance indicate it’s built for serious offshore work, and the working cockpit forward of the house simplifies shorthanded sailing by bringing all the control lines together at the base of the mast.

Just as Maine conjures up images of classic lines and glistening brightwork, South Africa is gaining a reputation for challenging the French dominance in the cruising-catamaran market. The latest offering from St. Francis Marine, the Lavranos-designed St. Francis 50, has four king-size cabins with heads in most of its layout options, but the builder will gladly customize to suit any owner. Built in the land of howling breezes and typically sailed to their destinations, these boats need to be tough and seaworthy.

With the Lagoon 500, Van Peteghem & Prevost has drawn another classy catamaran for the bluewater cruising and charter market. Similar to the Lagoon 440 introduced last year, the 500 has a flying bridge for helming and sail control, leaving the cockpit free for socializing. With the boat’s length comes room for an additional seating area forward of the mast. Belowdecks, it was possible to add a fifth cabin with a single bunk and compact head, perhaps for a crew. Other arrangements offered include one with four cabins and another with three cabins, one of which is a luxurious owner’s suite.

The Behemoths-60 Feet and Over
Designed for long-distance cruising and comfortable living, the HR 62 is the new flagship of the Hallberg-Rassy line, and it carries the ample displacement and space for all the equipment and supplies that its brief entails. The hull shape is conservative, with fairly deep sections, a bulb keel drawing 8 feet 3 inches, and a skeg-hung rudder. Under the mid-cockpit deck, which retains the traditional Hallberg-Rassy windscreen, three interior layouts are shown, all with four cabins and three heads.

If a voyage to the far ends of the Earth has appeal, the large pilothouse and well-protected cockpit of the Kanter Bougainvillaea 65 are visible indications that this is a go-anywhere boat. Designed by Chuck Paine & Associates and built of aluminum by Kanter in Canada, it even has a bow reinforced for light ice breaking in high latitudes.

The Oyster 72 has more than enough room for a proper cruising interior, with four double cabins, four heads, and plenty of stowage space for all the necessary gear, so Oyster has been able to increase the emphasis on performance. If you’re inclined to go racing, Oyster will be happy to build you a carbon model with a super-lightweight interior and a deep bulb keel.

Hull number three of the Oyster 82 will make the model’s U.S. debut this fall at the Annapolis show. The standard layout is clearly set up for a professional crew of up to four comfortably housed forward of the mast. All the way aft is a large owner’s cabin and forward of that, two guest cabins with twin bunks, all with private heads. A separate day head is located off the saloon. In this size range, customization is the norm, and the four Oyster 82s launched to date have all varied in rig, keel, and interior designs.

Cruising on the Fringe
The BigFish is a brand-new boat that will look very familiar to anyone who’s been on the sailing scene these last 30 years. If you’ve outgrown the Sunfish and need a little more room to stretch out, this 16-foot board boat, dreamed up and manufactured by the sailors at Island Packet, might be just the ticket.

The Mini 6.5 class was conceived in 1976 as a protest against the high budgets and big boats taking over the solo-racing circuit. Its premier event is the quadrennial transatlantic race known as the Transat 6.50. Small though they are, the Mini 6.50s have repeatedly proven tenacious passagemakers, and the class has had a strong following in Europe for years. Revolution Yachts in Canada is now building a production version on this side of the Atlantic called the Tam Tam Mini 6.50. For those on a tight budget who can pack real light, here is a bluewater yacht that will fit in the garage.


Boat LOA Displacement (lb.) Builder Phone Web Price


Big Fish 16′ 7″ 250 BigFish 727-451-2248 $3,950
Mini 6.50 21′ 4″ 2,090 Revolution Yachts 514-705-5506 NA
Hunter 25 24′ 6″ 3,700 Hunter Marine 386-462-3077 $24,500
Hunter 31 30′ 10″ 11,430 Hunter Marine 386-462-3077 $75,000
Delphia 37 31′ 4″ 13,897 Delphia Yachts 410-269-1712 NA
Hallett 33 33′ 0″ 3,800 Hallett Canvas and Sails 207-781-7070 NA
Tartan 3400 34′ 5″ 12,000 Tartan Yachts 440-354-3111 $140,000
Dufour 365 35′ 5″ 12,566 Dufour Yachts 410-268-6417 $180,000
Hallberg-Rassy HR 37 37′ 2″ 16,500 Hallberg-Rassy +46-304-54800 $300,000
X-37 37′ 2″ 14,109 X-Yachts 203-353-8118 $225,000
C&C 115 37′ 9″ 13,300 C&C Yachts 440-354-3111 $169,500
Impression 384 37′ 11″ 16,758 Elan Marine 860-399-9500 $230,000
Grand Soleil 37 B&C 38′ 0″ 15,500 Cantiere del Pardo 410-268-6417 NA
Delphia 40 39′ 2″ 18,150 Delphia Yachts 410-269-1712 NA
Bavaria 39 39′ 10″ 16,720 Bavaria Yachts 410-990-0007 $199,000
Hanse 400e 40′ 1″ 18,298 Hanse Yachts 410-626-1493 $208,500
Hunter 41 DS 40′ 4″ 21,075 Hunter Marine 386-462-3077 $188,000
J/124 40′ 8″ 12,600 J/Boats 410-846-8410 NA
Morris 42 42′ 0″ 23,300 Morris Yachts 207-244-5509 NA
Bruckmann Daysailer 42′ 4″ 17,503 Bruckmann Yachts 905-855-1117 $490,000
Sun Odyssey 42 DS 42′ 5″ 18,080 Jeanneau 410-280-9400 NA
Wyliecat 44 44′ 0″ 8,400 Wyliecat Yachts 925-376-7338 $425,000
Salona 45 44′ 5″ 22,046 AD Boats 410-226-0390 $385,000
Sun Odyssey 45 45′ 0″ 22,821 Jeanneau 410-280-9400 $282,000
Dufour 455 45′ 1″ 24,251 Dufour Yachts 410-268-6417 $335,000
Island Packet 440 45′ 9″ 32,000 Island Packet Yachts 727-535-6431 $430,000
X-46 46′ 0″ 22,929 X-Yachts 203-353-8118 $475,000
Swan 46 46′ 1″ 35,700 Nautor’s Swan 617-413-6187 $696,000
Hanse 461 46′ 6″ 26,235 Hanse Yachts 410-626-1493 $404,500
Oyster 46 46′ 10″ 38,580 Oyster Marine 401-846-7400 $1,050,000
Wauquiez Pilot Saloon 47 47′ 1″ 30,870 Wauquiez International +33-320-03-10-60 NA
Moody 49 48′ 7″ 34,500 Moody Yachts Intl. 781-749-8600 $800,000
Moorings 51.5 51′ 3″ NA Beneteau 727-530-5424 NA
Seguin 52 52′ 0″ 40,475 Lyman Morse Boatbuilding 207-354-6904 NA Beneteau 523 53′ 1″ 34,265 Beneteau 848-629-5300 $402,000
Stevens Custom 53 53′ 3″ 45,000 Stevens Custom 619-778-8880 $1,000,000
Hallberg-Rassy HR 62 61′ 11″ 72,775 Hallberg-Rassy +46-304-54800 $1,675,000
Kanter Bougainvillaea 65 65′ 0″ 65,600 Kanter Yachts 519-633-1058 $1,750,000
Oyster 72 74′ 9″ 105,700 Oyster Marine 401-846-7400 $5,250,000
Oyster 82 82′ 0″ 132,860 Oyster Marine 401-846-7400 $6,450,000


Seawind 1160 38′ 0″ 14,300 Seawind Catamarans +61-2-4285-9985 NA
Broadblue 385 38′ 8″ 15,840 Broadblue Catamarans 252-249-0358 NA
Island Spirit 401 39′ 5″ 14,277 Fortuna Catamarans +27-21-448-0100 NA
Outremer 42 42′ 8″ 16,500 Outremer 631-246-6448 $424,000
Gunboat 48 48′ 0″ 19,700 Gunboat 401-667-0204 $1,300,000
St. Francis 50 50′ 0″ 32,500 St. Francis Marine +27-42-294-0181 $750,000
Lagoon 500 51′ 0″ 36,650 Lagoon 410-280-2368 $675,000


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