Seeds of the Fall Shows Planted in Oakland

The Strictly Sail Pacific show previews good things to come. From "Past the Spindle" for April 25, 2008


The Beneteau First 45 made its American debut in Oakland. Mark Pillsbury

For the record, I was standing, not sitting, on the dock of the bay during the
Strictly Sail Pacific boat show in Oakland, California, last week, where there was lots of talk about new boats being launched in time for the fall show schedule that kicks off in Newport, Rhode Island, in September.

Earlier this winter, CW got a look at the new Catalina 375 in Miami. Joining that boat in the 30-something-foot range will be a 31-footer and possibly a second, slightly larger model from Beneteau, and the Sunfast 3200 from Jeanneau. The Beneteau 31 is a traditional-styled two-cabin cruiser designed by Groupe Finot and styled by Nauta Design; the Sunfast is a go-fast entry geared up for short-handed offshore racing. Closer to home, Santa Cruz Yachts will introduce its Tim Kernan-designed Santa Cruz 37. The boat will have a carbon-fiber hull and lifting keel and rudder that will allow it to be anchored in the shallows or trailered to a regatta. Look for a 43-foot entry from the same builder later in the year.

Hanse Yachts of Germany, which bought the Moody name from its British owners, will debut the new Moody 45 at the United States Sailboat Show in Annapolis, says Hanse USA’s Don Walsh. Hull number one was launched this past winter in England and then taken back to the Hanse yard in Germany for a few tweaks before production was ramped up in earnest. With thoroughly modern lines wrapped around a venerable cruising monicker, be prepared to stand in line if you want to have a look.


After taking CW’s Domestic Boat of the Year honors in 2008 with its 4300 model, Tartan will introduce the 5300 in the fall. Designed by Tim Jackett, the 5300 is a center-cockpit deck saloon cruiser that will be available in a couple of layouts, including one with a mid-ship crew cabin. A preliminary equipment list indicates this will be a boat that abounds in creature comforts. Jackett says a new C&C 40 is also in the works and may make it in time for Annapolis, and there’ll likely be a new C&C 43 by year’s end.

Beneteau is also promising a 54-footer in time for Annapolis that will just about build out its new line of Nauta-styled boats. The new First 45, first introduced in Paris and to America in Oakland, will also be on the East Coast come fall. I had a chance to sail the 45 after the show and, well, what a ride. Look for a review in an upcoming issue of CW.
Meantime, Beneteau’s sister French company, Jeanneau, will have a new 44i and 49i, as well as a 50 DS (deck saloon) ready to go. The 49i, available for viewing in Oakland, is a stylish, traditional-looking cruiser with lines that hint it should be a fun boat to sail.

A newcomer on the docks was Freedom Boatworks of Colorado. The company is owned by former Newporter Art Kelley, who headed west and never looked back. He maintains the world is ready for a line of moderately-priced, simple to rig, trailer sailers. And so he started a company to deliver them. The five-boat range features prices that start at about $27,000 (sails and trailer included), and includes the 210-C pocket cruiser, 240 sport boat, 250-C cruiser, 270-SC sport cruiser, and a 28-footer. Hulls are built in Poland, shipped to Texas, and then trucked to Colorado, where they’re finished just outside Denver. All the boats in Oakland were hulls numbered one. We’ll see what the count is by the time fall rolls around.


Another newcomer, on the American scene at least, is Knysna Yacht (pronounced “nice-nah,” according to U.S. rep. Tim Mahoney), a South African catamaran builder. The company currently builds a 44-foot cat, but it will be their Angelo Lavranos-designed 470 that will make it to the States, although probably not in time for the 2008 shows. Hull number one is being sold to Mahoney, who plans to take delivery next year in Miami.

Three definites for the 2008 show, though, are models from Dufour Yachts and Grand Soleil. Dufour’s 525 and 485, both sleekly styled and sporting sprits, are promised for Annaoplis, as is the new Luca Brenta-designed Gand Soleil 54. The photos I’ve seen online promise lots of eye candy from this trio.

  • For more photos of the show here.

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