Boot Dusseldorf is the largest boat show in the world, so it’s no wonder that it’s the place to be seen during Europe’s busy season of power and sailboat displays. This year, the show attracted some 1,600 exhibitors in convention halls that seemingly stretch on forever. Never mind boat shoes, what you need are hiking boots if you want to take in all the sights.
During a visit earlier in January, I chose to concentrate my efforts on sailboats and in my two days there, managed to get a glimpse of several new models that will slowly make their way to North American shows in the coming months (and in some cases years). Here’s a brief rundown of new launches, starting with two companies that call Germany home:
**Bavaria Yachts**, which introduced two new models a month earlier at the Paris boat show, the Cruiser 33 and the Vision 42, chose the Boot to introduce its new big boat, the Cruiser 56, which like its smaller siblings, is a Farr Yachts design. The 56 features twin helms, and an interior with room to handle a crowd. Accommodations include a three, four, and five cabin layout; in the latter two, a cabin with two bunks takes the place of the portside head located just forward of the two aft cabins. There’s also an option for a captain’s berth in the forepeak. The 56 has a roomy garage in its transom and an inflatable rib is available that can be partially deflated and folded so it fits inside without having to remove the engine. When you’re ready to go ashore there’s a compressor right there to refill the dinghy.
Hanse Yachts, which also owns the **Moody** and **Dehler** brands, introduced the Hanse 575 and the Dehler 38 at the show and unveiled plans for a new Bill Dixon-designed Moody DS 54. The 575’s cockpit is where you’d find me if the boat was sitting in some sunny tropical anchorage. Forward of the twin wheels, there’s a pair of electric-powered cockpit tables that can be lowered and covered with cushions to form twin day beds for lounging. Below, the oak interior is bright and inviting, as is the owner’s berth forward with three overhead hatches for light and separate head and shower. This boat, too, has options for up to five cabins.
The Dehler 38 is a performance boat designed by Judel/Vrolijk and the company’s in-house engineering team. Without a doubt, it looks like a boat that would be a lot of fun to campaign with the guys on the weekend and then go off with the family cruising afterward. A traveler spans the width of the cockpit, just forward of the twin helms and the mainsheet is double-ended, so it can be easily controlled by a shorthanded crew or muscled in by the boys. Below, there’s a full galley and three cabins, all with double berths.
**Gunfleet**, the British startup with Oyster’s former top man Richard Matthews at the helm, brought the Gunfleet 58 to the Boot. It is a striking new deck saloon design by Tony Castro that features a shoal draft keel for shallow waterways and a deep centerboard for performance under sail. The boat is richly appointed both on deck and below, where the light oak paneling and walnut trim and sole adorn the three-cabin layout. Immense is the word that comes to mind when thinking of the owner’s quarters aft. Look for Hull number 1 to pay a visit to North America in time for the U.S. Sailboat Show in Annapolis next fall.
Also new from England is the Discovery 57, a luxurious deck saloon cruiser designed by Ron Holland, with an interior by Ken Freivokh. The Discovery features broad teak decks and a center cockpit with twin helms. Below, sweeping curves highlight the interior’s joinery. The owner’s cabin aft rivals that found in many a house, and two other cabins, a v-berth and a forward space to port with bunks, will provide friends comfy places in which to nap.
Slovenia builder Elan Yachts had two new models on display. The 49-foot Impression 494 features the cabin top styling of a deck saloon and comes from the design office of Rob Humphreys, who designs all the company’s models in conjunction with the Elan Design Team. The cockpit is easily entered thanks to an electric-powered swim platform. It has seating for a crowd and twin helms set well aft to give the skipper elbow room to work, though duties won’t be two arduous, thanks to the self-tacking jib. Below, the galley is set forward against the main bulkhead, with the broad amidships area reserved for furniture. A number of layouts are available with anywhere from two to five cabins.
On the performance end of the range, the Elan 400 is a smart looking racer/cruiser. Carbon sprit and rig are options, as are three different keels, standard, deep, and an IRC version. The boat features an Airex-cored, infused hull and deck, and for the very serious racer, cored furniture below is available, as well. For the less dedicated, the traditional layout provides plenty of comforts for cruising to and from the racecourse. Amenities include a full galley, three cabins with an optional second head located in the V-berth, and teak decks.
From the north, in Sweden, **Hallberg-Rassy** came to town with two new models. Below decks on the HR 55 you sit in traditional splendor at a large U-shaped table, surrounded by rich teak joinery (mahogany is standard) in the main saloon. Aft in the boat we visited, there was a centerline queen berth, but a double- and single-berth owner’s cabin is also available. Forward of the main bulkhead you have a choice of a double Pullman berth or bunks, with a V-berth all the way forward. Topsides, the center cockpit has a single wheel and the trademark HR hard dodger. The 55 features in-mast furling, a cutter rig, and an optional sprit for downwind sails.
The HR 412 was first introduced in the summer of 2012 and it’s the largest aft cockpit boat that Hallberg-Rassy has built. It features twin aft cabins (a single aft cabin and more storage is an option), the choice of one or two heads, and is sloop rigged with a 108-percent jib for a headsail. A sprit for downwind sails is also an option on this boat.