New Sailboats Abound in Dusseldorf

The annual Boot Dusseldorf does not disappoint when it comes to the sheer number of new models on display from builders from around the world.

January 31, 2020
Bali Catspace catamaran Mark Pillsbury

Boot Dusseldorf, the sprawling international watersports show held each January on the banks of the Rhine River, has become the place for builders to put new models on display, and the 2020 rendition was no exception.

As the doors were opening on the first morning of the show, Nautor’s Swan unveiled plans for a new 58-foot bluewater cruiser. Designer Gérman Frers described the boat as having a slim hull form and moderate freeboard that should deliver comfortable performance passagemaking. At cruising speed under power, the boat will have a range of about 1,000 miles, though additional tankage could extend the distance by another 500 nautical miles. The standard interior includes three cabins, but a fourth is an option.

Bali Catamarans introduced its 40-foot Bali Catspace catamaran, designed by Olivier Poncin. The boat, available in a three- or four-cabin configuration, is the smallest in the builder’s range, and like its sisterships, features a saloon door that opens wide to the aft cockpit, and a solid foredeck, loaded with space to lounge. It also features a flybridge with a sunning area big enough for four guests behind the helm seat. Later this year, Bali also intends to introduce a second new model, the Bali 4.8. You can expect to see both boats next fall at the U.S. Sailboat Show in Annapolis, Maryland.


Neel Trimarans, which has launched several successful three-hulled sailboats in recent years unveiled plans for a new line of Leen power trimarans, which will include 56- and 72-foot models. These boats are designed to be long-range cruisers that can churn out 300-mile days. In addition to a diesel engine in the center hull, each side hull will have an electric pod, which should ensure good close-quarters handling. Company founder Eric Bruneel said the boats should burn about half the fuel of a similarly sized power catamaran.

Over at the Oyster stand, company CEO Richard Hadida and Oyster founder and recently appointed board member Richard Matthews put on an entertaining show as they bantered back and forth about the company’s plans. On the stand with them was the new Oyster 565, a stunning looking all-oceans cruiser. On the drawing board: an even smaller Oyster, something in the 50-foot range, as the builder goes after a new generation of owners.

Moody Yachts, part of the Hanse family, unveiled its new 41 DS at a packed reception of customers, dealers and the press. Designed by Bill Dixon, the two-cabin boat is meant for cruising couples who want to be able to see a bit of the world from inside or out. A retractable roof over the cockpit can be closed when the weather turns gnarly. Then again, in those conditions, the helmsman can abandon the twin wheels aft and retreat to the indoor steering and navigation station.


Discovery Yachts introduced what could only be described as a bit of a hybrid yacht, one that it calls the Revelation 48. The boat’s hull and interior are borrowed from the company’s Southerly line, with large windows and a deck saloon look and feel. But rather than a lifting keel, which all other Southerlys sport, the Revelation has a fixed foil, a la Discovery Yachts. The layout down below was slightly unusual, I thought, but also an indication of the yard’s ability to customize. The owner’s cabin included a V-shaped couch far forward, along with a queen-sized forward-facing berth offset to starboard. A second guest cabin was located aft.

Dufour yachts
Dufour 530 Mark Pillsbury

Dufour Yachts, now owned by Fountaine Pajot, continued to add to its already hefty range of Grand Large cruising sailboats with the launch of the Dufour 530. The boat introduces several new design elements, including easy access to the side decks via steps to each side of the cockpit, forward of the twin wheels. A lounge area has also been added between the two wheels, similar to what might be found at the transom of a cruising catamaran, though the space won’t be available in the boat’s Performance package. Down below, the companionway has been extended to make the stairs less steep, and like other models in the range, the 530 features a galley forward layout. The boat comes standard with a self-tacking jib.

Dufour yachts
Dufour 530 Cockpit Mark Pillsbury

Barely a year old, Excess Catamarans introduced the Excess 11 in Dusseldorf. It joins the existing Excess 12 and 15 models, all of which will be on display at next month’s Miami International Boat Show. At just 37 feet, 2 inches, the Excess 11 is one of the smallest cruising catamarans available. It is available in either a three- or four-cabin layout, and like other boats in the range, features twin wheels positioned outboard on the sterns.

X-Yachts X40 Mark Pillsbury

X-Yachts continues to build out is Pure X range of performance cruisers, and in Dusseldorf launched the X40. American sailors can expect to get a peek at this good looking sloop at the show in Annapolis. The boat features a two-cabin one head layout, twin wheels, and a self-tacking jib is an option.

Contest yachts
Contest 55 CS Mark Pillsbury

Fresh from the Netherlands, Contest Yachts celebrated its 60th anniversary by bringing its new 55 CS to the Dusseldorf show. The boat’s a stunning bluewater, center-cockpit cruiser, designed by Judel/Vrolijk. Main and jib are both set on hydraulic furlers that can be controlled from the twin helm stations. With a teak toe rail all around, teak decks, a CZone electrical system, and top-notch joinery and equipment throughout, the luxury yacht market just became a little more crowded.

Contest yachts
Contest 55 CS cabin Mark Pillsbury

German builder Bavaria announced its reorganization at the show a year ago and pledged to have a new model ready for Dusseldorf 2020. And they did: the Bavaria C42. It’s Bavaria’s first chined hull, which opens up considerable space below and in the cockpit. Like others in the C range, the boat was designed by Cossutti Yacht Design, and it features a three-cabin layout.


For those looking for a bit of speed when cruising, Dragonfly Trimarans has debuted a new 40-footer, designed by Jens Quorning, owner of the company. The boat offers two full-size guest cabins fore and aft, with a comfortable saloon and galley in between. A carbon mast and boom, twin wheels and top-shelf gear from stem to stern hint at the performance capabilities of this quick cruiser.

Elan Yachts has a new model, the GT 6, which is due out sometime this spring. The 49-foot cruiser is designed by Humphreys Yacht Design, with interior styling by Studio F.A. Porsche. Though the boat was not available for the show, Elan made up for it with an elaborate stand that included two of its other models seemingly afloat in cascading pools of water, and a classic Porsche roadster.

HC 40C
Hallberg-Rassy 40C Mark Pillsbury

Hallberg-Rassy was on hand with its new HR 40C, a single-wheel, twin rudder center-cockpit cruiser. Says Magnus Rassy, once you go with twin rudders and beam carried aft, there’s no going back, thanks to the space it creates down below. The boat I got to sit on for a spell included a very spacious aft owner’s cabin, a large galley and a guest cabin and head forward. Down below, light pours in from hatches and ports, making the all-wood European oak interior all the more warm and inviting.

Grand Soleil in recent years has alternated launches of its performance and LC—for long cruise—models. And so this year, the Italian builder had its new 42 LC on display, while it announced plans for next year’s launch of the 44 Performance, designed by Matteo Polli. For now, let’s stick with the good-looking cruiser I got a chance to climb aboard. The boat’s described as the entry model of the Bluewater line, and it’s available with and without a carbon-fiber arch over the cockpit. The boat I saw was the standard model, with that arch, which keeps the mainsheet tackle overhead and out of the way. Two- and three-cabin layouts are available. The boat I visited had two, with a large storage area to port, under the cockpit. I found tons of storage throughout the boat. Topsides, Harken electric winches and a self-tacking jib ensure that the sailing will be easily handled by a skipper while guests can relax and enjoy the ride.


More Sailboats