Europe’s best sailing yachts are awarded the “Oscar of water sports” in a total of five categories every year. For the seventeenth time, the international award “European Yacht of the Year” was presented on Saturday 18th January during the Flagship Night of boot Düsseldorf and Delius Klasing Verlag.
Every year, around 60 new sailing boats are launched on the European market. But only five shipyards can celebrate the title “European Yacht of the Year 2020”. The tests took the jury members of the twelve sailing magazines from all over Europe to Port Ginesta, south of Barcelona, in October 2019. All 16 candidates were thoroughly tested and evaluated. In total, the specialised journalists covered almost 2,500 nautical miles with the nominated yachts.
The respective yacht of the year reflects what’s happening on the market in general. On the one hand, the latest trend is going towards increasingly larger yachts with customised interiors and numerous extras, and on the other, sport yachts are enjoying a surge not seen in a long time. Quite remarkable is the overwhelming dominance of French candidates. Since 2004, French boatbuilders have earned the title of “European Yacht of the Year” 31 times. By comparison Germany and Italy, the second and third most successful countries, won only 16 titles between them in the same time.
This year’s winner in the Family Cruiser category was the Beneteau Oceanis 30.1. The touring yacht built by subsidiary Delphia Yachts in Poland offers a remarkable degree of luxury and comfort, despite its compact dimensions, the jury determined. Its sailing properties and quality of manufacture were praised too. A handy and affordable starter model for four crew members.
In the Performance Cruiser category, the winner was the X 4.0. The Danish boat combines all the virtues that brought the renowned boatbuilder X-Yachts to fame. It offers plenty of readily available power – alongside very tasteful and comfortable furnishings.
The Innovation-Award was awarded to the ClubSwan 36, the latest model of the luxury brand, Nautor. The radical, modern racing machine from the Finnish company is currently the most exciting serially produced boat. It has all the ingredients of a high-tech yacht – from the extreme hull shape to a carbon hydrofoil in the centre of the boat, which can be positioned at the tug of a rope and generates lift under the water. The faster it goes, the greater the hydrodynamic effect. That is to say, the ClubSwan36 gets “lighter” as it gains speed – making it even faster. “It feels like being on a flying carpet,” says Jochen Rieker, editor-in-chief of YACHT magazine and chairman of the expert jury. “The most amazing thing about it is that the ClubSwan delivers its impressive performance values without so much as a snag or a stutter.”
In the Luxury Cruiser category, the Amel 60 triumphed. Its spacious cockpit, almost completely covered by a deckhouse, provides maximum protection against the elements while functioning as a relaxing chill-out zone. Below deck, the high-quality and stylish interior offers three spacious double cabins and a bright, well-laid-out lounge to rival that of a five-star hotel.
During the nomination of the current candidates, it was evident that the number of fast, easily manoeuvrable racing yachts is greater than ever. To do them justice, the jury created a new, separate category (Regatta Yachts). In this group, the Dehler 30 OD from Greifswald claimed the title. The brand has a long-standing tradition of racers and has built on its success with the boat optimised for small crews. The Dehler 30 OD has a lightweight build, consistent design and is currently the most attractive model of its kind.