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Sailboats with a foreign flavor

Most of the 2011 models emanate from Europe, but J/Boats and Hobie will also roll out new boats

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It's showtime again. Dealers and builders are rolling out the red carpet to welcome crowds at the fall and winter boat shows in Newport, R.I,. Annapolis, Md., Fort Lauderdale, Miami and elsewhere.

Consumers who make the trip to these shows can expect to see some known faces in the usual places and some known faces in new places, but they'll also note the absence of dealers who have either closed shop or decided not to attend if business has not picked up enough. Regardless, there will be a good number of new sailboats, though by fewer manufacturers and mostly coming from abroad.

Cuyler Morris, president of Morris Yachts in Bass Harbor, Maine, kept his response to the call for submissions for this story short: "Nothing new from MY this year - taking a breather. ... We'll have something for you in 2011."

Large builders that produce more than one brand, such as Hanse Yachts of Germany and Groupe Beneteau of France, plan to bring several new models. These include some that have been on the market in Europe, but also new boats for the 2011 model year, such as the Hanse 445 and Beneteau's new Sense line, which are expected to draw interest for their fresh design approaches. Addressing the performance-oriented segment are U.S. builders J/Boats, with the new J/111 racer cruiser, and Hobie Cat, with the Wild Cat F18 beach catamaran, designed and built by Hobie Cat Europe.

Although last year was the year for bargain hunters, 2010 will be different. "Some people who are used to rock-bottom pricing might get sticker shock," says Eric Macklin, who represents several manufacturers, including Dufour Yachts, RS Boats and Gill North America. "The old inventory was so cheap, but that is largely gone now."

Those who attend can expect to see attractive base prices for bare-bones boats (without an inboard, sails, electronics, etc.) that require additional investment in add-ons. Paying close attention to the price sheet and checking with salespeople will be a requisite.

Macklin thinks mixed reports on the housing market, yo-yoing consumer confidence and a strong individual savings rate that suggests people are hanging on to their cash will be part of the buzz when the show gates open. "The fall shows will be an indicator of where we are," he says. "Demand across the board seems to be strengthening, so I think it will be decent, [though] maybe not as robust as we'd like to see."

Many dealers still are grappling with inventory financing, which means they may not have as many new boats in stock as they have in the past. However, this could be an opportunity for buyers to negotiate if they are willing to work with a dealer in their area and make their boat available for showings. "You still can get deals," says a representative who asked not to be named. "But you'll have to work harder [to get them] than in the last couple of years."


J/Boats is one of the few U.S. builders introducing a new model for 2011. The Rhode Island-based company recently launched the J/111, a 36-foot one-design for day sailing, racing and weekend cruising.

The design process started in January 2009 during a time that "certainly felt like the middle of the recession in Rhode Island," says J/Boats president Jeff Johnstone. The concept follows the trend toward multipurpose boats that can be sailed short-handed for leisure, cruised by a couple or small family and raced all-out with crew.

J/Boats says it focused on reducing weight, with an E-glass/vinylester vacuum-infused hull and deck laminate, a carbon mast that features advanced nanotube technology, and a 7-foot L-shaped keel with lead bulb. The design brief also promises "all the essentials below for comfortable overnights and short cruises" - quarter berths, a private forward head and the option of a removable V-berth, plus space for six around the saloon table.

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However, a look inside the cockpit leaves no doubt about the performance bent of the J/111. There is a 5-foot-diameter steering wheel (carbon optional), a floor-mounted traveler, foot braces, control lines led aft, a 6-to-1 to 24-to-1 mainsheet purchase for fine-tuning and top-grade racing hardware by Harken.


LOA: 36 feet, 6 inches LWL: 32 feet, 1 inch BEAM: 10 feet, 11 inches DRAFT: 7 feet, 2 inches DISPLACEMENT: 8,900 pounds SAIL AREA: 663 square feet ENGINE: 21-hp diesel DESIGNER: R. Alan Johnstone PRICE: $290,000 CONTACT: J/Boats, Newport, R.I. (401) 846-8410.


Hobie Cat has enjoyed success in recent years with recreational and fishing kayaks, as well as the Mirage Adventure Island, a rotomolded multiuse vessel - sailboat, kayak, trimaran - that can be paddled, pedaled or sailed. This year Hobie adds a tandem model, the Mirage Tandem Island, that incorporates the company's patented MirageDrive pedal system, a boomless roller furling sail with a square top (controlled from the cockpit), and retractable amas for easier docking and stowing.

Hobie made its name with performance catamarans and has had considerable success in the F18 beach cat scene with the Hobie Tiger. New in the United States this year is the Hobie Wild Cat, designed and built in Europe and a hot ticket at the F18 regattas. It features wave-piercing hulls, an integrated wing mast section, high-aspect rudders and centerboards, twin trapezes and gennaker. The Wild Cat will appeal to sailors who love the thrill of flying a hull while going fast.

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Mirage Tandem Island

LOA: 18 feet, 6 inches BEAM (amas in/out): 4 feet/10 feet SAIL AREA: 90 square feet WEIGHT: 190 pounds CAPACITY: 600 pounds. Price: $5,000

Wild Cat

LOA: 18 feet BEAM: 8 feet, 6 inches DRAFT (boards up/down): 7 inches/4 feet, 2 inches SAIL AREA: 454 square feet WEIGHT: 397 pounds PRICE: $23,000 CONTACT: Hobie Cat, Oceanside, Calif. (760) 758-9100.


French builder Dufour Yachts is starting a new offensive this fall with four models that have not been shown in the United States, including the Dufour 405 Grand'Large, which won the 2010 European Yacht of the Year awards in January.

The boat bears the signature lines of designer Umberto Felci and an interior by Patrick Roseo: "a fast hull, an innovating design, interior volume, the ergonomics of a clear deck and a comfortable cockpit for all, as well as easy maneuvering," according to Dufour. The fully equipped galley comes with cabinetry, Corian countertops and many accessories, including a wine cellar, according to the company.

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Dufour also will introduce the new 375 Grand'Large, which was added to the lineup for 2011, and two performance-oriented models, the 40e and the 45e. Macklin, the new U.S. representative, says he plans to exhibit all four models at the U.S. Sailboat Show in Annapolis.

Dufour 375 GL

LOA: 36 feet, 9 inches LWL: 32 feet, 5 inches BEAM: 12 feet, 7 inches DISPLACEMENT: 14,750 pounds DRAFT (shoal/deep): 5 feet, 3 inches/6 feet, 4 inches SAIL AREA: 721 square feet ENGINE: 30-hp diesel PRICE: $193,000

Dufour 405 GL

LOA: 39 feet, 11 inches LWL: 34 feet, 10 inches BEAM: 13 feet DISPLACEMENT: 17,800 pounds DRAFT (shoal/deep): 5 feet, 9 inches/6 feet, 8 inches SAIL AREA: 881 square feet ENGINE: 40-hp diesel PRICE: $225,000 CONTACT: Dufour Yachts USA, High Springs, Fla. (352) 871-0362.


Hanse Yachts U.S. has a new skipper in Doug Brophy, who also imports Hanse's Fjord powerboat line. He took over when Don Walsh retired and plans to introduce several new models at the fall shows.

The Hanse 325 and 355 are evolutions of their predecessors, the 320 and the 350, with new interiors that feature lots of curved surfaces, deeper cockpit lockers, a new transom (on the 355) and standard wheel steering (on the 325). Brophy also points out the two models' re-engineered bottoms and coach roofs. Sailaway prices (East Coast) are listed at $105,000 for the Hanse 325 and $140,000 for the 355.

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The Hanse 445 is a completely new boat, a midrange model to bridge the gap between the compact and the luxury offerings. Key features, in addition to the new interior, include a longer waterline, more hull volume, Saildrive positioned farther aft for better maneuvering, and walk-in bow storage.

On the upper end, Hanse may show the 545 (not confirmed at press time), which was introduced in Europe last year. The oceangoing cruiser set new benchmarks for design, with a low cabin top and more than 276 variations to personalize the interior, not counting the layout options, according to the company.

Hanse 445

LOA: 44 feet LWL: 40 feet, 1 inch BEAM: 14 feet, 4 inches DRAFT (standard/shoal): 7 feet, 4 inches/6 feet DISPLACEMENT (standard/shoal): 24,200/ 24,900 pounds SAIL AREA: 1,152 square feet ENGINE: 55-hp diesel (optional 75 hp) Price: $252,000

Hanse 545

LOA: 53 feet, 3 inches LWL: 47 feet, 11 inches BEAM: 16 feet, 1 inch DRAFT (standard/shoal): 9 feet, 2 inches/8 feet DISPLACEMENT: 41,230 pounds SAIL AREA: 1,680 square feet ENGINE: 110-hp diesel PRICE: $439,000 CONTACT: Hanse Yachts U.S., Rowley, Mass. (978) 903-0380.


French builder Jeanneau is introducing two new models at the Annapolis show. The Jeanneau 53 is a Philippe Briand cruising design that ranks in size behind the Jeanneau 57, which debuted last year. Jeanneau says the new 53 will impress cruising fans with its "graceful lines and spacious cockpit," and stainless-steel and leather accents below deck.

Jeanneau's other new model is the Sun Odyssey 409, which aims at the midrange market with innovations that include a new deck layout, a high-aspect rig, several sail plans and hard chines in the aft section of the hull to increase stability and performance while creating volume in the aft cabins. Several interior layouts are offered, including a three-cabin version with two heads and a separate shower compartment.

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Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 409

LOA: 40 feet, 5 inches LWL: 36 feet, 1 inch BEAM: 13 feet, 1 inch DRAFT (standard/shoal): 6 feet, 10 inches/5 feet, 1 inch DISPLACEMENT: 16,420 pounds SAIL AREA (standard/performance): 849/998 square feet ENGINE: 40-hp diesel PRICE: $199,500

Jeanneau 53

LOA: 52 feet, 8 inches LWL: 45 feet, 9 inches BEAM: 15 feet, 7 inches DRAFT (standard/shoal): 7 feet, 5 inches/5 feet, 10 inches DISPLACEMENT: 32,930 pounds SAIL AREA (standard/performance): 1,420/1,571 square feet ENGINE: 110-hp diesel PRICE: $357,000 CONTACT: Jeanneau America, Annapolis, Md. (410) 280-9400.

Morrelli & Melvin

Multihull connoisseurs will want to check in with California designers Morrelli & Melvin. The firm launched a 65-foot semicustom bluewater cruising cat that borrows from its vast high-performance experience to integrate "owners' desire for speed, comfort and style" while leaving room for "innovation and customization."

En-suite cabins, a large saloon with 360-degree views, generous deck and trampoline space, and a forward cockpit are signature features for the cruising lifestyle. Wave-piercing bows, weight-saving composite construction and a powerful sail plan are a clear indication of the boat's performance potential.

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The 65's concept also sought to increase energy efficiency and reduce fossil fuel consumption through aero- and hydrodynamic improvements, custom-built marine-grade solar panels, an advanced electronic control system and a bank of lightweight lithium-ion batteries.

M&M 65

LOA: 65 feet LWL: 62 feet, 8 inches BEAM: 28 feet, 6 inches DRAFT (boards up/down): 3 feet, 1 inch/9 feet, 6 inches DISPLACEMENT (light/full): 29,400/ 38,000 pounds SAIL AREA (upwind): 2,147 square feet ENGINE: twin 55-hp diesels PRICE: $3 million CONTACT: Morrelli & Melvin Design & Engineering, Huntington Beach Calif. (714) 861-1320.


As a part of Hanse Yachts, German builder Dehler Yachts has been streamlined and downsized to fit economic realities, but the brand is trying to revive business with boats that don't "stray far from Dehler's usual target, smack in the middle of the cruise/race spectrum," says Jeff Papanek, of Dehler Yachts U.S. Papanek remains upbeat about the new ownership honoring the Dehler tradition. "Their long-standing emphasis on balanced, lively manners, rugged construction, and intelligently planned, inviting interiors continues ... thankfully."

He thinks the Dehler 32 and 35, which are in the pipeline for the U.S. market and will be offered with performance packages, will compete against the latest J/Boat models in the same size range.

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Dehler 32

LOA: 32 feet, 1 inch LWL: 29 feet, 3 inches BEAM: 10 feet, 8 inches DRAFT (standard/shoal/regatta): 5 feet, 8 inches/4 feet, 8 inches/6 feet, 5 inches DISPLACEMENT: (standard/shoal/regatta): 9,500/9,990/ 9,040 pounds SAIL AREA: 546 square feet ENGINE: 21-hp diesel Price: $130,000

Dehler 35

LOA: 34 feet, 5 inches LWL: 30 feet, 9 inches BEAM: 11 feet, 5 inches DRAFT (shoal/standard): 5 feet, 4 inches/6 feet, 5 inches DISPLACEMENT (shoal/standard): 12,560/11,270 pounds SAIL AREA: 699 square feet ENGINE: 21-hp diesel PRICE: $175,000 CONTACT: Dehler Yachts U.S., Chicago, Ill. (773) 843-2497.


There is no shortage of news at Beneteau. The world's largest sailboat builder will show two Oceanis models (50 and 58) and two sporty Firsts (30 and 35), plus the Sense 50, which will debut in October in Annapolis as the start of a new line.

The Sense is all about flow and the seamless integration of different and distinct on-board areas from stern to stem: swim platform/cockpit, saloon/galley and cabins/heads forward.

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A large swim platform can be expanded with fold-up seats. The wide cockpit accommodates a table and seating area off-center to starboard. Mainsheet and traveler are kept out of the way, mounted on an arch above the coach roof. This cockpit/patio is separated from the saloon by a sliding door, as on a cruising cat, with a 45-degree three-step companionway.

The interior was styled by Nauta in contemporary fashion, with items (television, stovetop, seating) that "fold away" when not in use. Beneteau also says the Sense 50 will sail with less heel to increase comfort while under way.

First 30

LOA: 32 feet, 2 inches LWL: 27 feet, 6 inches BEAM: 10 feet, 6 inches DRAFT (shoal/deep): 4 feet, 11 inches/6 feet, 3 inches DISPLACEMENT (light, deep keel): 8,270 pounds SAIL AREA: unavailable ENGINE: 20-hp diesel PRICE: unavailable

Oceanis 58

LOA: 59 feet, 10 inches LWL: 53 feet, 11 inches BEAM: 16 feet, 4 inches DRAFT (shoal/deep): 6 feet, 11 inches/8 feet, 6 inches DISPLACEMENT: 47,750 pounds SAIL AREA: 2,007 square feet ENGINE: 140-hp diesel PRICE: $795,000

Sense 50

LOA: 49 feet, 2 inches BEAM: 15 feet, 11 inches DRAFT (standard/shoal): 6 feet, 11 inches/5 feet, 10 inches DISPLACEMENT (light): 31,200 pounds SAIL AREA: 1,313 square feet ENGINE: 75-hp diesel PRICE: unavailable CONTACT: Beneteau USA, Marion, S.C. (843) 629-5300.


Lagoon Catamarans will show two new boats this fall. The midrange Lagoon 450 replaces the 440, one of the company's most successful models, with approximately 400 built. The Lagoon 560 closes the gap between the 500 and the 620 flagship model for those who want to sail in comfort on bluewater passages and invite some friends when tying up at the club.

Both cats have inside and outside steering stations, with the latter in a flybridge setting. Because of its size, the 560's flybridge also includes a big upper-level lounge for a dozen guests or more. There are also nuances in the deckhouse, where Nauta Design installed an island to add storage and to define the separation of saloon and galley.

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Lagoon offers the 560 with a four- or five-cabin layout; the 450 is available with three or four cabins. Lagoon also has announced a new photovoltaic Bimini fabric for clean power generation that will be offered as an option.

Lagoon 450

LOA: 45 feet, 10 inches BEAM: 25 feet, 9 inches DRAFT: 4 feet, 3 inches DISPLACEMENT (light): 34,100 pounds SAIL AREA: 1,450 square feet ENGINE: twin 40- or 55-hp Saildrive diesels PRICE: $529,000

Lagoon 560

LOA: 56 feet BEAM: 31 feet DRAFT: 4 feet, 11 inches DISPLACEMENT (heavy): 61,600 pounds SAIL AREA: 2,110 square feet ENGINE: twin 75-hp Saildrive diesels Price: $1.03 million (plus delivery) CONTACT: Lagoon America, Annapolis Md. (410) 280-2368.

This article originally appeared in the October 2010 issue.