Smooth sailing: Show-goers will find more refinement, fewer gimmicks

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After racing ahead for some time at breakneck speed, sailboat builders seem to have entered a period of refinement — which is probably a good thing. In recent years the sailing public has been witness to the addition of everything from lounging areas in places never before heard of to twin helms on 30-footers and full-foiling performance aboard everything from beach cats to “cruising” multihulls. Here are some of the boats you’ll see at the shows this fall.

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MONOHULLS CRUISING

Beneteau Oceanis 41.1

An evolution of the 41, the Beneteau Oceanis 41.1 is a sporty cruising boat in the middle of the company’s extensive range of models. Upgrades include a displacement that’s 1,200 pounds lighter and a master stateroom forward that’s roomier, thanks to mast placement farther aft. Twin wheels allow for clear sightlines forward as well as easy access to the boat’s drop-down swim step. Sail plan options include everything from overlapping genoas to a 95 percent self-tacking blade jib. During our sail test in Miami, the boat proved peppy in light air.

LOA: 40 feet, 9 inches • BEAM: 13 feet, 9 inches • DRAFT: 7 feet, 2 inches (deep), 5 feet, 7 inches (shallow) • PRICE: $207,400 • CONTACT: Beneteau America, Annapolis, Maryland, (410) 990-0270. beneteau.com

Beneteau Oceanis Yacht 62

Beneteau’s new flagship, the Oceanis Yacht 62, is a product of the combined efforts of the builder, Berret Racoupeau Yacht Design and Italian stylist Pierangelo Andreani. The result is a thoroughly modern cruiser with chines aft, twin rudders and a well-balanced sail plan. Other features include a Beneteau trademark mainsail arch, minimal overhangs and an aggressive combination anchor roller/A-sail sprit. Aft, the drop-down swim step reveals a dinghy garage, while the cockpit is divided into sailing and lounging areas, providing plenty of room for the sailors and their guests.

LOA: 19 feet • BEAM : 5 feet, 3 inches • DRAFT: 9 feet, 6 inches • PRICE: $883,900 • CONTACT: Beneteau America, Annapolis, Maryland, (410) 990-0270. beneteau.com

Hallberg-Rassy 40Mk II

Sweden’s Hallberg-Rassy is well known for its conservative- looking, rock-solid bluewater cruisers, but that doesn’t mean the company hasn’t moved with the times. In addition to a taller, more powerful rig, this 40-foot, 8-inch passagemaker includes larger portlights and two new hull windows to bring more natural light into the saloon. There are also new topside low-profile ventilators — in keeping with the styling trends pioneered farther south — and another 6 inches of headroom below deck.

LOA: 40 feet, 8 inches • BEAM: 12 feet, 6 inches • DRAFT: 6 feet, 7 inches • PRICE: $390,800 • CONTACT: Hallberg-Rassy, Ellös, Sweden, 4630454800. hallberg-rassy.com

Impression 45

Elan’s Impression 45 includes enough interior space to provide a solid “big boat” feel, while remaining easy to handle with minimal crew. Twin helms and a split backstay allow uncluttered access to the boat’s swim step at anchor, while chain plates close to the cabin afford a clear passageway forward. Moderate overhangs at the bow and stern, along with deeper bow sections than we’re used to seeing these days, suggest a more forgiving motion in a seaway.

LOA: 45 feet, 5 inches • BEAM: 13 feet, 8 inches • DRAFT: 5 feet, 2 inches • PRICE: $253,000 • CONTACT: Impression Yachts, Begunje na Gorenjskem, Slovenia, 386 4 53 51 109. impressionyachts.com

Italia 12.98

The Italia 12.98 boasts the same traditional lines as the Italia 13.98 in a slightly smaller package. Like its big sister, the 12.98 is performance-oriented, with lightweight construction, a powerful rig and an aggressive lead T-keel. Accommodations are comfortable and elegant, and the traditional reverse transom drops into a swim platform that is easily accessible through the split backstay and twin wheels. This boat should be fun to cruise and race.

LOA: 42 feet, 6 inches • BEAM: 13 feet, 7 inches • DRAFT: 7 feet, 2 inches • PRICE: $334,311 • CONTACT: Italia Yachts, Chioggia (Venezia), Italy, 39 041 4967891. italiayachts.it

Moody DS54

The DS45 captured a good deal of press with its unconventional approach to sailboat design a few years back, and the DS54 offers much of the same — a “one-level living” concept in which little more than a sliding door separates the cockpit from a light-filled saloon, which transitions down to the galley and staterooms. The “working” portion of the cockpit, which includes twin wheels, is slightly raised aft, and the boat’s twin-headsail rig is well suited to shorthanded sailing.

LOA: 56 feet, 3 inches • BEAM: 17 feet • DRAFT: 8 feet, 6 inches • PRICE: $669,741 • CONTACT: Moody Yachts, Gülzow-Prüzen, Germany, 49 (0) 3834 5792-0. moodyboats.com

MONOHULLS PERFORMANCE

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Alerion Sport 30

The Sport 30 takes the Alerion concept of classic lines and sparkling performance to a new level, marrying a vinylester-infused hull with a foam core and carbon structural grid and adding a carbon-fiber rudder and below-deck headsail furler. There are some nifty options: a carbon sprit for flying an A-sail, an Edson wheel and Oceanvolt electric propulsion. As is the case with the entire Alerion line, the boat’s traditional good looks are matched by overall build quality.

LOA: 30 feet, 1 inch • BEAM: 8 feet, 9 inches • DRAFT: 5 feet • PRICE: $199,500 • CONTACT: Alerion Yachts, Warren, Rhode Island, (401) 247-3000. alerionyachts.com

Italia 9.98

Though the Italia 13.98 may have been a wolf in sheep’s clothing, the Italia 9.98 is all wolf. Designed to do well under both ORC and IRC handicaps, the 9.98 has a hull and deck constructed of vinylester and E-glass, with carbon structural reinforcements for additional stiffness. An aggressive lead T-keel lowers the center of gravity; the 9/10-tapered, double-spreader rig is aluminum; and the boat can fly either an A-sail or a conventional spinnaker. Wheel steering is available, but we love the tiller.

LOA: 33 feet, 9 inches • BEAM: 11 feet, 7 inches • DRAFT: 6 feet, 2 inches • PRICE: $222,501 • CONTACT: Italia Yachts, Chioggia (Venezia), Italy, 39 041 4967891. italiayachts.it

J/112E

The J/112E is an all-new design that strives to balance comfort, good looks and performance with an eye toward racing, “sport cruising” and family sailing. V-shaped sections forward, a long waterline and a low center of gravity provide a smooth motion in a seaway. Equipped with J/Boats’ trademark offset retractable bowsprit and a well-thought-out, ergonomic cockpit, the boat is also a pleasure to race offshore or around the buoys.

LOA: 36 feet • BEAM: 11 feet, 9 inches • DRAFT: 6 feet, 10 inches • PRICE: $273,950 • CONTACT: J/Boats, Newport, Rhode Island, (401) 846-8410. jboats.com

Salona S380

The latest in a series of performance cruisers produced by Croatia’s AD Boats, the Salona S380 has a hull layup with carbon reinforcement in high-load areas and a stainless subframe to support the keel, shrouds and mast — creating a stiff, durable whole. Topsides, twin wheels, a German mainsheet system, a full-width main traveler and an ergonomically optimized cockpit boost the boat’s potential on the racecourse.

LOA: 38 feet • BEAM: 12 feet • DRAFT: 6 feet, 8 inches • PRICE: $167,625 • CONTACT: Salona Yachts (AD Boats Ltd.), Solin, Croatia, 385 (0) 21 275 028. salonayachts.com

MULTIHULLS CRUISING

Balance 526

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The Balance 526 offers a rig that’s easy to handle for shorthanded sailing and practical accommodations for comfort afloat. Balance cats are more than just good-looking boats: An “all-weather” helm includes a sliding hardtop and cantilevered wheel for escaping the elements, and systems are configured with easy repair and maintenance in mind, an often-overlooked but important aspect of a boat’s overall cost of ownership.

LOA: 52 feet, 6 inches • BEAM: 27 feet, 1 inch • DRAFT: 7 feet, 2 inches • PRICE: $1.3 million • CONTACT: Balance Catamarans, Philadelphia, (215) 508-2704. balancecatamarans.com

Bali 4.0

The Bali 4.0, from France’s venerable multihull builder Catana, emphasizes comfort and space while retaining respectable performance qualities. The accommodations are wide open, with the cockpit and saloon on the same level, separated by a folding door that can swing out of the way to create a single living space. There is also a sunbathing area on the coach roof and a forward cockpit with dining area. The boat is as pleasant to relax aboard at anchor as it is to sail.

LOA: 40 feet • BEAM: 22 feet • DRAFT: 3.67 feet • PRICE: $293,420 • CONTACT: Bali Catamarans, Canet-en-Roussillon, France, 33 (0)4 68 80 13 13. bali-catamarans.com

Bavaria/Nautitech 46 Fly

Bavaria and Nautitech have taken the “open” concept pioneered by the Bavaria Open 40, which maximizes the sailing and socializing space by placing the saloon and cockpit on the same level, and made it 6 feet longer. The new 46 Fly offers an expansive flybridge and an elevated lounging area. Beyond that, the aggressively angular style looks just as good, if not better, at a bigger LOA.

LOA: 44 feet, 11 inches • BEAM: 24 feet, 8 inches • DRAFT: 4 feet, 9 inches • PRICE: $442,530 • CONTACT: Bavaria/Nautitech Rochefort, France, (631) 246 6448 (U.S. dealer Aeroyacht). bavaria-yachtbau.com

Fountaine-Pajot Lucia 40

The Fountaine-Pajot Lucia 40 is all about fun afloat, with an airy, light-filled accommodation plan that blurs the divisions among the deck, cockpit and interior, creating an abundance of living space. The galley is cleverly positioned so the countertop is accessible from both the cooking space and from the dining area in the cockpit. There is also a lounging cockpit forward of the cabin trunk that will make a great place to watch the world go by.

LOA: 38 feet, 4 inches • BEAM: 21 feet, 9 inches • DRAFT: 3 feet, 11 inches • PRICE: $438,396 • CONTACT: Fountaine-Pajot, Aigrefeuille, France, 33 (0) 546 35 70 40. catamarans-fountaine-pajot.com

Gemini Freestyle 37

The Gemini Freestyle 37 eliminates the saloon/trunk cabin found on most multihulls this size, instead offering an oversize cockpit that can be kitted out pretty much any way you like — think lawn furniture, beanbag chairs, whatever your heart desires. This kind of flexibility, in turn, makes the boat perfect for use as anything from a family daysailer to a day-charter boat. An optional hardtop is available. There’s also a small space below for getting out of the elements and a compact lounging cockpit forward.

LOA: 38 feet, 2 inches • BEAM: 14 feet • DRAFT: 2 feet, 10 inches • PRICE: $149,900 • CONTACT: Gemini Catamarans, Baltimore, Maryland, (410) 626-2720. geminicatamarans.com

LOA: 42 feet BEAM: 25 feet, 3 inches DRAFT: 4 feet, 1 inch PRICE: $352,275 CONTACT: Lagoon Catamarans, Bordeaux, France, (33) (0) 557 80 92 80. cata-lagoon.com

Lagoon 42

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Dramatic styling and a wealth of lounging and living space are what many sailors first notice about this boat. Less apparent, though, is its sailing ability — during our sail trial the boat proved a heck of a lot of fun even in a drifter, conditions that for many cruising cats can be a real Achilles’ heel. The naval architects at VPLP moved the mast aft just a touch, opening up the foretriangle and reducing the size of the main in the interest of making the rig more easily manageable for smaller crews.

Leopard 45

The Leopard 45/Sunsail 454 replaces Robertson & Caine’s Leopard 44 and can be configured for three or four couples, for private ownership or charter. Accommodations have been overhauled, and a skylight has been added to the saloon to admit more natural light. The exterior lines also diverge from the more curvaceous shapes found in past Leopards, and a sleek new hardtop covers the aft and forward cockpits.

LOA: 45 feet • BEAM: 24 feet, 2 inches • DRAFT: 4 feet, 10 inches • PRICE: $469,000 • CONTACT: Leopard Catamarans, Clearwater, Florida, (954) 925-8050. leopardcatamarans.com

MULTIHULLS PERFORMANCE

Seawind 1190 Sport

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The 1190 Sport offers new features designed by multihull veterans Francois Perus and Alan Carwardine to boost the performance potential of an already pretty nimble bluewater cruiser. These include daggerboards (as opposed to mini-keels); dagger-style high-aspect retractable rudders; a taller, double-spreader mast; a carbon sprit; a carbon-reinforced forebeam and targa arch; a square-top main; twin outboards for auxiliary power; and reduced weight overall. Coupled with Seawind’s reputation for build quality, this looks to be an impressive yacht.

LOA: 39 feet • BEAM: 21 feet, 4 inches • DRAFT: 6 feet, 9 inches (deep), 1 foot, 9 inches (shallow) • PRICE: $389,000 • CONTACT: Seawind Catamarans, Annandale, Australia, 84 8 3873 3630. seawindcats.com

Stiletto-Xc

Sailors of a certain age may remember the dramatically styled Stiletto 27, which was launched in the mid-1970s. Now, 500 hulls later, the trailerable boat is back in an X version redesigned for the 21st century, with wave-piercing bows and improved appendages. There are plans, too, for an all-carbon Xf version capable of full foiling. Look for this trendsetting boat with a dedicated following to take fun afloat to a whole new level.

LOA: 32 feet, 9 inches • BEAM: 17 feet, 7 inches • DRAFT: 8 inches (up), 4 feet (down) • PRICE: $119,000 • CONTACT: Stilleto Catamarans, Columbia, North Carolina, (252) 389-8477. sailstiletto.com

SMALLER BOATS

Fareast 23R

The Simonis-Voogd-designed Fareast 23R offers performance and quality construction at a competitive price point, making it an attractive choice as a fast club-racing boat. A square-top main, big foretriangle and retractable sprit for flying an A-sail provide plenty of horsepower, while a wide-open cockpit and simplified rig without backstays make it easy to sit back and enjoy the ride.

LOA: 23 feet, 10 inches • BEAM: 8 feet, 4 inches • DRAFT: 3 feet, 7 inches/ 4 feet, 6 inches • PRICE: $34,995 • CONTACT: Fareast Boats USA, West Yarmouth, Massachusetts, (508) 778-9187. fareastboatsusa.com

Saffier Se 26

A recent import from the Netherlands, the Saffier Se 26 is a salty little daysailer that looks like just the thing for a bright and lively day on the water. The cockpit can seat as many as eight, and there’s a retractable spray hood forward to keep guests dry. All control lines lead aft, with a vang, main traveler and below-deck headsail furler all serving notice that this boat loves a breeze. While a wheel is available, this little sloop just cries out for the standard tiller.

LOA: 26 feet, 2 inches • BEAM: 8 feet • DRAFT: 3 feet, 4 inches • PRICE: $82,500 • CONTACT: Saffier Mariteim, Ijmuiden, Netherlands, 31 (0) 255-51 28 60. saffieryachts.com

Sage 15

In an age of ever-growing displacement, it’s nice to have shorter LOA in response to a well-received first design. Like the 17, the Sage 15 is a Jerry Montgomery design that will perform as a pocket cruiser or daysailer for experienced sailors and beginners alike. The Sage 15 is available as a sloop or with a cat rig. The molded-in lapstrake provides additional hull stiffness, and there is a small cuddy for getting out of the weather.

LOA: 15 feet, 3 inches • BEAM: 6 feet, 5 inches • DRAFT: 7 inches (up), 3 feet (down) • PRICE: $15,000-$18,000 (final pricing not yet determined) • CONTACT: Sage Marine, Golden, Colorado, (800) 621-1065. sagemarine.us

Seascape 24

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The Seascape 24 offers the combination of space and speed that are her larger and smaller namesakes’ hallmarks. The 24 has twin rudders, a powerful hull form, an aggressive rig and a wide-open, crew-friendly cockpit. Thanks to its surprisingly large cuddy, the boat can legitimately work as an inshore family cruiser. And since the keel is fully retractable, making the boat easy to trailer, gunkholing, racing or just going for a daysail are all on the menu.

LOA: 23 feet, 11 inches • BEAM: 8 feet, 2 inches • DRAFT: 11 inches/6 feet, 2 inches • PRICE: $70,000 • CONTACT: Seascape USA, Kittery, Maine, (207) 703-0307. seascapeusa.net

This article originally appeared in the October 2016 issue.