The centrepiece of the FLAGSHIP NIGHT, the traditional meeting of the industry hosted by Delius Klasing Verlag and boot Düsseldorf, on Saturday evening was the presentation of the awards for “European Yacht of the Year 2017” and “European Powerboat of the Year 2017”. This was the fifth time during the international maritime industry’s annual get-together that an expert jury presented the “SEAMASTER" Award to an individual who had made an exceptional contribution to water sports
Bielefeld/Düsseldorf, 21 January 2017. The best and finest in Europe’s boat industry are awarded the “Oscars of Water Sports” every year. This was the fourteenth time the international “European Yacht of the Year” awards were presented, and the eleventh time for the “European Powerboat of the Year” title. The jury comprises the test directors and editors-in-chief of Europe’s eleven leading yachting magazines and nine powerboat magazines. The hotly contested prizes were awarded at the FLAGSHIP NIGHT, the get-together for the industry hosted by Delius Klasing Verlag and boot Düsseldorf on the first weekend of the show. This year publisher Konrad Delius and “Boot” project manager Petros Michelidakis welcomed more than 450 high profile guests from the international maritime scene to the awards ceremony.
Around 70 new yachts reach the market in Europe every year. However, only five shipyards could look forward to winning the prestigious “European Yacht of the Year 2017” title. The jury from the eleven leading sailing magazines from Norway, Sweden, the UK, Netherlands, France, Denmark, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, Spain and Germany held the first tests off Cannes on the Côte d’Azur. In the autumn further tests were held in the Bay of Biscay from Port de Plaisance to La Rochelle on the French Atlantic coast, where all 25 nominated vessels were tested and evaluated. The eleven jury members are subject to strict rules that effectively preclude manipulation and outside influence.
All decisions are made by a majority vote, while a nationalities clause prevents jurors from casting their votes for candidates from their own country. One of the notable things about this year's competition was that many established shipyards, in particular market leaders Beneteau and Jeanneau from France, only presented new developments in the larger over 50 foot class. In contrast, the high-volume segment between 30 and 40 feet was dominated by niche providers. The selection for the yacht of the year reflects the events on the market as a whole, where on the one hand the trend is toward ever bigger yachts and to increasingly individual and more specialised types on the other.
The laurels in the Family Cruiser category went to the RM 970. It is not just the plywood hulls that make RM yachts something special. The open layout below deck and the freedom of choice in relation to the keel and rudder also set them apart.
The title in the Performance Cruiser category went to the Pogo 36. This is what the band of offshore fans has been waiting for: Pogo Structures launches a new mid-class yacht. This is a great boat not just for racing, but also for travel.
The winner in the Luxury Cruiser category was the Oceanis Yacht 62 – the new top model from Beneteau, the world’s biggest sports shipyard. The Oceanis includes a number of exciting details, a highly individual and eye-catching linear design, plenty of room and interesting options. The innovative details, good sailing properties and reasonable price secured this model its victory in the luxury category.
Among the Special Yachts, the Seascape 24 took first place. This “turbo-traveller” elegantly negotiates the middle line between a sports boat and a fast touring boat. This is a real all-rounder which is easy to transport by trailer, measuring only seven metres in length.
The winner in the Multihulls category was the Outremer 4X. Catamarans from Outremer are already known for their sporty and racy characteristics. In the 4X the catamaran builders from the South of France have now brought an even more powerful version of the Outremer 45 to the market. The hulls are laminated with a high proportion of carbon fibres and the rig is also made from carbon.
Things were equally exciting when it came to the choice of winners in the “European Powerboat of the Year 2017” Awards (www.powerboat-award.com). The expert jury consists of the senior editors and testers of the nine leading European powerboat media from Norway, Italy (2), France, the Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland, Austria and Germany. The jury first nominated the five most interesting innovations in each category at the Cannes Boat Show.
Each year, more than 250 new powerboat models reach the market. Powerboats are divided into five length classes: up to 25 feet, up to 35 feet, up to 45 feet, over 45 feet and a trawler class with no length restrictions. In addition to the usual quality features of a boat, such as the craftsmanship or handling, the use of space, overall concept and price/performance ratio also play key roles in the jurors’ decision. In the end, it is often innovative ideas that give a shipyard the edge.
Five exciting concepts fought it out in the small class for boats measuring up to 25 feet. In the end the prize went to the Sting 610 BR. The jury’s verdict: the Sting 610 BR offers a good price/performance ratio and also scores well for its good handling characteristics. Clever details in the fittings and plenty of space in the cockpit make this boat a good choice for powerboat newcomers in particular.
Boats in the 35-foot class must feature practical solutions, good craftsmanship and safe handling on all waters. In this category the prize went to the Marex 310 Sun Cruiser. The Marex features above-average finish and safe handling characteristics. The boat features numerous well-conceived detailed solutions that set new standards in this boat class.
The vote in the 45-foot class favoured the Jetten Beach 45. Because of its open-plan design and large windows, the Jetten Beach 45 offers a completely new boating experience in spatial terms. You could say it offers “loft-style living on the water”. According to the jury, it has everything you could wish for from a successful Family Cruiser.
In the over 45-foot class, the jury chose the Absolute 50 Fly. This embodies a successful combination of Italian design, practical layout and great, safe handling. Despite measuring only 50 feet in length, it offers a level of comfort and spaciousness normally only associated with larger yachts.
In the trawler class, where no length restrictions apply, the “European Powerboat of the Year” Award 2017 went to the Bavaria E 40. The E 40 from Bavaria enters completely new waters in terms of the partitioning of space in a trawler. The new interior design integrates the operator’s platform in the saloon area, enabling the skipper to participate in life aboard the vessel even while on the move. It is astonishing just how much space it has to offer as a 40-foot boat. The price/performance ratio is also good.
This year the 2017 prize for innovation as part of the “Powerboat of the Year” Awards went to Volvo Penta. In recent years, the boat drive specialist has focused a great deal of energy on the area of “Easy Boating”. “As pioneers in drive technology, Volvo products, such as the IPS, the joystick control, the Easy Docking function or the new battery management system, have made life on-board more pleasant, more convenient and safer for many people“, said BOOTE editor-in-chief Torsten Moench, explaining the jury’s decision.
The FLAGSHIP NIGHT 2017 was also marked by the fifth presentation of the SEAMASTER Award. This prize is presented by boot Düsseldorf and Delius Klasing Verlag in recognition of an individual who has made a special contribution to water sports. The 2017 prize goes to Clarisse Crémer from France.
The 27-year-old receives the joint award from publishers Delius Klasing and boot Düsseldorf for her effective promotion of water sports. The breezy clips from her multimedia campaign in the run-up to an imminent solo Atlantic crossing, she quickly reached many hundreds of thousands of people and has become a positive ambassador for sailing.
The SEAMASTER jury comprises the editors-in-chief of BOOTE, BOOTE EXCLUSIV, YACHT and SURF magazines. The jury is headed by Delius Klasing publisher Konrad Delius and Petros Michelidakis, director of boot Düsseldorf.
You will find detailed reports on the winning boats and the FLAGSHIP NIGHT 2017 in the forthcoming editions of YACHT 4/2017 (in stores from 1 February) and BOOTE 3/2017 (in stores from 22 February) and at the online portals yacht.de, boote-magazin.de and powerboat-award.com.