The Oscars of the boatbuilding world, the European Yacht of the Year 2022, have been announced. Together they comprise the five best yachts of the year in a variety categories and, for the first time, three special mention awards
This is the 19th year of the European Yacht of the Year awards, which is without a doubt the most thorough and impartial awards programme – the winners here are widely considered the best yachts of the year. The awards now include 12 jury members from across Europe, each leading voices on boat testing in their respective countries.
It involves shortlisting the best annual prospects, typically into five separate categories, before all 12 jury members trial each yacht to elect the winners. The trials were held in La Rochelle and Port Ginesta, Barcelona during the autumn.
Normally the awards would be presented at the Dusseldorf Boat Show, but for the second year running, this was cancelled because of Covid, hence a virtual presentation instead. The full report about the shortlisted yachts and winners is in our March 2022 issue. Below is a breakdown of the nominees and winners.
Best yachts of the year – Performance cruiser
Nominees: IC 36 Independence; J/45; JPK 39FC; Pogo 44; Solaris 40
Always an exciting category, this year’s shortlist had the full range. From the more conventional and definitive style of performance cruiser such as the J/45 and the Med-special Solaris 40, to the contemporary French interpretation of a lightweight fast cruiser in the Pogo and JPK – and through to a new brand of sports catamarans for the thrill seekers.
Winner: JPK 39FC
JPK builds boats that win trophies! Along with fellow Brittany yard Pogo, JPK has redefined what a modern performance cruiser should be: stiff, stable and efficient to the max. FC stands for Fast Cruiser, and the JPK certainly lives up to that billing.
For the keen sailor who wants to get the utmost enjoyment out of hands-on cruising, the JPK 39FC is a superb design (and to my eye, an appealing one too), while the yard has done a nice job with the vacuum-infusion build and interior fit-out. The two-cabin version we sailed has plenty of stowage too. Click here for our full report and video
“A fast cruiser is a balance between a number of factors,” says our Norwegian jury member Axel Nissen-Lie. “JPK has succeeded in creating a boat that sails insanely well, and at the same time it is modern and comfortable.
“If you take the best from RM, X-Yachts and Pogo, you get something close to JPK 39FC. The boat beats almost as well as an X-Yachts, it has a superstructure like an RM, and goes downwind almost like a Pogo.” Price ex VAT €205,100
Best yachts of the year – Luxury cruiser
What constitutes luxury for you? The broad selection for this category this year includes two from Groupe Beneteau which show how appealing space can be today, as well as offerings from more typical premium brands such as Swan and Hallberg-Rassy. Pricing is equally as varied: for the same length, one can cost three times the amount of the other.
Winner: Hallberg-Rassy 50
We featured a full test of this Swedish gem in our January issue, but in summary, this 50 is beautifully refined and arguably the best model yet in Rassy’s modern hull-shape generation. Check out our full video tour here.
It uses every inch of German Frers’ cunning design while still delivering highly impressive, push-button controlled performance across the wind ranges, particularly with the optional high-spec carbon rigging package.
“The Hallberg-Rassy 50 could use more practical outside storage space – but that’s about the only thing that could be improved on the yacht,” says our Dutch jury member from Zeilen, Marinus van Sijdenborgh de Jong.
“The perfection of the concept, the refined detailing and impeccable finish show the pinnacle of luxury. The use of the optional high tech rigging brings top of the bill performance, without adding complexity in handling. Luxury sailing as it is supposed to be: enjoy high quality sailing in comfort.”
Price ex VAT SEK 13,221,900 (approx €1.3m)
Best yachts of the year – Family cruiser
A strong category brimming with interesting new designs. All these shortlisted yachts are winners in my eyes and worthy of close scrutiny by anyone in the market for a new mid-range yacht to suit easy cruising as couples, or with friends or family.
The space race continues to thrive but all of these designs prove you can have that volume without unnecessarily impacting performance or enjoyment on the helm.
Winner: Hanse 460
Hanse’s brave decision to change designers has seemingly paid off. The 460 cleverly meets its brief of providing a voluminous hull which still performs. It boasts appealing exterior aesthetics, is enjoyable to sail and gives the feel of a larger yacht/model (particularly in the cockpit).
A key indication of the success of a design is in the initial sales numbers – over 150 sold before any seatrials! Our Finnish judge Pasi Nuutinen says: “Tiger’s leap to fresh looking modern design with all its benefits for easier control, better performance and more voluminous interiors. Still combining the traditional Hanse virtues of decent quality and sensible pricing.”
Price ex VAT €270,900
Best yachts of the year – Bluewater cruiser
For those planning long term cruising, would you choose a robust aluminium build for higher latitudes sailing, shoal draught to tuck into the shallows (a mix of both?), sustainable living or reliable comfort, or the ability to log sustained high speeds to outrun weather systems?
This selection gives you all those choices and more…
Winner: Outremer 55
With this model Outremer shows why it dominates the performance bluewater multihull sector. The well built and finished 55 is a mighty spaceship with a modern apartment inside, and although a lot to absorb and handle, it offers sustained double digit speeds in real comfort.
Outremer has done a fine job with packing in the creature comforts, stowage space and payload capacity while keeping it light enough to eat miles. And with over 50 orders for a yacht of this price range, this is arguably the most successful new production yacht on the market.
German de Soler from Spanish magazine Nautica y Yates thinks this “an outstanding catamaran forged by a formidable trio of designers – VPLP, Darnet Design and Patrick Le Quément – supported by the experience of a shipyard with more than 30 years creating bluewater cruising catamarans.
“The result of this conjunction is what should be expected in a boat aimed to fulfill the ocean dream of any sailor: quality of life on board and the ability to go far while enjoying sailing along the way.” Price ex VAT €1.35m
Best yachts of the year – Special yacht
Once again, we see a wonderfully eclectic mix comprising this category! From a scow-bowed aluminium tardis to a timeless Italian wood epoxy daysailer, all these nominees bring some fascinating ideas and were a pleasure to sail and get to know.
Winner: Saffier SE33 Life
Saffier is another yard which will not rest on its laurels and keeps improving and improving. Just when you think it’s found the perfect daysailer formula, it adds more and more refinement, from the design to the first class finish throughout.
The SE33 is an absolute joy to sail (and can provide a thrilling ride too), while the Dutch yard’s incredible sales figures bear witness to its looks and functionality.
It’s really saying something when a yard can win the same prize in back to back years for a similar product. Chairman of the jury, Jochen Rieker from Yacht explains: “Following-up from the previous year winner, SE 27, the 33 not only follows a proven concept. She actually beats the high standards the yard has established.
“In other words: She is not just bigger but that extra little better in any respect that there simply was no other choice than awarding the Dutch design again. And rightly so: stunning performance, great feel, loads of stability, beautiful lines and an interior that wants you stay longer than just for a day or so. Simply, absolutely, crazy wow!”
Sustainability: Windelo 50
In an era where the big yards should be leading by example rather than greenwashing, few go to the extent that newcomers Windelo has. Two years were spent researching environmentally-friendly composite materials, developing what it describes as an eco-composite of basalt fibre and recycled PET foam so it could build boats that halve the environmental impact of standard glassfibre yachts.
The result is an intriguing package – from the styling, modular interior and novel layout to the solar field on the roof and the standard electric propulsion, the Windelo 50 is completely fresh.
Sustainability: Elvstrom eXPR
We hope Elvstrom could be leading the way to a cleaner method of sailmaking here. eXPR is a laminate sail, where the main constituents are all made from recycled polyester (including the UV film, taffeta and fibres), yet in looks and practice there is no telling difference to high-end laminates made from non-recyled materials.
Versatility: Tricat 6.90
Really easy, light, fast performance sailing in a simple, no-frills package. The 6.90 is versatile, in that it has a practical folding mechanism, can be trailered, and used by a small family for camping, beached. Plus it hits a price point in which most other yacht manufacturers have given up competing (from €52,000). Here’s our video tour
Toby Hodges, Yachting World, GBR
Jochen Rieker, YACHT, GER
Loic Madeline, Voiles & Voiliers, FRA
Pasi Nuutinen, Vene, FIN
Roland Duller, YachtRevue, AUT
Alberto Mariotti, Vela e Motore, ITA
Morten Brandt-Rasmussen, Bådmagasinet, DEN
Marinus van Sijdenborgh de Jong, Zeilen, NED
Joakim Hermansson, Praktiskt Båtägande, SWE
Axel Nissen-Lie, Seilmagasinet, NOR
Germán de Soler, Nautica Y Yates, ESP
Lori Schüpbach, Marina.ch, SWI
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Source: Yachting World