Late January saw Grabau International travel to Germany and the annual ‘boot Dusseldorf’ show. ‘boot’ is the world’s largest watersports trade fair with 17 halls packed with boats and associated displays.
Hall 16 was dedicated to exclusively sailing yachts with all the main European brands in attendance. Grabau International was there to look around and report back on the highlights.
Always a firm favourite at Grabau International, the Amel range is perhaps the most iconic, instantly recognisable and unashamedly single-minded of all blue water cruising yachts. The latest Amel 55 and 64 show clear homage to the original design concept with an ultra-low maintenance exterior and a fantastically luxurious interior. Great attention has been placed on ergonomics both above and below decks with a view to create a safe and comfortable living and working environment whether mid-ocean or at anchor. On display at boot 16 was an Amel 55 with a highly practical new 3-cabin plus saloon interior layout.
Black Pepper Code Zero
An achingly desirable day-sailor from France.The Black Pepper Code Zero boasts a full carbon hull, lifting keel and powerful asymmetric rig, so she’s fast, easy to sail and effortlessly cool. A fantastic alternative to a Tofinou, Essence or Brenta, she’s just the thing for the dock at the end of your garden.
Towering above everything else in Hall 16, the CNB 76 is a flagship yacht for Groupe Beneteau. With the 70-80ft sector bristling with exotic and innovative yachts, the CNB 76 brings the look and feel of a full custom yacht for almost half the price thanks to an extremely time-efficient construction process that allows the entire interior to be fabricated outside of the hull and then simply slotted in place.
Not a new launch for boot 16, but alongside her baby sister – the Contest 42CS, the Contest 57CS showed all the signs of a mature boat building company now in its third generation of family leadership, that seems to effortlessly combine the latest construction technology and design cues whilst loosing none of the original focus of building the very best quality cruising yachts. With a full range of yachts from 42ft to 72ft including a very cool 52ft motor yacht, they might not be cheap, but the best things in life are often worth working a little harder for.
Garcia Exploration 52
Whilst the last Land Rover Defender may have just rolled off the production line, her sea-going equivalent was having her first outing at boot 16. Garcia are one of the most highly regarded of aluminium sailing yacht manufacturers and having teamed up with Jimmy Cornell to create a line of rugged ocean cruisers designed to perform equally well in high latitudes as in tropical waters, the new Garcia Exploration 52 carries on from the critically-acclaimed deck-saloon centreboard Exploration 45.
Launched into the teeth of a bitter recession by British boat building guru Richard Matthews (he of Oyster Yachts fame), where most manufacturers would falter, Gunfleet has gone from strength to strength. The Gunfleet 58 on display at boot 16 boasted a flawless finish and fantastic attention to detail. Arguably one of the best resolved cruising yachts at the show it is clear to see why these yachts are finding such favour on both sides of the Atlantic.
LA Yachts LA 28
Quite possibly the most photographed yacht at boot 16, the absolutely gorgeous LA 28 wood-epoxy day sailor is a true Objet d ’Art. Personally, we would be too scared to use her and would try to find a very large wall to hang her from, but she is designed to be sailed and beneath her highly varnished khaya exterior hides a real speed-demon with carbon rig, square-headed mainsail, lead-bulbed carbon keel and a funky 2.5kw electric motor for propulsion duties.
Solaris 47 & 50
With the reverse bow profile of the Solaris 50 stopping many of their tracks and the halo of winning ‘European Yacht of the Year’ shining brightly, it was all too easy to ignore the yacht sat gleaming next to her. The Solaris 47 had her world premiere at boot 16 and represents a real tour de force for this well-established Italian yard. Featuring many of the design cues from her larger sisters, the Solaris 47 aims to provide a very high performance yacht that can be handled easily and safely by the smallest of crews.
The original blue chip brand in yachting. Often imitated but rarely bettered. Coupling legendary Finnish build quality with Italian design influences, Swan have remained at the top of their game for nearly 50yrs since the very first Swan 36 was launched in July 1967. With the speed-demon Clubswan 50 due for launch later this year (with a number already sold off plan) and the Swan 115 selling at a rate more usually associated with mid-40ft production yachts, Nautor were proudly displaying a rather unique Swan 60s at boot 16. Demonstrating their ability to build yachts to their owner’s exactly requirement, the build quality of the white-hulled 60s was quite simply epic. If you have to ask the price….
X-Yachts were at boot 16 in force with a selection of their hugely popular XC fast cruising and XP performance yachts including the XC-38, XC-45, XC-50, XP-44 and XP-55 (we’ll have one of those please!). X-Yachts really dominate this market and it is easy to see why. The XC-45 in particular is becoming somewhat of a design classic and for those seeking a fast blue water capable yacht, all roads do seem to lead back to this design. What caught the eye of Grabau International however were the renderings of the new ‘X’ range. Slotting neatly in between the XP and XC ranges, the ‘X’ range offers a further level of performance over the XC yachts, but without the racing aspirations of the XP range. The X-6 is already well into advanced in production, and the recently announced X-4 is set to become THE default yacht to have in her size category, but the quietly introduced X-8 concept really wowed us. As with the CNB 76, X-Yachts looks set to bloody a few noses in this hotly contested sector by offering efficient build, excellent build quality and a level of dependability and support that can only be found through such a well-established yard.
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