Boat of the Year 2013 Nominees
During the week of Oct. 8, SW's Boat of the Year judges put 15 new models to the test on the Chesapeake Bay. The best of the best will be announced in SW's January/February 2013 issue, which will hit newsstands in mid-December. Photos by Walter Cooper.
Bavaria B/One Designed by the Farr Yacht Design office for the Germany-based production builder Bavaria Yachts, the Bavaria B/One is a 24-foot sportboat with a stated purpose of being “a trailerable one-design racer, match-racer, and overnighter for four people.” Economical is the key here, with an aluminum rig, supplied class sails, and E-glass construction. A slightly raised cabin top gives a little headroom below, and the lifting keel makes it easy to get to the water. Sail it away for $36,000.
C&C 101With a new lead designer in Tom McNeill, C&C hopes this all-business, 33-foot club-racing crossover reignites the brand by returning to its racing roots. The 101 features a carbon rig, centerline asymmetric spinnaker pole, and high-quality materials in the hull. This boat should have no problem getting up and going, even with a full array of accommodations inside. Its polar diagram has it going upwind at 6.5 knots and downwind at 8 knots in 14 true, and with 671 square feet of upwind sail area, it should be properly powered up for a serious beer-can race team. Sail-away price was unavailable at press time.
Dufour 36 PerformanceTagging the term “performance” to a model name is an oft-played move among production builders to insinuate that a boat is no slug, but Dufour historically delivers on such hype. The in-house design team drew a sharp boat and a fast hull shape, and kept the full interior light enough for weekend cruising without slaughtering its club-racing potential. Here, they’ve come up with a 14,000-pound crossover with “racy” lines (says Dufour) that are newly styled and all about performance. If properly tuned before testing, this one may well surprise the judges. The boat starts at $225,000.
Harbor 30 - W.D. Schock makes excellent daysailers and isn’t afraid to race them down the coast of California or around the cans in any of its harbors. (The Harbor 30 has a Southern California PHRF rating of 120.) Classic lines and easy sailing define the modern daysailer, and the Harbor 30 slots right into this genre. With a jib boom, wheel steering, full-bench seating in the cockpit, four berths below, and a comfortable interior, there are five reasons right there to race it, cruise it, and take all your friends for a sunset booze cruise. It’s $157,000 for boat only.
J/70We had the opportunity to sail Hull No. 1 earlier this year in 10 to 15 knots, and thought we’d died and gone to sportboat heaven. Even in its early development stages, the boat was quick upwind and downwind, and though some of the systems were still unrefined, the boat was great fun to sail. It feels like a J Boat in that it goes upwind with an incredibly balanced helm, and is very stable downwind. The one-design power of J Boats cannot be overlooked, and at press time, they were reportedly already into triple digits on orders. As the trial boat for New York YC’s Invitational Cup Qualifying Series, the J/70’s debut fleet race is in September. It’s $44,900 for boats, sails, and trailer.
K1- When it comes to developing the perfect singlehanded sportboat, the British are never content. The K1 comes from Paul Handley (also responsible for the popular K6 doublehander and our 2011 Boat of the Year, the RS 100) who says the K1 is a “high-performance dinghy keelboat for singlehanded sailing.” A dinghy and a keelboat: Is that possible? Yes, says Handley, thanks to its bulb keel and Finn-like hull shape. More than 60 K1s have been sold in Europe, and Rondar USA will build and market the boats stateside, retailing for around $12,500.
McConaghy 38 - The McConaghy 38 had been a long time coming. Conceived in the United States by designer Harry Dunning several years ago, and built in Australia by McConaghy, the first of this all-carbon no-frills machine showed up at Key West 2012 unbroken, untamed, and underestimated. A better encore performance at Charleston Race Week confirmed that this lightweight one-design is both fun and fast in the right hands. It’s said to go upwind like a big boat and downwind like a dinghy. Base price is $248,000.
Motive 25R - Warren Light Craft, of Salem, Mass., builds stunning carbon kayaks, and for our 2012 Boat of the Year testing, they showed up with an ultra-slick carbon sailing kayak that was almost perfect. The concept just needed to be bigger—and more like a sailboat than a kayak. Enter the Motive 25R, the “first carbon fiber production trimaran in its class.” It certainly looks fast on paper, as its technical data sheet says the boat “allows the owner to easily fly the center hull, reach speeds of 20-plus knots, and still accommodate up to six people.” With the beams removed, it can be trailered in a compact package, and it can be beached thanks to swing centerboards and kick-up rudders. For $85,000, you get a thing of beauty and a healthy dose of carbon.
RS VentureDescribed by RS Sailboats, of England, as “the perfect choice for the family,” the Venture is an interesting take on the big dinghy (consider the Flying Scot, or the Highlander on p. 32). At 16 feet and 437 pounds, it’s no featherweight, but what’s most impressive is its passenger capacity range: one to six. Primarily designed as a trainer and recreational dinghy, it has good performance traits in the hull and rig. Rather than rotomolding, which is hard to do well with a boat of this size and complexity, RS went for fiberglass for stiffness. There’s also a simple spreader-less rig, and the whole package retails for $14,000.
SeaRail 19 - The proliferation of small multihulls continues with this Vietnamese-built 19-footer designed by multihull aficionado Nigel Irens. Its creator, Phil Medley, worked for Corsair for two decades before breaking off on his own and creating what he says is a more affordable trimaran experience. To that end, he’s focused on a simple folding mechanism, relatively inexpensive materials (vinlyester), and a stock Formula 18 catamaran rig. It’s designed primarily as a singlehander, but can accommodate two adults, at a retail price of $28,000.
Sparkman & Stephens 30 - Great designs never die, and even better designs somehow find their way back into production. Such is the case of the Sparkman & Stephens 30, which has an intriguing twist. According to the builder, Bluenose Yachts, the S&S 30 is a production adaptation of Babe, a successful offshore racing design of Olin Stephens in the 1930s. In the years before his passing, Stephens was revisiting the design, said to be his all-time favorite, with intentions of producing a custom wooden one-off. Bluenose, however, is seeing it through with less expensive fiberglass construction and several cost-saving measures. The original design may be nearly 80 years old, but with modern adaptations, Stephens’ legacy will be properly served in this daysailer and club racer, available for $169,000.
X-Yachts Xp 38 - The XP38 is hailed by its Dutch builder X-Yachts as the “ultimate dual-purpose yacht.” With a high ballast-to-weight ratio and high stability, the boat is meant to be stiff, fast, and easy to sail. X-Yachts has a long-standing reputation of producing great performers in this size range, creating boats that do well under various handicapping systems. (The XP38 has a preliminary IRC rating of 1.075.) The sharp-looking design, with a low-profile cabin top, a three-cabin layout, fractional aluminum rig, and a sprit to flay an asymmetric, goes for $365,000.