With a solid tradition combined with a new outlook, this builder is producing some wonderful new hulls and product. Careful attention to detail below decks with storage options that will surprise man, this boat won my vote quickly. There is no question that this performance cruiser has a renewed commitment to the Canadian market. I am quite sure it will find its way to many marinas and yacht clubs next year. Its workmanship and solid pedigree will ensure it's a contender in the 44' cruising yacht niche.
The market niche Philippe Briand wanted to reach with this performance yacht will be excited. This boat allows for lots of customization with its rig and keel options. The wonderful lines and deck plan turned my head. I loved the self-tacking jib and the option for a 140% performance genoa. The interior, surprisingly spacious, is bright and wonderfully comfortable.
The sense line from Beneteau quickly became a benchmark for the industry, so it wasn't a surprise when we saw the 43 for the first time. Capitalizing on the successful 50, the wonderful style and sense (pardon the pun), its wide beam at 14 feet that's carried all the way aft is complemented well with the hard chine concept. We loved the interaction with the cockpit and salon; the cockpit size and scope is amazing.
Tartan's robust designs and wonderful attention to detail make their traditional yachts a 'must see' option in our minds. One thing Tartan has always done is to ensure their boats can perform and perform well. Below decks, the ambiance and style is only outdone by the practical convenience and wonderful balance of satin- varnished cherry joiner work.
I loved this boat from the first take – a breath of fresh air from J Boats. It's trailerable, easily sailed and its large cockpit, small sail inventory and sailing just for sailing's sake. From trailer to water in 30 minutes, this boat was made to fill a niche long forgotten. It has a vertically lifting bulb keel and carbon fiber single spreader rig. Perfectly sailed by 3-4 and it's got that great J Boat moniker too!
A Rugged Performance Catamaran, Just Launched in Canada
I am slowly becoming a fan of Catamarans. Now, having sailed and reviewed more and more of these boats I am starting to get it. Excellent space below, and a stable, shallow draft allows for effortless cruising and wonderful speeds underway – all wonderful attributes that the market is rewarding more often these days. What’s also new for Gemini is the recent deal struck with Hunter to build these boats.
Just as the mythical “Phoenix” rose from the ashes, reborn to live again, so too was a beautiful yacht launched in September to replace another destroyed by fire.
In 2005, Covey Island Boatyard built a beautiful sixty-three foot classic schooner, “Maggie B” for Chicago venture capitalist Frank Blair. This boat cruised extensively, including a circumnavigation, and was ultimately returned to the boatyard for a refit. On August 12, 2008, disaster struck; a horrendous overnight fire completely destroyed the yard along with the “Maggie B”.
My European sailing editor colleagues are all a buzz about this boat. I was taken aback by a comment that referred to the 40E as sensitive and that term really hit the mark. Sensitive to the market needs, sensitive to the owner’s wants, and sensitive as it appeals to the racing performance of the boat.
When Dufour set the challenge to dazzle the market by building a product to reenter the North American scene, it had to come out with a boat that was better than the Dufour 40. Tough call, but the team at the Dufour Design group and Umberto Felci did not disappoint.
Sailing the first Jeanneau 53 to land in North America was a treat to say the least; to share the day with my colleague David McPhail from Boatcan made for a wonderful time. Invited by Paul Fenn (also on board) and the Jeanneau team, we were treated to perfect test sail conditions on Lake St. Clair, close enough to the Canadian border to guarantee Canadian content. Our test conditions were perfect: slight chop, moderate building and waning breezes nearing 6 knots true that drove the 46-foot waterline through the water at an impressive 5.4 knots. Steering the boat was a joy with the twin steering set up, finger-tip control and light responsive helm.
For all that the marine industry has gone through, the next few years are going to be ones of innovation and new designs. If rumours in the field are true, upwards of 20+ new sailboats will hit the docks this fall in Newport and Annapolis. New technologies, lighter materials and easier boat handling will no doubt be the drivers.