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.
For 2010, the Glenn Henderson/Ron Humphries designed 39 Hunter replaces the 38. Everything that made the 38 so popular and desirable has been retained in the new model and many new features have been incorporated into the 39 to raise the bar substantially.
The new model although similar to the 38 maintains its beam much further aft than did the 38. This gives the boat better performance and a larger cockpit further enhanced by the twin steering wheels.
One of my dearest friends always says while hoisting a cold malt beverage "how do they make something that tastes so good so well-priced?" Clearly here 'cheap' is referring to a reasonable price and with this Bavaria my thoughts while sailing was how can they make such a great little boat with all the value for this price? All in, it's under $120,000.
Having the pleasure of attending the Miami boat show this year, we made it a point to see the new Beneteau 50. First impressions at dockside were that this boat was a perfect fit in the high performance cruising niche. The surprise is that new manufacturing methods and processes employed in making this boat have reduced the selling price putting this boat in play especially with our present dollar leverage. Honestly, for those wishing to cash in and sail into retirement, this boat might be the ticket.
The new Bavaria Cruiser 32 arrived at Yacht Sales West in Vancouver in early April. Its North American debut will be in Victoria in early May 2010. This is the first in the series of Bavaria cruisers that include a 45 and 55 foot version designed by the well known and wonderfully prolific Farr Yacht design. Teaming up with BMW Group Designworks USA, these new boats are evidence of a new modern direction adopted by Bavaria that combines great looks, solid sailing characteristics, and some neat touches that won't disappoint.
When The Delphia line first came to North America, it did so with little fanfare. Though it managed to win the Import Boat of the Year at Annapolis in 2008. Having sailed it, it's easy to see why. Terribly affordable at about $170,000 Cdn., this boat has a wonderful feel and look – both above and below decks. It's perfectly finished , equipped and boasts two double cabins below.
If you want a boat with a solid value proposition – that makes boating affordable and easy – then the Hunter 31 is your boat. Replacing the 306 and designed by Glenn Henderson and the Hunter team, Hunter has, yet again, found a way to combine all the important attributes of easy sailing characteristics, solid value and wonderful features above and below decks. By using the latest in technology and smaller and lighter components, the Hunter has created a boat that's forgiving but still offers great performance credentials.