AnnapolisBy Katherine Stone

Celebrating their 50th year – the boat show was 10% bigger this year with larger boats and construction finished to help ease flooding with the city dock raised. Unfortunately, this was not enough, as the show had to close on Saturday due to excessive winds and a higher tide which caused flooding. Even though the show was closed on Saturday, devoted sailors waded through the water. Saturday’s attendance was just 200 people shy of the all-time record set in 2010.

The show reported that there has been huge growth in fractional ownership, clubs and charters – all easier entries into boating. Classes were offered on many subjects including how to buy a boat, looking at priorities and what is right for you. The show did a survey on how boaters get their news and 82% reported through print magazines and 53% from a website. The respondents felt that print was more accurate and well researched.

First Yacht 53 Dining AreaThe Beneteau First Yacht 53 dining area on the port side is smaller and separated from the starboard socializing area.

Onward to the new boats! First up is Groupe Beneteau with all three of their boats nominated by SAIL and Cruising World for Best Boats in 2020.

The standing head room is amazing as even a 6-footer can stand underneath the boom on the Beneteau Oceanis 30.1 that (stet)thinks it’s a much bigger yacht! It is the hottest selling boat due to performance and cost. Some neat features include hot and cold water in the cockpit shower and a chart table that folds up. There are four keel configurations (two of which are swing), a square-topped main, furling Code O and a self-tacking jib. It’s a very easy sailing short-handed boat built in Poland. Options for a tiller or twin wheels on two rudders. With only one winch to operate, shorthanded sailing is a cinch!

Beneteau 30.1Beneteau 30.1 thinks it’s a much bigger boat.

The Beneteau First Yacht 53 is a true luxury performance racer-cruiser with room for 720L of fresh water, 400L fuel capacity, five AGM batteries, four AC units AND bow/stern thrusters. A big change, initiated by customers who say they rarely use it, was no main salon table. Below there is a small breakfast table to port and sofa lounge area with coffee table to starboard, separating relaxing from eating. Quality construction is noted throughout with molded wood and polished finishes. Handrails are plentiful and decks are wide, open and free of control lines. It has a powerful sail plan yet is easily controlled shorthanded.

A new one on the scene to North America is the Excess 12 catamaran (length 38 feet), also a member of Groupe Beneteau. Its an easy boat to move to from a monohull and does not have a flying bridge. The aft twin helm stations, a large square-topped main, Code 0 and self tacking jib all co-ordinate to make it perform like a sailing speedster, but with the comfort of a catamaran. The sunroof slides open allowing the skipper a clear view of the sails and sail trimming is done from the helm. It has a 3 or 4 cabin version, powered with two diesel Yanmar engines, and a hull shape like the Lagoon catamaran. Its ideal for cruising with two-200L fuel tanks.

Backed by more than 50 years of history, the new Dufour line of Grand Large boats represents a beautiful combination of easy handling, comfort and performance. These two boats were also nominated by both SAIL and Cruising World for Best 2020 Boat.

Hatch OpeningHatch opening slides forward and down on the Beneteau Oceanis 30.1 - no need for storage.

Starting with the Dufour 390 one immediately notices the incredible 6’8” headroom in the salon. There are three layouts that include 2 or 3 cabins, L-shaped or long galley and 2 or 3 bathrooms. Also marketed with a fully battened mainsail, German mainsail system and self-tacking jib, it is an easy boat to sail solo or double-handed. The Plancha outdoor grill and sink along with the immense closed rear transom and many sunbathing areas make the boat ideal for cruising and entertaining. A lovely unique feature is the sound dampening in the cabin floor and doors to cut down noise.

Storage Room In the GalleyThe Beneteau FIrst Yacht 53 has plenty of prep and storage. room in the galley

Moving into the Dufour 430 not only increases the overall space below deck, but it also becomes the authentic cruiser. The owner’s cabin boasts a luxurious island berth with plenty of room to move about. Although its wide beam (over 14 feet) is particularly efficient for downwind conditions, it still offers high performance upwind. The 3-cabin layouts have the option of a forward galley or longitudinal galley – both with two heads. Offering all the sailing systems as the 390, it also encompasses a retractable bow thruster and davits, electric opening stern door and optional AC. Handrails on both sides of the cockpit table are a great safety feature. The large deck hatches in both boats provide superb natural light.

Moving away from cruising, enter the Jeanneau SUN FAST 3300, built as a bold racing boat designed for success. This boat saw three nominations for 2020 Boat of the Year. Entirely constructed using an infused moulding process gives it rigidity and considerable weight reduction. Designed for shorthanded or fully crewed racing to be done either inshore or offshore, it boasts twin rudders with either tillers or wheels, a hard chine and powerful hull come together for balance and stability on all points of sail. Some great features are the 32:1 twin backstay, jib car adjustments for both inboard and outboard settings, 2:1 tack line for the Code 0, and foot braces that adjust to the leg length of the skipper. Understandably more spartan below deck, the amenities are well-thought out and efficient with two cabins and six berths.

Dufour 430 Owner Cabin(left) The Dufour 430 owner's cabin with an island berth and plentyThe Dufour 430 owner's cabin with an island berth and plentyof leg room.

Outdoor Grill and Sink(Right)Outdoor grill and sink keep cockpit free to entertain, yet still
be with your guests on the Dufour 430.

Dufour 390 Stove TopThe Dufour 390 stove top hinges up when in use and provides
more counterspace when not in use.

I’ve saved the best for last, as the Hanse 675 is truly an innovative yacht making its North American debut at this boat show and the pinnacle of cruising luxury and superior speed. It is also in the running for SAIL and Cruising World’s 2020 Boat of the Year. There are numerous new features which make this boat outstanding. The galley is self contained in the port aft section with a pocket door to close it off from the salon, but there is also a walk through from the aft cabin to the galley. The storage for dry food stuffs, refrigeration and wine is over the top, with a designated wine cooler located under the bar with access outside the galley. The elegant owner’s cabin has a king island bed, chaise lounge and en suite bathroom with a rain shower and wellness area. The show stopper for me was the guest cabin with a modular bed for one, two or three persons in a bunkbed configuration with their own head – perfect for the kids to squabble over who gets what bed! All halyards and sheets are hidden below deck. There are two forestays for comfortable sail change and no need for sail storage. The cockpit tables are electronically adjustable. The unique carbon T-top provides a sunshade, allowing you to have a visual on your sails to adjust trim and view the stars at night.

Excess 12 Catamaran Back Steering(Left) The Excess 12 catamaran steers from the back like a monohull.

Helm Seats(Right) Helm seats fold up for complete access to the cockpit

on the Excess 12.













The Excess 12 Owner's Cabin(Left)The Excess 12 owner's cabin has room for storage and a lounge area.

Sail Control Lines(Right) Sail control lines are neatly tucked away for safety on the Excess 12.





The Sunfast 3300's Galley

 (Left) The Jeanneau Sunfast 3300's galley is tidy and simple, yet perfect
for offshore racing.

The Head on The Sunfast 3300

(Right) The head has a nifty pocket door for
privacy on the Sunfast 3300.








Hanse 675's Hardtop


(Left) Hanse 675's hardtop opens in the middle for stargazing and
trimming sails.

The Hanse 675 Salon Table

(Right) the Hanse 675 salon table is spacious with comfortable seating
for eight.







Canadian Dealers:

Jeanneau:        Navy Point Fraser Yacht Sales Sunnybrook Yachts Marina Lennox
                         Toronto ON Vancouver BC Chester NS St-paul-de-I’ile-aux-nois PQ

Dufour:             Swans Yachts Yacht Sales West Marine Lennox
                         Whitby ON Vancouver BC St-paul-de-I’ile-aux-nois PQ

Beneteau:         Anchor Yachts Ocean Yachts Marina Gosselin Grand Yachts
                         Mississauga ON Dartmouth NS Quebec Vancouver & Sidney BC

Hanse:              Pat Sturgeon Yachts Freedom Marine
                         Mississauga ON Vancouver BC