Sailboat racing dates back to ancient times of Egypt which means that it has a long tradition. Nowadays, racing sailboats are getting more and more attention given the sophisticated boats with deluxe features. The rich man’s sport leaves no one indifferent. Racing sailboats look very extravagant and are accompanied by the latest technologies. Still, all of the boats have something unique that characterizes only them. Let us see which boats are favored by experts and what they offer in the wide sea.
Boats and their performances have been tested, assessed, and ranked for more than 20 years by now to get the Boat of the Year on an annual basis in different boat categories. The voting and evaluation are conducted by an independent Panel of Judges which are usually known in the profession and the world of racing sailboats. The judges are competent and have a lot of experience in the field. For example, the judges for 2016 were the director of the American Boat and Yacht Council (ABYC), a sailboat racer and a book writer who published four books on technical marine.
Boat builders from numerous countries applied and tried to secure the first position in the renowned competition. The candidates came from China, Croatia, Germany, Italy, Turkey, South Africa, Sweden, France, Denmark, and the United Kingdom. The judges tested the boats for ten days in total and observed carefully the boats’ performance in the wide open sea, including dockside testing.
Winner Sailing Boats (50 feet and more)
First, they choose an overall winner, the best full-size cruiser with a length of 50 feet or more, which this year came from China. The sailboat is known under the name Passport 545 and proved that China is far advanced in boat matters by building this machine called a boat which is suitable to sail all oceans. The boat was completely silent even in a big breeze, which enhances the sea experience where one can only hear the sea without motor noises. The boat was built with great care and every detail and every part of the boat just seems perfect.
China was closely followed by the lovely French boat which proudly carries the name Jeanneau 54. The boat was the perfect mix of performance and comfort. When the judges tested the motor they discovered that the motor was significantly less noisy as compared to usual motors. It proved to be also speedy and what the judges surprised was that the boat was not too pricey. They considered it very valuable for the price.
Best full-size sailboats smaller than 50 feet
These boats range from 45 ft to 49 ft and are in the price range from $525.000 to over 1 million dollars. Some of the best are the Swedish Hallberg-Rassy Mk III, Xc 45, Azuree 46 and Oyster 475. Oyster 475 has extra security features like pad eyes, jacklines, a higher lifeline, and numerous handholds. Azuree 46 which was built in Turkey under the leadership of a famous British naval architect is known for sophisticated technological features and its speed.
The Bavaria Open 40 is one of the most elegant boats with very simple features yet highly sophisticated. The outdoor and indoor are skilfully connected with soft covers as to appear as a big open area. Another favorite is Voyage 480 where the builders skilfully used lighter furniture and doors to keep the weight reduced. According to the judges, the weight cannot be felt as it is non-existent. This is the feature that the judges appreciated the most along the double-handed bridles for sail handling.
Racing sailboats require strong motors, enormous speed, and extreme safety features. The boats look somewhat dangerous, but yet mysterious and appealing. Unfortunately, not all people can afford to engage in boat sailing, given the expenses and high-maintenance. The boats are aimed at passionate sailboat racers and millionaires. The article shows that racing and boats are taken very seriously by the sailing community who organize these contests at the international level. Imagine how many shipbuilders form different countries prepare to present their “baby” to the judges and the world.
It became very hard to compete in today’s innovative world, but yet the shipbuilders and naval architects always think of something new which leaves breathless even the most experienced yacht and boat lovers and experts.