Harken Derm

SAIL’s 2019 Best Boats Awards

Published on November 14th, 2018

Some years ago, the book Aak to Zumbra catalogued – and celebrated – the incredible diversity of watercraft that has evolved over the centuries, a diversity that remains evident to this day in the 11 winners comprising the “Class of 2019” in SAIL’s Best Boats contest. Indeed, it would be hard to imagine a greater variety of sailing craft.

On the one hand, for example, you have a fairly “conventional” (albeit spectacularly executed) cruiser-racer in the X-Yachts Xp 55. On the other, you have a large, yet still wonderfully nimble trimaran in the Neel 51. Then there’s the Lagoon 50, another “conventional” cruising boat that manages to find yet more ways to make its crews comfortable afloat; the Figaro Beneteau 3, the world’s first production foiling keelboat; the Beneteau First 14, a micro speedster with not one but two daggerboard slots to accommodate multiple crews and rigs; and yet another tri from the drawing board of the late Ian Farrier.

Finally, there’s the Zephyr, a wonderfully un-conventional new take on sailing that envisions a whole new way of managing a wing by employing a mast and linkage that sweeps the entire program back and forth overhead. It would be hard to imagine a more groundbreaking way of moving a boat through the water—or possibly over the water if the wind ever pipes up sufficiently.

One thing that hasn’t changed is the way SAIL sets about determining the winners in its Best Boats contest: by having its editors fan out across the country sailing, studying, evaluating and discussing the latest the boatbuilding industry has to offer—an industry that even all these centuries later never, ever seems to run out of fresh ideas. Enjoy, and congrats to this year’s winners!

Full report… click here.

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