While COVID-19 might have cancelled boat shows, there are plenty of new launches to desire. Sam Fortescue rounds up the best yachts of 2022 so far
The best yachts of 2022 so far.
The COVID-19 pandemic has meant that for two years, new boat launches have been few and far between.
But now boat builders are back in force and have recently announced a range of new launches from 30ft yachts for coastal and offshore sailing to fast cruisers and catamarans which are being billed as sustainable.
Sam Fortescue picks his favourites.
Garcia Exploration 60
Nearing the end of a long build in Normandy, the flagship of Garcia’s Exploration range should be in the water late in the spring.
Built in gleaming aluminium, this is a profoundly capable centreboard explorer, with a price tag to match.
Jimmy Cornell provided input and profile for the first in this range, a 45-footer.
A raised saloon with 270º views, well protected doghouse cockpit, aft gantry and cutter rig were integral features of this go-anywhere yacht.
The Exploration 60 takes the concept to a more luxurious conclusion. Isabelle Racoupeau’s interior makes the most of the vast full-beam cabin aft, with elegant cabinetry and neutral upholstery.
There’s also an option for a forward owner cabin with walk-in dressing room. Either way, there is room for a dedicated technical space – a workshop or office, perhaps.
LOA: 18.27m (59ft 11in)
LWL: 16.77m (55ft)
Beam: 5.40m (17ft 9in)
Draught: 1.50-3.65m (4ft 11in-12ft)
Displacement: 35,000kg (77,161Lb)
Contact: Garcia Yachts
Tel: +33 2 33 43 22 20
Though first launched in 2021, we haven’t had a chance to see much of the latest design from X-Yachts.
The X56 is the brand’s flagship, designed for serious cruising.
Layup is with glass and epoxy resin, vacuum-infused and cured for 24 hours at high temperatures for optimum stiffness and minimum weight.
Rod rigging is standard, and there’s the option of a carbon mast as well as a roller-furling boom.
A fixed bowsprit provides room for a reaching sail on a second headstay and a gennaker.
The interior is all delightfully clean Scandi lines in a choice of oak or teak, as you’d hope, although there are lots of other options here for the finish.
Choose from an open or closed galley and enjoy the large chart table and flexible aft cabins.
Price: £1,063,900 ex-VAT
LOA: 16.58m (54ft 5in)
LWL: 14.94m (49ft)
Beam: 4.89m (16 ft1in)
Draught: 2.50-3.30m (8ft 2in-10ft 10in)
Displacement: 18,800kg (41,446Lbs)
Contact: X-Yachts GB
Tel: +44 (0)23 8045 3377
The new 49CS is only the second in the range to depart from Contest’s tried-and-tested centre cockpit design – following its entry-level 42-footer.
Billed as an aft cockpit boat, the 49CS is really more of a hybrid design, with a long aft deck but sheltered helm stations well in board and amazing height in the aft cabins below.
Contest yachts are known for their high-quality build, and the 49CS is no exception, using one-shot vacuum infusion.
At more than 20 tonnes it is not a light boat, but it would make an excellent base for a round-the-world trip, with its forward cockpit and tender garage in the transom.
Being a Dutch-built yacht, headroom is generous, and the interior styling by Wetzel Brown has a sophisticated feel to it, with lots of textures, light coloured woods and neutral upholstery.
The saloon is semi-raised under the deckhouse, giving exterior views from the dining table.
A master cabin fills the forward third of the boat, and there are two double or twin cabins aft.
The galley lies down some steps on the port side.
Contest is unique in that its boats are certified by Lloyd’s Register.
Price: €1,198,000 ex-VAT
LOA: 15.20m (49ft 10in)
Beam: 4.90m (16 ft1in)
Draught: 2.35m (7ft 9in)
Displacement: 21,500kg (47,399Lbs)
Contact: Contest Yachts
Tel: +31 227 543 644
Best new yachts under £500,000
Niche Dutch shipyard Jachtwerf Heeg is expanding its successful Pointer range with the launch of a new 30-footer.
It is the largest Pointer to date, and the largest for the yard, which has specialised for more than 60 years in building small open boats and race boats for local conditions in GRP. The Pointer brand launched in 2014.
The boat has modern hull lines with a plumb bow, a bowsprit and decent interior space.
It has been designed for coastal and offshore sailing, with a large sailplan totalling 46m2 upwind and a shallow draught.
There is room for eight in the cockpit, but the boat is also designed for singlehanded sailing. Choose between a tiller or a wheel on a tilting pedestal.
There is a bathing platform aft, a comfy saloon, a long bench and a ‘coffee bar’.
It has a fresh-water system, a fridge and a gas hob.
There is a separate heads and a V-berth in the focsle, plus two quarter berths off the saloon.
Price: from €150,000 inc VAT and sails
LOA: 9.20m (30ft 2in)
Cabins: 1 (4 berths)
Beam: 2.90m (9ft 6in)
Draught: 1.25m/1.75m (4ft 1in/5ft 9in)
Displacement: 2,400kg (5,291Lb)
Contact: Jachtwerf Heeg
Tel: +31 (0) 515 44 22 37
Hull one of this new 50ft model has just been launched in the yard’s home waters of the Slovenian Adriatic.
She is the largest of the performance cruising E-line, with a new hull designed by Rob Humphreys.
His design includes an aft chine for extra volume and stability.
‘She will have a real turn of speed in comparison to the GT6, even though they share some similar initial characteristics,’ says UK dealer Tim Norris at Boatpoint.
‘The E6 will have a low displacement for her size, so will be interactive when sailing. She has been set up like all Elans for relatively easy shorthanded sailing.’
The lay-up uses e-Glass and vinylester, vacuum-infused for strength and light weight.
There is a fixed bowsprit for launching big sails and twin rudders aft for optimum efficiency on the heel.
It all combines to reduce the tendency to broach and pitch while giving excellent directional stability.
Below deck, Pininfarina has tried to create an enticing but practical interior, which Norris describes as ‘a little more minimalist compared the GT6, with a fairly traditional layout’.
The styling is in natural oak veneer with neutral grey upholstery.
There is the choice of three or four cabins – two doubles aft and a master cabin with a semi-island bed in the focsle, or a V-berth forward and bunks instead of storage space.
There is a decent L-shaped galley amidships.
Price: £460,000 inc VAT
LOA: 15.30m (50 ft 2in)
LWL: 13.68m (44ft 11in)
Beam: 4.49m (14ft 9in)
Draught: 2.80m (9ft 2in)
Displacement: 11,250kg (24,802Lb)
Contact: Boatpoint Hamble
Tel: +44 2382 120 000
France’s RM famously builds its yachts in plywood and epoxy, and claims that the new 1380 will be the largest such cruiser ever built.
The hull is designed by Marc Lombard, with racy lines and blue-water capabilities.
She should be a fast yacht when she hits the water, with a rig that allows a downwind sail and a second headstay, thanks to the long bowsprit.
The boat has twin rudders and underwater choices including bilge keels and a high-performance lifting keel.
Below, the interior is a matter of choice, but typically minimal.
Various configurations are possible, but the Owner’s version puts a large cabin in the forepeak.
There are two heads/shower rooms and a semi-horseshoe galley to port.
The first hull is due to be built in April 2022.
Price: €357,000 ex-VAT
LOA: 13.30m (43ft 8in)
LWL: 12.44m (40ft 10in)
Beam: 4.53m (14ft 10in)
Draught: 1.45m-3.35m (4ft 9in/11ft)
Displacement: 9,800kg (21,605Lb)
Contact: Parkstone Bay Yachts
Tel: +44 (0)1202 724917
J/Boats are renowned as the staple of many club racing circuits, but the latest launch is a different beast altogether – a 45ft blue-water cruiser with all the trimmings.
Built in e-Glass and vinylester sandwich construction, it is a staggeringly light hull with a high ballast ratio that promises stiff handling in heavy seas.
With a decent spread of canvas, the J/45 is reported to sail well in as little as 6 knots of breeze.
J Boats is keen to underline how the rig is set up for easy tuning and reefing, so that the same sail combination is also perfectly manageable in 20 knots, with no sail change required.
I suspect this is something most blue-water sailors would expect.
However, there is no doubt this is a capable boat, with lots of handy options, including a bathing platform.
The elegant interior is designed by Isabelle Racoupeau with three choices of joinery: white oak, teak or walnut.
You can choose to convert the third cabin aft into a technical storage space accessed through the heads and from on deck.
Price: £414,888 ex-VAT
LOA: 13.85m (45ft 5in)
LWL: 12.56m (41ft 2in)
Beam: 4.25m (13ft 11in)
Draught: 2.30m (7ft 7in)
Displacement: 9,900kg (21,825Lb)
Contact: Key Yachting
Tel: +44 (0)23 8045 5669
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Best new catamarans in 2022
Groupe Beneteau continues to expand its Excess catamaran venture, aimed at younger owners who want a fun connection to the water, without a sky-high price tag.
VPLP has drawn on its ocean racing experience, designing asymmetric hulls, foam-sandwich hull layup and higher bridgedeck clearance to reduce slamming.
A towering square-topped main and an overlapping genoa round out a fairly generous 118m2 of upwind sail area, although bear in mind this is a heavy boat.
Semi-island double berths at the aft end of each hull give a touch of luxury, and the whole starboard hull can be devoted to the owner, with a walk-in dressing room in the bow.
Simple but attractive interior styling has been well executed by Nauta.
LOA: 13.34m (43ft 9in)
Beam: 7.87m (25ft 10in)
Draught: 1.48m (4ft 10in)
Displacement: Max 18,300kg (40,344Lb)
Tel: +44 (0)2380 450 000
Due to be unveiled at the Grande Motte Multihull show from 20-24 April 2022, the Lagoon 51 is still partly shrouded in secrecy.
The shipyard has billed it as a more sustainable yacht, with better on-board circulation and ‘great fluidity’, which sounds like a byword for more open spaces.
Like all recent Lagoons, it has been designed by the multihull experts at VPLP, who had this to say about the boat: ‘We designed the Lagoon 51 as a perfect synthesis of the modernity of the shapes and the sail plan, with living space on deck and inside that is unequalled on a boat this size.’
What we can already tell from early renderings is that the flybridge uses much more space on the coachroof than the previous Lagoon 50.
This includes a C-shaped lounge with a drop-down table as well as twin sunpads.
A dedicated forward cockpit gives great lounging up front, with deep sofas, a table and the option of teak underfoot.
Renderings appear to show an opening saloon window for passing supplies out to those using this space.
A new-generation interior dispenses with the mast beam down the middle of the saloon, by positioning it further forward.
Acres of glass makes this a luminous space, with an L-shaped galley to port and a raised dining area forward which benefits from the views.
Lagoon is driving for sustainability, using hemp fibre, Alpi wood and offering 3.4kW of solar panels.
She is even delivered with biodegradable cleaning products!
LOA: 15.35m (50ft 4in)
Beam: 8.1m (26ft 7in)
Draught: 1.38m (4ft 6in)
Tel: +44 2380 450 000
One of a crop of new catamaran brands coming through at the moment, Vaan is distinguished by its obsessive focus on combining performance with sustainability.
Its first model, the R4, was launched before Christmas and will be on show at La Grande Motte in April 2022.
The hull is made from aluminium, up to 60% of which is sourced from recycled metal obtained from old window frames and road signs.
Vaan founder Igor Kluin is absolutely clear that this is a more sustainable option than building in non-recyclable GRP.
Decking is crafted from cork, while the modern, uncluttered interior makes use of plant-based Lyocell fabric and a leather alternative made from pineapple leaves.
The exterior design is different to other cats, too. Kluin calls it a ‘cabriolet’ because there is only a narrow band of solid coachroof over the cockpit, leaving the rest open.
A fabric bimini can be quickly installed if further protection is needed, but the principle is to make this space as open as possible.
Helm stations are moved to the two well-protected quarters.
Propulsion comes from two 10kW Torqeedo electric pod drives, hooked up to either 20kWh or 40kWh of lithium-ion batteries.
Vaan claims that this is equivalent to 40hp combustion engines.
Under sail, the drives regenerate power to recharge the batteries.
Price: €429,000 ex-VAT
LOA: 12.80m (42ft)
LWL: 12.80m (42ft)
Beam: 7.06m (23ft 2in)
Draught: 1.35m (4ft 5in)
Displacement: 10,900kg (26,235Lb)
Contact: Vaan Yachts
Tel: +31 (0)85 071 9999
A capable, well-designed catamaran from the La Rochelle-based builder, the new 51 features a deck design that makes the interior saloon and exterior cockpit work together.
The glass panels of the rear wall of the saloon slide completely to either side, while the deck is flush, connecting the galley directly with the eight-person saloon table.
The helmstation is bulkhead-mounted, with a larger-than-ever flybridge set around it.
All the control lines return to the three winches here, for easy handling.
And the coachroof is inlaid with a generous 2kW of solar panels.
There’s also a foredeck lounge, private cabin exits and a lowering aft platform.
Configuration below is flexible, with the possibility of four to six double cabins with ensuite heads.
In the Maestro version, the entire port hull can be dedicated to the owner’s accommodation, while the double Maestro puts twin VIP cabins aft in each hull.
The navigation area lies right by the aft doors of the saloon, where it’s within easy reach of the helm.
Price: €865,311 ex-VAT
LOA: 15.54m (51ft)
Beam: 8.08m (26ft 7in)
Draught: 1.3m (4ft 3in)
Displacement: 18,100kg (39,903Lb)
Tel: +44 (0)1489 573 059
Privilege Signature 650
Replacing the old Series 640 catamaran, Privilege’s new Signature 650 features an all-new deck moulding and interior on a tried and tested hull shape from Marc Lombard.
The boat offers greater interior volumes, with two or three guest cabins as well as a skipper’s berth and a cavernous owner’s suite filling the space in the rostrum and the port bow.
Headroom is excellent, thanks to a higher deck moulding, which also now offers forward-facing windows in the owner’s cabin.
On the outside, this also creates a teak-decked lounge area forward of the enlarged saloon windows that is sheltered and private from the outside world.
There’s a gigantic flybridge with an enlarged C-lounge and an optional second helm station to port.
The cockpit beneath offers dining, sun beds and the option of a barbecue and fridge.
A redesigned hydraulic platform aft can raise an 800kg tender.
Affording the boat with a few extra centimetres on the rig has added 6m2 to the sail area, which now accounts for 232m2.
All the control lines are led back to the helm.
Price: €2.49m ex-VAT
LOA: 21.25m (69ft 9in)
Beam: 9.20m (30ft 2in)
Draught: 1.85m (6ft 1in)
Displacement: 37,000kg (81,157Lb)
Contact: Inspiration Marine
Tel: +44 (0)2380 457 008
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