Sailing Today|September 2020
It has been another bumper year for the boatbuilding industry. Sam Jefferson casts his eye over the latest launches in the last calendar year
Sam Jefferson


The latest addition to the Dufour range lays out a slightly new vision for the marque going forward. In the past, the company has generally offered a Grand Large and Performance range in each size bracket but with the 530 this has been discontinued. Instead, you now have one boat with three distinctly different deck layouts. These will be the ‘Easy’, ‘Ocean’ and ‘Performance’. Ok, I realise that has actually offered three options instead of two but, nevertheless, the three options make perfect sense. Aside from that, this is your classic Felci designed Dufour, with acres of space and a good turn of speed.



Hallberg Rassy continues the revamp of its range with a new centre cockpit 50-footer that sticks to the template drawn up by the Hallberg Rassy 57. As such, this is a German Frers design with a lot of beam aft, compared with the older generation of Hallbergs. To compensate, there are twin rudders and twin wheels. In common with the 57, this is a modern-looking boat that still manages to remain harmonious. Down below, there is a huge stateroom aft and a generous double forward. The rig is powerful and hints at pleasing performance.



Dutch boatbuilder Contest Yachts has a strong reputation for building top-notch cruising yachts that are a cut above your standard production yacht. Recently they seemed to have been moving into a different sphere altogether with the launch of their 67CS followed by the whopping 85. The good news is that they have moved back down a size bracket with their all-new 55. This Judel/Vrolijk design is definitely a fast cruiser and potential clients can customise the boat to meet their needs. To this end, there is the option of a carbon or aluminium mast plus multiple different layout options.



Beneteau’s latest addition to their Oceanis cruising range follows on the heels of the 50.1 and 46.1 and features the same revolutionary hull shape as her older sisters. To this end, this Marc Lombard design features a chine that is carried all the way forward to the bow and a distinctive ‘step’ outwards. This provides very clear ‘champagne glass’ hull sections forward. The main aim of this is to give the yacht a lot of extra volume forward while not increasing wetted surface area in light airs. Down below, there is a very light and modern living area. The 40.1 is available with two, three or four cabins. Note that Beneteau has also launched the Oceanis Yacht 54 (pictured opposite); a full review is on p48.



Fitted with a powerful fractional rig, the Arcona 345 sports a tapered, twin spreader, keel-stepped mast. For strength and stability, the bulb keel is made of antimony hardened lead. The transom is open with an integral bathing platform and a decent – although not extreme – amount of beam aft means that twin wheels are an option. Another excellent feature given that this is a 40ft yacht is the heads feature an entirely separate shower stall.



Italian manufacturer Grand Soleil is planning to unveil the new 44 Performance at the Cannes Boat Show and if the plans are anything to go by, it looks like this is a boat that will wow the crowds. The new boat will be available in two distinct formats with one aimed at the racing market and the other more of a fast cruiser. One of the distinctive features of the boat is the positioning of the mast which is further back than on many previous models. This has been done with the aim of increasing the size of the foretriangle, thereby improving light air performance. Part of the thinking behind this is that a large percentage of Grand Soleil’s clients are based in the Mediterranean so light weather performance is key.



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September 2020