2019 BOAT OF THE YEAR AWARD PRESENTED BY HELL Y HANSEN
Beneteau brings foil-assisted offshore sailing to the short-handed masses with this first production raceboat of its kind. Plus, reviews of five outstanding new boats for 2019.
Now is an exciting time to be a sailor. Cranky pessimists will bemoan dying one-design classes and complain that new boats today are no good for average sailors — too complex, too expensive and too exotic. But every design has a shelf life, and while the good ones endure well past their expiration date, it’s new sailing experiences that excite new generations of sailors. Imagine if Hobie Alter, or Bruce Kirby, or Rod Johnstone had sat on their hands. Where would sailing be? Innovation, progress, development — call it what you will. We call it Boat of the Year, and with the Figaro Beneteau 3, IC37 by Melges, TF10 foiler, RS21, RS Cat 14 and Beneteau First 14, performance sailors have at their disposal six incredible new boats. There isn’t a bad one in the bunch, I can assure you that, but our independent judges are tasked with selecting only one Boat of the Year. The parameters are straightforward: Which new boat best meets its design criteria, is built to a high standard and, most importantly, is exceptional to sail. Beneteau’s clever foiler for short-handed sailors stood above the rest.