What is the yacht of the year, or the best yachts to look out for in 2018? Which are the most interesting, entertaining, innovative, well built and best value for money yachts on the market?
The reason we can answer such questions with confidence is that, as well as conducting our own independent tests, Yachting World also sits on the panel of judges for the European Yacht of the Year awards. This involves shortlisting the best annual prospects into five categories before testing them all to elect the winners.
Now in its 15th year, the European Yacht of the Year is the most thorough and unbiased awards programme for new production yachts. All 12 judges, comprising the boat testers and editors from sailing magazines across Europe, tested all the nominated yachts in La Rochelle and Barcelona last autumn.
The five 2018 European Yacht of the Year winners were announced on the first evening of the Dusseldorf Boatshow, on 20 January. Look out for our March 2018 issue, which has a feature combining our reviews on all the winners in more detail.
Nominees: Beneteau Figaro 3, Flaar M37, TF10 Trimaran
Winner: Beneteau Figaro 3
This startling VPLP design looks half modern offshore race boat, half crazed contraption from a Star Wars film. Learn more about the design here – plus expert sailors’ reactions to it
Reliability will be key to the Figaro 3’s success – Beneteau’s first two Figaro models have proved almost invincible and have done more miles than any Vendée Globe yachts.
But all credit to Beneteau for not playing too safe this time. The modern hull shape, stiff build technique, deck layout and, of course, eye-catching foils are the result of contemporary thinking.
This is an offshore one-design sportsboat with global appeal. Time will tell whether the foils are more gimmick than game-changer, but I was impressed with how well the boat is set-up for solo and short-handed racing.