As usual, the first night of the Düsseldorf Boat Show belonged to the European Powerboat of the Year 2013 contest. More than 400 representatives of the international boating business gathered at the Flagship Night gala of German publisher Delius-Klasing to applaud the five class winners that were chosen by the expert jury after extensive on-the-water tests. Scandinavian builders dominated, taking home three awards.
Up to 25 feet: Ryds F528
Top honors in this category, which had a very diverse set of entries, went to the Swedish Ryds 528, It impressed the jury with value, but also design and safety. Three different variations of this model that are offered.
Up to 35 feet: Marex 320 AC
The focus in this category is on all-around qualities, including workmanship, comfort, safety, and family pedigree. All these things were covered best by the Norwegian Marex 320 AC. The layout includes regular and aft cabins, each with two full-size berths. The large saloon swayed the jury as much as handling and performance.
Up to 45 feet: Bavaria Virtess 420
Five vessels with very different characteristics were entered in this class, which made for robust deliberations among the panelists. In the end, the Bavaria Virtess 420 got the nod, as the first flybridge model by Bavaria. The Virtess received praise for a fair price-to-performance ratio, practical details, and good performance. But it was the unprecedented space above and belowdecks -- possibly setting new standards in this class -- which especially impressed the jury.
Above 45 feet: Goldfish 50 Ocean
The nominees in this category split into conventional and unusual, with the most extreme boat of the contest, the Goldfish 50 Ocean, garnering top honors. “Pushing the limits” was mentioned in the assessment, perhaps synonymous in this case with "incomparable." And that’s justifiable, because in addition to featuring excellent quality and unusual design, the Norwegian Goldfish also has wheels: Reaching more than 63 knots she ran away from the rest, despite comparatively luxurious accommodations below. To show her mettle, the Goldfish 50 is supposed to enter the 3,000-mile race from Cowes to Monte Carlo.
Displacement boats: Allure Garcia GT54
A new year also brought a new winner in the displacement category. This time it wasn't one of the favored Dutch boats, but the Garcia 54 GT from France. It's being built by Allure, normally known for sailing yachts. The vessel is designed and equipped to appeal to buyers who want to switch from sailing to power cruising. Seaworthiness, large radius of operation, and being fitted-out for the long haul tipped the scales in favor of the Garcia.
- Dieter Loibner