boot Düsseldorf 2021: Always on the pulse of time with an eye on the latest trends

Photo: Messe Düsseldorf

Always on the pulse of time with an eye on the latest trends: boot Düsseldorf, the world's largest water sports fair, has been the showcase for the sailing industry for 51 years. In January 2021 there will again be a multitude of premieres, technical highlights and gadgets to see.

"From January 23rd to 31st, 2021 the boot will set the course for a successful year and a positive future. In 17 exhibition halls we will organise a somewhat different, but equally inspiring boot in accordance with the valid hygiene and infection protection regulations", says Messe Düsseldorf CEO Wolfram N. Diener.

Numerous innovations and yacht premieres await the visitors. Despite all the adverse conditions of the year 2020, shipyards, designers and constructors have again met the growing demands of their customers.


Below deck: lots of space and comfort
In terms of comfort, the sailing yacht market is increasingly converging with the motorised jetty segment. Everything that offers space and luxury is in demand.

"Perfect sailing characteristics, easy handling, maximum use of the interior space below deck and greatest comfort": The description of the Bavaria C38, which will celebrate its world premiere at the boot 2021, summarizes the current customer wishes.

On the one hand, the current yachts offer extensive space and comfort for many sailors, but at the same time they should be easy to handle by a small crew. For this variety those willing to buy are quite prepared to dig deep into their pockets. The newly sold boats get bigger on average every year and therefore more expensive. The design is also constantly evolving. A lot of light is needed below deck - larger windows for more daylight even in the hull, bright, subtle colours and plenty of space. Yachts should not only be sailed, but above all they should be lived. Cosy evenings with friends in the saloon or a BBQ on deck - everything is possible. So Hallberg-Rassy offers two options for furnishing the new 40C: "Large or enormous": with a larger work surface, more storage space, room for a front-opening fridge, microwave and dishwasher.

Although many spacious cabins will delight the crew, most buyers still prefer a large owner's cabin. With a boat size of 38 feet, Bavaria manages to accommodate a double bed measuring 1.73 x 2 metres in the fore cabin. The berths in the aft cabins also have record-breaking dimensions of 1.50 x 2 metres for this boat size.


On deck: Less effort, more safety
Performance cruisers are in demand, which can combine sporty sailing with a real holiday feeling and relaxation. Dehler, for example, offers the new 38QS with a Squarehead mainsail that has proven itself in regatta sports. More efficiency, better trim and less heeling are also to be brought to bear when cruising. Also the trend towards "Chinese", i.e. constructive kinks in the side of the hull, which also found its beginnings in offshore sports, remains. With the C38 and C42, Bavaria has opted for a V-bow and pronounced Chinese at the stern. These increase stability under sails at an angle of heel of 15 to 20 degrees and, on cruisers, increase above all the usable living space in the stern. The V-bow reduces the rudder pressure and the boat is easier to steer.

The is inspired from outside. For the visual design of the new Elan GT6, design the werft has entered into a cooperation with Studio F. A. Porsche, which is clearly visible in the elegant silhouette with sharp, striking lines and elaborately curved surface of the 47-foot ship. And the cooperation is paying off. The GT6 has been nominated as European Yacht of the Year 2021.

The trend to want to sail into old age and with a small crew continues. This also means a rethinking in the cockpit. Sheets, halyards and ropes are even more often brought together centrally in the cockpit, so that it is not necessary to leave the helmstand during manoeuvres.

Hydraulics and electronics also ensure that sailing no longer differs from motor boating primarily by crooked backs and calluses on the hands. The Hallberg-Rassy 57, for example, offers the all-round package: with a hydraulic furling mast, electric foresail furling system, electric sheet winches, bow thruster and a bathing platform that can be extended at the push of a button, this large yacht can be sailed with a minimum crew. There is even an optional hydraulic mainsail leech extension, hydraulic headsail and main halyard trim, extendable bow and stern propellers infinitely variable with docking function, and a gangway that retracts into the large back box aft.

Further innovations, tricks and tricks will not be long in coming. The big professional regattas such as the currently taking place Vendée Globe and the America's Cup in March 2021 regularly provide new technologies in international sailing.

Another important issue is manoeuvrability in port. Joystick controls, which are already standard in the motorboat sector, make them much more comfortable, but are not yet widely used in the sailing sector. The next few years will show whether they will become established.

Bénéteau has already taken an important step in this direction. With the Dock & Go system, a revolutionary manoeuvring aid for sailing ships under engine has been developed. It combines engine assistance and the support of a bow thruster synchronised with a 360° rotating saildrive base. It is fitted as standard on Oceanis models from 50 to 55 feet. The joystick allows the skipper to manoeuvre the vessel with just one hand. Shifting to port or starboard up to 90°, forward motion, reverse motion, turning on the plate: the ship can be moved in the tightest of spaces and thus master even the most difficult mooring manoeuvres.

Safety is also a top priority, despite all the comfort. On the new Dehler 38 SQ, fold-out footrests at the helm provide a comfortable and secure foothold when tacking downwind. A bowsprit with an integrated anchor arm and non-slip surface offers more safety when getting on and off the jetty. Tripping hazards on deck are eliminated more and more. Flush mounted deck hatches or recessed deflectors as well as recessed mounted travellers are only a few examples that have found their way into standard boat construction.

In terms of comfort, space and stability on the water, the larger yachts appeal to a similar audience as the catamarans, which are particularly popular with people seeking relaxation. This is where brands such as Moody or Jeanneau set a deliberate counterpoint against the increasing competition from multihulls with the new model Yachts 60.


Sustainable and smart

Smart Mobile is becoming an increasingly important topic, also on the sailing market. According to a survey by the magazine Yacht, over 60 percent of sailors use their smartphone or tablet in addition to the on-board electronics. However, only very few of them couple the two technologies, although many manufacturers now offer corresponding apps.

In addition to navigation, there are now many practical applications that provide sailors with valuable information and simplify the documentation of their trips. Numerous apps from weather forecast to berth reservation are streaming onto the market, turning the smartphone into an on-board computer. Even if sailors still do not want to do without a classic navigation station, mounts for smartphones or tablets and an adequate power supply in the cockpit are becoming more and more important and will certainly be a trend of the future.

AIS transponders with WLAN like the iAISTX from Digital Yacht bring real-time data to the tablet. In the meantime, they are to replace full class B AIS transponders with their own GPS receiver. In its basic version, the iAISTX provides the received ship data via WLAN and is compatible with most common navigation apps.

However, shipyards have also recognized the trend towards the "smart home on the water" and integrate smart solutions into their products: from remote-controlled heating that is activated from the car on the way to the boat, making the start of the weekend trip more comfortable, to the comprehensive remote maintenance package for your own sailing yacht.


Sustainability and environmental protection
The topics of sustainability and environmental protection are also becoming increasingly important in sailing. Dehler offers optional filter systems for drinking and grey water, which ensure the highest quality of drinking water and the cleanest possible waste water. Both systems even filter out microplastics.

Manufacturers such as Torqeedo or ePropulsion offer sailors electric drives for more and more boat sizes, from dinghies to 120-foot yachts: compact and powerful outboards, light and space-saving podded drives, electric saildrives and the world's first fully integrated hybrid drive with complete energy management. The pleasant quietness of an electric motor is one of the additional advantages compared to petrol outboards or built-in diesel engines.

However, electric motors are still quite rare, especially for inboard engines, which is mainly due to the still limited battery power. Weight disadvantages and acquisition costs are still the primary counter-arguments for many water sports enthusiasts. It remains to be seen what will happen in the next few years with regard to fuel cell technology in the automotive industry. Experience has shown that the boat market follows suit with a certain time lag.


The boat market in times of Corona
The Corona year 2020 has moved the market extremely. From total uncertainty in spring to completely sold out used boat docks, combined with a price increase on the used boat market. Even what had been with brokers for years has found a new owner in 2020. At the same time, the yards' books filled up in the summer with orders from private owners from Germany, Holland and Scandinavia, while the Mediterranean countries in a complete lockdown initially had little sense for new boats. Accordingly, there was a lack of orders from abroad and large orders for charter fleets.

That the pandemic seems to have had very different consequences for the shipyards can be seen by comparing German shipyards with companies from the Mediterranean region. While consolidation and a focus on volume brands and sales drivers are issues in France, for example, a completely different wind is blowing in Greifswald, for example: Hanse Yachts reports a significant increase in incoming orders in the first quarter of the 2020/21 financial year. "We are also seeing a significant increase in new and launch customers," says Dr. Jens Gerhardt, CEO of HanseYachts. "More and more customers are realising that having your own boat is an absolutely safe place to spend a luxurious holiday with the whole family. Similar to the camping industry, the COVID-19 pandemic also gives the boat industry a boost in demand".


Holidays in times of Corona
Thanks to Corona, holidays in Germany and directly neighbouring countries have once again become more in focus. Charter fleets on the Baltic Sea were fully booked after a difficult start to the season. There was also a large increase in the newcomer market, both with and without driving licences, which was significantly stronger than in previous years. Sports boat driving licences were issued and the same applies to beginner boats: everything that floats was sold. Especially trailerable boats up to 7.50 meters were in demand. Maximum flexibility is desired. The holiday model: The boat is parked at home in the yard and is taken with the trailer on weekends to the Rhine, the Müritz, the Baltic Sea or to Holland. Many new sailors will remain loyal to the sport and will usually grow in size at some point. The forecast for the coming years is therefore extremely good.

The fun sports are also experiencing a real boom, triggered by Corona and the limited travel opportunities. Savings from cancelled air travel allowed holidaymakers on lakes and seas to try out everything the rental companies have to offer. Especially popular: faster, higher, further. Foiling is the trend topic of the hour. The revolution began with the America's Cup 2013: the catamarans began to fly and reached incredible speeds. The secret was hydrofoils. Rudder blades that lift the yachts out of the water like wings and thus reduce drag to a minimum. Foiling first fundamentally changed sailing and is now found in almost every water sport. New dinghy and catamaran models are equipped with hydrofoils. Above all, handling is becoming simpler and simpler, and perfect flight is becoming easier and easier even for absolute beginners. With Bénéteau, there is now the first shipyard that produces ocean-going racing yachts with foils in series.

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boot Düsseldorf 2021: Always on the pulse of time with an eye on the latest trends

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