• To see so many small builders… producing really first-class work helps revitalise your enthusiasm for marine recreation
  • It’s sexy, fast, beautifully built and completely unlike anything else in the world.
  • How wonderful would the world be if all boats were built this way

Dusseldorf Boat Show: 10 Powerboat Highlights

Alex Smith visits Europe’s biggest indoor boat show in search of 10 powerboats worth getting excited about.

If you can put up with the drab food, the officious security, the peculiar distaste for levity and the euro price tags, the sheer scale and variety of the Dusseldorf Boat Show make it one of the very best marine exhibitions in the world. To see so many small builders, many of whom you have never heard of, producing really first-class work helps revitalise your enthusiasm for marine recreation in good time for the new season. And while the sheer diversity of the offering can make it very tough to narrow down a shortlist, the following 10 boats did more than most to leave a lasting mark on the memory.

(1) Anytec 747 Cabin

Aluminium is a great boatbuilding material, too often confined to pedestrian runabouts and yacht club support boats. But here, from Anytec of Sweden, the idea is simply to produce ‘the world’s best aluminium boats’ – and if the handling of the 747 Cab is as good as its looks, it won’t be far off. It sticks to the established Anytec formula, with an acutely angled, well-balanced, sporting hull, a soft-riding 55-degree entry and a healthy dose of outboard power. With 300hp on the transom, you can expect a top end of 50 knots and a very swift and efficient cruise of 40 knots with a fuel flow of 44 litres per hour and a range of nearly 300 nautical miles. Everything is welded rather than bolted together – and while the show boat itself exhibits the simplistic layout of a four-season speed machine, Anytec are able to weld whatever kind of deck furniture you require. If ever there was a boat that stood a realistic chance of converting the staunch British ‘tinny-phobe’, this is it.


  • LOA: 8.08m
  • Beam: 2.55m
  • Weight: 1370kg
  • Power: 150–350 hp
  • Engines: 300hp outboard
  • Fuel capacity: 350 litres
  • Top speed: 50 knots

Price: From £99,000

Contact: www.salternsbrokerage.co.uk

(2) Arcadia Sherpa

While Italian yard Arcadia are best known for luxury yachts around the 100-foot mark, their new ‘entry-level’ Sherpa is a very different proposition. Despite a length of 55 feet, it is designed to offer the internal capacity of a 70-footer and it achieves that in a couple of ways. Firstly, the beam of more than 18 feet is almost on a par with a catamaran; and secondly, the vertical stem, radically elevated hull line and bulbous forward form means you get big internal volume at the bow, freeing up 41 square metres of aft deck to configure either as unbroken space or with an extended saloon. Of course, with its limited range of 650nm, it’s not the true expedition vessel its name suggests – and with its slightly grotesque looks, limited two-cabin accommodation and prototype quality of finish, it’s not likely to make a positive impact on everyone. But for its unflinching boldness of concept and the scale and flexibility of its aft deck, it’s a difficult yacht to ignore.


  • LOA: 17.65m
  • Beam: 5.6m
  • Weight: 18,000kg
  • Power: Various
  • Engines: Twin Volvo Penta IPS600
  • Fuel capacity: 1800 litres
  • Top speed: 25 knots

Price: 1.36 million euros

Contact: www.arcadiayachts-sherpa.com

(3) Axopar 37 AC

Finnish brand Axopar were only launched in 2014, but at the hands of the same people behind Aquador, Paragon Yachts and XO, their 28-foot model has already won some of the industry’s most prestigious awards. Like that original craft, the new 37 is available in T-Top or Wheelhouse layouts and with or without the ingenious aft cabin. In all cases, however, you get a stepped hull with a steep, wave-slicing stem and a dynamic balance specifically optimised for outboard propulsion. For UK waters, the AC model (with forward cabin, enclosed wheelhouse and aft cabin) is a fiercely capable four-season express cruiser for families who enjoy a bit of everything. Both cabins are much brighter and more spacious than the modest beam suggests, the helm station is usefully deep-set for aggressive seas, and the two broad lateral doors, overhead sunroof and single-piece screen keep things very open, despite the protection of the wheelhouse structure. With an expansive bow space, an aft sun deck and high-quality build throughout, this is another serious Scandinavian contender.


  • LOA: 11.2m
  • Beam: 3.3m
  • Weight: 3175kg
  • Power: 350–600 hp
  • Engines: Twin 300hp outboards
  • Fuel capacity: 770 litres
  • Top speed: 45 knots

Price: TBC

Contact: www.offshorepowerboats.co.uk

(4) Four Winns V255

Fresh from its victory at the European Powerboat of the Year Awards, the Four Winns V255 is staking a big claim as a genuine mini cruiser on a compact cuddy footprint. Up top, the cockpit is usefully versatile, particularly in the port quarter, where the four-man dining station can be reconfigured to create unbroken peripheral seating that wraps all the way from the navigator’s aft-facing lounger to the starboard walk-through transom. And down below, you get two double berths – one running laterally beneath the helm and one cleverly arranged on the diagonal to maximise the limited length. There’s also standing headroom at the port galley and a dedicated heads compartment to starboard. Some of the materials feel like bargain bucket offcuts, and in places the finish lacks that nth degree of quality, but as a trailerable family craft that can sleep four in relative comfort, it’s very easy to see the appeal.


  • LOA: 7.67m
  • Beam: 2.55m
  • Weight: 2800kg
  • Power: 240–300 hp
  • Engines: Volvo Penta/MerCruiser
  • Fuel capacity: 265 litres
  • Top speed: TBC

Price: £94,086

Contact: www.cambrianboats.com

(5) Delphia Escape 1150 Voyage

Since their foundation in 1990, Delphia have become Poland’s largest boatbuilder – and their latest launch slots neatly into place as the second largest of their seven highly regarded Escape models. Designed as a modern luxury cruiser with very distinct day and night spaces, the lower deck is dedicated solely to the sleeping arrangement. That comprises two generous cabins, each with its own heads and shower compartment. Up top, the wheelhouse provides a lounge and galley right next to the helm station, to help keep the skipper involved when underway. And in addition to an open aft cockpit with extended swim platform, you can generate some extra external lounging space either by opting for the full-length sunroof (rather than the partial one) or by selecting the optional ‘Sunfly’. Either way, with its voluminous internal space and modest power demands, the Category B Delphia does a good job of justifying its lofty claim that it combines the advantages of a houseboat with the performance and agility of an offshore craft.


  • LOA: 10.8m
  • Beam: 3.45m
  • Weight: 5500kg
  • Max. power: 520hp
  • Engines: Inboard options
  • Fuel capacity: 700 litres
  • Top speed: 32 knots

Price: From £125,000

Contact: www.norfolkboatsales.co.uk

(6) Brioni 44+

The Slovenian Brioni 44+ might look like an Italian thoroughbred but its uncompromising design tangents make it much more interesting than that. For instance, massive headroom in the saloon is achieved not by elevating the mouldings but by dropping the deck and simply reducing the space below to such an extent that the guest double offers horizontal space only. By the same token, a free-flowing passage fore and aft through the saloon is created not by broadening the walkways or staggering the furniture, but by pushing every bit of internal lounge seating to port and moving the galley into the aft cockpit. And in order to free up space in that cockpit, the galley itself recedes entirely into the mouldings beneath the port walkway and is simply pulled out like a rabbit from a hat whenever needed. It costs an outlandish amount of money and the great design choices are counterbalanced by a variety of odd ones – but it’s sexy, fast, beautifully built and completely unlike anything else in the world.


  • LOA: 13.52m
  • Beam: 3.95m
  • Weight: 9600kg
  • Power: 870hp
  • Engines: Twin Volvo Penta IPS600
  • Fuel capacity: 1400 litres
  • Top speed: 42 knots


Price: From $650,000

Contact: www.brioniyachts.com

(7) Sargo 28 Explorer

If you prefer proven excellence to pioneering ingenuity, you won’t go wrong with a Sargo – and for its blend of space, ability and value, the 28 Explorer is all the boat the compact seafaring family will ever need. In addition to offshore resilience and a supersoft ride, all windows are frameless and bonded for greater strength, cleaner lines and easier maintenance. Its hard-core credentials are also reflected in the standard equipment list, which includes an electronic navigation suite, multi-adjustable helm, stainless steel keel band, windscreen wipers, demisters, automatic trim function, bow thruster, a trio of independent, maintenance-free AGM batteries and a set of rooftop spotlights. The Explorer package adds blinds rather than curtains, tinted windows, bespoke fabrics and glass inserts in the sliding roof, plus a radical stylistic upgrade, with granite colourways and a matt-black finish on the stainless steel fittings. And despite the walk-around four-season wheelhouse and the two double cabins, the aft cockpit is also a handy spot for al fresco gatherings. It looks like an all-action, multi-purpose plaything because that’s exactly what it is.


  • LOA: 8.8m
  • Beam: 2.98m
  • Weight: 4200kg
  • Power: 260–440 hp
  • Engines: Volvo Penta single or twin
  • Fuel capacity: 375 litres
  • Top speed: Up to 41 knots

Price: From £160,000

Contact: www.marcomarine.co.uk

(8) Frauscher 1414 Demon

Austria might be a landlocked nation with a tenuous seafaring backdrop, but Frauscher are builders of uncommon ability – and their gorgeous, award-winning fleet of rapier sports boats and express cruisers has now been topped off with a new flagship. Designed by KISKA with hydrodynamics from Harry Miesbauer, the 1414 Demon continues Frauscher’s winning formula with the same double-stepped hull and vertical stem, the same frameless tinted screen and muscular, automotive-style haunches, and the same sculptural air intakes and uncluttered cleanliness of form. In short, it looks every bit as lovely – just larger, more powerful and better equipped. The teak-lined cockpit uses geometrically arranged seating, plus a well-specced al fresco bar with griddle, icemaker, fridge and sink; and down below, the staggered, asymmetric layout is equally modern – it includes a bathroom, mini galley and convertible lounge, plus surprising headroom and remarkably spacious sleeping for four. This new boat is plainly taking aim at the superyacht tender market, but as a stand-alone weekender, it would do very nicely indeed.


  • LOA: 13.9m
  • Beam: 3.8m
  • Weight: 10,000kg
  • Power: 800–1040 hp
  • Engines: Twin 520 hp
  • Fuel capacity: 1250 litres
  • Top speed: 42 knots

Price: From $748,800

Contact: www.frauscherboats.com

(9) Princess 30 M

The Princess 30 M (the largest yacht at the show) is a luxury, semi-custom, pilot house vessel designed to provide easy long-range passage making alongside performance of up to 27 knots. As you would expect, the galley and utility areas can be accessed by the crew without interrupting the main living areas, but what’s more surprising is the position of the master suite. It sits alone on the main deck toward the bow – and while that means the tapering of the superstructure minimises the available space, it also means far better views, radically improved natural light, greater isolation from the noise and vibration of the engines and a rare degree of privacy. The four double en suite cabins are positioned on the lower deck amidships, while the crew quarters are located beneath the master in the V of the bow. And while the main helm station feels a little cramped, the fly deck is a huge, easily configured platform, featuring sunloungers, settees, a dining station, a wet bar and a jacuzzi; and the saloon can also be expanded into the external space via an optional fold-out balcony.


  • LOA: 30.45m
  • Beam: 7.05m
  • Weight: 98,000kg
  • Power: 3896–5274 hp
  • Engines: Twin MTU 16V 2000
  • Fuel capacity: 12,200 litres
  • Top speed: 27 knots

Price: $9 million

Contact: www.princessyachts.com

(10) Marex 375

Marex’s new open-cockpit model is a masterclass in attention to detail. The engine room is delightfully rigged, with enough space for single or twin rigs in shaft or sterndrive form. The fenders have their own compartments, the quick-erect canvases are tucked neatly away in dedicated lockers, and even the engine hatch is built from 24mm marine ply lined with solid teak. The wood grain of every hatch, door and lid is matched exactly to that of its frame, and while teak is used for the external furniture, the internal spaces use equally lovely steamed ash. From the integrated external bin to the low-profile screen stanchions, the automatically elevating navigator seat and the provision of extra corners (because people always like to sit in corners), this is a boat conceived and built with the most astonishing level of care. But for the real anoraks among us, the ultimate treat has to be the undercut aft mouldings, which are designed to optimise laminar airflow, eradicating backdrafts and fumes. How wonderful would the world be if all boats were built this way.


  • LOA: 11.99m
  • Beam: 3.55m
  • Weight: 7700kg
  • Power: Single 400, twin 300
  • Engines: Twin D4 300
  • Fuel capacity: 700 litres
  • Top speed: 37 knots

Price: £298,500

Contact: www.wessexmarine.co.uk

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