The 51st United States Sailboat Show held between October 7 and 11, 2010 in Annapolis, Maryland pulled about 50,000 visitors from around the world. They came to see the latest in the competitive market for sailboats and yachts. As a point of reference, the yacht show at National Harbor between May 29 and 31, 2009 outside of Washington, D.C. on the Potomac River may have pulled just a few thousand people.
One thing is certain. Beneteau's Sense 50 should be the boat of the year for several reasons.
First, the company's designers Marion, South Carolina-based Beneteau, Milano, Italy-based Nauta Design, and La Rochelle, France-based Berret Racoupeau Yacht Design have taken yacht design to a new level. They transformed the cockpit area into a multifunctional outdoor living space that is truly breathtaking. As a result, there is no other yacht on the market like the Sense 50.
Second, the interior is functional, sleek, practical, and spacious. There are three distinct living areas on this yacht - the cockpit, the living area made up of a saloon and galley within the 15 foot 11 inch beam, and the sleeping area. Each clearly distinct area along with the lines make for a sleek boat. To get down below from the cockpit is just three steps down at a gentle 45 degree angle. There are two cabins with a third that can be outfitted as an office. Fresh water supply of up to 193 gallons and a fuel tank that holds up to 219 gallons means more distance. In so many ways, the boat is more practical. The 49 foot sailboat feels bigger, because of the light inside and open cockpit area.
Third, the Dock and Go joystick empowers the captain to dock as if at the helm of a cruise ship. Bow thrusters enable ease of maneuvering sideways and even at 360 degrees. The boat is so new that the brochure to describe the Dock and Go system was in French.
Of the many boats showcased in Annapolis, the Sense 50 made a lasting impression. The Sense 50 will force the competition to go back to the drawing board in the coming years, and start over. That's not a bad thing, because that could mean better design and value across the industry.
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