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Best performance yachts: Our pick of the top options

  • Toby Hodges
  • March 10, 2023

Toby Hodges takes a look at all the nominees and the winner of the performance yachts 2022 category in the European Yacht of the Year Awards

The European Yacht of the Year awards is the most thorough and impartial awards programme – the winners here are widely considered the best yachts of the year . As such the boats nominated by the jury in the performance yachts category can be considered the best of the best.

This year’s shortlist had the full range. From the more conventional definitive style of performance cruiser to the contemporary French interpretation of a lightweight planing cruiser – and even a new brand of sports  catamarans  for the thrill seekers.

Three Italian pure performance yachts and two very different yachts built in Slovenia made for a varied and exciting Performance Yachts category.

Best performance yachts

Winner best performance yachts 2023 – beneteau first 36.

Where once we could assume a cruiser-racer was a fairly standard format design, over the last decade it’s been much more the sexy, perormance yachts the Italian yards specialise in. But as French yards like Pogo and JPK have proven, there’s growing enthusiasm for lightweight planing yachts – and the First 36 is the first real production yacht in that spirit.

Here’s a yacht that puts the focus firmly back into sailing. The First 36 has been kept inviting and approachable – unlike many yachts that can plane, the look is modest, not aggressive. It’s uncomplicated, unfussy and the result is a pleasure for all to sail. It’s more about what you can’t see, the design and engineering, which should ensure longterm demand.

The small, fiddly heads compartment and lack of tiller options are perhaps the only real detraction from an otherwise brilliant collaboration by Seascape and Beneteau, from concept to build quality.

It was their goal to keep this area of the market relevant and prove a mainstream brand can do it, rather than only niche specialist yards. To create a mass produced yacht at this weight and to this foam-cored quality and one that can bring so much fun is a feather in the cap of the First brand.

Grand Soleil 40

The Grand Soleil 40 is an archetypal Med cruiser-racer, and an absolute delight to sail – a feature I’ve learned that Matteo Polli designs tend to share (he also drew the Ecoracer). We sailed the race set up with ORC keel (an IRC version is available too) and six winches, an extended bowsprit and a taller mast. It was one of my most memorable trials of the season in 10-12 knots, with the deep and forward positioned rudder giving plenty of control and lovely direct steering.

The three cabin interior can have one or two heads and different galley options, the cabins are a good size with modest stowage, and it’s all tastefully styled by masters Nauta.

Italia yachts 12.98

At 5ft longer and from the board of Cossutti (who Polli once worked under), the Italia Yachts 12.98 is another cruiser-racer in the same grain as the GS40, but with a markedly different looking white interior. We sailed the ‘Bellissima’ cruising version, which 80% of customers have opted for.

Italia’s yard is now in Fano and its one-shot infused vinylester build looks impressive. However, the deck lacks some refinement and practical stowage, while the three cabin interior isn’t voluminous by today’s standards.

This is a slippery yacht that has a lovely, light feel on the single rudder – the interior styling will be the deal breaker for most.

Solaris Yachts on the other hand has perfected its recipe, tripling its yard size to cater to demand for its sexy Acebal-designed performance yachts.

The Solaris 50 we tested in 2015 and which won this award was arguably the turning point that propelled the brand’s popularity. The owner of the new 50 we tested previously had the original 50 and a 58 and confirms this replacement has nearly the same space as the 58, yet is faster, more powerful and stable than its predecessor (we easily matched 7-8 knot winds under gennaker).

It heels onto its chine and accelerates well, while twin rudders provide ample control. The design prioritises helming experience but the yard needs to come up with a better helm seat option. The interior is well executed, especially the spacious forward owner’s cabin.

The Elan E6 is a big 47-footer, high and beamy and one that leans more towards spirited cruising with generous accommodation over racing. That said, extensive options allow you to tailor it either way, including foam cored furniture and a taller carbon mast for those looking for extra oomph.

It’s a fine collaboration between Humphreys Yacht Design, Gurit, Pininfarina and Elan, while an impressive standard spec includes a carbon sprit and six winches.

The E6 is fun to sail at various angles and gives a nice, sporty feel on the helm – it likes to heel but has plenty of grip and tracks well.

The cockpit is deep and comfortable, with good optional protection and there’s ample deck stowage. A really smart three (or four) cabin interior shows a high standard of construction, finish and styling. It is bulky and you pay for the size in weight, but it looks good and Elan knows how to build a great boat for the price.

Best performance yachts 2022

Winner best performance yachts 2022 – jpk 39fc.

Along with fellow Brittany yard Pogo, JPK has redefined the modern performance cruiser: stiff, stable and efficient to the max. For the keen sailor who wants to get the utmost enjoyment out of hands-on cruising, the JPK 39 is a superb design (and to my eye, an appealing one too), while the yard has done a nice job with the vacuum-infused construction and interior fit-out. The two-cabin version we sailed had plenty of stowage too.

It looks different, behaves beautifully and stands up to its canvas, is designed to sail efficiently with a loaded displacement, and has a deck set-up to encourage you to trim it to your heart’s content. My only slight negative is the unnerving mess the cockpit can become as there are so many control lines.

This lightweight blast will best suit experienced sailors and those comfortable with short-handed sailing. And it guarantees smiles.

cruiser racer sailboats

Photo: Andreas Lindlahr/European Yacht of the Year

One such sports catamaran is the IC36, an exciting first offering from a new Czech brand that’s packed with fresh thinking. The first turbo version of this cruising catamaran (Independence) is built using a carbon fibre crossbeam, bowsprit, boards and rudders, epoxy hulls, plus a custom Pauger rotating mast, which all serve to keep weight below three tonnes.

It provided some spirited sailing, particularly when fetching at a measured pace of 10-13.5 knots with the code 0. The direct feel of tiller steering while seated in the low rotating bucket seats was a highlight.

The finish quality in the hulls is first class and there is somehow space for up to eight berths. The coachroof features a retractable bimini and removable vinyl side panels and solar panels, while the cockpit table, which includes an exterior galley, is also removable.

In fact the IC36 can be dismantled to 2.55m beam to make it legally trailable. It has so many options and ideas – too many perhaps – all reflected in the price.

Monohull enthusiasts will share our congratulations to J-Boats for its elegant new flagship. The J/45 won the hearts of the jury and made for a long drawn out decision against the JPK. In the end the two yachts will appeal to different sailors and tastes.

J has stayed true to its roots, yet still managed to bring a current, classy new offering. The unmistakable Alan Johnstone lines have been paired with a contemporary, warm European interior designed by Isabelle Racopeau, while much focus has been paid to the joinerwork and the invisible quality. We saw the two cabin version, which has an excellent technical cabin in place of the second aft cabin.

The J/45 is designed to still perform when loaded with cruising gear. True to J’s reputation, it was a witch upwind and could outpoint anything else during our trials. The compromise is that it won’t plane easily like a JPK or Pogo.

cruiser racer sailboats

The Solaris 40 is another looker from Soto Acebal and the blue steel metallic hull colour of the test boat made the powerful hull shape really stand out.

We liked the recessed traveller, direct steering to the twin rudders, neat folding helm seats, clutches integrated into the coamings and the easy access to the side decks. However, the jury found the cockpit with its short benches and deck design a little too flat and minimalist.

The interior is smart and contemporary, again offered with two or three cabins with two heads it makes good use of the space.

cruiser racer sailboats

One of the yachts I was looking forward to sailing most was the Pogo 44, and the only one shortlisted that I didn’t manage to! A collision with the photographer’s RIB shortly before my scheduled trial put it out of action.

However, my colleague Rupert Holmes did a full Pogo 44 test and report on it for Yachting World and describes the 44 as designed to thrill and unlike any other pure cruising yacht of its size. The stability from the beamy hull and deep lifting keel combines brilliantly with the ability to sail fast easily and in comfort. However some jury members didn’t like having to rely on an autopilot to use winches.

The interior is like a loft apartment, with so much natural light – it’s minimalist yet comfortable, spacious and practical for cruising.

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cruiser racer sailboats

The cruiser-racer revolution

The advent of production boatbuilding changed the face of dual-purpose sailboats, a concept that waxes and wanes but endures today.

cruiser racer sailboats

A true cruiser-racer is a boat that features comfortable accommodations below, user-friendly handling topside, and competitive performance. Their origins lie in the early 1930s, with boats like Olin Stephens’ Stormy Weather and Dorade , and with the venerable Southern Ocean Racing Circuit.

When the fiberglass revolution hit production boatbuilding in the mid-20th century, however, the stage was set for a new breed of cruiser-racer. At the forefront of this movement was the design group Cuthbertson and Cassian; in 1965, Canadian yachtsman Perry Connolly commissioned the duo to design a custom 40-foot racing sloop. Bruckmann Manufacturing built the boat in fiberglass with a balsa core, making her the first ever to be engineered with a cored hull.

Christened Red Jacket , the new boat launched in May 1966, the same year William Schanen Jr. founded SAILING Magazine. And, she was a game-changer.

“ Red Jacket was a departure for us, and she really put us on the map,” remembered George Cuthbertson, now 86. “She did very well in the SORC. She won the whole thing in 1968, and that was with 85 competitors.”

Demand for the pair’s designs already in production went through the roof, attracting significant attention. By September 1969, Cuthbertson and Cassian joined forces with Ian Morch of Belleville Marine, George Hinterholler of Hinterholler Yachts and Erik Bruckmann of Bruckmann Manufacturing to create C&C Yachts Limited. 

“We became so well known, the public issue on the Toronto Stock Exchange worked in 1969,” Cuthbertson noted. “In 1973, I turned over the design office to Robbie Ball.”

And C&C’s production boatbuilding continued to soar.

“C&C was always on the cutting edge of cruiser-racers,” said Robert H. Perry of Perry Yacht Design, SAILING ’s longtime technical editor. “They were always right there, producing one of the hottest designs with style and elegance. And C&C remains a benchmark today.

“When the IOR was adopted in 1970, everyone started taking racing more seriously. There was no emphasis on creature comforts below, and there really were none on deck. But companies like C&C, Ericson and Cal attempted to keep the boats family-friendly below while the custom boats got radical.”

Interest in cruiser-racers waned by the late 1970s. 

cruiser racer sailboats

The J/24 was introduced in 1977, and one-design racing leaped ahead of the aging, open-design, handicap version. Sailors who no longer wanted to deal with what Perry called “the design wars” shifted focus and made the transition to sport boats. 

While the J/24 proved to be a solid one-design boat, it wasn’t a cruiser by any stretch of the imagination. So, in 1979, J/Boats introduced the J/30. The Newport, Rhode Island-based company would go on to build 550 J/30s between 1979 and 1989, and many remain active today.

“That was our first real cruiser-racer, and it became very popular,” said Rod Johnstone, J/Boats co-founder and designer. “We knew most owners would rather race one-design, and that propelled us to the SORC, the Grand Prix for cruiser-racers.”

The J/30 essentially was a big J/24, competitive in one-design racing and also comfortable enough for summer cruising. J/Boats upped the ante a few years later with its J/35, which took the same concept and made it large enough for the Newport-Bermuda Race.

“In 1984, we took home the prize for the fastest boat under 40 feet,” Johnstone said. “We built 330 boats between 1983 and 1993. This past August, our J/35 won its class at Chester Race Week.”

Perry said the J/35 is a pivotal boat in the ongoing cruiser-racer story. 

“If I had to pick a place where cruiser-racers turned a corner, it would be the J/35,” he said. “It had the performance advantages of the other Js, but it was big enough to have some comfort.”

As time marched on, sailboat racing became increasingly technical, and boats were designed tailored to the rating rule of the moment. Comfort wasn’t part of the equation—and the price of admission continued to go up.

“Production boats used to win significant races, but not anymore,” Perry said. “Then, with the downturn in the economy, there simply wasn’t a big market for family cruiser-racers anymore. The industry sort of bubbled along with hard-core racers.”

But the desire for a fast boat with a welcoming, comfortable interior didn’t entirely dissipate. J/Boats saw an opportunity after the Great Recession, noting that many sailors were looking to downsize but not get off the water entirely.

“People were selling their big boats, and there were so many 50- to 60-foot boats out there, sold for pennies on that dollar,” Johnstone said. “We decided to focus our new designs in the 40-foot-and-under market.”

Enter the J/122.

“Here’s a 40-footer that is almost a turn back to the old-style cruiser-racer,” Perry said. “They made a fast boat with a welcoming, comforting interior. Pogo did the same thing. They were looking for that magic combination. You might say the boats aren’t overly cruisey, but they’re not hard-nosed racey either.”

They will never be faster than all-carbon, stripped-out racers. And that’s OK.

“The J/122 is for the sailor who races once in awhile, but cruising is really important,” Johnstone said. “It’s a $500,000 boat, so it has to make sense.”

“With racing, you basically have two camps,” Perry said. “One is the group that will do anything to go fast. The other is the guy that says, ‘My C&C 35 has a nice rating, I’m going to keep racing that.’ The Js and the Pogos fit between the two camps. Lots of boats are promoted as cruiser-racers today. Most have all the earmarks of a race boat, but the J/122 and the Pogo are a little bit yesterday, a little bit today.”

The SORC, the Miami-Nassau race and the golden age of cruiser-racers may be behind us. But as long as sailors seek to balance their precious cruising time with some thrills on the race course, the concept of the cruiser-racer will continue. It may evolve and change, but it will endure.

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  • Sailboat Reviews

The Evolution of the C&C 27 Cruiser-Racer

cruiser racer sailboats

C&C Yachts produced four versions-and nearly 1,000 hulls-of its popular C&C 27 boat. Called the C&C 27 Mark I, Mark II, Mark III, and Mark IV, these boats differed in various ways, but the hulls were similar. A fifth design, the C&C 27 Mark V, was a totally different design. Heres a look at the various editions of the C&C 27, and how they differed from one another.

Mark I: Production ran from 1970 to 1972; hull numbers 1 through 167. Shorter hull and shortest rigs, with single upper and single lower shrouds. Mainsail traveller mounted aft in cockpit. Standard equipped with tiller steering and Atomic 4 gas engine.

Mark II: Production ran from 1972 to 1974; hull numbers 168 through 451. Same hull and sail area as the Mark I. High-aspect rig was two feet taller than Mark I. Rigged with one upper and two lower shrouds. Same aft traveller, Atomic 4 engine, and tiller steering as Mark I.

Mark III: Production ran from 1974 to 1981; hull numbers 452 through 914. Hull similar to previous editions but six inches in length were added to cockpit/stern area. Traveller was moved forward to bridgedeck mount, and wheel steering became an option in 1975; diesel power became option in 1978 (Yanmar). Draft and sail area increased; ballast decreased; displacement remained same as previous marks. Rudder redesigned with higher aspect shape. Small interior changes made but basic layout the same as marks I and II.

Mark IV: Production ran from 1981 to 1982; hull numbers 915 through 979. Most changes in Mark IV were cosmetic; teak interior replaced with off-white melamine, trimmed with teak and dark-anodized aluminum. Forestay moved aft about seven inched to make way for a bow roller. Auxiliary power option upgraded to two-cylindar Yanmar.

Mark V: Production ran from 1984 to 1986; hull numbers 1 to 169 (Niagara-On-The-Lake plant) and 500 to 610 (Rhode Island plant). The Mark V is a completely different boat than the other 27s; it is not considered part of the evolution of those previous designs. Geared more toward racing sailors, the Mark V was designed to meet the Midget Ocean Racing Club (MORC) rule.

* Compiled with data from the C&C 27 owners association,


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How to Graduate from Cruiser to Racer — Steps to Start Racing Sailboats 🔉

By: Zeke Quezada, ASA Learn To Sail , North U

So often in the sailing world, we’re presented with a question that takes binary form — “are you a cruiser or a racer?” Sure, people tend to have their preferences, but I’d like to propose one can embrace both dimensions of sailing in the same way one can appreciate both fine art and Formula 1.

I have two boys who sail. One kid has a nice cheeseboard and understands the art of sailing, eating, and drinking on the ocean. His crew is consistently composed of competent sailors that want to relax and enjoy the ocean environment. 

The second son wants to go fast. If he is not going fast, he would instead take a nap  — the non-racing aspects of sailing aren’t interesting to him. His crew is a group of competitive sailors who love to win. They work well together as a team and can be found trying to go fast on a leisurely Saturday afternoon sail.

So many times I have wanted for both sons to experience the strengths of the other son out on the water — to become complete sailors, fully appreciative of the entire sailing experience, and also fully capable of maximizing speed and performance all in one optimized, well-rounded package.

In fact, this is not only my wish, but at American Sailing, it is our goal for every sailor out there to fall in love with both aspects of sailing. If you are already a seasoned cruiser, or just getting started sailing, here are a few steps on how to graduate to full-blown racer while still sharpening your general sailing skills.

cruiser racer sailboats

What Are the Prerequisites to Sailboat Racing?

Learning to race sailboats involves a combination of theoretical knowledge and practical experience. First, you do need to have a grasp of the fundamentals of sailing. ASA 101 certification can get you in the front door of the racing environment. In addition, you should have knowledge and experience on how to maneuver the boat, trim the sails, and use the wind to your advantage.

With the Sailing Basics Behind Me, What’s Next?

Once you have gained knowledge beyond the simple skills you learned in ASA 101, these are a few ways to get started with sailboat racing.

Join a sail club or yacht club that offers and organizes local races. Being part of the sailing community will allow you to meet others interested in the sport. While the super serious racers might not invite you on their race boat, you can find a few skippers looking for crew. Wednesday night racing is a fun way to learn about sailboat racing and an excellent way to make new sailing friends.

cruiser racer sailboats

Attend a clinic. North U is a new part of the American Sailing curriculum, and they specialize in helping sailors become more efficient out on the water. In the simplest terms, they teach you how to go faster, and this is accomplished through lessons on . seamanship, technique, skills, and even your ability to work as a team. This curriculum can be accessed through online courses, webinars, workbooks and best of all, the North U clinics that get you racing.

These clinics are a great way to familiarize yourself with racing and racing technique. You’ll learn about strategy, tactics, and rules. Take a look at some of the racing clinics that North U offers at

Learn the lingo of sailboat racing. While some of the common sailing terms are included, sailboat racing also has quite a few terms that you should be familiar with:

Here are some common sailing racing terms:

  • Beat – sailing upwind towards the windward mark
  • Reach – sailing perpendicular to the wind, at an angle between a beat and a run
  • Run – sailing downwind away from the windward mark
  • Tack – turning the bow of the boat through the wind in order to change direction
  • Jibe – turning the stern of the boat through the wind in order to change direction
  • Windward – the side of the boat closest to the wind
  • Leeward – the side of the boat farthest from the wind
  • Start line – the line across which boats start a race
  • Starting gun – the signal that starts the race
  • OCS – “on course side,” meaning a boat crossed the start line too early and must restart
  • Layline – the imaginary line that a boat must sail to in order to round a mark without tacking or jibing
  • Mark – An object the sailing instructions require a boat to leave on a specified side, and a race committee vessel surrounded by navigable water from which the starting or finishing line extends. An anchor line or an object attached accidentally to a mark is not part of it.
  • Mark rounding – sailing around a buoy or other fixed object on the course
  • Finish line – the line across which boats finish the race
  • Protest – An allegation made under rule 61.2 by a boat, a race committee, a technical committee or a protest committee that a boat has broken a rule.
  • Penalty – a penalty imposed on a boat for breaking a racing rule, typically a time penalty or a penalty turn.
  • Zone – The area around a mark within a distance of three hull lengths of the boat nearer to it. A boat is in the zone when any part of her hull is in the zone.

Familiarize yourself with the rules of sailboat racing. It takes time to fully learn the racing rules of sailing ; they are complex and very detailed. Having a cursory glance at the basic concepts of the rules can increase your enjoyment, and whet your appetite to enjoy the more strategic side of sailing. That said, you don’t have to master all the rules to get out there and join a crew in a race to start enjoying the racing side of the sport. Many clubs have friendly competitions and entry level races to help you learn the art of racing.

Here are some of the most common or interesting racing rules:

  • Start: Boats must stay behind the start line until the starting signal is given. Crossing the line early can result in a penalty.
  • Right of way: When two boats are approaching each other, the boat on the starboard tack has the right of way and should be given room to pass. When boats are on opposite tacks, a port-tack boat shall keep clear of a starboard-tack boat.
  • Helping Those in Danger: A boat or competitor shall give all possible help to any person or vessel in danger.
  • Penalty: A boat that breaks a rule may be penalized by doing a 360-degree turn or retiring from the race.
  • Protest: If a boat believes that another boat has broken a rule, it can protest by flying a protest flag and informing the other boat at the first reasonable opportunity. The race committee will then investigate the protest and make a ruling.

Here are some resources to help you get started

  • Online Class: Sail Theory & Upwind Trim This online course provides a fundamental understanding of the forces behind upwind sailing as well plus advanced techniques that balance the angle of attack, sail depth, and the twist of your main and jib in order to optimize speed and pointing in all conditions.
  • Seminar: Racing Tactics This in-person seminar will teach the strategy and tactics you need to turn your speed into a podium finish. Starts, upwind, downwind, mark rounding: With top instructors and refined curriculum you’ll learn techniques to improve your game all the way around the course.
  • On The Water Clinic: Regatta Experience These events combine training and racing with coaching every step of the way. The clinics cover every facet of regatta success: Strategic planning, tactical positioning, starting, boat speed, trim, helming, boat handling – everything!

cruiser racer sailboats

So, how do I bring my entire family up to speed so that we are winning Wednesday night races in our marina? Lately, we have been racing any other boat that is out on the water. Sure, those other boats have no clue that we are racing. However, when the three of us are sailing together, we are slowly attempting to go faster. This is a foreign concept to a couple of us as we don’t usually focus on trimming the sails but we have found the ride becoming smoother, and we are covering a lot more distance on our day sails.

The best advice I have been given about starting to learn how to race on a sailboat is quite simple. Practice. Practice makes a big difference. As of late, I am adjusting the outhaul, I am checking the boom vang, and I am keeping an eye on the traveler.  While my day sails have become busier, I am starting to see the value in wanting to occasionally be a racer.

Son 1, the kid with great taste in food. Well, he still watches in disbelief as he spreads his camembert on his crackers, but son two is now getting faster.

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Cruising the Moskva River: A short guide to boat trips in Russia’s capital

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There’s hardly a better way to absorb Moscow’s atmosphere than on a ship sailing up and down the Moskva River. While complicated ticketing, loud music and chilling winds might dampen the anticipated fun, this checklist will help you to enjoy the scenic views and not fall into common tourist traps.

How to find the right boat?

There are plenty of boats and selecting the right one might be challenging. The size of the boat should be your main criteria.

Plenty of small boats cruise the Moskva River, and the most vivid one is this yellow Lay’s-branded boat. Everyone who has ever visited Moscow probably has seen it.

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This option might leave a passenger disembarking partially deaf as the merciless Russian pop music blasts onboard. A free spirit, however, will find partying on such a vessel to be an unforgettable and authentic experience that’s almost a metaphor for life in modern Russia: too loud, and sometimes too welcoming. Tickets start at $13 (800 rubles) per person.

Bigger boats offer smoother sailing and tend to attract foreign visitors because of their distinct Soviet aura. Indeed, many of the older vessels must have seen better days. They are still afloat, however, and getting aboard is a unique ‘cultural’ experience. Sometimes the crew might offer lunch or dinner to passengers, but this option must be purchased with the ticket. Here is one such  option  offering dinner for $24 (1,490 rubles).

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If you want to travel in style, consider Flotilla Radisson. These large, modern vessels are quite posh, with a cozy restaurant and an attentive crew at your service. Even though the selection of wines and food is modest, these vessels are still much better than other boats.

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Surprisingly, the luxurious boats are priced rather modestly, and a single ticket goes for $17-$32 (1,100-2,000 rubles); also expect a reasonable restaurant bill on top.

How to buy tickets?

Women holding photos of ships promise huge discounts to “the young and beautiful,” and give personal invitations for river tours. They sound and look nice, but there’s a small catch: their ticket prices are usually more than those purchased online.

“We bought tickets from street hawkers for 900 rubles each, only to later discover that the other passengers bought their tickets twice as cheap!”  wrote  (in Russian) a disappointed Rostislav on a travel company website.

Nevertheless, buying from street hawkers has one considerable advantage: they personally escort you to the vessel so that you don’t waste time looking for the boat on your own.

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Prices start at $13 (800 rubles) for one ride, and for an additional $6.5 (400 rubles) you can purchase an unlimited number of tours on the same boat on any given day.

Flotilla Radisson has official ticket offices at Gorky Park and Hotel Ukraine, but they’re often sold out.

Buying online is an option that might save some cash. Websites such as  this   offer considerable discounts for tickets sold online. On a busy Friday night an online purchase might be the only chance to get a ticket on a Flotilla Radisson boat.

This  website  (in Russian) offers multiple options for short river cruises in and around the city center, including offbeat options such as ‘disco cruises’ and ‘children cruises.’ This other  website  sells tickets online, but doesn’t have an English version. The interface is intuitive, however.

Buying tickets online has its bad points, however. The most common is confusing which pier you should go to and missing your river tour.

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“I once bought tickets online to save with the discount that the website offered,” said Igor Shvarkin from Moscow. “The pier was initially marked as ‘Park Kultury,’ but when I arrived it wasn’t easy to find my boat because there were too many there. My guests had to walk a considerable distance before I finally found the vessel that accepted my tickets purchased online,” said the man.

There are two main boarding piers in the city center:  Hotel Ukraine  and  Park Kultury . Always take note of your particular berth when buying tickets online.

Where to sit onboard?

Even on a warm day, the headwind might be chilly for passengers on deck. Make sure you have warm clothes, or that the crew has blankets ready upon request.

The glass-encased hold makes the tour much more comfortable, but not at the expense of having an enjoyable experience.

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Getting off the boat requires preparation as well. Ideally, you should be able to disembark on any pier along the way. In reality, passengers never know where the boat’s captain will make the next stop. Street hawkers often tell passengers in advance where they’ll be able to disembark. If you buy tickets online then you’ll have to research it yourself.

There’s a chance that the captain won’t make any stops at all and will take you back to where the tour began, which is the case with Flotilla Radisson. The safest option is to automatically expect that you’ll return to the pier where you started.

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10 New Cruising Sailboats Under 35 Feet

  • By Cruising World Staff
  • Updated: November 3, 2020

It wasn’t so long ago that 30- to 35-foot cruising sailboats were likely to be the largest yachts found in many a harbor. And while 40-something and even 50-something footers are all the rage at boat shows today, there’s a lot to be said for setting sail on a boat big enough to carry family and friends, but still small enough to be easily maintained and handled alone from time to time. Small cruising sailboats are simple to dock or tie up to a mooring, and finding long-term marina space is easier as well.

Choosing a cruising sailboat, no matter the size, is a big decision. And it helps to have a trusted list of boats to get started. Here, then, is a look at 10 of the best daysailers , weekenders and coastal cruising sailboats under 35 feet that are all in production and can be purchased new.

Alerion Sport 30

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A quarter-century ago, Garry Hoyt launched what would come to be known as the daysailer genre with the introduction of the Alerion Express 28, a boat designed by the late Carl Schumacher that featured a minimal interior and a large cockpit where an owner and guests could enjoy the simple joy of sailing. Traditional and lovely looking—but with a quite modern underbody and a powerful sail plan—Hoyt, ever the marketer, proclaimed the boat to be “the prettiest girl at the dance.”

Since then, a number of siblings ranging from 20 to 41 feet have been added to the Alerion family, including the Alerion Sport 30, which retains the graceful sheer line, oval ports and stylish overhangs of the original Schumacher design. Yet with input from naval architect Langan Design Partners, it also embraces a solid measure of performance-oriented DNA.

Read more about the Alerion Sport 30 »

Bavaria Cruiser 34

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In every Boat of the Year contest, it seems, a boat rises up after sea trials to make a lasting impression on the judges. For 2018, that boat was the Bavaria Cruiser 34.

Says Boat of the Year Judge Tim Murphy, “The Bavaria was a lovely boat to sail. It has a single rudder, and she answered her helm just beautifully in the conditions we had today. We started off with around 10 knots of breeze that built to 13 to 15 knots. As a sailboat, it was just a pleasurable sailing experience, among the best we had during our judging. It was among the boats that felt like a really happy sailing experience.

Read more about the Bavaria Cruiser 34 »

Beneteau Oceanis 30.1

Beneteau Oceanis 30.1

Sailed as part of the 2020 Boat of the Year sea trials, the 31-foot-3-inch Beneteau Oceanis 30.1 was the compact yacht best-equipped and spec’d out as a dedicated cruising boat, and not coincidentally, it was also awarded the title of Best Performance Cruiser for 2020. But don’t let her cozy interior accommodations fool you; this is also one peppy little vessel.

Read more about the Beneteau Oceanis 30.1 »

Dehler 34

The 2017 Boat of the Year (BOTY) contest featured a stellar crop of crossover cruiser/racers; however, when all the testing was said and done, our independent panel of judges was sold on the Dehler 34, naming it the year’s Best Performance Cruiser. Designed by the highly regarded Judel/Vrolijk naval-architecture consortium, whose reputation was fostered by longtime success in international yacht-racing circles, the 34-footer combined contemporary good looks and a sweet turn of speed with better-than-average comfort and accommodations below. It didn’t hurt that the boat, nicely equipped at $215,000, was the least-expensive entry in the entire 2017 fleet. All in all, it proved to be a winning formula.

Read more about the Dehler 34 »

Dufour Grand Large 360

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Dufour Yachts introduced its new 360 Grand Large model to CW’s Boat of the Year team in 2018 as a coastal cruiser intended for a couple or perhaps a small family. With that in mind, judge Alvah Simon found numerous clever elements to praise within the boat’s 35-foot-2-inch hull—a relatively modest LOA compared to the many 40-, 50- and 60-footers on display at the U.S. Sailboat show in Annapolis, Maryland.

Read more about the Dufour Grand Large 360 »

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After a roughly 10-year hiatus from the U.S. marketplace, the Slovenian builder Elan is back in a big way. For the 2017 Boat of the Year contest, the company launched a pair of new boats in the States, including the Elan E4, a 34-foot-9-inch performance cruiser with an emphasis on performing, designed by renowned British naval architect Rob Humphreys. The brand has been in business for seven decades and lately is perhaps even better known in America for its skis. Not surprisingly, given its complementary product lines—lots of sailors are fine skiers—its boats are as sleek and sporty as its boards.

Read more about the Elan E4 »

Grand Soleil 34

Grand Soleil 34

Way back in the 1970s, when the well-known Italian boatyard Grand Soleil was just getting started, its first model was a Finot-designed 34-footer. With over 300 units sold, it was an instant success, and launched the company on an upward trajectory that spanned the intervening decades, mostly with an ongoing series of much larger, more complex racer/cruisers. For 2020, the builder decided to return to its roots with a completely revamped Grand Soleil 34, and it’s a terrific boat.

Read more about the Grand Soleil 34 »

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Value. How does one determine it? Price is most certainly a factor. In the case of new boats, and our Boat of the Year competition, it means something more. As sailors, we wish to recognize good boats that not only are affordable but offer other, tangible rewards. The ability to get couples and families out on the water, to have a weekend escape, to take them on coastal vacations and even maybe a sabbatical to the islands, all without breaking the bank. For 2019, the judging panel determined that one boat had the potential to do these things better than the rest, which is why they awarded the Best Value prize to the Hanse 348.

With a price tag under $200,000, during sea trials the Hanse 348 wowed the judging team from the get-go. “In only about 8 knots of breeze, we were seeing 5.7 knots upwind and pointing very nicely, and even registered 6.5 knots once we cracked off,” said Tim Murphy. “It’s a pretty sweet little boat.”

Read more about the Hanse 348 »

Italia 9.98

Italia 9.98

Of the performance cruisers that made their North American debut in 2020, in terms of sheer appearance, the futuristic 34-foot Italia 9.98 was easily the most distinctive. There are actually two versions of the boat: the 34 Club—which is the cruising alternative, the primary features of which are its twin wheels—and the 34 Fuoriserie—the racing model, and the one we tested, with its tiller steering being the identifying characteristic.

Read more about the Italia 9.98 »


Beginning with the popular little J/24 way back in 1977, J/Boats has become famous for its steady introduction of terrific racing and cruising boats, almost all of which shared one main characteristic: They sailed like a witch. More than four decades later, having built more than 50 separate, mind-boggling models, the Johnstone family that designs, markets and sells the brand shows no signs of slowing down. Their latest offering, for 2020, was another fast and fun racer/cruiser: the 32-foot-7-inch J/99.

Read more about the J/99 »

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VESSEL REVIEW | Sinichka – Electric commuter boats designed for Russia’s Moskva River

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A series of three new electric monohull commuter ferries have already begun operational sailings on the Moskva River in the Russian capital Moscow.

Built by Russian shipyard Emperium, sister vessels Sinichka , Filka , and Presnya – all named after rivers in Moscow – are being operated by the Moscow Department of Transport and Road Infrastructure Development (Moscow Deptrans). They are the first units of a planned fleet of 20 vessels that will serve the capital city and other nearby communities. The new ferry system will be the water transport system to be operated on the Moskva River in 16 years.

Each vessel has a welded aluminium hull, an LOA of 21 metres, a beam of 6.2 metres, a draught of only 1.4 metres, a displacement of 40 tonnes, and capacity for 80 passengers plus two crewmembers. Seating is available for 42 passengers on each ferry, and the main cabins are also fitted with USB charging ports, wifi connectivity, tables, toilets, and space for bicycles and scooters. The cabin layout can be rearranged to allow the operator to adjust the distances between the seats and to install armrests of varying widths.

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An open upper deck is also accessible to passengers and is the only area on each ferry where smoking is allowed.

The ferries are all of modular construction with each ferry’s wheelhouse, main cabin, and other structural elements being built as complete, separate components. This enables the ferries to be easily dismantled for transport to anywhere in Russia by rail and then quickly re-assembled within seven days.

The ferries are also ice-capable. Recently completed operational trials on the Moskva showed that the vessels can also easily navigate under mild winter conditions with broken surface ice, though year-round operations are planned for the entire fleet.

The ferries are each fitted with 500kWh lithium iron phosphate battery packs that supply power to two 134kW motors. This configuration can deliver a maximum speed of 11.8 knots, a cruising speed of just under 10 knots, and a range of 150 kilometres.

Emperium said the transfer of rotation of electric motors to the propeller is carried out by direct drive. As a propulsion installation, a pulling rotary propeller-steering column with double screws is used. The installation of double pulling screws, with similar power, allows an operator to increase the efficiency of the propulsion system to deliver a slightly higher speed or to reduce energy consumption. This arrangement also provides the ferries with enhanced manoeuvrability necessary for navigating in close quarters.

The batteries themselves have projected service lives of 10 to 12 years and are fitted with safety features such as built-in fire extinguishers and gas vents. Quick-disconnect features allow the batteries to be easily removed for replacement or maintenance.

Some of our readers have expressed disquiet at our publication of reviews and articles describing new vessels from Russia. We at Baird Maritime can understand and sympathise with those views. However, despite the behaviour of the country’s leaders, we believe that the maritime world needs to learn of the latest developments in vessel design and construction there.

Click here to read other news stories, features, opinion articles, and vessel reviews as part of this month’s Passenger Vessel Week.

Related Posts

Photo: Wikimedia Commons/Béria L. Rodríguez

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Tags: Emperium Filka Moscow Moscow Department of Transport and Road Infrastructure Development Moskva River Presnya Russia Sinichka WBW newbuild

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River Cruise on Luxurious Radisson Boat

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River Cruise on Luxurious Radisson Boat

Equipped with ice-breaking technology, these huge fancy yachts are the only river cruisers running all year around. The round trip journey takes two and a half hours and floats past all the big sights like the White House, Novodevichy monastery and the Kremlin. There’s a large open air observation deck up top, while the main body of the ship houses a restaurant with a dance floor for a romantic post dinner dance. For a particularly romantic experience take one of the evening boats and admire the bright lights of the city skyline at night.

The most relaxing and picturesque tour that Moscow can offer: a great way to see the city center and its main attractions. This is a perfect alternative to exploring the city by car, if you only have time to do sightseeing during weekday rush hours.

Your English-speaking guide is eager to share every bit of their knowledge about the surrounding landscape, the architecture and historical details.

We conduct Moscow river tour on Radisson Flotilla boats all year around!  It’s warm inside during winter months, while there’s air conditioning during hot summer days. You may also treat yourself to drinks, lunch or dinner on board (drinks and food are not included in tour price).

The cost of an excursion with a personal guide for 1 person

Quay at Radisson Collection Hotel

Government Headquarters ("the White House")

Kievsky Railway Central

Novodevichy Convent

Luzhniki Stadium

Academy of Sciences

Monument to Peter I

Cathedral of Christ the Saviour

Moscow Kremlin

St.Basil's Cathedral

Novospassky Monastery

U-turn and back to Quay at Radisson Royal Hotel

Choose your dates

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  • Excursion River Cruise on Luxurious Radisson Boat
  • Date and time:
  • Who's going:

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Lorem Ipsum

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Moscow to Saint Petersburg

13 days – 12 nights

Moscow to St. Petersburg

Collapse Full Itinerary


Gold, Platinum  Airport transfer / Check-in at centrally located Marriott Aurora***** or Ararat Park Hyatt*****

Imperial : Private airport transfer / Check-in at the luxurious Four Seasons Moscow***** only a minute from the Kremlin and Red Square

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Volga dream experience:


Gold: City Tour / Novodevichy Cemetery Imperial, Platinum:  City tour / Lunch in a Moscow City Skyscraper / Novodevichy Cemetery / Sparrow Hills

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Meals: Breakfast

Platinum / Imperial

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Meals: Breakfast, Lunch


Gold:  Moscow Kremlin / Armory Museum / Red Square / GUM Department Store

Platinum:  Moscow Kremlin / Armory Museum / Red Square / St. Basil’s Cathedral / GUM Department Store / Park Zaryadye

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Gold:  Tretyakov Gallery / Moscow Metro Tour.

Platinum:  Leo Tolstoy House-Museum in Hamovniki / Tretyakov Gallery / Moscow Metro Tour.

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Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

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Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner


Gold, Platinum:  Town of Uglich / Church of St. Dmitri-on-the-Blood

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Volga dream experience: Costumed Russian Tea Ceremony & Russian Cooking Class


Gold, Platinum:  Yaroslavl City Tour / Governor’s house 

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Volga dream experience: Sun Deck Barbeque


Gold:  Kirillo-Belozersky Monastery  

Platinum:  Ferapontov Monastery

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Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Russian Dinner with Vodka Tasting

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Gold, Platinum: Kizhi Island / Lake Onega

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Volga dream experience: Piano Concert – Compositions by Tchaikovsky and Rakhmaninov


Gold, Platinum:  Svirstroy village / Local resident’s home / Local primary school

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Volga dream experience: Farewell Dinner, Captain’s cocktail

St. Petersburg

Gold:  City Tour / Peter and Paul Fortress

Platinum:  City Tour / St. Isaac’s Cathedral / Canal boat / Yusupov Palace

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Gold:  The State Hermitage Museum / Peterhof: Park and a historic Cottage

Platinum:  The State Hermitage Museum (Early Entrance!) / Gold Room / Peterhof: Park and a historic Cottage

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Gold:  Catherine’s Palace / Amber Room

Platinum:  Faberge Museum / Catherine’s Palace / Amber Room

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Meals: Breakfast / Imperial

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Gold, Platinum, Imperial: Check-out / Airport transfer

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Volga dream experience: -

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The rates are set for a cruising season. The price is not dependent on the month within a selected year

Choose a date

View all months May July August

Choose Staterooms

All prices are per person based on double occupancy.

All rates are per person, based on double occupancy. Actual size of cabins can slightly differ within one category.

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Journey: Volga Dream

Price per person: not specified


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  20. 10 New Cruising Sailboats Under 35 Feet

    A true, versatile cruiser/racer, the Beneteau Oceanis 30.1 was named the year's Best Performance Cruiser. Jon Whittle . Sailed as part of the 2020 Boat of the Year sea trials, the 31-foot-3-inch Beneteau Oceanis 30.1 was the compact yacht best-equipped and spec'd out as a dedicated cruising boat, and not coincidentally, it was also awarded the title of Best Performance Cruiser for 2020.


    A series of three new electric monohull commuter ferries have already begun operational sailings on the Moskva River in the Russian capital Moscow. Built by Russian shipyard Emperium, sister vessels Sinichka, Filka, and Presnya - all named after rivers in Moscow - are being operated by the Moscow Department of Transport and Road Infrastructure Development […]

  22. River Cruise on Luxurious Radisson Boat

    Moscow City: View Moscow Beneath Your Feet. $96. Details. River Cruise on Luxurios Radisson Ship with a guided excursion: time to relax and soak in the gorgeous Moscow landscape. Our guide will accompany you and reveal the details behind the structures on the river banks around you.

  23. Moscow to St. Petersburg Russian River Cruise

    Cruise Moscow to St. Petersburg aboard the luxurious MS Volga Dream ship as you sail the Volga River. 5 Star Luxury Russian River Cruising. Cruise Routes (Interactive Map) Call Us: +1 (508) 257 18 06 (9am — 12pm, EST) , +7 (495) 120 10 06 (10am — 7pm, UTC+3 Moscow)