Yachting World

Best yacht 2023: European yacht of the year winners

By Toby Hodges

The European Yacht of the Year 2023 winners have been announced and comprise the best yacht winners in five categories including a special mention award. Toby Hodges was one of the 12 jury members who test sailed each of the 21 shortlisted yachts before deciding on the winners.

The European Yacht of the Year programme is a highlight of my year as it gives us jury members the opportunity to assemble our shortlist of the best nominees, seatrial each and every one of them and discuss what works and what doesn’t at sea and in port, in order to choose the best yacht of 2023 in a variety of categories. Our trials were held in La Rochelle and Port Ginesta, Barcelona over the autumn of 2022.

This is the 20th anniversary of the European Yacht of the Year awards, which were presented at a gala event on the opening evening of the boot Düsseldorf Boat Show on 21 January 2023.

Together we comprise 12 magazines across Europe, each the leading voice on boat testing in their respective countries. The result is indisputably the most thorough, impartial and respected awards programme for new production yachts worldwide.

Best Luxury Cruiser

Winner: Oyster 495

It is hard to imagine that the decor of a yacht can change its look and feel quite this much, yet the layout of this second 495, Eddie Jordan’s dramatic looking Tuga, is in fact identical to the first boat that I spent several days aboard last summer. At its heart is a wonderfully (Humphreys) designed and engineered luxury bluewater cruiser conceived from the ground up, built in a new dedicated facility to a repeatable quality very few yards are capable of.

The 495 offers consistent passage making speeds in real voluminous comfort – whether enjoyed from the deep cockpit or the best-in-class aft cabin. Deck stowage and mechanical space is also superb. Then factor in the family appeal of Oyster’s after sales and world rally programme and you start to appreciate the premium world this sub 50-footer gives access to.

Price: (ex VAT) £1.35m

Jury comments

“So reassuringly strong, so surprisingly quick in straight line speed, so great to helm, so easy to handle and so, so comfortable if you want to retreat to her living quarters!” Jochen Rieker, Germany

“A true blue water cruiser that makes no compromise in terms of comfort, safety or sailing abilities.” Loic Madeline, France

“The entry level of the Oyster range brings with it the build quality and customisation typical of the yard’s largest models… perfect for a couple’s globetrotting dreams.” Alberto Mariotti, Italy

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