Electric, or Foiling, or Both

boot dusseldorf

Feb 8, 2024

John Morris for BICN in Dusseldorf

Visitors to the boot (with a lowercase ‘b’) will, of course, find an almost overwhelming selection of boats from all over the world. World boat brands we are familiar with like Beneteau and Four Winns have their entire lineup on display. European brands, some of which have made inroads into North America, like Axopar, have huge stands with many models, many options and packed press conferences. Then there are Turkish, Scandinavian and Eastern European builders whose work we have not seen, but who are building product that might well turn heads anywhere. And of course, there are super yachts and “superduperyachts” destined for Monte Carlo and Abu Dahbi. Hall 6, as large as an aircraft hangar, is dedicated to bevvies of those stunners.

All that is what a past visitor to Dusseldorf would expect at the world’s largest indoor show. What they might not expect is the degree of electrification.

Anything that can be powered by an outboard is shown with an electric rig as well as ICE (Canada’s Vision Marine as well as Mercury and many international players) offer a significant range of plug-in power. Electrification also includes small outboards from the usual suspects like Torqeedo, but also from new players like Singapore’s Momentum that offer astonishingly compact motors and batteries.

Europe has now discovered foiling both as a speed thrill in sailing (and wakeboarding) and as a fuel saving addition to powerboating.  In Hall 15, there are probably a dozen smaller foiling sailboats while in the power aisle there are several. You will also run across (forgive me, there are 4 halls packed with runabouts, a wide range of quite impressive Euro-styled dayboats and small cruisers some of which are semi-foiling, allowing them to cruise with considerably reduced fuel consumption. In Norway, where they will no longer be selling fossil-fuel powered vehicles as of 2025, eco thinking is a way of life.

Oceanis 34.1 in Dusseldorf.  Photo: John Morris

Beneteau’s new Oceanis 34.1 made an appearance at a few of the Canadian shows. Shown here is a much admired, specially adorned version celebrating the company’s 140th anniversary.  That’s quite a history. While Beneteau only brought a couple of models to our Canadian shows, at the Dusseldorf “boot” show, there were dozens in their Oceanis, First, Jeanneau, Delphia, and Lagoon lines plus more again in Four Winns, Wellcraft, and Scarab power range  and Prestige superboat lines.

At the Dusseldorf show, you’ll see many boat brands that have not yet landed in Canada like Fabbro from Turkey (above) and the Wiszniewsk W43, named for Józef Wiszniewski, founder of the important Ślepsk shipyard in Poland, which builds around 3,000 boats a year for companies such as Axopar and Sea Ray.

Then there are true 100% electric future-shockers like Edorado from the Netherlands that are radically designed foiling rockets that bring it all together. This is not science fiction on this side of the pond. It’s now.

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