Winner Yachts goes counter-culture with 9m boat
ENKHUIZEN _ Boat yards are supersizing. Jeanneau, Beneteau, Hanse, Bavaria etc. now issue hulls of up to 25 or so meters to tap an upscale audience that handles the economic slump better than you do. Bucking that trend is Winner Yachts which goes counter-culture with a 9m model, the Dutch yard’s smallest ever. Says Zeilen magazine in a February, 2013, review: ”When the Winner 9.00 was announced we were immediately enthusiastic. All the more so because there is little that’s novel these days in this price and size category.”
The magazine praised the Winner 9.00 spacious cabin and _ unusual for a 9m boat _ the possibility of a space-saving, pedestal-mounted steering wheel that swivels to port and starboard. “The Winner 9.00 sails well and is well thought-out,” said Zeilen. It gave it a sail-away price of less than €100,000.
What’s wrong with bigger? “We have always been a tad recalcitrant,” Remco Sol, Winner Yachts’ owner, tells Yacht and Coast half-jokingly. His yard went for a 9m cabin yacht based on “what our clients and potential clients tell us they want,” says Sol. Which is: making it easier to enter _ and stick with _ the Winner brand. Founded in 1986, Winner Yachts’ first model was the 9.50 (1986). Its sea-holding capacity and maneuverability won the yard clients in the Netherlands and abroad and was followed by the Winner 11.20 in 1991. The 10.10 came in 2005 _ and was named “European Yacht of the Year 2007 _ followed in 2009 by the Winner 12.20.
“We are a small yard,” says Sol. “We make 20 to 30 boats a year. The Winner 9.00 is designed to keep people in a Winner. An alternative would have been the Winner-9.50. But we haven’t made any lately. So there are no little used second-hand 9.50s around. That’s why we made the Winner 9.00.” One happy group: people now sailing in the 8m Bluboot day sailer, a Swiss brand Winner Yachts makes under license. For them the 9.00 is natural progression.
The Winner 9.00 is a Van de Stadt design. It draws a lot of stability from a very low center of gravity. It comes with a standard draft of 1.6m. Also available: a shallow draft version (1.25m) and a performance version (1.9m) with a lead bulb T-keel. Depending on the version _ welcome, performance or classic _ the Winner 9.00 comes with a retractable carbon fiber bow sprit, a tiller, more sail area, a draft of only 1.25 m or an open stern. Starting at €77,500 , the Winner 9.00 will be a competitive model. It goes public at the 2013 Dusseldorf Boat Show. “As a small yard we cannot afford to attend every boat show. But the one in Dusseldorf is a big and must-do event for us.”