After viewing the concept cars, SUVs and other attractions of this year's Frankfurt Motor Show, Gizmag headed south to Lake Constance for the 2015 Interboot show. The show isn't quite as large as Boot Düsseldorf, which we attended back in January, but it is blessed with late-summer weather and a location right on the water. We saw everything from ceiling-scraping sailboats and hydrofoils, to compact electric leisure vessels, to modulars and inflatables.
Compact, portable designs
Multi-piece, packable boats have been trendy in general in recent years, and a number of companies from around Europe used Interboot to show their own ultra-portable solutions. We already looked at the Boner Kayak, and another design that really caught our attention was the Siesta Solemaran.
A more youthful spirit
A few mavericks within the boating industry feel that the market has gotten too mature and stale. In an effort to color in some of the gray of those seafaring beards, they're designing vessels that are more visually appealing and youthful. It's in the name for Germany's Young Urban Boating (YUB), which slices distinct lines and curves into its advanced-composite hulls and splashes them with bright, cheery colors.
While YUB's vessels were certainly cool, the Bente24 was probably the most interesting example we saw of a new "young" boat. Created with help from a group of design students and a large social media following, the Bente24 is positioned as a fresh, reborn sailing cruiser. The project began in early 2014 and went from rough idea to sea-ready prototype in a little over a year.
The Bente24 is a simple, streamlined design developed from the outside in – the focus is on fast cruising, not so much on luxurious on-water living. The Bente team has worked hard to leave out unnecessary equipment that not all buyers need or want, keeping the price of the basic, ready-to-sail boat at €25,000 (US$28,000). Buyers that want more can build their vessel up from the options list with equipment like slide-out cooking and wash modules that stow away under the seats.
Electric power continues to be fashionable on the water, and we saw many a craft flashing the grays and oranges of a Torqeedo electric motor out its backside, including the aforementioned Bente24.
Beyond the debuts of the Chilli Island and J-Force electric water toys, the most interesting thing in electric design we saw came from Boesch. The Swiss boatyard speaks of a proprietary laminate process that it uses to transform multiple layers of mahogany into hulls that are highly aesthetic, lightweight, torsionally rigid and stable. It offers both electric and V8 options on boats ranging in size from 20.3 to 24.6 feet (6.2 to 7.5 m). Its electric boats aren't quite as powerful or fast as the NOX SV, but they do offer a similarly attractive blend of wood construction and quiet, zero-emissions power.
There were plenty more highlights in Friedrichshafen. Head over to our gallery to take a tour.