A flying visit to the Dusseldorf Boat Show by Andy Horwood and Peter Sands
Having heard that the new Maxi 1200 was to be on display at the Dusseldorf Boat Show, Peter and I got talking about whether it was feasible to go out to the show and get a first look for ourselves. After a few drinks following the recent committee meeting, it seemed more and more of a good idea and before we knew it, flights and a hotel were booked for a ‘boys weekend’ away.
An early start on Saturday morning saw us at Heathrow for the 8 o’clock flight to Dusseldorf. Having taken off on time, we were looking forward to a full day at the show; it was then that the announcement came over that Dusseldorf airport had been closed due to snow and there would be a delay of around 45 minutes while they cleared the runway! After about 30 minutes the announcement came to prepare for landing and we began to look forward to the day ahead. No sooner had the wheels been lowered than the plane suddenly accelerated and climbed; more snow on the runway and a further delay. About another 30 minutes passed before it was announced that the runway was still closed and we were diverting the Hannover for more fuel! An hour or so on the ground at Hannover and it was announced that we were off, but as it was now snowing at Hannover the plane would have to be de-iced before take-off. After some rather alarming spraying with de-icer, we took off for the short flight to Dusseldorf. A final delay while they found some steps for the plane and we got off at last, only three hours late!
Now off to the show! Given the time lost, we opted for a taxi to the exhibition centre. Mariusz Borys from Maxi yachts kindly met us with some complimentary tickets and took us to the stand and there she was, the shiny new Maxi 1200.
Having been slightly cautious about what the first boat from the new producers would be like, first impressions were very good – she definitely had the look of a MaxiJ. Mariusz provided us with a much needed drink (something budget airline Germanwings seemed less inclined to do) while he explained Delphia’s vision for Maxi being the premium brand within the company with a higher specification and level of finish and detail. Time to go on board and check for ourselves…
The cockpit is wide in the modern style, with plenty of teak giving a quality feel. Twin carbon wheels (standard apparently) give a sporty look. The mainsheet is fixed to a central pedestal moulding and is controlled by an electric two-way winch which can be operated from each wheel. There is no mainsheet track. Apparently this system has been used successfully on the Maxi 1300 (Pele Petterson has it on his own boat) but I need to be convinced that this gives sufficient control. Sheet winches are set just in front of the wheels to allow the helmsman to operate them if needed. There are a number of storage bins for sheets and halyards to keep the cockpit tidy.
Two good sized lockers under the cockpit sole beneath the helm position give plenty of storage for fenders, dinghy etc. There are a couple of quarter lockers, one of which is moulded to hold twin gas bottles. The show boat was a two cabin model (which is expected to be the most popular option) and as such has a large cockpit locker to starboard which could hold (and probably lose) as much gear as you might possibly need. All the lockers were nicely finished, although some stays or gas struts would be needed for safety and convenience.
The teak decks are standard (and look good) but standard non-slip can be specified with a saving in cost. Lines are led aft out of sight through concealed channels. There is a large anchor locker with an electric windlass and a carbon bowsprit is standard, as is a retractable bow thruster!
Down below there is a good size galley to port, with two(!) fridges, one of which slides out as a full height drawer. Twin sinks and reasonable storage complete the galley area. The aft cabin is accessed aft of the galley. This is not particularly large (not as big as on the 1100) and headroom above the bunk could be better. There is a shelved wardrobe but no hanging locker.
To starboard is the heads which appears well thought out with a trendy countertop wash basin forward and the toilet and shower aft which can be separated from the basin area to keep the area dry.
The saloon is traditionally laid out, with a straight berth to port and a ‘C’ shaped settee to starboard. Sharing the aft of the starboard settee is the aft facing navigation area which has an interesting dual purpose ‘reversible’ backrest. The navigation area is not huge and there was no chart plotter on the show boat, but I’m sure one could be fitted with a bit of re-arrangement of the switch panel and other instruments.
The central table has twin folding leaves with a central section with deep fiddles, but the port leaf obstructs the main way forward to the forecabin and needs re-thinking.
Storage within the saloon could be better. The space beneath the bunks is taken up by fuel and water tanks and the eye level lockers are shallow and do not provide much storage. I’m not sure there would be room for all the clutter that Sara and I have on Asante!
The forecabin is light and airy with an overhead hatch providing ventilation. The hull sides are finished in white ‘planked’ panelling with full length shelves running the length of the berth. There is good storage with a hanging locker and shelved locker and a large shelf under the berth with an interesting canvas cover.
Generally overall we were impressed with the new model. As ever with a new boat there are a number of things that need looking at, but the boat had a good ‘feel’ and should bode well for the future of the Maxi yachts brand. Maxi hope to appoint a new UK dealer shortly and with a bit of luck there will be a boat available for viewing in the UK this summer.
Having lost so much time due to the flight delay, we didn’t have a great deal of time to explore the rest of the show, but it is huge! You could easily spend a couple of days there and still not see it all. We returned wearily to our hotel close to the airport, but revived somewhat having refreshed ourselves with some of the local brew and a good meal. A fairly leisurely start next morning with breakfast at the airport saw us back at Heathrow by lunchtime. A tiring weekend, but a fun thing to do. The team at Delphia/Maxi made us very welcome and were pleased to hear our comments and ideas. Let’s hope the new boat is a success and will put the Maxi brand back on the scene in the UK.