The DEHLER History

A Passion For Speed And Comfort

Founded in the visionary spirit of Willi and Heinz Dehler during the 1960s, Dehler has become a hallmark of German yachting excellence. As we've journeyed from humble beginnings to becoming a core member of the HanseYachts AG family, our philosophy has centred around the commitment to redefining both sailing performance and onboard luxury. The brand’s DNA is one of continuous innovation, resulting in a diverse fleet of performance cruisers and regatta yachts that combine agility, extravagance, and unmatched nautical prowess.

Setting Sail: 1960s

In the 1960s, the small town of Freienohl in the German Sauerland region became the cradle of the Dehler brand - a place where the future of sailboats would be forever changed. Electrical engineer Willi Dehler initially set his sights on caravan construction using innovative glass fibre-reinforced plastic (GRP). However, sailing was his true passion. A hobby led to an epiphany, and in 1963, after exhibiting his 3-metre dinghy named Winnetou at a trade fair, he secured 50 orders.

Varianta: The First Keel Sailing Yacht

Effectively setting Dehler's course, this marked the brand's birth in a space far removed from the open seas yet brimming with potential. By 1965, Willi and his brother, Heinz, launched the Varianta - the brand’s first keel yacht designed for inland waterways, embodying the agility that remains a signature Dehler characteristic.

A Revolution on the Waves

This decade showcased Dehler's ingenuity in full sail. Just seven years after launching his first dinghy, Willi Dehler achieved his dream of designing an ideal sea-going vessel - fast and trailer-friendly. This goal materialised as Optima 83. Meanwhile, the Varianta 65 evolved into Europe's best selling GRP yacht by 1973, earning it the moniker "the VW Beetle for the water" from the press. Thousands of sailors experienced the revolutionary hull material for the first time.

In 1976, Dehler upped the ante with the Sprinta 70, the first series-produced yacht featuring a self-tacking jib, affirming the brand's reputation as an innovation leader.

The Birth of Performance Cruisers

The 1980s bore witness to Dehler's defining moment with the inception of the performance cruiser category. At the time, the db1 was created, and although outfitted for luxury, it won regattas one after the other with Willi Dehler's team on board. Its prowess on speed and comfort became Dehler's hallmark, culminating in the 1986 release of the Dehler 34. This seminal model redefined what sailors expected from their vessels and soared worldwide sales. Concurrently, Dehler shifted its focus to sailing yachts exceeding 10 metres, unifying these sailboats under the brand's name and discontinuing the previous Optima, Sprinta, and Varianta lines. The decade proved transformative, solidifying Dehler's international reputation.

The Judel/Vrolijk & Co Chapter

A wave of aesthetic transformation washed over Dehler as the brand began collaborating with yacht architects Judel/Vrolijk & Co in the mid-'90s. This partnership led to fresh design elements, notably the steep stem and upright stern. The Dehler 29, one of the initial models to incorporate these features, was launched in 1997 and remains in production. In 1999, the sailing community honoured the legacy of the company's founder, Willi Dehler, who passed away at the age of 70.

A New Course with HanseYachts AG

Dehler navigated turbulent times with a series of new owners before settling under the guidance of HanseYachts in 2009. This transition marked not only a geographical move but also a new chapter in engineering excellence. With the production of larger models relocating to Greifswald, Willi Dehler’s son, Karl, rejoined the Dehler team and breathed new life into product development.

Marking Half A Century

By the 2010s, Dehler had been sailing the market for half a century. In 2012, a significant shift occurred: all boat construction moved from Freienohl to a new home in Greifswald near the Baltic Sea. The first fruit of this move was the Dehler 38 - introduced in 2013. This model promptly earned the title of Boat of the Year at the 2014 boot trade fair, another accolade in a long list of sailing industry awards. By 2017, Dehler ascended to market leadership in the realm of performance cruisers, showcasing how, despite significant evolution in yacht design, the brand's core passion for crafting exceptional vessels has remained as strong as it was 50 years earlier.

An Era of Global Recognition and Unity

2019 marked another monumental milestone with the birth of the Dehler 30 One Design - a sublime yacht tailored for both double and single-handed cruising and optimised for the fierce demands of offshore races. Recognising the boat's potential, 2020 saw the establishment of its class association. During its foundation event, the pioneering members nominated seasoned regatta sailor Uwe Barthel as chairman, supported by Karl Dehler as the technical chairman and Felix Hauß as the backbone of the initiative.

Dehler Model history

Across the Dehler lineup, each vessel stands as a testament to innovative brilliance. With a deep reservoir of performance sailing knowledge, we create boats that harmonise breathtaking speed with unrivalled luxury. Every model is an emblem of German craftsmanship, a harmonious blend of precision and excellence.

Legacy models