Dehler sailboat offshore rocky European coastline

The History of   Dehler

Varianta 1965
First order: the Varianta in 1965

A passion for crafting yachts

Since 1963

The beginnings: small dinghies made in an old dancing hall in Dortmund.

At the start of the 1960s, the electrical engineer Willi Dehler plans to build caravans made of the new material glass fibre reinforced plastic (GFRP). But his hobby — sailing with his dinghy — led him to try building a boat instead.

In 1963, Willi Dehler brings home 50 orders for his 3-metre dinghy Winnetou after exhibiting at a trade fair. In a former dancing hall is where production begins — the Dehler boat brand is born.

Two years later, with the Varianta, Willi Dehler builds his first keel yacht designed for inland waterways. The name stands for the agility of the boat — a characteristic that makes Dehler yachts stand out even today.

Dehler Optima 83
Dehler begins crafting real sea-going yachts with the Optima 83


Dehler develops the two first milestones in its history: the Optima 83 and the Varianta 65.

Just seven years after his first dinghy, Willi Dehler makes his dream of creating the perfect sea-going ship come true. It should be fast and fit on a trailer. This “optimal” boat is also reflected in its name: Optima 83.

From 1973, the Varianta 65 develops into Europe’s bestselling GFPR yacht. Thousands of sailors can benefit from the revolutionary hull material for the first time. The press talks of the “VW Beetle for the water”.

In 1976, the Sprinta 70 is the first series-produced yacht with a self-tacking jib. It underscores Dehler as the innovation leader.

Dehler db1 Dehler 34
The db1 from 1980, the predecessor of the legendary Dehler 34
Edith and Willi Dehler
The satisfied faces of Edith and Willi Dehler


Dehler invents the performance cruiser. If Dehler is what you want, Dehler is what you get.

In 1980, the db1 is created. Although outfitted for comfort, it wins regattas one after the other with Willi Dehler’s team on board. A racer and cruiser in one boat — an idea which makes the Dehler famous six years later.

Dehler now develops reinforced cruising yachts beyond the 10-metre mark and sells them under the one name of Dehler. The old model system — with Optima, Sprinta and Varianta — is no longer continued.

In 1986, the first real performance cruiser in sailing history revolutionises the market: the Dehler 34. The boat is sold in the thousands and makes the brand well known worldwide.

Dehler 39 1998
New shape language: the Dehler 39 from 1998


New design by new designers: the aesthetics of the yacht change.

In the mid-1990s, Dehler works with the yacht architects judel/vrolijk for the first time.

New style characteristics, such as the steep stem and the upright stern, are integrated for the first time. One of the first models of this type is the Dehler 29 from 1997, which is still built to this day.

In 1999, the company’s founder, Willi Dehler, passes away at the age of 70.

Dehler 60 2008
In 2008, the Dehler 60 is built – the largest Dehler yacht to date.


HanseYachts takes over the helm. Production in Greifswald begins.

After the herald of the new century, Dehler starts to tread stormy waters after multiple new owners.

In 2009, Dehler is taken over completely by HanseYachts. Larger models are now being produced in Greifswald.

Karl Dehler, who has worked for Hanse since 2004, returns as product developer for the Dehler brand.

Dehler 46 2014
On a course of success: the latest Dehler 46 from 2014


The current fleet is expanded. Dehler has been in the market for 50 years.

In 2012, all boat construction is moved from Freienohl in the Sauerland region to Greifswald near Rügen. As a result, Dehler has a new home at the Baltic Sea.

In 2013, the new Dehler 38 is introduced. The first yacht built completely in Greifswald is distinguished as Boat of the Year at the 2014 boot trade fair.

In 2017, with the current fleet, Dehler is the market leader in the area of performance cruisers. Although the yachts have changed significantly, they continue to be crafted with the same passion as 50 years earlier.

50 years of Dehler   The Book to our jubilee

Fifty years of Dehler sailboats hard cover book covering the more than sixty types of boats produced

In 50 years, which is more than half the life span of a human being, Dehler has developed more than 60 different types of sailing yachts and sold more than 21,000 boats altogether. With one extremely innovative model, the Varianta, Dehler succeeded in the past – and due to their consistent development policy up to today – in inspiring many people to go sailing and spend their leisure time on the water.

This book recounts Dehler’s and the Dehler Brand’s unique yacht building history and also enables the reader to have a look behind the scenes. It surprises with fantastic photos from the archives that have never been published before.

  • 1st Edition 2014
  • 141 color photographs
  • 52 color images
  • format 24,9 x 30,7cm
  • hardcover with partial logo
  • bilingual German / English
  • Delius Klasing
  • 208 pages
  • 31 black/white photographs
  • 20 black/white images
  • bound