Eight winners and two honourable mentions were announced on the evening of the 16th of November in Amsterdam at the 2017 Boat Builder Awards for Business Achievement. The awards were jointly organised by METSTRADE and IBI, in association with Raymarine. In a fitting finale for the evening, around 300 guests witnessed David King, co-founder of Princess Yachts, honoured with a Lifetime Achievement Award under the glittering dome of Amsterdam’s National Maritime Museum’s central courtyard.
This third edition of the Boat Builder Awards received its largest field of entries yet from right across the globe and several of the categories were closely contested. There was strong evidence that many companies are planning for the different desires of future customers, illustrated perfectly by the first winner of the evening in the Retail Marketing Initiative category, sponsored by RAI Amsterdam. Brunswick Boat Group and Mercury Marine’s Go Boldly video focuses completely on the experience of boating and watersports and impressed the judges with its very modern approach to marketing.
The next category, Boat Builder International Dealer/Distributor Development, sponsored by Lumishore, was so close that the judges eventually decided to make a joint winner award to Correct Craft and Fairline Yachts. Both companies were commended for taking two very different but similarly successful paths to improving their sales networks.
The Boat Builder & Equipment Manufacturer Collaborative Solution category, sponsored by Ultraflex, drew an impressive field of entries, from which the judges named Zodiac Nautic Group and Torqeedo for the Avon eJET concept tender as an honourable mention.
The winner was a similarly technologically driven project, with Groupe Bénéteau and Multiplast being commended by the judges on substantially bringing down the timescale and cost for foil production on the boatbuilder’s Figaro 3 yacht – with significant potential for more widespread use of foils on production boats.
The Innovative Onboard Design Solution category, sponsored by Fusion, was similarly notable for the very broad spread of entries it attracted, with everything from integrated electronics to innovative deck and hull features under consideration.
In the end, it was Sunseeker International’s Manhattan 52 Beach Club concept that was chosen by the judges as a winner for its family focused features. KM Yachtbuilders’ retractable rudder and sterngear, designed for its 78ft Polar Explorer Yacht was named as an honourable mention.
Focusing attention on vital aspects of future boatbuilding, the Innovation in a Production Process, sponsored by Dometic, was awarded to Bavaria Yachts for its MODUTEC modular construction techniques, the judges recognising the very widespread use of the company’s off-hull manufacturing techniques.
Campion Marine was named winner of the Environmental Initiative, sponsored by UCINA, for its use of environmentally friendly hull construction materials.
Sunseeker International was then called back to the podium to collect its second award of the evening, the Best Apprenticeship and Training Scheme category, sponsored by Marine Resources.
The recognition of such a strong mix of innovative initiatives provided the perfect platform for The Boat Builder Awards to honour one of boatbuilding’s pioneers, David King, the co-founder of Princess Yachts, with a Lifetime Achievement Award, sponsored by Side Power. In his citation IBI Publishing Director, Nick Hopkinson, said: “I’m sure we would all agree that David is one of the industry’s great visionaries who built a globally recognised brand through enormous personal commitment during more than fifty years of involvement in all aspects of the business. He is a real boater and product developer with an understanding that is totally unique among his peers.”
After receiving his award, David King said: “You really do me a great honour in giving me this award, thank you so much. But I should offer thanks for the people who have really earned this award for me.
Firstly, the skilled and dedicated workforce of Princess Yachts. Secondly, our dealers who have always been cheerful, optimistic and show us the way forward. Thirdly, our suppliers, without whom we would not have a business – so many times they have shown us how to do things, got us out of a hole, advised us and supported us through really tough times. It is I who should really honour you, for allowing me to spend a lifetime enjoying myself. It’s been hard work made easy by being among friends in a great industry.”
IBI Editor and chair of the Boat Builder Awards judges, Ed Slack, commented: “The Boat Builder Awards was conceived to champion the vision and dedication of the people that build boats today and the great efforts they are making to ensure the marine industry continues to provide the right products for its current and future customers. It is also vital that all sectors of the industry collaborate closely, to ensure the very best user experiences. Our winning and shortlisted companies this year provided brilliant examples, not only of individual excellence but also the great results that occur when teams and businesses work closely together.”
RETAIL MARKETING INITIATIVE
sponsored by RAI Amsterdam
BOAT BUILDER INTERNATIONAL DISTRIBUTOR/DEALER DEVELOPMENT
sponsored by Lumishore
BOAT BUILDER & EQUIPMENT MANUFACTURER COLLABORATIVE SOLUTION
sponsored by Ultraflex
INNOVATIVE ONBOARD DESIGN SOLUTION
sponsored by Fusion
INNOVATION IN A PRODUCTION PROCESS
sponsored by Dometic
sponsored by UCINA
BEST APPRENTICESHIP SCHEME
sponsored by Marine Resources
LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD
sponsored by Side Power