Thirteen companies were handed Innovation Awards at this week's industry breakfast at the 2014 Miami International Boat Show. The awards are organised by the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) and Boating Writers International (BWI) in the US.
The awards were divided into 12 categories and while many of them related to power boats, some of them should be of particular interest to all cruising sailors.
In the Boat Care & Maintenance category, the winner was the EZPoxy2 by Petit. Single-serving gel pouches of hardener and a longer pot life are said to make the paint more user-friendly, potentially lowering the cost of boat maintenance and upkeep.
The winner of the Docking and Federing Equipment Award went to Midwest Industries for its ShoreStation Boat Hoist. BWI judge Alan Jones praised the hoist for being fast and low-maintenance.
In the Furnishings & Interior Parts category, the Dynamic Cabin System on the Boston Whaler 345 Conquest won. 'At the press of the button you can turn a double bed into a dining room,' said BWI judge Nigel Calder. 'It’s the James Bond of beds.'
There were two winners in the Mechanical & Electrical Systems category. Marinco Mastervolt won for its EZ-Mount Batter Switch, alongside Racor/Parker Hannifin’s SNAPP Fuel Filter/Water Separator.
In the Personal Gear, Soft Goods, Watersports and Fishing Equipment category, the winner was the Zayak Sea Sled by Tropical Paradise Plastics. Judge Ann Dermody summed it up by saying, 'it has all the advantages of snorkelling without the need for a mask and tube.'
Beneteau’s Oceanis 38 won the Sailboat Award. 'It’s almost enough to turn you from power to sail,' said Judge Roger McAfee. The balance of the awards certainly leant towards the fishing and powerboat enthusiast:
The Pontoon and Deck Boats Award went to Island Boats for its Expanding Pontoon Boat, which expands in width from 7ft4in to 10in. 'It’s not a pontoon; it’s a dancefloor,' said judge Alan Jones.
In the Boats from 25ft-60ft category, which includes fishing craft, the winner was the 390Z by Sea Vee. The 39-footer pops up on a plane with minimal bow rise, turns like a ski boat, and delivers higher top speeds than conventional hulls.
MasterCraft’s Gen2 Surf System won the Propulsion Inboard and Outboard Award. The system combines advanced hull design, weight distribution, custom wake shaping devices and onboard software to create a wide range of wake options.
The PWCs and Jet Boats category was awarded to Sea-Doo for the Spark PWC, which provides maximum fun on the water for half the weight, half the power and half the price.
In the Runabouts and Fishing Craft to 24ft category, Mastercraft won for the ProStar. The vessel has a convertible bow, intriguing storage system for skis and an even flatter wake.
And finally, Simrad picked up the Consumer Electronics, Mobile Applications and Software Award for its NSO16 evo2. The navigation suite brings big boat glass bridge style to midsized power and sportfishing boats.