No matter what country you live in, when the Miami International Boat Show comes around each year it's interesting to see who has won the USA's National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) Awards. As with European awards, the judges were journalists, members of Boating Writers International.
The Innovation Awards recognize products that best meet the following criteria: innovative distinction from other products currently being manufactured; benefit to the marine industry and/or consumer; practicality; cost-effectiveness; and availability to the consumer within 60 days of award receipt.
Not all the awards were relevant to the sailor, but there were several that were: Sailing boat:
That doyen of the boating industry Beneteau won the sailing boat seciton for its Sense Series. Of particular mention was the 'Dock and Go' system. 'With two models in its line, the Sense Series opens the doors to sailing for those who might otherwise be nervous by close-quarters maneuvering with its Dock and Go System,' said Diane Byrne. 'Combine that with an enormous cockpit for entertaining, a living space separated from the noise of necessary machinery, and a deck that’s easy to navigate, and you have an impressive boat that takes the intimidation factor out of big boat sailing.' Docking and Fender Equipment:
Imtra took the award for the Docking and Fender Equipment category for its SidePower SEP Speed Control Thruster series. The Side-Power SEP Series is the first DC thruster range that provides exact proportional control and eliminates the danger of overpowered or underpowered docking. Judges noted that the system even had a Hold function that runs the thrusters continuously to hold the boat against a dock for short-term maneuvers like picking up and dropping off passengers. Consumer Eletronics and Software:
In the Consumer Electronics and Software section, there were two winners and an Honorable Mention. Simrad’s BSM-2 Broadband Sounder is the only recreational sonar to incorporate commercial-grade frequency sweeping pulse compression (CHIRP) technology. It also delivers up to five times greater target resolution. Navigation:
B&G’s Zeus Sailing Navigation System also won an award. The system combines broadband radar and sounder, AIS tracking, sonar imaging, and more in one multi-function display. Plus, it can also overlay GRIB weather files and laylines to improve decision making. 'This navigation system will help cruisers and racers make much better routing decisions,' said Homer. Consumer-installed Non-Electronic Hardware:
In this category, Seldén’s Reversible Winch won the award. The manual, two-speed winches are a combination of a unique handle and specially designed jaws that allow the drum to be rotated in two directions. 'You can sheet in or out as precisely as needed — and with only one hand,' said judge Roger McAfee. 'It was so easy, even a power boater could do it.' Outboards:
Suzuki’s DF 40A/50A won the Outboards category. The DF 40/50 3-cylinder outboards provide 15 per cent more displacement and are 5 per cent lighter than their 40 and 50 HP predecessors. 'They bring top end features to a smaller, neater, powerplant,' said the judges. Consumer Safety Equipmen:
There were two winners. Navionics Mobile iPhone Marine & Lakes Mobile App allows for users to add their knowledge to the Navionics database and help identify the latest conditions that may be transferred wirelessly to their boat’s navigation system.
Lake Lite’s Solar Powered Illuminating Buoys were the second winners in this category. They are LED-lighted, solar-
powered buoys, to make nighttime navigating a breeze.
If you are anywhere near Florida, the 2011 Miami International Boat Show & Strictly Sail runs February 17-21. For more information, visit www.MiamiBoatShow.com