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Asian Marine & Boating Awards Gala Dinner

by Alistair Skinner on 17 Apr 2013
Mark Bovaird, General Manager (centre) receives the award for Best Yacht Club in Asia on behalf of the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club - Asia Marine & Boating Awards 2013 AMBA
The fourth running of the Asian Marine & Boating Awards took place on the first evening of the China (Shanghai) International Boat Show at the Intercontinental Expo Hotel in Pudong, Shanghai.

The evening was the culmination of a process that started with nominations for each category from boating media in Asia, followed by a robust and independent voting procedure that involved more than 70 local mainstream media organizations.

Nominees for the Best Dayboat, Sportboat or Dinghy award were Ten, J-80, Soto 27, Platu 25 and the RS Sailing Range. The category was won by not one boat but rather a complete range – the RS Sailing range, which has 'introduced more people to sailing in recent years than any other type of boat, having provided many thousands of people with their first introduction to sailing or actually owning a boat in Europe and are now bringing their expertise and range to Asia.'

In the category for Sailing Yachts under 45 feet the nominees were the Dehler 38, the Dufour 36 Performance, the Hanse 415, the new Hunter 40 and the Ker 40. The category was won by the Hanse 415, a 'modern, yet slightly retro-styled yacht’ from a builder that has truly re-invented themselves in recent years.

Sailing Boats over 45’ saw nominations including the British Southerly 47, the Danish Xp-50, from France the Jeanneau Sun Odessey 469 and the German Bavaria Vision 46. Topping off the list were catamarans from two of the world’s best known cat builders, the Nautitech 542 and Catana 59. The winner was the Philipe Briand-designed Jeanneau Sun Odessey 469, proving that 'style and performance can indeed go together'.

Next up were the Motor Yachts under 40 feet, where there was an international field of nominees with a strong European presence. However the British Princess V39, German Bavaria Sport 39 and the Italian Cranchi Endurance 30 were upstaged by the Americans with the Regal 35 Sport Coupe manufactured by what is still a family owned and run company.

In the next size range, Motor Yachts 40-75 feet, again no one country dominated. Ferretti 690, Monte Carlo 65, Sunseeker Portofino 40, Fairline Squadron 42, Prestige 620S and Sunreef 70 power cat were all nominated. Winner was the Monte Carlo 65, built under a combined Mediterranean influence. 'From the bottom of her hull to the fop of her carbon fibre T-top this Italian operated yet French owned yard has produced a fine looking boat yet with her top speed of 30 knots she isn’t just for show.'

Motor yachts over 75 feet. Two nominations for Sunseeker - the 28M and the 40m. Making up the rest of the nominee list were the Ferretti 124 Custom Line and IAG’s 100 foot Electra. The Ferretti Custom Line 124 took the award with a top speed of 27kts, and sleek enough to be a patrol boat, but with an interior no Admiral ever enjoyed.

Penultimate boat category for Best Sports Boat shows with its number of nominations the popularity of this type of boat.
Running through them all there are the Chris Craft Corsair 32, the Quicksilver Activ 705, the Bayliner 642, the XO 240 RS, the Windy Kharma 26, the Riva Iseo and the Regal 2300RX. In spite of the large list of competitors it was the Chris Craft Corsair 32, a new model but 'enough signature elements to still be readily recognised as a Chris Craft which is a name that is almost as old as leisure boating itself. The company, named after its founder, started building boats full time over 135 years ago, so more than just a little experience built up over the years! '

The final category was the relatively specialised category of Sports Fishing Boat. The nominees in this category were the Rodman 1250 Fisher Pro, the Barracuda 7, the Boston Whaler 270 Dauntless, the Bertram 57 and the Oceania 22C. A varied list of candidates, but the Boston Whaler carried off the category.

The judges then turned their attention to Best Brand Penetration in Asia. As international a group of nominees as you could imagine, with Sunseeker (UK), SeaStella (China), Feadship (Holland), Nautor’s Swan (Finland), Brunswick Corp (USA) and finally Jeanneau (France). With three individual nominees across the boat categories it came as no surprise when Sunseeker were announced winners.

Yacht Designer of the Year went to Axis Design who boast an impressive client portfolio which includes the likes of Azimut, Perini Navi, Couach and SanLorenzo.

There are so many ways to judge Asian Regatta of the Year. China Cup has grown over the years to be the biggest yacht regatta in China, King's Cup has a long history and great parties, the Neptune Regatta to the Equator has perhaps the widest net to attract entries from both sailboats and powerboats, the Round Hainan Regatta is a brave attempt to bring long distance racing to China, the Top of the Gulf Regatta with the largest number of competing boats of all shapes and sizes and the China Club Challenge Match which has grown into the largest keelboat regatta for Chinese sailing clubs. After many years of being nominated, the winner was China Cup International Regatta.

To be the Asian Boating Capital of the Year requires many qualities. Facilities, activities, participants and many other factors
The nominees in this category were Sanya, Shenzhen, Hong Kong, Singapore and Phuket. The winner, Hong Kong, is so popular amongst the water users, never mind the judges, that all her marinas are virtually full. Waters already crowded by commerce are joined each weekend by thousands of leisure users.

No other category runs the risk of hurting someone’s feelings like this one, the Asian Boating Personality of the Year.
The nominees here were Xu Lijia who won China’s first sailing Gold Medal in a boat rather than on a board; Frank Pong, a long time supporter of the growth of sailing in China and owner of more boats than some countries’ navies; Russ Parker who since its inception has been Principal Race Officer of the China Cup; and finally Chinese long distance sailor, Guo Chuan.

Guo Chuan was voted the winner. 'I first met him some years ago in Qingdao on a cruising Hunter sailboat. He made his first circumnavigation as a crewmember in a Clopper Race, went on to become the first Chinese crew (Media Crew Member) in a Volvo Ocean Race, raced single handed across the Atlantic Ocean, and just six days before the Shanghai Boat Show sailed back into Qingdao having spent 138 days at sea to become China’s first solo non-stop around the world sailor, breaking the class record for that type of boat as well.'

In the category for Asian Yacht Cub of the Year there were nominations for Shanghai Yacht Club for helping to develop small boat sailing here in the city, the Royal Varuna Yacht Club, Ironrock YC, home of the China Club Challenge Match - and the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club

'The RHKYC has a 100-year plus history, more members than almost any other yacht club in the world, three sailing bases, and regattas renowned the world over. To beat them in this category is never going to be easy.'

Most Eco-Friendly Marine Business: Hansheng Yachts for their solar Cruiser, Axis Design/Kingship for their Green Voyager, Fountaine Pajot’s hybrid power catamarans and Torqueedo, manufacturers of a range of electric outboards. The category was won by Hansheng Yachts for their new and novel use of solar power on a cruiser currently floating on a city lake in Xiamen.

The final award, in some ways looks to the future, is that for Most Innovative Marine Company. Garmin were up for their recent launch of a GPS watch which amazingly also has the ability to provide remote control for some of the yacht’s functions.
Spinlock’s Deckvest got a nomination for its comfort making personal safety more sufferable, Hangsheng Yachts received a second nomination for their solar yacht, while Yamaha was nominated or their helm-master Outboard Control System. It was that system that allows joystick control for multiple outboard engine boats to be controlled by a computer aided joystick that picked up the final award of the evening. Congratulations, Yamaha.

Judges Panel Chairman Alistair Skinner once again highlighted the involved process that produced the final results on the evening – awards that had to be nominated, pondered over, voted for and then correlated. Winners and Nominees that 'deserved their category listings, and were there on merit and not because they placed their advertising in a particular direction' and the deserving eventual winners who came out on top against some very stiff competition.
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