BOAT BUILDER AWARDS CELEBRATES THE SECTOR’S TOP TALENT, INNOVATIONS AND BUSINESS ACHIEVEMENTS

Eva van de Pol
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This year’s Boat Builder Awards for Business Achievement, jointly organised by IBI and METSTRADE and held in association with Raymarine, saw Horizon Yachts’ John Lu honoured for Lifetime Achievement, Garrett Koschak from Manitou Pontoon Boats and Hayley Spencer from Princess Yachts named as this year’s Rising Stars and boatbuilding companies and their supply chain partners celebrated for their notable efforts to drive the leisure marine industry forwards.

The eighth edition of the Boat Builder Awards received 99 accepted nominations, with 32 companies from 16 countries named as finalists, from which 13 winners and two Honourable Mentions were named. The gala dinner and awards ceremony was held today, Tuesday 15 November 2022, marking a spectacular return to the historic amphitheatre of the Amsterdam Maritime Museum’s starlit covered courtyard.

The Boat Builder Awards recognises the very important partnership roles of supply chain companies in the creation of any new boat. This year’s Collaborative Solution between a Production Boat Builder and its Supply Chain Partner category, sponsored by Ultraflex, went to Fairline Yachts and Lippert Marine Group Europe for integrating a side door solution for the Fairline 68 without the need to expensively re-tool mouldings. The Collaborative Solution between a Superyacht Builder and its Supply Chain Partner award, sponsored by Propspeed, was presented to Bennetti Yachts and Siemens Energy for the advanced hybrid system installed aboard the B.Yond 37M, with Amer Yachts and Simrad Yachts claiming an Honourable Mention for Green Assistant, a navigation system designed to assist superyacht captains with minimising environmental impact.

Innovation and design

In the always closely fought Innovative On-board Design Solution, sponsored by Fusion, with six potential winners shortlisted, BRP emerged as a unanimous winner for the incredible work undertaken by Manitou Pontoon Boats to completely reimagine the pontoon boat genre for a new generation of owners.

Innovation in the promotion of yachts is also recognised by the awards. The Retail Marketing Initiative category, sponsored by ePropulsion, was won by Astondoa for boldly engaging its social media audience by seeking a crowd vote on which of three interior design styles would be adopted for the launch of the 677 Coupe.

The importance of great design was a theme throughout many of this year’s entries, but this year’s Boat Builder Awards went one stage further by recognising a Designer of the Year sponsored by Confindustria Nautica. Among a very fine field of contenders the judges decided to recognise both the rich vein of time-served design brilliance and exciting new talent within our industry. Joint wins were announced for Carrie Fodor and Kristin McGinnis of Sea Ray and Tony Castro Yacht Design.

Celebrating people and skills

Another change for this year saw two environmentally focused categories for the first time. The Eco-focused Boat of the Year, sponsored by Marine Resources, was claimed by Northern Lights Composites for its Ecoracer, a series racing yacht that is the result of much development work to make it recyclable. An Honourable Mention was awarded to Spirit Yachts for the very environmentally focused Spirit 30 yacht. In the Environmental Improvement in Manufacturing Process award, sponsored by High Pressure Watermakers, Beneteau Group took top honours for rolling out less impactful and now fully recyclable materials at scale for its boat construction and for its forthcoming launch of the Beneteau First 44, a serial production boat using 100 per cent recyclable resin.

Turning from parts to people, this year’s Boat Builder Awards saw the welcome return of the Best Apprenticeship or Training Scheme category. All three shortlisted entries were of great merit but in the end, judges awarded Riviera Australia and Sunseeker International joint wins for their long-standing nurturing of apprentices and graduates, contributing greatly to the skilled workforces of their companies and regions.

As the awards approached its finale, the judges named two Rising Stars this year. This category, sponsored by Lumishore, celebrates the incredible younger talent that is so important to our future. Manufacturing Engineer Hayley Spencer of Princess Yachts was named for an impressive progression through advanced apprenticeship levels, collaborative working style and for the very valuable work she does in mentoring other apprentices. Manitou Pontoon Boat's Global Product Strategy Manager, Garrett Koschak, was commended for his in-depth involvement and influence over the impressive new Manitou Cruise and Explore models as well as the way he works across the whole business.

The biggest round of applause was saved on the night though for John Lu, CEO and owner of Horizon Yachts, who joined very exclusive company in receiving a Lifetime Achievement Award, sponsored by Sleipner. In his commendation, John was praised for being an extraordinary visionary, an innovator and a calculated risk taker – and someone very well respected by employees, colleagues and clients alike. Horizon Yachts in Taiwan continues to rank among the top 10 yacht builders today and John Lu continues to push it forward.

IBI Editor and chair of the Boat Builder Awards judges, Ed Slack, commented: “Tonight, we have celebrated many important achievements across the world of boatbuilding and it was great to do so once again in Amsterdam at the National Maritime Museum – the spiritual home of the Boat Builder Awards.

“Since we were last gathered in this venue, we’ve all experienced COVID, lockdowns, supply chain mayhem, war in the Ukraine, and an ongoing economic roller-coaster ride. We’ve seen our industry adapt and flex in the face of adversity. It’s fitting that we were able to celebrate the brilliant responses of boatbuilders and their valued partners to these challenges in a place with such a great maritime heritage. The endeavours of all shortlisted companies and individuals will surely be viewed in years to come as historically important foundations for our future. Our congratulations to everyone who entered and especially to those who were honoured this evening.”

Winners, Honourable Mentions, and shortlisted companies

Retail Marketing Initiative

sponsored by ePropulsion

WINNER – Astondoa – 677 Coupe launch and social media interior design campaign

SHORTLISTED – BRP – Manitou Pontoon Boats multi-channel launch

SHORTLISTED – De Antonio Yachts – Partnership with Cupra

Collaborative Solution between a Production Boat Builder and its Supply Chain Partner

sponsored by Ultraflex

WINNER – Fairline Yachts and Lippert Marine Group Europe – Fairline 68 Squadron side access door

SHORTLISTED – Aquila and Sino Yachts – Close collaboration to overcome disruptive events

SHORTLISTED – Beneteau Group and Sailectron / SOLBIAN Solar – Lagoon 51 photovoltaic system

Collaborative Solution between a Superyacht Builder and its Supply Chain Partner

sponsored by Propspeed

WINNER – Benetti Yachts and Siemens Energy – Benetti B.Yond 37M hybrid solution

HONOURABLE MENTION – Amer Yachts and Simrad Yachting – Green Assistant system

SHORTLISTED – Numarine and Lippert Marine Group Europe – Patio doors for Numarine 37XP

SHORTLISTED – Sanlorenzo and ABA Yacht – Floating door system

Innovative On-board Design Solution

sponsored by Fusion

WINNER – BRP – Manitou Pontoon Boats new generation design features

SHORTLISTED – Azimut Yachts – Grande 26M design features

SHORTLISTED – Balance Catamarans – Versa-Helm

SHORTLISTED – Ferretti Yachts – X-AID Adaptive Integrated Docking System

SHORTLISTED – Sanlorenzo – SD110 design features

SHORTLISTED – Sunseeker International – 100 Yacht design features

Environmental Improvement in Manufacturing Process

sponsored by High Pressure Watermakers

WINNER – Beneteau Group – Integration of bio-sourced materials and recyclable resin at scale

SHORTLISTED – Baltic Yachts – Sustainability strategies

SHORTLISTED – Boston Whaler – Fully recyclable GRP boat R&D

Eco-focused Boat of the Year

sponsored by Marine Resources

WINNER – Northern Lights Composites – Ecoracer

HONOURABLE MENTION – Spirit Yachts – Spirit 30

SHORTLISTED – IMPACD Boats – 3D printed sustainable boat

Designer of the Year

sponsored by Confindustria Nautica

JOINT WINNER – Carrie Fodor and Kristin McGinnis – Sea Ray

JOINT WINNER – Tony Castro Yacht Design

Best Apprenticeship or Training Scheme

JOINT WINNER – Riviera Australia – Apprentice training programme

JOINT WINNER – Sunseeker International – Technical apprenticeships and graduate training

SHORTLISTED – MAST Academy – apprenticeship programme

2022 Rising Stars

Sponsored by Lumishore

Garrett Koschak – Manitou Pontoon Boats

Hayley Spencer – Princess Yachts

Lifetime Achievement 2022

Sponsored by Sleipner

John Lu – Horizon Yachts

BOAT BUILDER AWARDS CELEBRATES THE SECTOR’S TOP TALENT, INNOVATIONS AND BUSINESS ACHIEVEMENTS