Metstrade opened today with the announcement of the winners of the annual Dame awards and a keynote by Henk De Vries, director of Feadship.
Irene Dros, director maritime for Metstrade, said that this year’s show has 1,669 exhibitors from 63 countries and an estimated 26,000 visitors are expected to attend the three-day event. Metstrade also has 19 country pavilions, with the U.S. being the largest pavilion.
De Vries, a fourth-generation member of his family to manage the De Vries shipyard, touched on a number of topics, including the importance of hybrid propulsion of superyachts. He said Feadship has embarked on an ambitious plan to cut emissions from its vessels by 50 percent by 2025.
De Vries said that Feadship would continue to offer diesel power with straight shafts on its yachts until 2022, and then would focus solely on hybrid and electric propulsion. “We did our first yacht called Savannah and delivered the boat in 2015, though we’d developed the technology in 2009,” he said. “I assumed that everyone would want these hybrid systems, but since then we’ve done only three.”
De Vries said that many new owners, including young internet billionaires, are outside of their “comfort zones” in the superyacht world, so they rely on industry experts who convince them to stay away from hybrid propulsion. “They tell the clients that it’s the future, but it’s already the past,” he says. “We developed these systems ten years ago and they’re already dated. I don’t want to start a big project in 2020 and deliver it in 2025, and have people ask why we delivered a big smelly monster. I think the business should be totally clean. As an industry, we have no choice but to be one of the world’s most sustainable.”
Feadship, along with fellow superyacht builders Lurssen, Heesen, and Benetti, have formed a new organization called The Water Foundation to promote sustainability across the yachting industry. Feadship and Lurssen have earmarked significant funds for the next decade to grow the organization’s impact across the superyacht sector.
“We know there are much more intelligent ways to harness energy than diesel propulsion,” said De Vries. “We had a huge response after we started the organization at Metstrade last year. People were ready for it.”
Following the keynote address, the Dame Awards were presented by Birgit Schnaase, chairman of the judging committee.
There were 118 awards from companies from 27 countries, Schnaase said. The judges presented awards in seven categories and an overall winner.
The category winners included:
- The Garmin GPS 86i in the Marine Electronics and Marine Related Software category.
- Moray Flex light Lumit tech lighting in the Interior Equipment, Furnishing, Materials and Electrical Fittings Used in Cabins Category.
- Lignia Yacht’s alternative to teak in the Marina, Equipment, Boatyard Equipment and Boat Construction Tools and Materials Category.
- The KWH Karver winch handles and Karver system in the Deck Equipment, Sails and Rigging Category.
- The Callan waterproof jacket and Callan Salopettes by Mustang Survival won the Clothing and Crew Accessories Category.
- Usafe Trading Company’s Usafe life-ring won the Lifesaving and Safety Equipment Category.
- The Force Trolling Motor by Garmin Europe and the Ghost Trolling motor by Navico were dual winners in the Machinery, Propulsion, Mechanical and Electrical Systems category.
The judging panel named the USafe life-ring as the overall winner. “The Usafe is a reinvention of the traditional lifesaving rig, featuring a robust, understated design,” said Schnaase. “It can be operated from a boat or on shore for casualties in the water.”
Members of the Australia-based company, a first-time exhibitor at Metstrade, were ecstatic with the winning the award. “We’re a startup and this is the first official show for our product,” Jordan Spencer, the company’s managing director, told Trade Only Today. “The Dame award was definitely a goal for us. It puts us on the map.”
The USafe ring is powered by two small jet engines and can be controlled by a joystick to reach swimmers or boaters in distress. Spencer said the product was designed by Jorge Noris, a mechanical engineer whose “first mission is saving lives.” The original design started in 2013 and production started earlier this year. “We’re thrilled to win this award,” he said. “It should provide a big initial push for the product.”