Honoring boat and achievements


The first AIM Marine Group Editor’s Choice Awards recognized the industry’s best of the best


The editors and writers of Active Interest Media’s Marine Group recently selected more than three dozen boatbuilders for special recognition.

The awards were among 42 given for individual achievement and for best boats in their categories during a banquet at the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show, which benefited Nova Southeastern University’s Oceanographic Center in Dania Beach.

“The Editor’s Choice Awards were developed to recognize the best of the best in production and semicustom yachts,” AIM Marine Group publisher Gary DeSanctis says. “It is the only event of its kind that honors these builders on a global perspective. Not only was it a spectacular event, but in the process of honoring these top builders in the world we were able to raise a significant amount of money for the Nova Southeastern University Oceanographic Center.

Lifetime Achievement Award: Madame Annette Beneteau-Roux Good Samaritan Award: Robert C. Arzbaecher, CEO, Actuant Corp. Best Overall Boat of the Year: Ocean Alexander 120 Most Innovative New Design Wider 42 Best New Builder Belize Yachts by Riviera Most Innovative New Sailboat Sig 45 catamaran Most Innovative New Technology Twin Disc Express Joystick AIM Green Award Greenline 40 Best Center Console Less than 30 feet: Boston Whaler 210 Montauk 30-40 feet: Contender 30 ST 40-plus feet: Intrepid 400 Best Down East 25-35 feet: Hinckley T34 35-45 feet: Hunt 44 45-55 feet: Sabre 48 55-65 feet: Grand Banks 55 Eastbay FB 65-plus feet: Palm Beach 65 Best Passagemaker 30-40 feet: Beneteau Swift Trawler 34 40-50 feet: Magellano 43 50-60 feet: Krogen 52 60-70 feet: Nordhavn 63 70-80 feet: Outer Reef 70 80-100 feet: Marlow 97 Best Tender Under 20 feet: Rendova XT 15 Over 20 feet: Protector 30 Best Sportfish 40-49 feet: Cabo 44 50-59 feet: Viking 55 60-plus feet: Viking 66
Best Import Motoryacht 20-30 feet: Riva 27 Iseo 30-40 feet: Princess V39 40-50 feet: Sealine SC42 50-60 feet: Maritimo M58 60-70 feet: Fairline 60 Squadron 70-80 feet: Monte Carlo 70 80-90 feet: Ferretti 870 90-100 feet: Sanlorenzo 94 100-110 feet: Horizon 105 Best Domestic Motoryacht 20-30 feet: Cutwater 28 30-40: Chris-Craft 36 40-50: Cruisers 45 Cantius 50-60 feet: Sea Ray 510 60-70 feet: Marquis 630 80-100 feet: Pacific Mariner 85

The AIM Marine Group consists of PassageMaker, Power & Motoryacht, Sail, Yachts International, Soundings, Trade Only, Show Management and BoatQuest.com. AIM tapped its editorial experts in each category to make the choices. George Sass Jr., the Marine Group’s editorial director and editor-in-chief of Power & Motoryacht magazine, says the awards reflect renewed vigor, confidence and innovation among the builders and manufacturers that displayed at this year’s Fort Lauderdale show.

“One undeniable trend in the current marine marketplace is that new product is back in force,” Sass says. “Look back to where we were, say, just seven years ago and compare that to where we are today. You’ll see innovative products that weren’t present not so long ago.”

Much of the new product is intended to reduce the barriers to boating and make it safer, more fun and more comfortable, Sass says. “After a significant time in the field testing and evaluating these products, the editors of the AIM Marine Group realized it was time to recognize the innovators and the innovations,” he says. “These are the companies that are keeping this industry alive and vibrant. So last summer we implemented a process that allowed our 30 editors from the individual magazines to nominate the best product in categories aligned with the expertise of their individual brands. The nominees were reviewed at length, discussed internally and reviewed against the competitive set.”

Among the boats selected, the Ocean Alexander 120 was named Best Overall Boat of the Year, a 121-foot trideck that Christensen Shipyards engineered and built. Additionally, Madame Annette Bénéteau-Roux, former chief executive and president of Groupe Bénéteau and now vice chairperson of its supervisory board, received the AIM Marine Group’s Lifetime Achievement Award. Robert C. Arzbaecher, CEO of Actuant Corp., received the Good Samaritan Award.


Bénéteau-Roux, known as the “First Lady of Yachting,” is the granddaughter of Benjamin Bénéteau, founder of the French boatbuilding company. She took charge of the struggling commercial fishing-boat builder in 1963 at age 22 and with her brother Andre grew it into a world leader in sailboat and powerboat production. Arzbaecher, who leads a $1.6 billion diversified industrial company that includes Marinco and Mastervolt, and his 11-person crew rescued six sailors in the Chicago Yacht Club’s 2011 Race to Mackinac whose boat had capsized in a violent storm. “To me it wasn’t even a decision — it was a reaction,” Arzbaecher later said.

Nova Southeastern’s 82,000-square-foot Center of Excellence for Coral Reef Ecosystems Research is built on a 10-acre campus next to John U. Lloyd State Park in Dania Beach. It will be the focal point for local, regional, national and international research into coral reefs and the study of solutions for coral reef decline.

This article originally appeared in the December 2012 issue.


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