Sōlace and Gunboat win big at Newport International Boat Show

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Show director Nancy Piffard presented Sōlace the award for Best Power boat under 35 feet and Best Powerboat Overall.

Show director Nancy Piffard presented Sōlace the award for Best Power boat under 35 feet and Best Powerboat Overall.

NEWPORT, R.I. — The Newport Exhibition Group, in conjunction with Bonnier Corp. magazines Cruising World, Sailing World and Yachting, handed out awards this morning for the best new products and displays at the 49th annual Newport International Boat Show.

Sōlace, the latest project by Everglades founder Stephen Dougherty, won in the category of Best Powerboat Under 35 feet, as well as Best Powerboat Overall, for the new Sōlace 345.

The new player in the center console market offered “innovation after innovation after innovation,” and promises to “change the tide and revolutionize the market,” said Sally Helme, publisher of the sailing division at Bonnier Corp.

The Gunboat 68 won for Best Sailboat Over 35 feet and for Best Sailboat Overall. Helme commended the company’s innovation in turning to the aviation industry to learn how to build modular, lightweight furniture that could be designed, rearranged, and locked safely in place.

“The judges said this boat looked fast just sitting at the dock,” said Helme.

The Vicem 65 took the People’s Choice Award for best new product.

MJM Yachts’ new 53z won in the Best Large Powerboat category, and Helme highlighted the collaboration between MJM founder Bob Johnstone and Boston BoatWorks cofounder Mark Lindsay, who died suddenly last week.

The Sōlace 345

The Sōlace 345

“Those in the industry know we recently lost Mark, which was a true loss to the industry,” said Helme.

Johnstone quietly dedicated the award to Lindsay as he accepted it from show director Nancy Piffard, and Helme invited him to say a few words about the man with whom he had worked for 17 years.

“About a week ago, Mark passed away at his house, quickly and instantly, which is I guess the best way to go if you’re going to go,” said Johnstone. He will be greatly missed by us, he was in a sense our third partner [along with] Scott Smith, president of Boston BoatWorks. He’ll be greatly missed; I’m sure most of you knew him. Thank you for your care and good comments over the past couple of days.”

The Ugo Tablet by Ugo Wear won in three categories — Best New Operational/Maintenance/Safety Boating Product, Best Booth Award by Edson.

MJM Yachts founder Bob Johnstone (center) accepts the award on behalf of Boston BoatWorks cofounder Mark Lindsay, who died last week.

MJM Yachts founder Bob Johnstone (center) accepts the award on behalf of Boston BoatWorks cofounder Mark Lindsay, who died last week.

Edson handed out a best in-water powerboat display for Maritimo and best in-water sailboat display for Fast Forward Composites; the best freestanding display and Edson Star of the Show Awards were unusual in that they weren’t awarded to a marine company, said Edson chairman Will Keene, but to Oris Luxury Watches.

“This one caught me off guard because we’re at a boat show,” said Keene. “Oris came in an airstream trailer, and created a display with a captive audience. The watches are out on display. I think the moveable concept display could apply to a lot of different products. It could give marine companies the ability to take their products in a display to their audiences. I think that’s a future component of our industry — going to the people rather than asking them to come to us.”

Here’s a complete list of winners:

BEST NEW SAILBOAT 35 feet and over – Gunboat 68

BEST NEW SAILBOAT Under 35 feet – Rosewest Boatyard The Cape Cod Day Sailer

BEST NEW POWERBOAT 35 feet and under – Solace 345


BEST NEW PRODUCT Navigational — GPSMAP 86SCI by Garmin

BEST NEW PRODUCT Operational/Maintenance/Safety — UGO Tablet by UGO Wear

BEST NEW PRODUCT Personal Weather Gear (Wearable) — Helly Hansen HP Racing Midlayer Jacket




GREEN AWARD Product - Elixir Enamel topside Paint by Jamestown Distributors

GREEN AWARD Boat – no winner

Edson Awards Best in-water powerboat display – Maritimo

Edson Awards Best in-water sailboat display – Fast Forward Composites

Best Booth Award – Ugo

Best Freestanding Display – Oris Luxury Watches

Star of the Show Award – Oris


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