More than two dozen manufacturers were honored for innovation and craftsmanship with AIM Marine Group Editors’ Choice Awards.
After a nearly 12-month review process, the editors — representing Power & Motoryacht, Soundings, Yachts International, PassageMaker, BoatQuest.com and Soundings Trade Only — presented the awards at the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show in October.
“Boaters value their time on the water more than ever,” says AIM Marine Group publisher Gary De Sanctis. “So to find the glimmers of gold — incidences of true groundbreaking innovation that’s well executed — and then to share them with our audience of serious boaters across all categories, that’s the goal.”
The editors reviewed the entries that the manufacturers submitted and evaluated each to ensure that it executes its mission and purpose.
“Creative design has to be built to make a difference,” says George Sass Jr., editorial director for the AIM Marine Group and editor-in-chief of Power & Motoryacht. “We’ve seen all of these boats perform in their element. That’s what sets them apart.”
In the category of best Down East cruiser (30 to 39 feet), the editors selected the Back Cove Down East 37, calling it “a boat that will take you offshore and comfortably transit 100 miles or more in a day, putting more destinations in reach while using comparatively little fuel.”
Bentley Collins, vice president of sales and marketing for Back Cove, accepted the award. “Being recognized by the marine press for our efforts is very gratifying for our sales and marketing teams, as well as for those working behind the scenes in the design office and far from the lights,” he says.
In the 40- to 49-foot category, the editors chose the Hinckley T43, calling it “the ultimate Picnic Boat.”
The MJM 50z earned top honors in the 50-foot-plus segment for its “sports car” handling and “seakindly ride.”
In the best passagemaker category, the totally redesigned Mainship 37 from Marlow Mainship won in the 30- to 39-foot segment for its radically “fresh design.”
The North Pacific 49 was the choice in the 40- to 49-foot segment for achieving its design goal as a long-range coastal trawler.
The Fleming 58 won the award for 50 to 59 feet for its significant “product evolution” from its worthy Fleming 55 predecessor.
Marlow was back at the podium in the 60- to 80-foot segment for its Marlow 62E, which the judges said was “engineered without compromise.”
The “little ship” Outer Reef 860 CPMY won the 80- to 100-foot category of passagemakers, and in the big boy segment of 100-feet-plus, the Nordhavn 120 was selected.
In the best fish boat category, the Everglades 255 was selected in the under-30-foot segment for its seaworthiness and dry ride.
Among fish boats over 30 feet, the Sea-Vee 390-Z was noted for its “cutting edge of innovation and technology.”
The Jupiter 41 Sport Bridge won the 40- to 49-foot segment for its toughness and its “blast to drive” ride quality.
The Viking 52 was deemed best in the 50- to 59-foot segment for its combination of space, speed, maneuverability and seakindliness.
The Viking 92 topped the 60-foot-plus segment for its precise engineering and superb boatbuilding.
Among the Best Multi-Hulls, the Aspen 32 was chosen as the best in the 30- to 39-foot segment for the “out-of-the-box thinking” behind the boat.
The Aquila 44 topped the 40- to 49-foot segment and the Horizon 52 earned honors among the 50-foot-plus power cats.
Among the Best Motoryachts, the Wider 32 won the 30- to 39-foot segment for its harmonious “form and function.”
Tiara’s reimagined 44 Coupe earned its stripes in the 40- to 49-foot segment and the Riviera 565 SUV, a “beast of a machine,” topped the 50- to 59-foot segment.
Among 60- to 69-footers, the Coastal Craft 65 Concord features “top-shelf engineering and smart details.”
The Princess S72 drew accolades in the 70- to 79-foot segment for “luxury, easy manageability and family-centric fun,” and the Monte Carlo 86 earned honors in the 80- to 89-foot segment for its “advanced building techniques, smart engineering and easy motion at sea.”
The Azimut 95 Grande, with its sharp looks and superb use of external space, topped the 90- to 100-foot segment, and the Riva 122 Mythos led the goliaths in the 100-foot-plus division.
In awards separate from new boats, the Furuno First Watch Wireless Radar earned most innovative technology honors.
Lastly, a lifetime achievement award was bestowed on Bill and Bob Healey, who founded Viking Yachts in 1964.
“For 50 years, the brothers have stayed the course,” the judges said. “Even in lean times, Bill refused to compromise on quality. With every new boat, and every new model, Bill would search for improvements. This relentless pursuit of perfection remains ingrained in the company’s culture today.”
Bill Healey’s son Patrick, now Viking’s CEO, accepted the award on behalf of his father and uncle. n
This article originally appeared in the January 2015 issue.