When Club Marine teamed-up with the crew from Trade-A-Boat and Trailer Boat magazines to judge the Australian Boat of the Year awards on behalf of the Australian Marine Industries Federation, it marked a new era for the awards.

Not only did Australia's two leading boating magazine publishing houses join forces but it also made available a pool of very experienced and independent boating writers to sit on the judging panel. Each judge was an expert in their own field and all provided input into the various categories.

Non Trailer cruiser winner and overall winner - the Sunrunner 3400 Sports Cruiser

The 40 or so boats entered for the various categories were all evaluated over a period of a week. Although it was a full-on and hectic exercise, it also presented a unique opportunity to compare the Australian products side-by-side. Motoring magazines do this regularly but rarely is there an opportunity to put boats from different manufactures through their paces together.

The exercise was an eye opener. The difference between the quality of the build and fitout between the various boat builders was quite marked. There is no doubt that many Australian boat builders can hold their own with any of the overseas imports for the quality and innovation they build into their product. This now raises the question of whether or not the Boat of the Year awards should remain Australian-built boats only or should they be opened up to all manufacturers of boats available on the Australian market.

On the other hand we saw a number of boats that had obviously been built to a price and consequently a number of shortcuts had been taken to save money. At the end of the day these boats did not stack up at all well when compared with their counterparts in the same category.

The approach taken by different entrants to the awards was also revealing. Some went to a lot of trouble to present their boats to the judging panel. Fishing boats had rods mounted in the rocket launchers, iceboxes were filled with ice and soft drinks, cruisers dressed with table and galley settings, one even had a couple of teddy bears on the bunks in the kids' cabin.

Trailerable cruiser winner - the Haines Signature 702L

Others had a cavalier approach and didn't go to any trouble at all to present their boats to their best advantage. A bit of old rag in a glove box or fibreglass dust left in the bilges didn't help. One boat was presented unfinished with trim missing and cupboard doors not fitted properly.

What the awards did show this year was that the winners in each category, and those, whose products received merit awards, presented world class products that are the equal and, in some cases, even better quality and value than some of the imports they compete with. They have set standards than can only benefit the industry and the Australian consumer.

Kevan Wolfe
Managing Editor
Club Marine Magazine


Awarding Excellence

The AMM 7200 Tournament, Trailerable Fishing Boat of the Year.

 

It's not without some degree of trepidation that a media organisation agrees to promote, judge and present a 'competition' in which only one of its customers can be a winner. You see, by definition, the rest are relegated to the counter-position - that of the losers.

However, along with our colleagues at Club Marine Magazine, the team at Pacific Marine Media believes that the concept of awarding excellence is an important step in the development and maturation of an industry. If that means the possibility of upsetting advertisers, then so be it. Consider this as putting our money where our mouth is.In fact, it is the belief of awarding excellence that prompted our involvement, both physically and fiscally, in the Australian Marine Industry Federation's Australian Marine Awards - in particular Boat of the Year.

Back after a one-year hiatus and a chequered past, the Boat of the Year has changed markedly from its previous incarnation. This Boat of the Year had tightened eligibility requirements. It had published criteria upon which boats were judged. It also had revised and simplified categories. Judges had the right to withhold any or all awards. To give praise where it's due, it was the AMIF's new head, Sherry Donaldson, who was the driving force behind the effort to resurrect, revise and give relevance to the moribund awards. It was Donaldson who canvassed the industry to compile the feedback that went on to shape the new look

OVERALL WINNER
Sunrunner 3400 Sports Cruiser,
Sunrunner Cruisers

SAILING
NON-TRAILERABLE BOAT OF THE YEAR
MKL 49 Regatta, Mackman Boats

CRUISER
TRAILERABLE BOAT OF THE YEAR
Haines Signature 702L,
Haines Marine

CRUISER
NON-TRAILERABLE BOAT OF THE YEAR
Sunrunner 3400 Sports Cruiser,
Sunrunner Cruisers

FISHING
TRAILERABLE BOAT OF THE YEAR
AMM 7400 Tournament, Australian Master Marine

SKI/PERFORMANCE
BOAT OF THE YEAR
Nemesis V-drive, Jacana Marine

CERTIFICATES OF MERIT
Sunrunner 3700 Sports Cruiser,
Sunrunner Cruisers (Cruiser Non-Trailerable)

Mariner 430, The Riviera Group (Cruiser Non-Trailerable)

Riviera 37, The Riviera Group (Cruiser Non-Trailerable)

Riviera 37 Platinum, The Riviera Group (Fishing Non-Trailerable)

Mustang 2300 Bowrider, Mustang Pleasure Boats (Ski/Performance)

Whittley 601 Sea Legend, Whittley Marine (Fishing Trailerable)

Quintrex 445 Hornet Wildfish, Quintrex (Fishing Trailerable)

X3 Fun+Gennaker, Sail Extreme (Sailing Trailerable)

 
The Non-Trailerable Sailing Boat of the Year - the MKL 49 Regatta, from Mackman Boats.

awards. It was Donaldson who cajoled the high profile industry sponsors that helped make the awards possible.

Most importantly it was Donaldson, with the AMIF's support, who embraced and championed the vision of a transparent, professionally administered and, above all, prestigious award.

We're proud to say that we played our part. We recruited the expertise of a prominent industrial designer to deliver an expert appraisal of the man/machine interface. We made the most of the services of the most experienced boat-testing team in the business.

 

Ski/Performance Boat of the Year - the Nemesis V-drive from Jacana Marine.

Indeed, our on-water panel spent six days across three locations examining, without fear or favour, the close to 40 boats entered. At a time when it seems road safety makes the news every day, we planned to make use of the expertise of the National Marine Safety Council. With regulations and standards being considered for recreational boats, who better to provide special feedback on the safety aspects of the craft submitted for judging? Alas, despite repeated assurances to the AMIF from the NMSC, no judge was made available. Maybe next year!

Looking forward, we're not about to say that the criteria, categories and judging panel cannot be improved. Nor are they set in stone. Already in consultation with the AMIF, we have identified a number of improvements we would like to make for 2003. We will be making our case for more changes going forward. We believe that the credibility of the Boat of the Year award depends on it.

Hence, some of the winners detailed in the pages may surprise you. Some of the losers may, too. The fact of the matter is, at the pointy end of the field, details are as important as the big picture, and the latest does not necessarily translate to the greatest!

That said, make no mistake, the 2002 Boat of the Year, the individual category winners and merit award recipients are all very worthy champions. They are also without exception world-class craft.

Mike Sinclair
General Manager
Pacific Marine Media

More than just Boat of the Year

The 2002 AMIF Australian Marine Awards also included three industry category awards, one short step away from the core boating group gongs.
The Marina of the Year, New and Innovative Product of the Year and Exporter of the Year Awards each had their own stated criteria and were judged by AMIF appointed panels.

MARINA OF THE YEAR

JUDGES:
Mike Thackray, Incoll International Marine Consultants; David Turner, BIAWA immediate past president.
WINNER : D'Albora Marina Akuna Bay
D'Albora Marinas is a group of marinas operated by Omni Leisure Operation in NSW. The Akuna Bay Marina, set in the beautiful Ku-Ring-Gai Chase National Park, is the gateway to over 160km of sheltered inland waterways. Akuna Bay is a complete marina village with a comprehensive range of facilities.

Certificates of Merit were also awarded to Gold Coast City Marina (Coomera, Qld) and Marina Hindmarsh Island (Hindmarsh Island, SA).

NEW AND INNOVATIVE PRODUCT

JUDGES:
Barbara O'Dowd, WA State Department of Planning and Infrastructure, Marine Safety; David Granville, Editor, Pacific Marine Media
WINNER : Electrolysis Blocker, Marina Corrosion Protection
Marina Corrosion Protection Systems, based in Western Australia, manufactures and sells galvanic isolator and corrosion monitoring equipment for the protection of marinas and vessels against electrolysis.

EXPORTER OF THE YEAR

JUDGES:
Brett Chisholm, Senior Project Officer, Marine and Defence WA State Department of Industry and Technology; Ross Bray, Austrade Manager Defence and Marine.
WINNER: Mustang Cruisers Mustang Cruisers exports a growing range of luxury sportscruisers. According to the judges, Mustang Cruisers was best able to demonstrate why it should win the award. It had the highest increase in exports for the 2000-2001 FY, a sound export strategy and exhibited very strong export potential over the next three years. The company is active in US, European and Asian markets and has established dealer networks in those regions. It has shown a strong commitment to exports in establishing a dedicated export team and has invested significantly in R&D. Mustang's marketing team has successfully utilised international exhibitions and trade publications to assist with its marketing efforts.