The normally reticent, Bill Barry-Cotter ‘let fly’ with a four-letter word when he learned that his Maritimo 60 had been named the Australian Marine Industries Federation, Boat of the Year for 2005.
The luxury motor yacht, which made its debut at last year’s Sydney boat show, was also awarded Cruiser of the Year. In the same category, Riviera’s M400 Sports Cruiser was given a Commendation Award
To many in the industry Barry-Cotter’s double victory would come as no surprise as he has long been recognised by his peers as a genius in big boat design and construction. Barry-Cotter has enjoyed a career virtually littered with Boat of the Year awards, starting with Mariner Cruisers, Riviera Marine and The Riviera Group and now, Maritimo Offshore. The latest addition to the Maritimo stable, the Maritimo 52 will be launched at this year’s Sydney International Boat Show.
The 2005 Australian Marine Awards saw a significant increase in the number of entrants. Conducted under the auspices of the Australian Marine Industries Federation (AMIF), a total of 161 boats were considered for the awards.
Continuing with the approach initiated in 2004, three Australian boating publication groups co-operated to provide judges and other resources for the awards. This was done to widen the scope of entries and to enable as many boats as possible to be considered. Manufacturers and importers were still able to nominate their boats, and in addition every boat tested by the media partners for their respective magazines between March 1, 2004 and February 28, 2005 were also automatically included in the judging process.
The result was that some 161 boats were considered for the awards. From that large entry, the first round of assessment selected 80 craft for the finals judging, held in Sydney at the Cruising Yacht Club and at the Southport Yacht Club on the Gold Coast during April. However, 16 of these boats were withdrawn by manufacturers or importers, leaving 64 to be evaluated.
The Australian Marine Awards are concerned not only with boats, but also with a number of other fields within the marine industry. Whilst the vessel categories tend to gain the most attention, awards are also given to encourage excellence in marina design and standards, new and innovative marine products and for imported and exported products.
This year’s Marina of the Year winner was d’Albora Marina at Nelson Bay in central NSW, while Ronstan was awarded Exporter of the Year for a second time. Two entrants for the New and Innovative Product category were impressive and, although neither the variety of cranes from Australian Davits and Cranes nor the Fractional Boat Ownership of the Cruising Club qualified as outright winners, both were granted Commendation Awards.
There are 12 vessel categories in the Australian Marine Awards plus an overall Australian Manufactured Boat of the Year winner. Even with this spread of classifications, it was difficult to do justice to the wide range of boats that varied from sailing dinghies and small alloy fishing craft to large yachts and multi-million dollar luxury cruisers. Allowances were made for individual boating applications and styles of boat, and further distinctions were made between locally built and imported craft.
Imported entries competed in their own trailerable and non-trailerable categories, and were not eligible for the overall Australian Manufactured Boat of the Year title, which is strictly the domain of Australian designs. These Aussie boats were divided into categories by application, such as sailing, fishing or cruising (and further classified by trailerable and non-trailerable), dayboat and custom built. There was no emphasis on the construction material used, instead judging focused on how well the boat suited its intended purpose.
Boats were judged on several aspects, including; performance, safety, ergonomics, presentation, planning and overall impression, and each boat was scored independantly by multiple judges. Safety carried 20 per cent of the total score. This proved to be an area that required some improvement in a number of craft presented, and consequently became a crucial factor when determining the results in some categories. Unlike last year, there were entrants, and finalists, in every category.
In the Sailing Trailerable category, neither of the two finalists gained enough points to be designated as winner (90 per cent of the overall winner’s score has to be achieved for a boat to take out a category title). However, the Nippa from Sydney Yachts/Nippa Sailing was granted a Commendation Award, as was the Perry 57-foot catamaran from Perry Catamarans, whilst the category winner was the Seawind 1160 from Seawind Catamarans. There were six finalists in the Imported Sailing category. The DK 46 from Workforce Marine came through with a Commendation Award and the winner was the Beneteau First 44.7 from Vicsail.
There were two other imported categories covering power boats. In the Imported Trailerable section, there were seven finalists from which the Tracker Marine Nitro 901 CDX emerged with a Commendation Award and the Cobalt 200 from Cobalt Boats Australia came out as category winner. Sunseeker Motor Yachts dominated the Imported Non-Trailerable category, with the eventual honours given to the Sunseeker Yacht 75 and the Sunseeker Portofino 46 gaining Commendation Award.
Amongst Australian-built power craft, Fishing Trailerable is always a popular and hotly contested category. Ten finalists fought it out, with Cruise Craft’s Explorer 625 coming out on top. The Haines Hunter 650 Classic took home a Commendation Award. The Fishing Non-Trailerable award went to the Powercat 3000 Sports Cabriolet.
The Quintrex-Telwater 540 Freedom Sport took out this year’s Dayboat category, while the Theodore Coastal 720-01 from Theodore Marine was given a Commendation Award. The Custom Built category attracted four finalists from which the Norman R. Wright & Sons Custom 47 Passagemaker out-scored the field to become the category, winner. A Commendation Award was given to the Ocean Master 651. In the specialised Ski/Performance category there was no outright winner, however the Performance Marine/Skicraft X-AIR scored a Commendation Award.
The Cruiser Trailerable field saw four finalists ranging between 5.0 and 7.2 metres. Theodore Marine scored its second Commendation Award for its Theodore Coastal 720-01, behind Whittley’s category-winner Sea Legend 700.