Best of Boats Award 2016: and the winners are ...
Friday, December 9, 2016 3:00 PM
The Best of Boats Awards (BOB) were presented at BOAT & FUN BERLIN for the third time. Amid a festive atmosphere at the GALA NIGHT OF THE BOATS representatives of the industry gathered in Hall 6.2 for the prize-giving event. The Best of Boats Awards were launched in 2014 by boat journalists from many countries and different editorial offices which had and have two things in common: their very large experience as boat testers and their particular interest in the practical needs of boaters, the focus of these awards unlike at other events. The winning entries offer buyers direct help for deciding on which boats are best suited to them. The Best of Boats Awards currently are for five categories Best for Beginners, Best for Fishing, Best for Travel, Best for Fun and Best for Family. A Special Award for a pioneering technology or other innovation was given for the first time in 2015.
For the first time the selection panel also awarded ‘Best for Travel’, bringing the number of categories in the competition to five. The winners were picked by 17 journalists from 15 nations. They tested the boats under even the most adverse conditions, including in snow and low temperatures. Over the course of 500 tests they examined 171 boats made by production series boatbuilders in 19 countries.
The first prize to be awarded was in the Best for Beginners category. “Above all, a good boat for beginners must be safe. Not only that, it must also be practical and easy to operate. It should be good value for money and offer 100 per cent fun“, is how Jan Sjölund, editor-in-chief of ‘Venemestari’, Finland’s leading boating magazine, commented the decision to pick the Bella 700 BR, which the panel chose for its clever design and attention to practical details. It has enough space for friends and family on board and can be equipped with extras such as a bathroom unit. Commenting on the award, the boat’s Norwegian designer Espen Thorup said: ”Even though I was the designer I had a whole team supporting me, about two to three hundred people with whom I share this honour. So this prize does not belong to me but to the entire team who worked on Bella. We have been nominated so many times that it really feels great to actually win now. I believe we deserve it.”
In the Best for Fishing category the winner was the Beneteau Barracuda 8. Panel member Arek Rejs explained why fishing enthusiasts are a special customer group: ”They prefer to spend their money on new fishing equipment rather than a new boat. That makes it particularly demanding to find the right boat for them.” Plenty of space on deck, good seaworthiness and safety are just some of the aspects that characterise a good fishing boat. Accepting the award Mike Keser, managing director of Bootscenter Keser in Berlin-Spandau, said: “We have been working with Beneteau for many years now. First we sold sailing boats, now motorboats. We can simply say that the boats handle great in the water and have an excellent hull design.“ The layout of the boat and its handling in rough seas make the Beneteau Barracuda 8 an excellent boat for fishing enthusiasts with sporting ambitions.
Immediately afterwards, Mike Keser had to take the stage a second time to accept the award in the new Best for Travel category. In this case it was the Beneteau Swift Trawler 30 which had impressed the selection panel. ”We realised there is a big demand for boats for travelling long distances and where people stay on board for quite some time“, said boat tester Alfred J. Boer from the Netherlands explaining why this new award had been created. Fuel consumption, a sturdy design and safety were the criteria on which the panel had based their decision. They chose the Beneteau Swift Trawler 30 because of its storage space, the large lounge area and an amplydimensioned cockpit. ”This award will make people aware of the marque and is an important sales argument“, said a delighted Mike Keser.
The award in the Best for Fun category was presented by the Swedish journalist Anna Sandgren. ”In this category the perfect boat has to satisfy several criteria. It must be good for water sports, for enjoying nature, must have enough space for friends and family and be safe“, she said. The winning boat was the Frauscher 1414 Demon. According to the panel this Austrian-built boat features an exceptional design combined with outstanding performance. Stefan Frauscher, who manages the boatbuilder, said: ”First of all I would like to thank the workforce at home who did a fantastic job – and naturally the panel members who chose our boat. Today I am very proud and incredibly happy.” Commenting on the Frauscher 1414 Demon he said: ”Performance, quality and design all go hand in hand on this model. All this is the work of a family-owned company and that is what makes it special.“
In the Best for Family category the winner was the Sargo 33. The award was presented by Neale Byart, chief editor of Motorboat Owner magazine from the UK. ”A family boat needs to be practical, fun and safe – particularly if children are on board“, he said. The Sargo 33 fulfils all those criteria. Thomas Sarin, managing director of the boatbuilder Sarins Båtar, said: ”Naturally, this boat would be my first choice for a family outing. We have 50 years of experience building boats and try to combine safety, stability and a certain amount of sportiness with all of them, particularly the Sargo 33. These three features are what set this boat apart.“ For Frank van Delden, managing director of the importer Harle Yachtbau, the most important sales argument is safety. ”This is a classic example of a boat on which people can walk around. Children can run about, even a dog, and nobody can fall overboard. It is completely safe, features an excellent interior, in a word it is absolutely perfect.“