Innovation award winners announced at the Miami show

Fri Feb 18 2011, 14:54 PM

The NMMA presented awards for 12 products at industry breakfast

The National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) has named 12 products as winners in its 2011 Innovation Awards contest at the Miami International Boat Show and Strictly Sail Miami. The awards were judged by members of Boating Writers International (BWI).

In the Cruisers category, which ranged from 25ft-60ft LOA, the Chaparral 327 SSX Bow Rider won the award. Judges found that the 327’s patented cockpit cabin widens its size to the full beam of the boat. “It shakes up the bow rider category by providing a truly livable space below,” said judge Allan Wendt. “How many Innovation Award judges can fit into the 327 cabin? It turns out, all of them.”

Sea-Doo’s GTI SE 130 watercraft won the PWC, Jet boats and Pontoon boats category. “The GTI SE 130 is a comprehensive package of features for the value-minded rider,” said judge Robert Buller. “With its new ergonomically designed deck, fuel efficient ECO mode, Intelligent Throttle Control and Breaking System, this is a smart package with a price point under $9,000.”

Beneteau’s Sense Series won the Sailboat category. “The Sense Series opens the doors to sailing for those who might otherwise be nervous by close-quarters maneuvering with its Dock and Go System,” said judge Diane Byrne. “Combine that with an enormous cockpit for entertaining, a living space separated from the noise of necessary machinery, and a deck that’s easy to navigate, and you have an impressive boat that takes the intimidation factor out of big boat sailing.”

Imtra took the award for the Docking and Fender Equipment category for its SidePower SEP Speed Control Thruster series. The Side-Power SEP Series is the first DC thruster range that provides exact proportional control and eliminates the danger of overpowered or underpowered docking. Judges noted that the system even had a Hold function that runs the thrusters continuously to hold the boat against a dock for short-term maneuvers like picking up and dropping off passengers.

In the Consumer Electronics and Software section, there were two winners and an Honorable Mention. Simrad’s BSM-2 Broadband Sounder is the only recreational sonar to incorporate commercial-grade frequency sweeping pulse compression (CHIRP) technology. It also delivers up to five times greater target resolution.

B&G’s Zeus Sailing Navigation System also won an award. The system combines broadband radar and sounder, AIS tracking, sonar imaging, and more in one multi-function display. Plus, it can also overlay GRIB weather files and laylines to improve decision making. “This navigation system will help cruisers and racers make much better routing decisions,” said Homer.

RBFF’s Take Me Fishing Boat Ramp Mobile App won an honourable mention.

In the Consumer Installed Non-Electronic Hardware category, Seldén’s Reversible Winch won the award. The manual, two-speed winches are a combination of a unique handle and specially designed jaws that allow the drum to be rotated in two directions. “You can sheet in or out as precisely as needed — and with only one hand,” said judge Roger McAfee. “It was so easy, even a power boater could do it.”

MasterCraft’s Zero Flex Tower 5P won the Watercraft Equipment category. The tower raises or lowers to three different positions and can tow at all three. “This is a smartly designed, well built, tower of power that looks like mechanical muscle,” said Jack Horner.

Suzuki’s DF 40A/50A won the Outboards category. The DF 40/50 3-cylinder outboards provide 15 per cent more displacement and are 5 per cent lighter than their 40 and 50 HP predecessors. “They bring top end features to a smaller, neater, powerplant,” said the judges.

In the Consumer Safety Equipment, there were two winners. Navionics Mobile iPhone Marine & Lakes Mobile App allows for users to add their knowledge to the Navionics database and help identify the latest conditions that may be transferred wirelessly to their boat’s navigation system.

Lake Lite’s Solar Powered Illuminating Buoys were the second winners. They are LED-lighted, solar-powered buoys, for nighttime navigating is a breeze.