AIM Marine Group Editors’ Choice Awards recognize the ‘best of the best’ in boats and more.
More than three dozen boatbuilders were honored during the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show at the first AIM Marine Group Editors’ Choice Awards. (Active Interest Media, AIM, is the parent company of Power & Motoryacht.) The awards were among 43 given for individual achievement and for best boats in their categories at the banquet, which benefited Nova Southeastern University’s Oceanographic Center.
“The Editors’ Choice Awards were developed to recognize the best of the best in production and semicustom yachts,” AIM Marine Group publisher Gary De Sanctis says. “It is the only event of its kind that honors these builders on a global perspective.”
The Ocean Alexander 120 was named Best Overall Boat of the Year, an Evan K. Marshall-designed 120-foot trideck that Christensen Shipyards engineered and built. The company says the yacht’s “revolutionary new approach to the helm layout” will be a signature item for future Ocean Alexander motoryachts.
AIM tapped the editorial team from its stable of marine publications in each category to make the choices. George Sass Jr., the Marine Group’s editorial director and editor-in-chief of Power & Motoryacht magazine, says the awards reflect renewed vigor, confidence, and innovation among builders and manufacturers.
“After a significant time in the field testing and evaluating these products, the editors of the AIM Marine Group realized it was time to recognize the innovators and the innovations,” Sass says. “So last summer we implemented a process that allowed our editors from the individual magazines to nominate the best product in categories aligned with the expertise of their individual brands. The nominees were reviewed at length, discussed internally, and critiqued against the competitive set.”
The decisions were not always easy, but the criteria were clear. “The boat has to be a solid, all-around performer,” says Soundings senior reporter Chris Landry, who has tested more than 200 powerboats during his career. “It has to have a smart design and layout, and the construction needs to be detail-oriented and of the highest quality. The ride needs to be smooth, and it has to behave well in all sea conditions. If the boat doesn’t execute its mission and purpose, it won’t be a top choice of mine.”
Of course, a 22-foot bay boat won’t perform like a 40-foot express boat or a 110-foot motoryacht, Landry says, but sometimes boats try to do too many things and don’t do any of them well enough to meet the highest standards. He says he is impressed by the number of high-quality new boats introduced in the past couple of years. “For consumers, that’s a great thing,” he says. “It’s good to have these builders pushing each other to develop better and better boats.”
Additionally, Madame Annette Bénéteau-Roux, former chief executive and president of Groupe Bénéteau and now vice chairperson of its supervisory board, received the AIM Marine Group’s Lifetime Achievement Award (see p. 48). Robert C. Arzbaecher received the Good Samaritan Award.
Here’s a review of each of this year’s AIM Marine Group Editors’ Choice Award winners. And we’re already gearing up for next year. Stay tuned. — Jim Flannery