The Azimut-Benetti founder picked up a Life Time Achievement Award last night in Amsterdam

The founder and chairman of Azimut Benetti, Paolo Vitelli, was presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award, sponsored by Sleipner, at last night’s Boat Builder Awards for Business Achievement in association with Raymarine. The event was held at a gala dinner in the National Maritime Museum in Amsterdam.

Vitelli, whose name the judges said, had become synonymous with Italian boatbuilding at its best, was joined by daughter Giovanna and more than 200 industry guests under the spectacular glittering dome of the Museum’s historic courtyard, to hear which companies had been crowned winners in five categories in these inaugural awards organised jointly by IBI and METSTRADE.

Joining Paolo Vitelli in the winners circle last night were Monte Carlo Yachts, which picked up the Innovation in a Production Process award sponsored by Whale, for its game-changing modular production technique that enables semi-customised boats to be built up to 50% more quickly on a full scale production line.

Dominator was named winner of the Retail Marketing Award sponsored by Saltwater for its Ilumen Virtual Reality system with the judges praising the technology as a genuine innovation, the like of which has not been seen before in our business. Galeon Yachts and the ‘beach mode’ that the judges felt brought a little bit of big boat functionality and superyacht chic to its new 500 Fly, was named winner of the Innovative On-Board Design Solution category sponsored by Fusion. Brunswick Marine EMEA’s expansion of its Quicksilver line outside of Europe earned it the podium spot in the Boat Builder International Distributor/Dealer Development category sponsored by Lumishore, while Jenneau and Harken’s three year collaboration on the Assisted Sail Trim system, potentially revolutionizing cruising and shorthanded sailing, was deemed a worthy winner of the Boatbuilder & Equipment Manufacturer Collaborative Solution award, sponsored by Ultraflex.

There were three honourable mentions on the night – for Karnic in the Innovation in a production process category for its Smart Production Controller, and Fairline Boats and Falcon cracking the not inconsiderable engineering feat of creating frameless windows that can be fitted to any hull form. Mastervolt’s CZone digital control and monitoring network was also commended by the judges.

“We congratulate the winners and those short-listed companies that ultimately made the event the success that it was,” said IBI publishing director Nick Hopkinson, who went on to thank chairman of the judges John Maxey, praising the judging panel’s efforts in whittling down the considerable number of award entries to find the best of the best. “ Awards to recognise the work this industry does, to celebrate the individuals and innovations that make it unique, are long overdue. We look forward to crowning more winners at the Boat Builder Awards for Business Achievement 2016.”