Italian entrepreneur Paolo Vitelli, who founded Azimut Yachts as a student in Italy and who later acquired the venerable Benetti brand, was honoured with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the inaugural Boat Builder Awards for Business Achievement at METS.
"People say that to succeed you need vision, you must suffer, and you need passion. In the marine industry you also have to be a little bit crazy,' said Vitelli in his acceptance speech. "So to the young people entering the industry, the next generation, I say, take the lead, take risks, be brave, and be crazy – and you will succeed.'
Joining Vitelli on the podium were the winners of five business achievement categories. The Retail Marketing Award, presented in recognition of outstanding creative retail marketing initiatives introduced in 2014-2015, was presented to Dominator Yachts for its Ilumen Virtual Reality campaign, with a honourable mention to Boston Whaler for its 420 Outrage launch.
The Boat Builder International Distributor/Dealer Development Award, recognizing builders who attained a significant expansion of their boat building business within export over 2014/2015, was presented to Brunswick Marine in recognition of its Quicksliver dealer network expansion outside of Europe.
In the Boat Builder and Equipment Manufacturer Collaborative Solution category, designed to recognize outstanding examples of collaboration between suppliers and boat builders, Jeanneau and Harken Inc. were honoured for their Assisted Sail Trim product, with an honourable mention to Fairline Boats and Falcon for their Wildcat product.
Galeon Yachts received the Innovative On-Board Design Solution Award for its Galeon 500 Fly, with an honourable mention to Mastervolt for its CZone networked monitoring system. And in the final Innovation In A Production Process category, Monte Carlo Yachts was honoured for its modular construction process, with an honourable mention to Karnic Powerboats for its Smart Production Control.
The awards were presented following the second day of METS during a gala dinner at the historic National Maritime Museum in the heart of Amsterdam. Boat builders shortlisted by the judges for awards included Brunswick, Jeanneau, Baltic, Monte Carlo Yachts, Azimut, Formula, Karnic, Boston Whaler, Sea Ray, Scout, Dominator, Rayglass, Galeon, Riviera, Fairline, Sunreef and Axopar, along with equipment manufacturers Harken, Maxwell, Falcon and Mastervolt.
Organized jointly by IBI and METSTRADE, the awards are designed to recognize and celebrate those individuals and companies excelling in the detail to push both their brands and the industry forward.