The BOB Awards is Europe’s largest international motorboat competition in terms of countries represented and boats tested – and this year, the jury of 17 international boating journalists undertook no fewer than 585 tests on lakes and rivers, involving 170 new models from 19 different nations. It was the fourth time the BOB Awards had been presented at the Berlin event and the multi-national jury was again on hand to select the best boats in each of five key categories for the current model year.

The winners of the Best of Boats (BOB) Awards have been announced at the ‘Boat & Fun’ Exhibition in Berlin.

The winners of the Best of Boats (BOB) Awards have been announced at the ‘Boat & Fun’ Exhibition in Berlin.

In ‘Best for Beginners’, the award went to the robust new aluminium Finnmaster Husky R5, for its ease of use and its family security, with Russia judge, Anton Cherkasov, describing it as “a masterclass in functionality and handling.”

In ‘Best for Fishing’, the Wellcraft 222 Fisherman won through against tough competition, leading Julijan Višnjevec, Editor-in-Chief of Solvenian magazine Val Navtika, to explain what went into the decision: “In order to have a pleasant fishing trip, you need lots of space, fishing rod holders, fish tanks and a work table. You also need a boat that is safe and seaworthy with good weather protection.” The Wellcraft, newly imported into the UK by Sea Ventures in Swanwick, was said to hit the mark on all counts.

Neale Byart, Editor-in-Chief of UK magazine, Motorboat Owner, presented the ‘Best for Family’ award to Catherine Trichet and Martin Schemkes for the excellent new Jeanneau Leader 33 - and Martin was plainly delighted with the result: “We are very proud of this award. The company is currently celebrating its 60th anniversary and is continuing to expand. This type of boat is the future for us.”

For those who enjoy the simple pleasures of being on the water and the entertainment of a sporting drive, ‘Best for Fun’ is the most keenly anticipated category – and this year, the award was presented by Jan Sjölund, Editor-in-Chief of Finnish magazine, Venemestari, to Marco Zuccolà of InvictusYachts for the Invictus 370. He praised the boat’s combination of performance, style and luxury, with particular mention of the clarity of design. In an emotional speech, Marco said: “The panel chose the perfect boat for leisure and fun. I am so proud.”

And in the fifth and final category, The Delphia BluEscape 1200 secured the ‘Best for Travel’ award on the basis of the fact that it is “just as at home at sea as it is on inland waters.” With its minimal draft and low-profile structure, it can access a wide variety of cruising zones and its potential for three cabins, with two heads compartments, a communal main deck saloon and the option of a flybridge, brings it the kind of versatility the extended cruiser loves.

For more on the awards and the rest of this year’s nominees, visit Best of Boats.

Written by: Alex Smith
Alex Smith is a journalist, copywriter and magazine editor with a long history in boating and a happy addiction to the water. He’s worked on boats, lived on boats, bought boats, sold boats and – when he’s not actually on board a boat – he can generally be found in his Folkestone office, tapping away at the computer and gazing out to sea.