A new international awards initiative known as ‘Best of Boats’ (or BOB) has selected its winners at the Berlin Boat Show.
Using a jury of journalists from no fewer than 11 European boating magazines, BOB came up with four basic, if rather broad, categories (Best for Beginners, Best for Fun, Best for Family and Best for Nature) in its bid to identify those leisure craft that most effectively satisfied the needs of the real boater...
In Best for Beginners, the Bayliner Element XL beat off competition from the Beneteau Flyer 6, the Jeanneau Merry Fisher 695 Marlin and the aluminium Silver Hawk CC 540 to take top prize. (See full-length boats.com Bayliner Element review here.)
In Best for Fun, Yamarin’s Cross 75 BR triumphed ahead of Sea Ray, Parker, Frauscher, Flipper and Buster. Read Alex Smith's Yamarin Cross 75 BR review here.
In Best for Family, the indisputably excellent Bavaria Sport 360 Coupe claimed top spot ahead of the Nimbus 405 Coupe, the Monte Carlo MC4, the Jeanneau Leader 40 and the Bayliner 742.
And in Best for Nature (bizarre and delusional though the category sounds), the German Torqeedo-powered Tender 06 Oe took top spot.
Plainly, these winning boats all have their merits, but given the dynamics of the judging panel, I’m not sure it quite hits the mark. For instance, in addition to judges from Finland, Germany, France, Spain, Poland, Russia and the Ukraine, landlocked Austria and Switzerland also had a say - and so too did Slovenia, presumably on account of its weighty maritime history and its 25 nautical-mile stretch of coastline. There was nobody at all from the famously capable boat building nations of Norway, Italy or Britain – and of the 11 judges, there was not a single woman to add a fresh (or at the very least a non-masculine) perspective to the assessment of what really matters in an effective powerboat.
Now don’t get me wrong, I have tested most of these boats myself in the last 12 months and I know them to be worthy of acclaim - but with a voting cross-section as skewed as that, the UK boater might be best off regarding BOB’s assessment more like a Eurovision vote than a buyer’s guide.
See www.bestofboats.com for more.