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NEWS & REVIEWS

TWO SOUTH AUSTRALIAN BOAT BUILDERS WINNERS AT THE AMIF AUSTRALIAN MARINE AWARDS

Winter 2008 | No. 48 | SA  Waters & Leisure

Local boat-builder Jim Theodore, of Theodore Marine, recently won national recognition for his highly competitive range of 7209 Coastal craft, winning in two categories of the 2008 Australian Marine Awards.

Conducted each year by the Australian Marine Industries Federation (AMIF) and timed to coincide with the Sanctuary Cove International Boat Show on the Gold Coast in May, the awards were announced before an audience of four hundred marine industry and media people, at The Marriot Resort Surfers Paradise, on May 22.

A very strong field of sixty one finalists, from right around Australia, had entered both local and imported craft or products, competing in twenty six different categories. They had all faced judging panels in Perth, the Gold Coast and Sydney.

AMIF CEO, Sherry Donaldson, noted that these nominations from both local and international manufacturers indicated not only the choice available today in Australia, but also, due to our strong performance and competitiveness in exports, to the rest of the world.

Ms. Donaldson also pointed out that our marine industry creates some 36,000 jobs and around $6 billion in sales nationwide.

The AMIF Australian Marine Awards recognise the country's finest locally manufactured and imported recreational vessels, as well as innovative, associated produces. "All finalists represent excellence in quality and to be finalists is an outstanding achievement in itself," Ms. Donaldson said. "All self nominated and media nominated vessels were eligible for consideration for a finalist position."

Ms. Donaldson added that the award finalists were evaluated by two teams of judges, four from media and four independents, all of whom were experts in their individual fields. 

The 2008 judges were Kevan Wolfe, Ian Macrae, Chris Beattie, Mark (Doc) Robinson, Andy Cooper, Antony Krokowski, Peter McKulkin, Rod Tweddle, Mike Brown and Ian Ward.

Judging criteria for finalists includes an exhaustive checklist of more than 40 items covering overall impressions, presentation, ergonomics, performance and safety.

The Australian Marine Awards is supported by media partners Club Marine, Modern Boating, the Gold Coast Bulletin, Seaspray and Yaffa Publishing and is sponsored by OCV Reinforcements, Fusion, Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research (DIISR), Sanctuary Cove International Boat Show and the Gold Coast City Council.

The 26 categories ranged from Boat of the Year- Sail, won by Buizen 48 through to Innovative Product, which was won by the Walter Peter Wright boat hook/mooring system.

Theodore Marine entered their latest model, the 720 Coastal Offshore, in the "Fishing Trailerable - Fibreglass/ GRP Over 6m' and won, with the Haines Signature 675F getting a commendation.

In the 'Cruiser Trailerable - Fibreglass/GRP Over 6m', won by the Whittley 2800 Cruiser, the 720 Coastal Soft Top received the commendation.

Theodore Marine again emerged victorious with their 720 Coastal Open version winning the 'Day Boat' category, ahead the Quintrex 530 Freedom Cruiser which received commendation.

Further good news for South Australia came when Mannum builder Houseboat Concepts' Absolute was named winner and they also received a commendation for Parachilna Sunset, the delightful smaller houseboat featured in our previous issue.

For Leica and Jim Theodore, these national awards represent the peak of a mountain they began climbing nearly 10 years ago, when they began designing what is now recognised as a strong, truly magnificent, high performance hull. 

Drawing on his many years' experience as a shipwright, Jim then began producing a range of variants based on this hull, so producing the 'Targa', 'Open', 'Hardtop', 'Bimini' and finally 'Offshore' versions of his Theodore Coastal 720 range.

Understanding the importance of reaching the widest possible market audience, Leica and Jim took to promotions with vigour.  This involved not only presenting displays at state Boat Shows and regional Field Days, but also towing a Theodore from Adelaide to Perth and back, with many stops along the way.

 

Theodore 720 Coastals were also taken to Queensland as entrants in the AMIF awards in the last four years, receiving ten finalist awards and three commendations.

This year, the judges were impressed by the 720 Coastal Offshore that they awarded it a Special Commendation. This was accompanied by their observation that 'The Theodore 720 Offshore is a worthy contender for the overall Boat of the Year. It delivers a hull full of innovation and clever touches for serious fishermen".

Jim in turn has said he was over the moon after the presentations. "We've been bringing boats from South Australia to the Gold Coast for judging since 2005 and while we have close on many occasions we have never been able to crack it for a win," he said. "To pick up two AMIF awards as well as a commendation in 2008 has made all the hard work worthwhile. We thought that being selected as finalists from the 139 entries evaluated on in Perth, Sydney and on the Gold Coast was an honour, but to win is fantastic.

These awards are tremendously important to the marine industry and all manufacturers should get behind them. They are a great selling tool, because winning an award shows prospective buyers how highly the independent judges rate our boats," he added.

Having simply admired and observed the new Offshore variant in action off Kangaroo Island earlier this year, we finally got our hands on it recently. Our test appears on the following to pages.