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Island Packet among award winners

Its SP Cruiser sailboat is honored for innovation, along with boats from Chris-Craft and Glacier Bay

Its SP Cruiser sailboat is honored for innovation, along with boats from Chris-Craft and Glacier Bay

Chris-Craft’s Catalina 23 center console, Glacier Bay’s 3070 IsleRunner power cat, and Island Packet’s 41-foot SP Cruiser were among seven products honored with Innovation Awards at the Miami International Boat Show earlier this year. The awards are presented annually by the National Marine Manufacturers Association and judged by members of Boating Writers International.

“This year a total of 50 products were entered,” says Zuzana Prochazka, Innovation Awards co-chair and BWI board member, in a news release. “There were some exceptional entries this year, and it made the judging process a challenge.”

• The Chris-Craft Catalina 23 ( was honored in the Runabouts and Fishing category. Judges say the center console, introduced last fall at the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show, is a serious fishing platform in a good-looking, family-friendly sportboat. “The blind mounted T-top ensures no toe-stubbing, while the roomy head provides lots of comfort,” Prochazka says.

At 23 feet, 6 inches overall and with a beam of more than 8 feet, the Catalina 23 accommodates up to eight people, according to Chris-Craft. Features include port and starboard fishboxes, a 20-gallon live well at the helm, and port and starboard custom fiberglass rod boxes. “It’s loaded with features for a serious day of fishing,” says judge Lenny Rudow, Boating magazine’s senior technical editor.

• The award in the Inboard and Outboard Cruisers category was presented to Glacier Bay for its 3070 IsleRunner ( ). With surface-piercing rails and what the company calls “super chines,” the 30-foot catamaran has a soft, dry ride, according to the judges. “Reduced rolling, increased stability and tracking in rough seas are just some of this unique boat’s features,” Rudow says.

Options include a 42-gallon bait tank and pump, 18-gallon transom bait well and a saltwater washdown system. The boat “offers great livability and fishability,” says Rudow.

• Island Packet Yachts’ SP Cruiser ( ) took the award in the Sailboats category. The 41-footer, which judges say combines good sail-keeping with the comforts of a trawler, features twin cockpits and pushbutton sail controls. “This boat raises the bar on convenience and comfort in order to keep new and seasoned boaters sailing longer,” Prochazka says in the release.

• Lewmar’s OneTouch winch handle won the award in the Consumer Installed Non-Electric Hardware category ( ). Aiming to speed up maneuvers and improve usability, Lewmar designed the winch handle to become engaged or released by squeezing a locking plunger, pin-and-ball mechanism on the handle. The inspiration for the design reportedly came from the many quick-release components used in Formula 1 racing.

“To be able to improve on something so simple, and that’s been around for decades, is quite a feat,” says judge Phil Draper, editor of European Boatbuilder, in the release. “Priced right and well designed, it’s a clear winner.”

• The Windmate 350 wind and weather monitor from Speedtech

( took the award in the Consumer Personal Gear category. The Windmate 350 offers digital calculations of both wind speed and direction, a digital compass, temperature, barometric pressure, humidity and an audio storm alarm. “Lots of features in one package,” says judge Jan Mundy, editor of DIY Boat Owner magazine, in the release. “It’s a complete weather station bundled in one ergonomic unit.”

• In the Daysailing Equipment category, Way Marine Design was honored for its No Profile boat lift ( The lift is powered by hydraulic cylinders on both sides of the platform on which the boat rests, which eliminates the framework and overhead motors used by conventional lifts, thereby creating dock space and better access to the boat. “Aesthetically clean and completely out-of-the-box thinking, it makes for easy launch and easy load,” says judge and Trailer Boats magazine technical editor Jim Barron.

• Johnson Outdoors took the award in the Consumer Electronics and Software category for its CannonLink controller ( ). The judges say they were impressed by how the module enables any Humminbird fishfinder to simultaneously or individually control up to six Cannon downriggers, and controls a number of other downrigger and outrigger operations.