I have been around the sailing industry for a while and as one of the the good old boys/girls I have the pleasure of being asked to serve on panels such as the Cruising World Boat of the Year Awards panel. I am not a judge. Let me get that straight right off the bat. No, what I do is I work with other builders and with the magazine to establish guidelines that monitor the competition and the judging process. I am a huge fan of Boat of the Year, not just because we have won so many awards, but because I think that a competition which is judged by some of the strongest experts in their field, makes better sailing yachts.
The winners are not Edsels that are one companies "market researched, perfect vessel". No these boats are really good because of the variety of opinions that are fed into the ballot box and the variety of backgrounds of the judges.
This morning I was pleased to see my Fedex package arrive with the January issue of the magazine and the announcement of the winners. I was even more pleased to see that Catalina Yachts won the Domestic Boat of the year and also won their category. You may ask why I am so pleased about Catalina and my answer is that I am thrilled that an American company can stand up the all of the European builders and come out a winner. I am also very fond of the owners and senior management of Catalina and always wish them well. We are in two very different market segments and we feel no competition between us.
So Frank, Sharon and Jerry, congratulations on your big win and best of luck for the 2011 with your Catalina 355. It's a great boat and it deserves the recognition.
For our part the Sabre 456 was not a new design in terms of it's tooling and molds and the rules for the contest prevent such a redesign from entering the fray. Oh but I wish we could have been there.