Few honors have more prestige in the marine equipment field than the DAME Awards, which are decided at the METS trade show in Amsterdam in mid-November. The entries represent some of the most forward-thinking advances in marine aftermarket equipment. They are also a litmus test for the health of the industry: the more innovative products on show, the more effort is being put into R&D and product advancement. This year's competition featured 125 new products; call us optimists, but we at SAIL see this as a sign that things in the marine market are on the uptick.
This year, top-flight products included Spinlock's new dinghy life jacket, the new GPX-5 hybrid-power solution from Mastervolt, the Blue Eco jacket by Henri Lloyd, the iPhone app iSiMON by Palladium Technologies, and Hall Spars’s new Solid Carbon Rigging (SCR).
Ultimately, though, it was the new M-626L thermal-imaging system from FLIR Systems that took the grand prize of Overall Winner of the 2009 DAME awards. "Price and awareness are the two bottlenecks working against thermal-imaging technology in leisure boating," said Guy Pas, VP of sales Eurasia, who collected the award on behalf of FLIR. "With the M series of cameras we've created a mainstream product and winning the DAME award will certainly help us raise awareness of the product."
Closer to home, Hall Spars of Rhode Island won a DAME award in the Sail and Rigging category for its aerodynamically shaped SCR rigging. This product is a game-changer in that its frontal profile is substantially less than either synthetic rigging systems, so it yields far less drag/windage. According to Eric Hall, the product's lifespan is similar to that of a mast, which is a huge improvement over some other systems that need replacement after 4 to 6 years. Look for more on this exciting new carbon-fiber product in the February issue of SAIL.