Interior designer Birgit Schnaase presented the 2017 DAME Award at the start of the METSTRADE Show in Amsterdam today to UK manufacturer Scanstrut for its RS Venture Connect Conversion Kit, with a further 22 products named as Category Winners and commended with Special Mentions.

The Scanstrut Venture Connect Conversion Kit retrospectively adapts an RS Venture, a dinghy designed for able-bodied sailors that is already in common use in many training and sailing centres. The plug-and-play kit includes a combined battery and control pack, a powered mainsheet winch, joystick control and sip-puff headset option. Fully self-contained, it enables a sailing instructor to convert the boat in 30 minutes to one suitable for use by those with a wide range of disabilities, including paraplegia.

The jury praised Scanstrut for delivering a well-designed and fully integrated solution with attention to every detail that will allow a broader range of disabled people to get on the water and enjoy the same benefits as others.

Commenting on the result, Schnaase, chairwoman of the DAME jury, stated: “I work a lot in the superyacht sector and saw good entries that apply there, but I was also pleased to see products with personal applications that you can look, touch, see, feel and understand. Our overall winner is a very good example of that.

“The marine sector’s end users are changing – the younger generations often do not have their own boat and need highly accessible products; the industry’s wealthier customers have individual and often very different ideas of what they demand of a boat and its equipment. We also need to be much more aware of the need to address diversity. We saw welcome evidence that products are being developed to address these market changes.”

The globally significant DAME Awards is unrivalled in promoting everything that is important about marine equipment design. The 27th edition attracted 122 products from 22 countries. A total of 64 products were nominated and these are appearing on the DAME stand at METSTRADE. The jury then selected the DAME winner, together with seven outright category winners. A further 16 entries were commended with special mentions.

The other category winners announced this morning were SIMARINE NEREIDE Smart Marine Power Panel (Marine Electronics and Marine Related Software), Besenzoni P400 Matrix (Interior Equipment, Furnishing, Materials and Electrical Fittings used in Cabins), V5 Seabin (Marina Equipment, Boatyard Equipment and Boat Construction Tools and Materials), Zhik Isotak X Extreme Ocean Sailing Apparel (Clothing and Crew Accessories), CrewWatcher (Lifesaving and Safety Equipment) and Oceanvolt Servoprop (Machinery, Propulsion, Mechanical and Electrical Systems and Fittings).