The marine industry's top gear design award went to a chaise longue - what a disgrace


All that hoo-ha about the ISAF World Sailor of Year, which only a handful of people care about anyway, and there has not been a squeak about the joke recipient of an award that is of far greater importance to sailing and the marine industry.

I’m talking about the DAME awards, the premier design award made every year at METS, Europe’s big marine equipment show. This is the award that recognises and highlights innovations and inventions that ought substantially to improve life on board, and this year the jury gave it to a chaise longue.

I kid you not. I’m sure the Teaky Beach chaise longue is beautiful and clever, but it’s irrelevant. It’s trival. It’s not a proper piece of marine equipment at all. On that basis alone, it should never have got a look in for a top award.

There are a hundred and one inventions that could make sailing easier or safer, a thousand things that could invented, or just improved, from marine loos to cookers to lifejackets. The DAME awards shortlist included such useful things as a new rudder stock, a boom brake, a device to lock off marine heads and stop them flooding and a compact broadband device for yachts, all of which sounded worthy to me.

Maybe they were a bit mundane and utilitarian because the jury, chaired by designer Bill Dixon, gave the winning awards to items primarily designed for superyachts.

Even so, a chaise longue. I ask you. What a joke.