• Aquator Marine

Best sailing tech for 2022: DAME award winners and special mentions

22nd November 2021

(Article originally published by

After METSTRADE returned to Amsterdam last week, we bring you the best sailing tech for 2022 from this year's show. First we'll take a look at the DAME award winners and some of the special mentions.

The DAME awards are an opportunity for the great and the good, alongside the small and emerging manufacturers, to showcase their latest offerings to the maritime world. There’s one overall winner, five category winners and lots of special mentions, all of which form a good list of the best sailing tech for 2022. We take a look at these latest award winners and explain how this new tech can enhance and improve our boating or sailing enjoyment.

The overall DAME award winner of 2021:

Volvo Penta Assisted Docking

The 2021 overall winner of the DAME award is the Volvo Penta Assisted Docking. Whilst this might initially look like a purely motorboat focused device, it can be more and more relevant for the larger crop of twin ruddered plus 50 foot sailing yachts too. The use of joystick control isn’t a new invention as it has been used for years on windfarm support vessels and on lots of the current production line of well known larger flybridge, sports and luxury cruisers. But what is new with this latest offering from Volvo Penta is the smart computer control to auto compensate for the wind and tide using clever sensors and telemetry to auto adjust so that you really do dock with perfection every time, no sweat. The good thing about docking confidently and accurately every time is the speed and efficiency it affords. If you’re poo-pooing the idea of assisted docking or joystick controls, come and join the discussion about what a game changer it can be on larger sailing yachts.

Best sailing tech 2022 winners:

JOY self-tailing Cleat Who would have thought we’d have an electro mechanical cleat? What a novel invention and quite possibly a very useful addition to heavier or larger vessels or for those who need a little assistance to sweat the boat alongside when the wind is blowing you off. On luxury or larger yachts this can mean safer docking and less risk of crew injuries and on the smaller end of the market, this can be a game changer for those who want to continue sailing but lack pure brute strength required sometimes when holding a boat alongside. Just step on the button to activate the winch and smile smugly as you moor with ease. Garmin Surround camera System We have them on our cars, vans and motorhomes, so it seems quite reasonable to have this latest technology installed on our motorboats and sailing yachts. Garmin has introduced the marine industry’ first fully integrated system of cameras to offer a bird’s-eye view for a full 360-degree observation. The system utilises a six camera array for full situational awareness using augmented reality (graphic overlays) to offer the skipper or captain distance markers and a visual bumper which can be pre-set to assist with docking or to monitor external objects. This could be useful on a crowded anchorage and certainly useful for squeezing into a tight marina or dock. Mastervolt MLI Ultra 1250 Lithium Battery I’m sure on many boaters minds this winter is the impending choice of boat battery. For those of us who have 6 or 7 year old batteries we probably don’t have lithium yet, but it will certainly be something to consider. Weight savings up to 70%, high charge/discharge capacity, ability to charge in just one hour and a 3x extra lifespan compared to lead-acid batteries are all considerations to be borne in mind. With the additional smart controls and ability to monitor your battery state from a standard mobile device, all of these positives might, just might, outweigh the initial high cost of investing in Lithium technology, making this battery a sure bet for many of us. I wonder how many will be converting from AGM/Lead Acid to Lithium on that much dreaded/expensive consumable part of boat ownership? Voyager TX series, Dometic Air Conditioning I’m not sure how many British boats have the need or desire for air conditioning onboard, but the moment you head South towards the Mediterranean or across to the Caribbean or US waters they become more of a necessity for anyone wanting to spend more than two weeks in 30 degree plus heat. For those who want aircon but are worried about the constant drain on power or fuel, this award winner promises fuel savings without sacrificing performance, in part due to its titanium condenser coil and reduces starts to prolong the life of the unit.

ACR ResQLink View RLS Personal Locator Beacon Nothing says I love you quite like the gift of a PLB for birthday or Christmas. This ACR personal locator beacon is the only one (so far) to have been developed to use the Galileo GNSS system. Return Link Service (RLS) The big promise from the new satellite array was the much needed confirmation of distress alert received notification on safety devices. The one thing that can keep a survivor going is the knowledge that help is on its way. This beacon will do just that, giving a clear message on the display which lets you know that your signal has been received by the coastguard and rescue authorities.

The DAME award Special Mentions:

Remigo Electric outboard The Remigo fully integrated 1000w electric outboard motor is a first of its kind. Designed to be simple to use, mount and adapt to multiple small boats or tenders. The mounting bracket moves on the body to allow up to 800mm of leg adjustment. Portable and stowable, it could easily slip into the lazarette or small cupboard. They say that it can be charged with AC or DC, with a fast AC charge taking just 3 hours and a DC full charge taking around 12 hours. In eco mode, travelling at 2 knots, you’ll get up to 30nm out of it. If you like to whizz about at 5 knots then you’ll get just under 5nm from one charge. Weighing in at a little under 15kg or 33lbs it’s on a par with other small 2 or 3hp petrol outboards. These things are a compromise of performance objectives, they won’t suit all purposes. For clean, quiet and fuss free shuttling between shore and boat, electric motors are hard to fault. Raymarine Cyclone Radar The new Raymarine Cyclone solid-state open-array radars bring additional functionality and colour coded target visibility to radar displays from fishing boats to luxury yachts. A radar that can see birds can help fishers to identify where the fish are. The cyclone radar can accurately pick out objects, colour code them safe or warning and target track up to 50 at a time using doppler. Entering and navigating a busy waterway will be that little bit more reassuring. They make this model in 3, 4 or 6 foot antenna options and have two high-power output options too. Giving best-in-class-performance, this is surely worth a look if you’re in the market for a new radar.

Plastimo SLR life jacket Plastimo SLR 196n lifejacket – DAME Special Mention

The SLR dual chamber harness lifejacket is a new launch this Autumn from our French friends at Plastimo. It has dual chamber technology and 196N buoyancy to improve rollover efficiency and freeboard.

The lifejacket closure is a seat buckle style with safety release catches to avoid it being accidentally unclipped. Ultra-flexible when worn, this jacket should conform to the wearers body shape, making it form-fit winter foulies to summer skinnies. It has neoprene at the back of the collar to avoid neck chafe and a host of other smaller ergonomic considerations for the wearer. I’ll be looking forward to testing this out in early 2022 to see how much of a difference the extra newtons of buoyancy make. To read more about this life jacket, visit the Plastimo website. When it is available to buy, it will be available from Aquafax as UK’s main distributor.

Icom IC-M94DE handheld VHF radio

Icom IC-M940 DSC AIS handheld VHF radio – DAME Special Mention

What’s better than a handheld radio with DSC? A handheld radio with DSC and AIS capability! How about adding Float’n Flash to that spec? Heck yes!

This is a cracker of a portable handheld VHF unit, with the added security of displaying the identity of the vessel you’re calling. Those who navigate the magic roundabout TSS in the North Sea at night will attest, having the ability to call named shipping directly is an absolute boon. Such a useful and some might say essential bit of kit for anyone using a smaller vessel in coastal waters. I can’t wait to get my hands on one for a full real world test.