Pittman Innovation Award winners

Published on January 20th, 2015

Named after Freeman K. Pittman, SAIL’s long-time technical editor who died of Lou Gehrig’s disease in 1996, the Pittman Innovation Awards recognize outstanding new products created by a sailing industry that is perpetually innovative in its thinking. SAIL’s team of judges – executive editor Adam Cort, cruising editor Charles J. Doane, technical editor Jay Paris, electronics editor Ben Ellison and racing editor David Schmidt – roamed boat shows at home and abroad to uncover the 15 “best of the best” new products in sailing gear.

“Once again our panel of judges came away impressed with the way the marine industry never seems to run out of great ideas,” said executive editor Adam Cort.

The 15 Pittman Innovation Award winners for 2015 are the Antal Roller Cleat, Tylaska Quickstay, Iridium GO!, Allen Brothers Keyball Trapeze, Glide Free Foils, Garmin GPSMAP Sailing Software, Furuno DRS4W and Nobeltec TimeZero iPad Radar, B&G ForwardScan, BoatLOGGER blogging site, Spectra Z-Ion Membrane Protection, Dynad Hydromax 150 fuel cell, Jefa APS Steering Traveler, Seabung, Digimed and Ocean Signal RescueME MOB1.

This year’s Overall Winner, the Allen Brothers Keyball Trapeze, was selected by a panel of judges that included Nigel Calder (systems expert and author), Tom Burden (author of the West Marine “advisor” series of articles) and Gerry Douglas (vice-president of Catalina Yachts).

Pittman Innovation Award category winners
In the Racing category: The Allen Brothers Keyball Trapeze (Overall Winner) was designed to improve sailors’ safety, and reduces the risk of entrapment that can result from the standard hook-on trapeze system; the Glide Free Foils kit allows you to convert a standard Laser into a foiling rocketship by removing your old foils and slotting the new foiling centerboard into the centerboard trunk; and Garmin GPSMAP Sailing Software (GPSMAP 7400/7600 and 8000 series MFDs) which includes a number of racecourse-specific applications that can help make winners out of novice racers.

In the Electronics category: Furuno DRS4W Nobeltec and TimeZero IPAD Radar allow you to wirelessly integrate both radar, digital charting and navigation on an iPad; B&G ForwardScan is much faster than previous FLS (Forward Looking Sonar) systems, so you get instant feedback as you maneuver through obstacles with its 15-degrees-wide-by-90-degrees-high forward beam; and BoatLOGGER lets you easily design a website for your boat, including photo albums, blogs, maintenance lists and storage for PDF manuals.

In the Cruising category: The Antal Roller Cleat, which besides looking good, can transform an open-horned cleat into a closed fairlead and is designed to streamline the hardware’s profile to keep it from catching feet, toes and loose working lines; the Tylaska Quickstay, a quickrelease standing-rigging terminal that has a breaking strength of 2,200lb; and Iridium GO!, a pocket-sized satellite-based Wi-Fi hotspot that allows up to five laptops, tablets and phones within a 100ft range to connect for both voice and data transmission from anywhere in the world.

In the Systems category: The Spectra Z-Ion Watermaker Membrane Protection system produces silver ions during a freshwater flush that disinfect the watermaker and eliminate microbial growth and odors for up to a month; the Dynad Hydromax 150 fuel cell uses fuel that can be safely transported in powder form— a mixture of malic acid (found in apples) and a saline solution; and JEFA’s APS Steering Traveler is a significant improvement over other twin steering systems, linking twin wheels and twin rudders in a new and straightforward way.

In the Safety category: Seabung has created a new and better plug to seal holes in your hull by creating a temporary patch on the outside of the hull; DigiMed’s medical diagnostic kit from DigiGone comes with a subscription to George Washington University’s Maritime Medical program, so in the event of an emergency a crewmember can open the pre-programmed tablet and video-conference with an MMA doctor; and the Ocean Signal RescueMME MOB1 sends a distress signal that can be picked up by both AIS and DSC to help rescuers reach a victim that much faster.

Coverage of the 2015 Pittman Innovation Awards is in the February issue of SAIL and online.

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