Harken Derm

2017 Pittman Innovation Awards

Published on February 22nd, 2017

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.

Looking back over the years SAIL has been running the Pittman Innovation Awards, it’s incredible to see the variety of different products that have been featured. There’s been everything from sails to navigation aids to clever little gadgets that can’t help but make you wonder, “Why didn’t I think of that?” In recent years, however, there has emerged a kind of existential battle between innovative mechanical products and the latest electronic miracles of the current digital age.

The digital side seems to have come out on top in 2017, thanks to the advent of such things as yet more uses for AIS and a heads-up data display of the kind once available only to fighter pilots. Nonetheless, the guys with the wrenches clearly aren’t giving up, as is evident in products like one of the coolest blocks we’ve ever seen, a clever new folding propeller and even a fresh take on the lowly inspection port.

Most important of all, even after revolutionizing the sport to a point where it is almost unrecognizable compared to what it was a generation ago, the marine industry continues to do justice to the spirit of Freeman K. Pittman. For the list of winners…click here.

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