Overall Winner Pittman Award 2015 - SailMagazine
The following report is taken from Sail Magazine............
One of the fun things about our Pittman Innovation Awards—besides getting to check out what’s new and improved in the sailing world—is the way each year’s winning class seems to have it’s own distinct personality. Some years are hardware driven, others see simple commonsense solutions to vexing problems afloat, some are a mishmash of all of the above. For 2015, the theme definitely seems to be the latter: how else to describe an assemblage of gear that includes everything from a portable hot-spot for making satellite calls on your cell phone to the latest take on that most ancient piece of marine hardware, the humble cleat?
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 the outstanding new products created by a sailing industry that remains forever fresh in its thinking. As in years past, our 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 many boat shows, both here and abroad, to uncover the best of the best that’s new sailing gear.This year's overall winner, theAllen Brothers Keyball Trapeze, got the nod from our overall-winner panel—comprised of systems expertNigel Calder, West Marine "advisor" series authorTom Burden, and Gerry Douglas,chief designer and vice-president of Catalina Yachts—in recognition of what the panel described as the product's “originality.” The panel also liked the fact that product helps solve a serious issue facing the sailing community—the safety of its dinghy sailors, a group that includes many of sailing’s arguably most vulnerable practitioners, the young and newcomers to the sport. “This looks like a smart product that does a good job of helping solve a serious safety issue,” said West Marine’s Tom Burden. High praise for any sailing product! Kudos to Allen Brothers for not being content with the status quo.
Log enough wire time on a high-performance dinghy, and odds are good you’ll eventually join the “around-the-world” club by capsizing so violently that you’re thrown around the headstay. Or worse, an aggressive roll tack or gybe goes wrong, and you end up to leeward, trapped under the sails. Either way, being able to quickly get free of the trapeze is critical. The new Allen Keyball Trapeze, the result of a collaboration between Allen Brothers and noted dinghy designer Julian Bethwaite, makes it far easier to escape a trapeze than the standard hook-on system, which has caused at least one fatality in recent years. The innovative new Keyball system has a solid aluminum ball attached to the end of an aluminum guide (situated on the trapeze-wire assembly) that fits easily into a 3D-molded keyhole on the system’s buckle (worn on the sailor’s harness). Sailors can easily adjust their height/hiking angle via a simple purchase system (situated on the trapeze-wire assembly, just above the becket on the top of the aluminum guide) and should calamity strike, getting loose is a snap.