SAIL Magazine Announces 2011 Pittman Innovation Awards

SAIL’s annual Pittman Innovation Awards recognize the most innovative products in the sailboat market. For 2011, SAIL’s editors have selected 15 groundbreaking new sailing products. “It was more difficult than ever for our judges to narrow down such a strong field of new products. Here’s proof that the marine industry is forging ahead with research and development,” said Editor-in-Chief Peter Nielsen. Pittman Innovation Awards coverage appears on page 66 of the February SAIL issue and will be featured at SAIL’s Innovation Station during the Strictly Sail Chicago Boat Show, January 27-January 30, 2011.

The winners are: Yale Ph.D Spectra Rope, PYI Max-Prop Ecowind Propeller, Harken Rewind Radial Electric Winch, Facnor FlatDeck Furler, Seldn Reversible Winch, Spinlock XXC0812 Powerclutch, Spinlock Zero Sports Flotation Vest, B&G Zeus Multifunction Display, Standard Horizon Matrix AIS, IsatPhone PRO, Garmin GPH 12 Autopilot, ProMariner ProNauticP/Sterling ProCharge Ultra, Dometic Marine SailVac, Sea Joule Solar Bilge Pump, and Dock & Go by Groupe Beneteau. Honorable mentions went to FSE Robline for their organic rope, Ronstan for their Core Blocks, and Wave Craft for their Wave Blade. By category, here are the 15 award-winning products:

In the Cruising Gear category, judged by SAIL Executive Editor Charles Doane: Yale Cordage’s Ph.D Spectra Rope has a unique base-strand construction resulting in a smooth, user-friendly line that’s easy to handle and splices easily. Not only does PYI’s four-blade spring-loaded Max-Prop Ecowind Propeller maintain optimum pitch whatever the conditions, it also maximizes boatspeed and range while decreasing fuel consumption, making it extremely efficient. Harken’s Rewind Radial Electric Winch can easily trim and ease a line under load with a simple touch of a button.

In the Racing Gear category, judged by SAIL Editor-at-Large David Schmidt: Facnor’s FlatDeck low-profile furler uses webbing in place of a standard furling line to reduce drum size and eliminate overrides. Seldn’s Reversible Winch is designed to be self-tailing and self-easing. The winch’s one-handed action is especially advantageous to racing sailors; the manual allows them to keep their weight on the rail while they trim. Spinlock’s XXCO812 Powerclutch sets a new standard in ultra-performance clutch design and can handle loads as high as 5,180 pounds while keeping weight at a minimum.

In the Safety Gear category judged by Senior Editor Adam Cort: Spinlock’s Zero Sports Flotation Vest features high-stretch, multi-panel construction, slim flotation panels to ensure ease of motion, and a ribbed venting system. Cort declared it “so hip and comfortable, you’ll actually want to wear it!”

In the Electronics category, judged by SAIL Electronics Editor Ralph Naranjo: B&G Zeus Multifunction Displays integrate a wide range of performance data. The Zeus Z8 and Z12 have been optimized for use on sailboats and include a full suite of navigation tools for cruising sailors. Inmarsat’s IsatPhone PRO sat phone is compact, affordable, easy to use and has much to offer cruisers and racers. The two-in-one features of the Standard Horizon Matrix AIS include a DSC radio and the ability to track AIS class A and B contacts and display them on the unit’s multifunction LCD display. The Garmin’s GPH 12 is a linear-drive autopilot that has been optimized for use on 20-to 70-foot sailboats.

In the Systems category, judged by technical editor Jay Paris: the ProMariner ProNauticP/Sterling ProCharge Ultra lines comprise a series of all-digital battery chargers for 12- and 24-volt systems, with outputs from 10-60 amps feeding up to three battery banks. The Dometic Marine SailVac includes a vertical configuration for easy installation on smaller cruising sailboats, and when used with a VacuFlush head, uses as little as a pint of water per flush. With Sea Joule’s Solar Bilge Pump, you’ll never have to worry about your dinghy flooding again. This solar rechargeable bilge pump has an integral float switch. Groupe Beneteau (in conjuction with Yanmar and ZF Marine) introduced the revolutionary Dock & Go joystick maneuvering system for sailboats. It’s available on a number of Beneteau and Jeanneau models.

Each February, SAIL honors the memory of the late Freeman K. Pittman, SAIL’s technical editor for 14 years who died in 1996 from ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease). 2011 Pittman Innovation Award winners will be featured at SAIL’s Innovation Station during the Strictly Sail Chicago Boat Show, located at Navy Pier at booth #420.

SAIL Magazine, the SAIL Buyers Guide and their companion websites ( and are owned by Source Interlink Media, Inc., a media and marketing services company and one of the largest publishers of magazines and online content for enthusiast audiences.

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