2017 Pittman Innovation Awards

Author:
Publish date:

Looking back over the years we’ve been running our 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: with the digital side seeming 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.

pittmanjudges

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, SAIL’s long-time technical editor who died of Lou Gehrig’s disease in 1996, and for whom our Pittman Innovation awards are named. As in years past, our team of judges—executive editor Adam Cort, cruising editor Charles J. Doane, technical editor Jay Paris, and electronics editor Ben Ellison—roamed boat shows near and far in an effort to uncover the best of the best. And as always, the industry did not fail to impress.

Panpan MOB Beacon and APP

 Panpan MOB Beacon and APP

Panpan MOB Beacon and APP

They say great things come in small packages, and this is definitely the case with the new PanPan MOB system, which employs any and all of a crew’s existing tablets and phones to track an errant crewmember in the event he or she goes over the side. In addition to its low cost and diminutive size, what really impressed our Overall Winner judges was its ease of use, not only for the skipper and other seasoned salts, but for newbies as well. It’s long been said that safety devices are only truly effective if you 1) actually use them and 2) know how they work. PanPan’s creators have solved both of these problems in a way that is both elegant and cleverly efficient. Read more...

Overall Winner Judges:Nigel Calder (systems expert and author), Tom Burden (author of the West Marine “advisor” series of articles), Gerry Douglas (chief designer and vice-president of Catalina Yachts)

Cruising

by Charles J. Doane

Mantus Scuba System

Mantus Scuba System

Mantus Scuba System

Many cruisers like the idea of carrying scuba gear, both for underwater exploration and underwater repair and maintenance jobs, but are thwarted by the expense and sheer bulk of the equipment involved. Now the folks at Mantus Anchors have shattered that barrier with a new compact lightweight mini-scuba kit that is both easy to stow and easy to use. Read more...

 Vetus ILT Universal Tank Inspection Ports

Vetus ILT Universal Tank Inspection Ports

Vetus ILT Universal Tank Inspection Ports

No one worries more about what’s really inside their water and fuel tanks than a dedicated cruiser on the go. On many boats, tank inspection ports are an afterthought, but thanks to Dutch marine-systems specialist Vetus, that should soon be changing. Read more...

 GoFree Connected Vessel

GoFree Connected Vessel

GoFree Connected Vessel

When Navico created its GoFree brand in 2014, the ultimate goal was to create a comprehensive connection between you and your vessel via the Internet. Read more...

Safety

by Ben Ellison

 McMurdo SmartFind G8 AIS EPIRB

McMurdo SmartFind G8 AIS EPIRB

McMurdo SmartFind G8 AIS EPIRB

The next generation EPIRB is almost here, and it adds a local rescue dimension to the renowned yet still improving global capabilities of the 406 MHz COSPAS-SARSAT system. Upon regular 406 transmitter activation, the McMurdo SmartFind G8 AIS EPIRB will also begin sending out an AIS emergency signal. Read more...

 Standard Horizon GX6500 VHF/AIS transponder

Standard Horizon GX6500 VHF/AIS transponder

Standard Horizon GX6500 VHF/AIS transponder

Building the first VHF radio combined with a Class B AIS transceiver was a challenge but Standard Horizon went even further by adding unique remote station capabilities. Read more...

Racing

by Adam Cort

 Garmin Nautix In-view display

Garmin Nautix In-view display

Garmin Nautix In-view display

Back in 2010 one of the many gadgets Jimmy Spithill employed aboard his enormous Cup-winning BMW Oracle trimaran was a sunglasses-mounted heads-up display, a la “Top Gun.” Read more...

 Ino-Rope Ino-Ending 3.6

Ino-Rope Ino-Ending 3.6

Ino-Rope Ino-Ending 3.6

If a kind of elegant simplicity is an integral part of good design, then it would be hard to find a better example of excellence than Ino-Rope’s Ino Ending 3.6. Read more...

Systems

by Jay Paris

 TORQEEDO Pod Motors

TORQEEDO Pod Motors

TORQEEDO Pod Motors

A recognized leader in the area of electric yacht propulsion, Torqeedo has captured the market’s attention with the new pod motors used in its Cruise 2.0/4.0/10.0 saildrives, and especially with the modified Cruise 4.0 used in Hanse’s innovative E-Motion Rudder DriveRead more...

 FORESPAR Filters

FORESPAR Filters

FORESPAR Filters

While there are a number of potable water filtration systems available, Forespar’s PureWater+ will be particularly useful in the compact galleys found on many modern boats where the countertop is almost completely taken up by a stove, reefer access and a sink. Read more...

FLEXOFOLD Two-blade Prop

FLEXOFOLD Two-blade Prop

FLEXOFOLD Two-blade prop

Flexofold’s newest two-blade saildrive propeller includes a number of technically interesting features that serve to set it apart from the competition. Read more...

Environmental

FIREBOY-XINTEX

FIREBOY-XINTEX

FIREBOY-XINTEX

The Fireboy CG and Ma Series automatic fire suppression systems recently took a big step forward environmentally by changing to 3M’s “Novec” 1230 Fire Protection Fluid. Read more...

Electronics 

by Ben Ellison

Nautic Alert Decision Platform & Insight

Nautic Alert Decision Platform & Insight

Nautic Alert Decision Platform & Insight

By installing a Nautic Alert Decision Platform onboard you will, in essence, have a tireless mate who constantly minds the bilge, manages the pumps intelligently, and lets you know what’s happening, whether you’re in the cockpit or ashore. Read more...

Furuno DRS4D-NXT radome

Furuno DRS4D-NXT radome

Furuno DRS4D-NXT Radome

Last year Raymarine, Garmin and Furuno all followed Simrad/B&G by introducingtheir own solid-state small radars, a technology that’s especially sailor-friendly, due to its fast startups, modest DC power needs and low emissions. Read more...

Airmar DX900+ MultiLog

Airmar DX900+ MultiLog

Airmar DX900+ MultiLog

Accurately measuring leeway is arguably the holy grail of performance sailing analysis, and now Airmar thinks it has found the solution in a solid-state electromagnetic technology already used to monitor commercial fishing trawls. Read more...

Check out the 2016 Pittman Innovations Winners Here

February 2017

Related

TOTW_PromoSite

SAIL's Tip of the Week

Presented by Vetus-Maxwell. Got a tip? Send it to sailmail@sailmagazine.com No chafe, safe stay  If you’re leaving the boat unattended for a longish period, there’s a lot to be said for cow-hitching the shorelines, as this sailor did. They’ll never let go, and so long as the ...read more

belize600x

Charter Special: Belize

It would be hard to imagine a more secure spot than the Sunsail base on the outskirts of the beachside community of Placencia, Belize. The entire marina is protected by a robust seawall with a channel scarcely a few boatlengths across. It’s also located far enough up Placencia ...read more

DSC00247

DIY: a Top-to-Bottom Refit

I found my sailing “dream boat” in the spring of 1979 while racing on Lake St. Clair in Michigan. Everyone had heard about the hot new boat in town, and we were anxiously awaiting the appearance of this new Pearson 40. She made it to the starting line just before the race ...read more

01-oysteryachts-regattas-loropiana2016_063

Light-air Sails and How to Handle Them

In the second of a two-part series on light-air sails, Rupert Holmes looks at how today’s furling gear has revolutionized sail handling off the wind. Read part 1 here. It’s easy to look at long-distance racing yachts of 60ft and above with multiple downwind sails set on roller ...read more

HanseCharles

Video Tour: Hanse 348

“It’s a smaller-size Hanse cruiser, but with some big-boat features,” says SAIL’s Cruising Editor, Charles J. Doane. At last fall’s Annapolis Boat Show, Doane had a chance to take a close look at the new Hanse 348. Some of the boat’s highlights include under-deck galleries for ...read more

amalfitown

Charter Destination: Amalfi Coast

Prego! Weeks after returning from our Italian flotilla trip last summer, I was still feeling the relaxed atmosphere of the Amalfi Coast. It’s a Mediterranean paradise, with crystal-clear waters, charming hillside towns and cliffside villages, plenty of delicious food and wine, ...read more

image005

Inside or Outside When Sailing the ICW

Last April, my wife, Marjorie, and I decided to take our Tartan 4100, Meri, north to Maryland from her winter home in Hobe Sound, Florida. This, in turn, meant deciding whether to stay in the “Ditch” for the duration or go offshore part of the way. Although we had both been ...read more

MK1_30542

SailGP: There’s a New Sailing Series in Town

San Francisco was the venue of the biggest come-from-behind victory in the history of the America’s Cup when Oracle Team USA beat Emirates Team New Zealand in 2013, so it seems only fitting that the first American round of Larry Ellison’s new SailGP pro sailing series will be ...read more