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Keyball Review with Quinn Edmonds & Fin Oliver

by Ben Harden 30 Apr 2019 07:59 PDT

Allen's first recipient of the Allen Academy Optimist was Quinn Edmonds back in 2016. Since then, Quinn has gone onto sail an RS Feva very successfully with his crew Fin Oliver. The boys are now starting to transition into the 29er, making sure they have a head start once they become too big for the Feva.

When transitioning to a new boat, such as the 29er, there are many new things and skills that a sailor will be required to learn. The most important for the crew in this case being the ability to trapeze. So, the first thing any crew will need before learning to trapeze is a harness. Being well informed of the latest Allen products Fin decided he would try the Keyball trapeze system. Here's what he thought:

"Quinn and I have been transitioning into the 29er, as with starting to sail any new boat we needed some new kit. One of the first things we needed was a trapeze harness. Luckily when we first started, I was able to get my hands on an old traditional hook harness, however, I didn't find it very comfortable.

I also kept getting the hook caught on things when we capsized, as you do when you first learn to sail a 29er! I found I got stuck on the gunnel quite often. I soon decided that I needed to find a better alternative.

Having sailed with Quinn for some time now, I know all about the Allen range of hardware. I was aware that they offered an alternative, the Keyball system. As soon as I could, I bought one and have been really pleased I did ever since.

Unlike a traditional hook system, it has just a plastic socket molding on the harness. I soon found that it is less likely to cause damage to the boat as it has no sharp edges. Also, I found it much easier to clip and unclip compared to the traditional hook. I have the Banks Sails version of the harness which I find incredibly more comfortable and fitted than the other harnesses I had tried.

When using the Keyball system I feel very secure when on the wire and still have very good movement and flexibility around the boat. This has made me much more confident in the boat and I feel that I can tack and gybe better than I could with the traditional hook.

I have been asked several questions by coaches and other sailors about the Keyball system, such as; how I hold on during the exits of tacks and gybes. Personally, I think that even though it has a thin handle my hand still always lands on it, and the flexible ball on the end is easy to slide into the socket on the harness. So, I don't think that grip is a problem.

I don't think that anyone would have any trouble adjusting to using the Keyball if they decided to switch from a traditional hook. Overall, I really like this Keyball system and don't think I'll be changing anytime soon." Allen launched the Keyball trapeze system at METS 2014 and since then Allen has gone onto work with some of the top harness manufacturers such as Zhik and Banks Sails to provide an alternative to the savvy sailor who is open to trying something new.

The Keyball system is available as both a ready-made harness and as a retro fit-able kit. To find out more about the system watch the following YouTube videos or head over to the trapeze section on the Allen website.

Keyball walkthrough with designer Tom Clayton and OJS photography:

YachtsandYachting.com information video:

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