Wednesday, April 16, 2014

How to Choose the Right Type of PFD

Here is a simple guide to understanding the different kinds PFD's we offer and how to choose the right one for your type of sailing.



Here's what we covered:

Buoyancy Aid: Lightweight, low-profile, less bulk. These are a good option for small and sporty keel boats, like a Melges 20 or J-70. I love mine!

Type III USCG Approved: These support a variety of sailing, from dinghies to small keel boats. If you are looking for a life jacket to use across the board, this is the way to go. It’s easy to get in and out of because it has a zipper closure, and their sporty design allows for comfort.

Type V USCG Approved: These life jackets are designed for a specific purpose. Our Type V life jackets are designed specifically for dinghy sailing, with a pullover design and the ability to move your arms in a wide range of motion.

USCG Approved Inflatable: This PFD is designed for inshore and coastal keelboat sailing. It is a super lightweight and comfortable inflatable.

Offshore Inflatable: The offshore inflatable is a high-performance PFD designed to endure the elements of ocean sailing. If you are going offshore, this inflatable will give you the best combination of safety and comfort.




And remember: always make sure to check your SI’s to make sure your PFD is in accordance with you club’s safety rules!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

How to Pack for a Mid Distance Race

As the sailing season gets back into full swing, many sailors will be gearing up for mid-distance races such as Annapolis to Bermuda and Newport to Bermuda—both excellent races to push personal and equipment limitations.  

I'm sailing the Annapolis to Bermuda.  For this race, I’ll be packing all (except for my foul weather gear, boots, and PFD) my gear into a 30L bag for weight and space saving purposes.

See all of the things that fit here:


What was covered:

For sun protection, I’ll be bringing : (1) Patagonia Sol Patrol Shirt, (2) APS Tech Shirt L/S, (1) APS Tech Shirt S/S, (1) OR Sun Hat, (1) Patagonia Sun Mask, (1) Costa Del MarSunglasses, (1) Gill UV Tech Polo and of course Z Block Sunscreen.

For my every day wear, I have 2 pairs of Slam Hissar Shorts paired with my Sperry TopsiderSeaRacer Shoes.

For the cooler nights, I chose the Zhik High Vis Beanie, HenriLloyd Elite baselayer (top and bottom), (1 pr) Smartwool Heavy Insulated Socks, (1) Gill Microgrid Fleece.  These baselayers and midlayer work great underneath my foul weather gear.

As far as accessories go, I have a pair of Ronstan Sticky Fingerless Gloves, LeathermanSkeletool, Tikka Plus 2 Headlamp, and Freestyle Mariner Watch.

Curious about what foul weather gear I’m taking?  Check back in with me in a few weeks.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

How to Install the Epic Laser Traveler

If you like your traveler; then you can keep your traveler.  But, if you are ready for something epic, the future is here. The Laser Epic Traveler by APS.

Made from New England’s Wire RopeReplacement, it is a double-braid Dyneema line.  Double braid means a better hold in the cleat with a higher resilience to UV damage, and of course, no stretch.

How does it work?

Our riggers splice a high-tech, six inch loop into the end; thus eliminating the potential for the tiller to get hung up on a bulky bowline.  Then, we use a 12:1 system with 1,000 lbs of pressure to ensure there will be no “set”, or elongation when the line is loaded up during sailing.  An end whip finishes off the inboard end for durability, and you are good to go.

Let’s see how to install it right: 

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

How to use a SOAK Dogbone


These shackle alternatives are super simple, lightweight and easy to use. In the video below I will show you our preferred method for using the SOAK Dogbones. There are certainly other ways to use this clever invention but the method shown below is how we intend our custom rigging that utilizes the dogbone (like our J70 tackline) to be installed.

The best uses that we have found are for main halyard attachment, outhaul attachment, and spinnaker sheet and tackline attachment on boats under 27’. The dogbone comes in 3 sizes;  #8 for 1/8” line or smaller, #10 for 1/8”-3/16”line, and #12 for 3/16”-1/4”line.


The sky is the limit with these little gems and if you can think it up, we can probably make it for you. We have seen the dogbones used all over the place from reefing lines to attachment of running back turning blocks, to securing an outboard lead for jib reaching. Give us a call with your idea for using dogbones, and our customer service team and riggers will be happy to make you a solution that fits your needs. Enjoy!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

How to Assemble a Laser Dolly

Are you looking for a Laser dolly?  We have two great options to choose from, the Seitech Laser dolly or the Dynamic Laser dolly.  Both are constructed of aluminum extrusions, polypropylene joints and stainless steel hardware. 

The main difference between the two is the way in which the boat sits.  Both offer a sling for when you’re moving the boat around, but on the Seitech it also has upright pieces that allow the gunwale to rest on for storage. Each easily breaks down into transportable pieces and reassembles in under a minute.  

The initial construction can be a bit daunting, so we’re here to help.  Grab your Phillips head screwdriver (the only thing you'll need for assembly) and check it out: 

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Comparing 75mm Carbo Blocks

Whether you’re a small boat sailor, or a big boat sailor you know the benefits of having blocks on loaded lines. Harken makes a wide range of blocks to fit all your needs. Three main blocks are the Standard Ball Bearing, the Ratchet, and the Ratchamatic.


Why use a ratchet block?
Ratchet blocks are great for when you need to control highly loaded sheets with ease. There are two types of Harken ratchet blocks, the standard Ratchet, and the Ratchamatic. 

The Standard Ratchet can be turned off with the flick of a switch. This enables you to engage the ratchet when you want to or turn it off when it is not needed.  This allows you to adjust the setting based on your abilities and trimming style.  When the sheet is easy to pull in and/or the breeze is light – then turn off the ratchet.  As the breeze increases, and so do the loads on the sheet, you’re able to turn the ratchet on, easily, at the moment it is needed. 

The Ratchamatic engages depending on the load of the line on the block. If you’re not sure you want the authority of when to change, let it do the thinking for you.   It also is fully adjustable to set the engagement point. So if you are strong and don’t need all the help, you can certainly can adjust the block to engage at higher loads.

Check out the video to see the three blocks up close and how they work.


If you don’t need the big 75mm block, Harken also makes these three in 57mm. If you need help on choosing the right block please call our customer service team, they love talking about Harken Blocks.