Wednesday, November 19, 2014

What is a Softshell Jacket?

2-layer, 3-layer, Gore-Tex, DWR, Hardshell, Softshell. You hear a lot of buzz words thrown around in foul weather gear and outdoor clothing in general, but what does it all mean? 

Today we’re going to talk specifically about Soft Shell Jackets. What are they? What are they not? ‘Softshell’ is a type of material that used most often to make jackets, but also shorts, vests and pants.

What is it?

It’s typically soft and smooth on the outside and has a thin fuzzy fleece lining on the inside.  Some Softshells will have a wind-stopper layer and may will have a durable-water-repellant coating on the exterior of the jacket allowing it to bead off light rain or spray.

The material is stretchy and breathable making it comfortable to wear on its own in dryer conditions or as a great middle layer for warmth and insulation without trapping all the moisture your body puts off when working hard.

It is also a great looking stand-alone outer layer. Because the exterior material looks crisp and presentable you’ll probably still want wear it after sailing, to the regatta party or bar, which is a big reason why softshells are such a popular Crugear decoration piece for us.

What is it not?

It is not foul weather gear.  The seams will not be taped and the material itself is not waterproof so it will not perform well when the going gets rough.

For some more information and to see it in action check out the video:

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

How to Use and Choose a Trigger Shackle

My personal favorite for a jib or spinnaker halyards, spinnaker sheet, spinnaker guy, or tacklines is the Trigger Release Shackle. There are a couple of reasons that make this style of shackle a best choice for me. The first is the fact that with no external parts to catch, it is very unlikely that a Trigger Shackle will accidentally open.

The second important feature of note it that a trigger shackle can safely be released under load

*note: you must use a fid if you are releasing a loaded trigger shackle*

.This second feature will allow you to change sails especially spinnakers while underway.

The third feature of note is that trigger shackles are generally stronger and more compact than the comparable snap shackle.

All of this sounds great there must be a drawback, right? Well, not really trigger shackles are a bit more expensive than a comparable snap shackle, however the Tylaska and Wichard trigger shackles that we offer are high quality and with proper care which mainly includes a freshwater rinse after use, you can expect many years of reliable service, and potentially fewer ‘oh fiddlesticks’ moments on the bow due to unreliable hardware.

Check out our trigger shackles here and make your bow guy/girl happy today!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Oh Snap. Shackles: How to use and Choose a Snap Shackle

OH snap, shackles!

That’s right; this week’s blog is all about the most popular type of shackle that we sell here at APS, Snap Shackles.  Many of you have used a snap shackle before but did you know about all of the different configurations and the sizes?

Do you tie your jib or spinnaker halyard on? Have you ever had a crew’s version of a bowline knot fail at the most inopportune time? Have you ever thought, “if only I could detach/attach this ….thing with greater ease?” I have two words for you snap shackle.

Used in many different applications where a secure connection is needed, but you still want to be able to release quickly and easily.  There is one thing to remember, it can’t be safely released under load.  If you’re in a situation where you might need to peel to a different sail, you’re going to need a Trigger Shackle.

Need more inspiration?  

Here is a short list of uses: jib halyard, spinnaker halyard, blooper halyard, mule halyard, fisherman halyard, code zero halyard, spinnaker sheet, spinnaker guy, spinnaker tack line, spinnaker halyard keeper, mainsheet quick disconnect, backstay quick disconnect, spinnaker pole topping lift, spinnaker pole downhaul, fraculator, changing sheet for jib, outboard lead for genoa, fender lines, gin pole attachment, hoisting strap securing lines, spinnaker repacking helper, keychain clipper, boom topping lift, tether quick disconnect, hammocks, banana bunch holder, dog/cat leash connection, horse cross ties, lee cloth snap, galley wench tie in strap, coozie clip, friendship bracelet clasp, belt buckle, water bottle clip, ear gauge, drag net release, purse seine connector, fighting chair tie in, anchor line snubber, bobstay connector, bolito, and outrigger connectors are just a few applications for the snap shackle. Please feel free to comment and add any uses that I missed.

Are you still reading? Click on the video! There are highs there are lows, you will get to see me stumble through the English language, and as a bonus I show you a pirate trick that will keep your snap shackle from opening accidentally.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

How to Terminate Lines with a Rope Cutter

One of the cleanest ways to cut Dyneema or polyester ropes is to use a Rope Cutter. Alternatives, as seen in my last video, work great if you’re on the dock or racing—but the hot knife is ideal for terminating lines at home.

We always recommend using a permanent solution like an End Whip, but realize this isn't always practical. 

A neat characteristic of polyester rope is that when it burns, the strands fuse together. This makes for a great end on a double braid polyester rope, and an even better seal on a double braided high tech line. 

Lets Take a look:

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

How to Convert Your Seitech or Dynamic Dolly from Standard to Fat Wheels

Dollies are a great way to store and move your boat around in season.  In some environments, it can be a bit of a workout!

 If you’re sailing in an area that requires you to haul your boat over deep sand or uneven terrain, you should consider converting your “Standard Wheel” dolly to a “Fat Wheel” dolly on both Seitech and Dynamic Dollies! 

This conversion makes hauling your boat a much easier task.  Fat wheels are available as a kit which includes two longer wheel shafts and two wheels.

Converting is as easy as removing eight screws and changing out the wheel shafts.  All you need is a Philips head screwdriver!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

How to Terminate Line Ends at Home: Part 1

Control lines come in all different kinds - single braids, double brands, and blends of Vectran, Dyneema, and polyester. What you may have found out the hard way (in some cases) is that these lines don’t all behave the same way when hit with a Hot Knife or lighter and that sometimes it isn't practical to make a permanent termination with an End Whip, although this is always our recommended method.

We've broken it down for you into a few simple DIY ways to keep your line ends from fraying without using a hot knife.

First is heat shrink—by slipping a piece of Shrink Wrap (just slightly larger than the diameter of the rope) over the end of the rope, heating it until it contracts, then snipping it with a sharp pair of Shears, you can keep the strands from separating and fraying.

Another way to keep the ends together is by using tape. We've used Rigging Tape, but your everyday masking tape works just as well. By simply wrapping the line with tape about twice around, then snipping in the middle of the tape, you’ll get a nice clean end. Although this is not as permanent as the heat shrink method, it will work really well until you can whip the ends.

Lets take a look: