Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Hands On: Laser Daggerboard Friction Pad Mk2

We finally got our first shipment of the new Laser Daggerboard Friction Pad here at APS and all the Laser sailors on the staff are very excited to try them out. I think they'll be a big improvement over the current W daggerboard brake (really anything would be an improvement). Check out below for more pictures of this must have upgrade for the Laser.

The blue shown is a hard plastic while the white is a more rubbery feeling material. It angles aft from top to bottom - fitting with the shape of the daggerboard. The mounting holes are oval shaped to allow you to move the friction pad fore and aft to increase/decrease the friction created. The idea is that this allows you to fine tune the friction for your particular daggerboard and setup.

Hopefully this will help eliminate the need to kick the board down between tacks as well as reducing the side to side movement when sailing in chop. Aaron in customer service is sailing a Thanksgiving Day Regatta tomorrow so look for some user feedback here on the Stern Scoop early next week. The Annapolis Laser fleet takes this Sunday off from frostbiting so I won't use it for the first time for another week and a half.

At $15.95 we finally have a Laser upgrade that won't break the bank. While they were a little late in launching the final product (initial feedback said they were coming out over the summer) Laser Performance now says they have plenty in stock.

Stay tuned for more feedback as we put this new Laser daggerboard friction pad to use.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Tugging That Won't Make You Go Blind...

As dawn broke here in Eastport on Saturday, November 8th, there was something different in the air. There was a palpable hue of greatness that was finding its ways clear the lingering haze of hangovers, shattered dignity and poor decisions that follow a typical Friday night here on the peninsula.

The reason for this, you ask? Well, it was time for the good people of Eastport to renew their rivalry with those uptight, prissy, overdressed, Starbucks-swilling, mouth breathers from across the creek in Annapolis for the 12th Annual Annapolis vs. Eastport Tug of War. And this year, APS was getting in on the mainland beatdown.

First, a little history about this uniquely Annapolitan competition, the proceeds of which benefited local charities in the Annapolis area. This isn't some sissy tug of war in a parking lot or over a poorly constructed mud pit. Also known as the "Slaughter Across the Water", a 1,700 foot piece of 1-1/8" Maxibraid Plus (polyester cover with a Spectra 900 core) is strung across the entire width of Spa Creek/Annapolis Harbor and both sides tug, tug, tug.

In the event that the 1,700 foot length didn't give it away, this piece of line is intense -- made by Yale Cordage, it would cost around $30,000 to replace (it would have cost $23,488.50 to replace it in 1998, so I'm unscientifically adjusting for inflation...). To protect this hefty piece of cordage, the Annapolis Harbormaster closes off all traffic coming in and out of the harbor until the tugging has ended and they even call out dudes in camo to protect the line in between tugs.

Back to the tugging...

Two days before the actual "war", our fearless leader, Kyle, recruited some of the best and brightest from here at the shop to tug for the Eastport Business Association team. The APS Dream Team was made up of the aforementioned Kyle, Aaron Freeman, Ian Coleman, Mike Lindsley and Torrey Kernan. These strapping young men (and Kyle) joined up with about 20-25 other tuggers from the EBA to take on the pinot-sipping lightweights from the Annapolis Downtown Partnership.

The Tug of War started promptly at the crack o' Noon (see haze of hangovers, shattered dignity and poor decisions from above) on this beautiful Saturday and there were six different teams for each side that would square off. The EBA was scheduled to go third and got to watch first two Eastport teams pull out victories over their Naptown counterparts. The Bars of Eastport took out the Federal House Bar and Grill in 1 minute, 56 seconds and the brave men of the Eastport Fire Department dispatched the Annapolis Police Department in 1 minute, 37 seconds.

With the perfect game intact, our boys took to the field of battle with their "unique" team outfits of clown sized glasses and "loud" colored bandannas. Ian, Aaron and Mike all took up positions towards the front of the tug with Torrey somewhere in the middle and Kyle towards the back. Sporting Atlas' Thermal Fit Gloves and Ronstan Sticky Gloves for superior grip and hand protection (yep, shameless plug -- I don't apologize), the tension mounted as instructions were given to get into position.

And with a short countdown, the command to pull was simultaneously given to both sides and they went to work. It didn't look all that good, at first, for our boys -- an initial surge from the Annapolis side found them ahead early. Ian, who was at the front of the tug, looked a bit like Fred Flintstone trying to stop his car, skidding along the ground with little ability to stop the momentum. The EBA team stopped the bleeding though and quickly dug in, with the APS staffers on the team switching gears and getting serious:

With team doctors carefully monitoring Mike (seen above) to make sure he didn't blow an o-ring, the EBA team started to get the momentum back in their favor. As quickly as they'd fallen behind, they started to make progress and got that honkin' piece of line moving their way. And just 45 seconds after it started, the contest was called for the boys and girls from Eastport, putting them up 3-0 for the day.

When the dust settled, our boys from APS looked completely exhausted. It was less than a minute of work (which is, admittedly, a lot for Ian under normal circumstances), but they were pulling with everything they had against another group of people while also taking on the weight of a 1,700 foot piece of line that was juuuust a little damp -- nothing easy about that. As they were helped off the battle lines, they were quickly provided with some adult beverages to cool down and dull their screaming senses -- rewards for a job well done.

Editorial comments about the good people of Annapolis were mostly tongue-in-cheek and in no way reflect the thoughts or feelings of APS or its management. Unless you are a uptight, prissy mouth breather -- if that's the case, we stand behind our taunts and mocking.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Zero: The High Agility Sport Sailing Vest (Spinlock Sneak Peak)

With METS right around the corner we're getting an advance look at some new gear coming to market soon. Here is one we just got today from Spinlock. All text that follows is theirs...we of course will let you know as soon as we have more info as to when we'll be able to offer it to you. Give the picture of the vest a click to see a larger version.

Spinlock’s new Zero is a low-bulk 50N flotation vest designed specifically for the performance user. Its lean shape and supple construction make it ideal for the agile and intensive teamwork that decides success in Sportsboat racing. Spinlock have taken a completely fresh look at the way sport sailors interact physically with boat and gear under race conditions. New research revealed that present flotation wear has become too restrictive for high-agility keelboat racing. Zero’s ‘dynamic element’ construction and high-stretch panelling overcome the problem to give full articulation and unrestricted upper body movement.

Our research indicates that flotation wear can block the drying and cooling effect of base layer and breathable spray tops. By using a combination of open mesh panels and vented back, Zero acts as a final layer of the breathable system.

Other Zero features include:
• Quick draining construction to reduce wet loading
• Body Fit belt system for secure, comfortable adjustment
• Low Profile body shape
• Easily accessed Hand Warmer and Essentials Pockets
• ISO 12402-5
• 3 Sizes

Friday, November 6, 2009

Chesapeake Racer Profile: Tyler Moore

The following is the September APS Chesapeake Racer Profile, a monthy hi-light in Spinsheet Magazine (written by Molly Winans):

Although his accent and relaxed demeanor echo his time at the College of Charleston and Hampton, VA more than his years spent in northerly climes, 505 sailor Tyler Moore was born and raised in Hyannis, MA. He started sailing on Beetle Cats at the age of six, and much to his father’s dismay, traded in the classic, New England-built, one-design class for the thrills of 420s.

Moore jumped right into the game. In high school at Tabor Academy in Marion, MA, he was a member of the High School Team Racing National and World Champion teams and came in second at the Double-Handed Nationals. At the College of Charleston, he was a three-time Collegiate All-American and the 1994 College Sailor of the Year. After a few years in Annapolis as “a sailing bum,” Moore became a tugboat deckhand and worked his way through the ranks—deckhand to mate to captain to pilot—and relocated to Hampton Roads a decade ago in the process. He also married his wife Jane and now has two boys under the age of three at home.

Before his move to Hampton, Moore competed in a variety of classes in a wide geographic range from placing second in the 470 Pacific Coast Championships (1996) to taking third at the 505 Danish Nationals to winning the Southern Ocean Racing Circuit on a Mumm (now Farr) 30. He was also the 1996 J/24 East Coast Championship title holder (crew for Chris Larson) and has placed first (1999), second (1998), and third (2000) in the Mumm 30 World Championships.

Since 2001, it’s been all about the 505 for Moore. “They’re great boats to sail for someone who has a real job and doesn’t have time to sail every day,” he says. “The ‘5-0’ is really fast and demanding. You can do a big or little campaign and still be in the game. Nobody can out-spend you. We have billionaires and college kids with no money sailing together. At the end of the day, it comes to who does a better job sailing the boat. It feels great. It’s like a 420 on serious steroids.”

Moore has won the 505 East Coast Championships twice as well as having won the 505 North American Championships twice and placed second twice. Among his three top-10 finishes at the 505 World Championships was his eighth-place finish last month in San Francisco with Tabor Academy classmate and Annapolis sailor Geoff Ewenson. Without hesitation, he says that winning the “5-0” Worlds tops his sailing goal list.

SpinSheet: Who are your sailing mentors?
Mike Bello—he was my first coach on 420s in Hyannis (and also a College
of Charleston Collegiate All-American sailor). Also, Chris Larson and Andy

Who are your best sailing buddies?
Anyone I sail with, really. They all bring something different to the boat, and I find it enlightening and helpful to learn their perspective. Geoff Ewenson, Jesse Falsone, Jeff Nelson, and Peter Alarie.

Do you have a favorite sailing memory from this season?
It was a lot of fun winning the first race of the Pre-Worlds in San Francisco. Good heavy air practice.

Is there a Chesapeake Bay story you find yourself telling over and over again?
I came close to wiping out a Volvo Ocean Race guy when they were out practicing (in 2002). It was a stormy night. I was towing a container barge, and I looked out and thought, “What is that?” In a flash of lightning, I realized it was a sailboat...

What kind of music do you listen to?
Raffi. It’s kids’ music only slightly less annoying than Barney. I’ll be going on date night with my wife, and we’ll be driving along and realize we’re still listening to Raffi.

Do you have any non-sailing passions?
My wife and I play tennis — she’s good at it. We used to ski before kids...

What magazines do you read?
Sailing World, SpinSheet, and PropTalk.

What’s your routine on the morning of a race?
To make sure I’m actually ready to get on the water. A decent breakfast, drinking fluids — but not too much coffee — making sure I actually bring food and water on the boat. Then, of course, to getting the boat ready.

What gear do you depend upon?
Zhik pullovers and hiking pants, Aigle neoprene boots (they come on and off easily), and Kaenon sunglasses.

What advice do you have for a young racing sailor?
The important thing is to get a lot of time on the water in all kinds of conditions, especially when it’s windy.