Wednesday, December 29, 2010

APS Annual January Rigging Sale

The holidays are over, but the best deal of the year is about to begin. The month of January marks the beginning of our annual rigging sale. We figured our riggers get pampered all year round so this month we are going to make them work extra hard in preparation for the upcoming summer.

There are several amazing deals going on this month in rigging, to start off, all rigging labor charges will be 25% off. All eye splices, end whips, swagging including custom hourly rigging charges will be discounted. Our riggers are highly experienced and can recommend the best options and fit for your boat. If you are looking to do some custom rigging you should give one of our helpful customer service representatives a call so that they can fully discuss your needs and accurately fulfill your order.

What's even more appealing to our January sale is that we are offering 15% off all cordage and wire. Cordage rarely goes on sale! So super sturdy lines like Amsteel Blue and Vectrus 12 will be marked 15% off their original price. Take note that line on our sale rack will not be further discounted as it is already a steal at its current markdown.

And last but not least, take 20% off Pre-spec'd rigging in our One Design sections on parts like the J22 Topping Lift or the Melges 24 Tack Line. There are a few exceptions for the pre-spec'd spinnaker poles and the Melges 24 and 32 padded lifeline kits that are not included in the sale.

So bring on the new year with some new rigging for your boat! January is a great month to invest in your boat and this is the perfect chance to get a killer deal on your rigging purchases. The rigging promotion begins at midnight on January 1st and ends at the stroke of midnight on January 31st.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

APS Staff Review: Seahorse International Sailing Magazine

Seahorse Magazine - Our favorite International Magazine makes the perfect gift for sailing enthusiasts.  Warren Richter in Customer Service shares a short review on his favorite sailing literature... 

 So I love Seahorse magazine, plain and simple. Seahorse is the official magazine of the Royal Ocean Racing Club, or RORC for short. I literally box out my colleagues when the mail comes near the end of the month just to get the first look at the new issue. For a racing sailor, it is absolutely the best periodical, hands down. It has a complete world view of sailboat racing and will support this with articulate regional (country wide) reporting from regional correspondents. Seahorse is certainly the most technical magazine in regard to the development of sailing hardware, construction, and specifically yacht design. If you want to understand the latest trends in racing yacht design, or the technical side of any hardware or new technology, then this is the magazine for you. If rating rules in use worldwide, or various parts of the world (IRC, ORR, ORCi) interest you, then seahorse will delight you as well. The in depth articles will satisfy any sailors need to know what is happening in the world of yacht racing. Developments and advances from all around the world fill the pages with clear and concise information what is occurring on the cutting edge of yacht development.

This is a great gift for the racing sailor that you don’t know what to give them, as it will keep giving 12 months out of the year.  Also, we've arranged a deal for our APS customers to save at least 20% off. The best part is that you can give it and you don’t even have to wrap this gift. Maybe if they are as eager as me, you will be the one getting boxed out at the mailbox next month!

Thanks Warren!

Friday, December 17, 2010

APS Staff Review: Aigle Maramu Boots

Aigle Maramu Lace-up Boots are one of the most popular and higher quality boots for dinghy sailing. According to Store Front Assistant Jenny Gervais, Aigle's are her number one choice when it comes to sailing footwear... 

 I love Aigles! There, I said it! I got my first pair of Aigles when I was in High School. They were a pair of hand-me-downs and the same pair that my mom got when she started college sailing. So, it goes with out saying that these boots are super durable! In college I bought my first NEW pair of Aigles and use them today, these boots just don't wear out! 

They have amazing grip on the bottom. I wear them Laser Radial sailing, 420, FJ and J22 sailing. Another of their great features is the stiffness of the boot around the ankle. It provides more support than plain neoprene boots. Also, I prefer the lace up version because I find the zippered boots unzip on their own and can be uncomfortable. However, I love the Aigle boots enough to suggest trying their zip style over any other zip boots!

Thanks for the review Jenny!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

APS Staff Review: Ronstan Clear Start Timer

Watches are a popular gift this season and John Maloney in Customer Service shares a short review on one of his favorite sailing items and why he thinks the Ronstan Clear Start Timer is the best choice in sailing watches...

The Ronstan Clear Start Timer is the coolest sailing watch out there in my opinion. Make no mistake! This is not a watch for “old folks” just because it has a GIANT display (although our predecessors will enjoy it).

As a long time dingy sailor of various boats, my favorite feature is that all of the buttons are on the face! There’s nothing worse than hitting the countdown timer perfectly, relaxing for a second before a start, pulling up to the line to see which end is favored then hearing the 5 second countdown that your watch apparently forgot to sound. Yep, you've hit one of the buttons on the side of your watch by accident with your bulky dry suit cuff or whatever you’re wearing and stopped the countdown. This will not happen with this watch!

If you don't nail the 5-minute horn, you're in luck. This bad boy has the good old sync feature. Simply wait for the 4-minute horn and hit the big sync button and you’ll be conveniently restored to the original countdown at four minutes. For you college 3-minute starters, whatever minute you’ve missed, you can always hit the sync button to get back on track. If you miss minutes 3, 2, and 1, I don’t know what to tell you except use the force.

A diverse amount of applications really make this watch stand out. Thanks to the elastic band it has a liberal range of sizing options. You can wear it over a wetsuit, dry suit, or simply on your wrist although you may look like a junior version of Flava Flav inshore. Another great feature of the band is it can be attached to a mast/spar. My colleague Aaron who’s gearing up for DN Ice Boat season (cold weather expert) has explained he’s got this piece attached to his Laser lower mast and has left it outside in the frigid temperatures we've been experiencing here in Annapolis and it’s still cranking. Attaching it to your mast turns it into an onboard electronic unit just like a big boat!

This is an all around great watch that would make a useful gift for any sailor and it conveniently fits into a stocking!

Thanks for the short review John!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Deck the Hauls: Annapolis Parade of Lights

This past weekend boat owners and their faithful crew braved the cold, wet conditions and celebrated the holiday season by decorating their boats for the Parade of Lights held here in the Annapolis Harbor. Every year around 70 power and sailboats transform the Annapolis harbor into a colorful light display in hopes of winning the best decorated boat of the year.

At exactly 6:30pm all the boats participating in the show whether docked or cruising in the harbor turned their lights on. I was able to take part in the holiday chill and hopped on board a Beneteau accompanied by 8 santas and 3 sugar plum fairies. We decked the haul full of lights and ribbon. Our beneteau boasted a giant green Christmas tree that hung from the top of the mast.

Many boats were out that night to celebrate Christmas and some of the more recognizable boats depicted a mermaid, a beating heart and a lighthouse. It was a fun-filled evening with a lot of Christmas cheer and fun characters who all shared red faces from being out in the cold. Thankfully, we had a heater running in the cockpit and hot soup on the stove.

To finish the night off there was a spectacular display of fireworks over the harbor. The downpour of rain actually intensified the display by reflecting the fireworks off the rain making it the perfect ending to a light parade.

Friday, December 10, 2010

APS Staff Review: Rocky Gore-Tex Socks

Rocky Gore-Tex Socks are another favorite item amongst the APS staff. When sailing, we'll do practically anything for warm and dry feet! These socks are a must and Warren in Customer Service has written a short review on his favorite gear and why having these socks will keep your feet happy.

Rocky socks, My ode to thee...

I would love to count the number of times that my Rocky socks have kept my feet dry and me sane, but I would have long run out of fingers and toes by now, seriously. All kidding aside, Rocky socks are genuine Gore-Tex Dry socks that are actually the coolest thing since sliced bread. Rocky Gore-Tex socks are designed to keep water out of your shoes and keep your feet dry. I was first introduced to these socks about 4 years ago and immediately fell in love with them. They are the perfect way to keep my feet dry and happy for the majority of sailing that I do on small, but often damp, keelboats such as the J22, Star, Etchells, and J80. They work amazingly well at keeping water away from your feet using a soft Lycra seal that goes around your leg at the top of the sock. However, as all good things must come to an end at some point, when your feet do get wet, these socks are the best on the market about getting your feet to dry quickly, using the wicking the properties of Gore-Tex. As the sock is a Gore-Tex sock, it is basically a high tech shell for your feet, and will provide no warmth. So you need to pair the Rocky socks with a technical/wicking sock of your choice. I prefer the Wigwam Fusion Socks- Boot Sock, as they very effectively move water away from your feet and provide a medium amount of warmth. Then select your favorite sailing deck shoes and off you go. Rocky Socks are great because they are a fraction of the cost of true Gore-Tex boots, less bulky, and more versatile. They also work great for hiking, or just walking around in rain or snow, as I have used them in both.

If you have ever been to a boat show here in Annapolis in the rain you would likely see most, if not all, of the APS staff wearing Rocky Socks to keep their feet dry and happy. I personally have used them as an effective substitute for owning offshore boots on short to medium distance races. I know Aaron here in Customer Service wears them when iceboating to keep his feet happy. You won’t catch me without Rocky socks in my gear bag anytime soon, and if you do, I will be grumpy, because my feet will be wet and cold. Let’s hope I don’t forget my socks and I hope to see everyone on the water.

Thanks for the review Warren!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

APS Staff Review: Patagonia Nano Puff Pullover

Who doesn't love Patagonia's Nano Puff Pullovers? They're a huge hit here at APS. A few of our staff own a Nano Puff including our store front manager, Mike Lindsley who was happy to provide a short review on his favorite Narwhal Grey Nano!

Now is the time I begin dreaming of snowfall and start embracing the cold weather. I hail from the lake effect Snow Belt of Western New York, so there is a special place in my heart for dressing warm. I wanted to share with you my favorite piece of cold weather apparel, and what I think of as a great Christmas gift for any sailor/outdoorsy person in your life. October through April, my APS family will tell you that my Patagonia Nano Puff rarely leaves my body, it is by far the most versatile, most comfortable piece of clothing I own. I bought the jacket when they were first introduced (Fall09) and have certainly made great use of it, I have used it as a shell and mid layer sailing, skiing, chopping wood, drinking beer, the whole nine yards.

The Nano Puff is made with a Primaloft down fabric that is ultra light and provides excellent heat retention. This jacket acts as a wind blocker, perfect for big boat frostbiting. It is so comfortable under a shell, they slide right on and off because of the smooth fabric, it’s warm and weightless with no bulk. At the same time, it's rugged and warm enough to wear by itself in moderately poor conditions. In case you were wondering it has a DWR (waterproofing) coating on the fabric to prevent the garment from getting soaked, however, I would not replace my rain coat with it.

If you are up in the air about what to get someone for Christmas this year spring for a Nano Puff, I promise it will not disappoint!

Thanks for the review Mike!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

APS Staff Review: Harken Sailcloth Purses

Forget about those expensive Louis Vuitton purses. The Harken sailcloth purses look and function better than expensive designer bags. They make the perfect gift for any sailing enthusiast and they’re more water resistant than your average purse. I take my sailcloth purse with me everywhere and I don't have to worry about it getting dirty because it's made of sailcloth and you can simply wipe it clean. I think the real bonus about the purse is that it's unique and in the realm of purses, it's hard to find a unique purse that conveys my lifestyle.

Harken makes two differently styled purses, the Sailcloth purse which is a longer strapped, over-the-shoulder purse and the Classic purse, a smaller underarm purse. I own the Sailcloth Harken purse, the size and length work perfect for what I normally stow in my purse. It's made almost entirely out of sailcloth can fit a wallet, keys, cell phone and all the essentials that you would normally store in your purse plus more. The Sailcloth features an outside pocket for throwing small gadgets in and an inside pocket divider for separating items. It has a zipper opening and nylon webbed handles. It's available in Kevlar Yellow, Carbon Black (my personal favorite) and Dacron White.

The Harken sailcloth purse is most certainly a conversation starter and an obvious fashion statement around the sailing joints. The price won't put a hole in your wallet either and it's likely the cheapest investment you'll make for sailcloth!

Monday, December 6, 2010

APS Staff Review: Samson Splicing DVD

A review from the rigger himself, John Lund.

Learn how to splice by watching... The Samson Splicing Instructions DVD Set.

If you are interested in learning to splice and prefer to see a demonstration rather than reading the directions that came with a set of fids, this DVD is for you.

These DVDs are split by what they refer to as Class I lines made of non high modulus fibers such as polyester, polypropylene, or nylon. The second DVD covers mostly the same types of splices but for Class II lines made from high modulus fibers such as dyneema, technora, vectran or PBO.

The types of splice demonstrated are 8 and 12 strand single braids and double braid splices for both classes of line.

Most sailors don’t splice often enough to remember all these different types of splices. Whether you are doing a splice for the first time, or need a refresher this may be very handy when the need arises to do your next splice. The process for each splice is presented clearly and slowly enough to follow along, pausing the video as needed to keep up with the demonstration. However, I would suggest doing a practice splice for each prior to trying a splice to be used on your boat.

Here at APS we prefer to use Selma Swedish fids to a tubular fid as shown in the video. We do however sell both types. Both types of fids are sold both as a set or individually so you can purchase just the size you need. We also like to use Marlow splicing needles. The video box has a 2 page info card covering all the tools required and we stock all those and more.

Samson also has a small book (Samson Splicing Manual) with written instructions and diagrams covering the splices that may be a handier reference for your splicing kit to be used on the boat. If you need to take written directions for any of the splices they are available on their web site They can be downloaded or printed out and are provided in PDF format.

Because I am splicing every day here at APS, I have seen variations of all these splices and techniques over a period of years. Each line manufacturer has a similar splices listed on their website. Many of the splices I have learned and now use on a daily basis I learned by watching someone else. I think these DVDs will help anyone learn the procedure of each type of splice. The first time you try one (even after you understand what to do) it may feel awkward. Each time after that you refine the technique and learn how to make a better splice. Watching a DVD will speed up the learning curve.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

APS Staff Favorite Gear: Timex Ironman (Sailing) Watch

Although it’s helped me many times on the race course one of my favorite sailing items isn’t actually sailing specific, it’s my Timex Ironman Watch. So, it doesn’t have sailing specific features such as sync which doesn’t put it in the “sailing watch category”, but it has enough for me and this watch doesn’t leave my wrist and here are a few reasons why that is so.

On the water, the most important feature is the timer function and with the Ironman one can adjust the timer function to count down from any time down to the second. Mine is always pre-set to start at 5 minutes. I set it this way so that if I’m too busy packing a sail or cleaning up the cockpit to catch the five minute I can start the timer in three quick button presses. If you miss it all together you can quickly also change the starting point to be 4 minutes and catch the next horn. Further, you can also quickly set it to another random time to sync with another person on your boat. That is if you’re not so inclined to start your clock early at say 6 or 10 minutes relative to boats starting before you.

If you’re a PHRF sailor the Chrono function is great for clocking your time on boats crossing the line and to gauge how well (or poorly) you sailed. Another feature distance racers will appreciate is the dual alarms. It makes it convenient that you can set your alarm(s) in advance for your upcoming watches. For night watches you’ll also find the Indiglo, night light, lock convenient in that you can turn it on and not have to worry about the backlight turning off while you’re paging through the displayed data.

Sure, it doesn’t have large type or sync features like say the Gill watch, but it also doesn’t do as much damage to the wallet. For the price of this bad boy you get a whole lot of watch that will serve you well both on and off the race course. In short, I’ve had this watch for nearly four years and despite hardly ever taking it off it is still going strong.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Aquastar Match Race II Watch

We've introduced a lot of new sailing watches this season and the addition of the Aquastar Match Race II is yet another watch added to our list. This classy Swiss made watch is very stylish for both on and off the water. It’s stainless steel making it different in comparison to many other sailing watches. 

It functions as a sailing watch with a unique countdown display and it's also waterproof up to 50 meters. The circles displayed at the top of the watch provide an intuitive visual countdown aid which is especially nice for those right brain thinkers. It’s an easier way for people to see approximately how much time is left until the start. It's made with a durable stainless steel case, easy to use stainless steel buttons and an adjustable black synthetic rubber band for a snug fit.

The countdown is adjustable from 15 minutes to 0 minutes and uses larger numbers so it’s easy to see. The time of day is always visible at the bottom of the watch even during the countdown. It also records the total hours of racing via the regatta totalizer (excuse our Swiss) display below the countdown.

One of the great features of this watch is that each button has a unique purpose. The top left button sets the countdown time. The bottom left is the light. The top right is the start/stop button. One push starts and a double press stops. The bottom right is the sync button. Double press that to sync down to the next full minute if you're late for the first gun. Having to double press the buttons may seem like extra work but it's designed to prevent you from accidentally syncing or stopping the countdown with your glove or jacket when you don't mean to.

Another unique feature not usually found in your typical sailing watch is a set of time zones indicating several main cities or maritime regions in the world engraved in the back of the watch. It will tell you that if it's currently 11:30am in Los Angeles then it's 11:30pm in Dubai. In all, the Aquastar Match Race II is a tough watch that will keep you prepared on the racecourse and fashionable off the racecourse.