Monday, August 15, 2011

Bryan Stout Presents: The Opti-Must Have Item Guide Part II

Annapolis Performance Sailing APS Opti Head Models
Item of discussion: Headwear a.k.a. Hats & Sunglasses

Annapolis Performance Sailing APS Opti Lobster on a Plate

Unfortunately, the summer season is winding down with only a a few weeks left before schools are back in session. Fortunately, the regatta calendar is not completely done for the year. If you happen to enjoy fair-weather sailing without proper headwear, you might find your skin resembling the color of lobsters occasionally. Red Lobsters.

We at APS have decided to start our Opti-Must Have Apparel Guide with one of the more important tools on the water, your head...

Annapolis Performance Sailing APS Patagonia Zhik HatsHATS

Necessity Scale: 7 out of 10 (Highly Recommended/Not exactly mandatory)

Annapolis Performance Sailing APS Thumbs Up

Good news: APS makes cool hats that will fit any head (not just juniors') and stocks various styles made by Patagonia, Musto, Zhik, and Outdoor Research.

Bad News: Occasionally, your opti sailor might be faced with a tough decision I call “The optional 360” when their favorite hat gets knocked off their head into the water during a race. To lose precious time, circle, and retrieve? Or not...

Annapolis Performance Sailing APS Hat Clips for Optimist Dinghy Sailors
Annapolis Performance Sailing APS Three thumbs up

Best News: We sell hat clips, too. You have two options in this department - Lid Latch by Croakies and Windlyn Hat Retainers.

APS hats for Opti-mum (lol) Performance Include: You read it right, APS has a good selection of APS branded hats prime for the picking. There's your good ole go-to ball cap styling with an adjustable strap, custom embroidered visors if you'd like some ventilation, and my personal favorite, the APSCL25, which comes in camouflage for those sailors who want to be out of sight. (Unfortunately, the camo style is a favorite to many, and they are currently back ordered. My second favorite would have to be the Flexfit black and white APS hat - APSCL27.)

Annapolis Performance Sailing APS Musto Waterproof Performance Hat
Recommended Name Brand: The Musto Waterproof Performance Cap is by far one of the most comfortable hats on the market. In addition, it is completely waterproof.

Personal recommendation:
•Hat clips are very effective.
•Any hat will do as long as it provides shade to your face so your nose won't blister up and peel.
•APS branded hats are comfortable on your head and good for your wallet as they typically sell for 25% less than most other Name-Brand hats.

Annapolis Performance Sailing APS Gill Junior SeaFly Sunglasses

Necessity Scale: 6 out of 10 (Put it this way, I would never go sailing without some sort of eye protection, but there’s always sailing with your eyes closed... Looking at glare off the water is basically the same as looking at the sun through a mirror.)

Annapolis Performance Sailing APS Thumbs Up

Annapolis Performance Sailing APS Polaroid Lenses in Gill SunglassesGood News: Gill happens to make affordable sunglasses with some designs made specifically for juniors. Not only are they polarized with lenses produced by Polaroid (who might know a thing or two about lenses), they are under $70.00! This means the glasses will actually fit an opti sailor's face/head properly, which means that gravity is not going to cause you to have to get another pair of sunglasses ever again.

Annapolis Performance Sailing APS Thumbs DownBad News: Unfortunately, sometimes opti sailors find super special ways to take their sunglasses off with out using their hands. This will oftentimes mean the sunglasses have been launched out of the boat and into the water if my experiences have taught me properly. If they don’t go in the water, they somehow end up in 10+ pieces the second they hit the deck.

Annapolis Performance Sailing APS Three thumbs up

Best News:
Gill had all the bad news in mind, and they made their sunglasses super durable….and they FLOAT.

Personal Recommendation: Go with the Junior Seafly polarized sunglasses because they are the most reasonably priced polarized sunglasses that APS carries. They are made for juniors. They are polarized. They are affordable. They float.

Annapolis Performance Sailing APS Croakies on Sunglasses

Also, to cover all your bases, consider buying Croakies (not crocodiles) because they are effective, and if you prefer another option over their normal neoprene band style, check out the Terra Spec Cords.


  1. It's been really great going through your blog post, very well informed and described. Great to read and know more about such kind of stuff.

  2. Thank you, Yacht Racing News! Glad you liked the post. Of course we wrote it about Optis - but the lessons/advice apply to sailing in all kinds of boats. I lost my favorite hat off a J/80 a couple of weeks ago and had to pull a man overboard when we were on our way to the first sequence. Luckily, we retrieved my hat and made it on time to start the race...but it was unnecessary stress that could have been easily avoided if only I'd sported my croakie! Thanks, again!