Monday, April 25, 2011

Ice Bear Review

A naughty word in boating is chafe. We carry New England DCS cover to prevent chafe on halyards. We carry shorts with Cordura seats to prevent the shorts from chafing out. A recent “hot new item” was the stainless wear pads by YEW designed to stylishly prevent chafe on gel coat caused by highly loaded lines.

A new way to stop chafe on board has now arrived!

Ice Bear sailing powder is specifically made to alleviate chafe on the undercarriages of male racing sailors. The powder incorporates 100% organic ingredients all formulated for the extreme conditions that sailors subject their valuables to. The powder includes cornstarch and arrowroot to control moisture, kaolin clay to give the powder a dry feel, and the secret ingredient zinc to add some lubricity and reduce chafe.



At the Charleston race week, I was able to try this product, and I must say I’m a fan. This powder does not clump like Gold BondTM or baby powder, and does not have the strong medicine or “old guy” smell like some other undercarriage maintenance products.

Another nice thing about the Ice bear is the convenient 3oz container. It can easily fit in your sailing bag and allow you to “freshen up” after racing before hitting the club for your rum drink. While I haven’t had the opportunity to try the powder offshore, you better believe this is going to be in my bag for the Annapolis-Newport race.

At $7.50 for the jar, this is the least expensive must have maintenance product that you can have on board.

I think gold medalist Martin Kirketap put it best with his review of the product, “Ahhh… Instant Relief.”

Hope this great new product helps get you through another great season of sailing in comfort.

-Aaron, Customer Service

Friday, April 22, 2011

Plastic Pollution - It's a Problem

Sailors from all over are making a difference by preserving our favorite resource, water.

One small but significant step to reducing the sailing footprint started at the college level. Since most plastic bottles are only used once and thrown away, the ICSA ( Inter-Collegiate Sailing Association ) has implemented an initiative to curb the 25,000+ plastic bottles that are used each season for ISCA regattas. The main reason they have implemented the use is to reduce plastic waste from the landfills, oceans, and the environment in general. Another reason is cost, the cost of single-use plastic bottles of water is up to 10,000 times the cost of tap water. Most University sailing teams are in a constant battle for funding and any money saved makes a huge difference. In addition, bottled water does not undergo the same quality testing that tap water does, making tap water safer to drink.

The ICSA's environmental initiative now requires regatta hosts to provide clean water sources to refill reusable water bottles. Kleen Kanteen along with Sailors for the Sea are helping sailors comply by the new rules by providing brandable, stainless steel bottles at discounted rates. More about the Kleen Kanteen's: http://www.kleankanteen.com/news/pr_collegesailing.php

Last year on March 20th a 60-foot catamaran called, Plastiki set sail from San Fransisco headed to Australia. The catamaran was not your average sailing vessel. Plastiki was made primarily out of 12,500 recycled plastic bottles. The same amount that is thrown away every 8.3 seconds. The mission of Plastiki was to show the world the magnitude of plastic waste and to raise awareness about recycling and being more resourceful with waste. The Plastiki project took 4 years to complete before the crew was able to set sail. Many were skeptical about the mission across the Pacific on floating plastic bottles but on July 26th the weary crew arrived in Australia putting all the speculations to rest.

Below is a short video of the Plastiki mission and expedition leader, David De Rothschild:



Discover more about the Plastiki's route here: http://bit.ly/waterbottleplastic

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Hooking Up a Melges 24



This Melges 24 jib halyard tensioner is made out of 3/16" 1x19 wire with a Fork end and Turnbuckle for adjustment. What’s special about this is the 1x19 wire has lower stretch and is less likely to break or fray than the typically used 7x19 wire.



We're taking basics to the next level with this Melges 24 spinnaker halyard. Tons of people strip their lines - but who reinforces the line with cover where it matters? The following halyard is intended strictly for high performance use.





This double tapered spin halyard is made from New England Endura Braid and has Yale Cover only in the area that will be cleated. The Endura Braid is low-stretch, low-creep, non-water-absorbing. It has a polyester cover with 100% Dyneema DSK-75 core. The Yale Cover is extremely durable and will make the line cleat better when the sail is hoisted. The Endura Braid has been stripped down to its Dyneema core where it is not reinforced with Yale Cover. This line is going to run really well up and down, and again, the easier cleating will improve efficiency on deck.



Here's a close up of the line so you can see how clean the transition is from reinforced line (read: Dyneema core, Edura Braid polyester cover, and Yale Cover) to the exposed Dyneema of the stripped Endura Braid. We have to say this halyard would be for the guys who have figured out their sytems so well that they can get super tweaky about dropping ounces and making life for the crew easier. Dropping ounces in terms of stripping the line, which (by the way) will serve to decrease the longevity of the line. Making life easier in terms of bulking up the line and giving it more grip for cleating. APS Rigger Jarrett thinks this halyard is 'awesome' and votes we call this our Pro-Spin Halyard and add it to the APS rigging offerings. Who knows? We may just do it. However, for now, it's still a custom order.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Charleston Race Week 2011

The APS team made it safely home to Annapolis early Monday morning. We had a full weekend with some unexpected events. The following is a regatta report and photos from the team...

Charleston was a busy place this weekend, with 270 boats and the 150th anniversary of the Civil War all happening this past weekend. The venue was quite impressive. Sitting in the shadows of the USS Yorktown, complete with a nice hotel, large marina and sandy beaches the Charleston Harbor and Marina sits on the riverside of Mt. Pleasant, just over the bridge from downtown. With live bands and tiki bars greeting you as you came in, there’s not much more you could ask for after a long day of sailing.

Aaron, Customer Service:

My first visit to Charleston for this year’s race week was one that will keep me coming back. The harbor was lovely and full of pelicans, fish and even some dolphins. Race Committee was efficient, well run and showed a good helping of the not so common-common sense. Racing had everything that people could ask for.

The competition was intense but instantly relaxed on shore as the South Carolina easygoing nature was contagious among all of the competitors, (possibly aided by the freely flowing rum swizzles). The food at the party was all good with the exception of the evil Mahi at Friday's dinner.

My favorite part of the regatta however may have been the weather induced lay day. Often times with regattas we go all of these great places but never get to really see the towns that we are sailing in. The lay day allowed the competitors to do things like see the city of Charleston and tour the famous WWII carrier Yorktown.

We took advantage of the day to visit the Saturday farmers market at King and Calhoun streets and enjoyed some local flavor including shrimp and grits, local unpasteurized whole milk, fresh veggies and local favorite pickled okra. We also took in some rays on the nearby postcard beaches on Isle of Palms.

To steal a yogi’ism I would say, “we went on a vacation and a regatta broke out”. Thanks for all to made the regatta possible, including the people that spent months planning, the volunteers on race committee, the folks at the marina, Goslings rum, and a personal shout out to my skipper Ken Mangano and the great folks on Galilée.

See y’all next year!
-Aaron

Bryn, Marketing:

Photo by Shannon Hibberd
The wind gods were a little too generous at this years Race Week. Saturday's races were called off due to a large storm system that swept across the entire East coast scattering grapefruit sized hail and tornadoes about. Luckily for Charleston, we only received the 30+ knots of breeze and no rain or apparent tornadoes.

It would have been an awesome day for sailing but many were convinced rigs would fall and boats would inevitably break down. Less carnage is a good thing.
Being stuck in Charleston was no problem for a lot of the sailors. Most of the crew aimlessly wandered downtown and found ourselves at a roof top bar watching the wind rip through the streams.


Friday proved to be the best day for racing. The inshore courses had plenty of strong breeze that picked up as the day went on. The current ripped boats down the river. Getting off the docks in the morning was more challenging than expected. The J/80s shared a course with Vipers and Ultimate 20’s. We had several wipe outs on our course, but it felt good to be waterborn downwind. Glad I packed my new Musto spray top.


Sunday was a floater thanks to the stormy conditions on Saturday that cleared out any hope of breeze. Only 7 of the 25 boats finished in my fleet. The current to wind ratio was so awful that some boats were being pushed away from the finish line and others had to tack 20+ times to get around the windward mark!

Katie, Marketing:


We were welcomed Thursday morning at the marina with cannons going off, commemorating the Civil War, which made for quite the entrance. The marina was gorgeous, with the Yorktown tied up and the bridge to downtown in the background. I was sailing in the offshore course, which involved hour plus motor in and out through a tight channel. We left the dock at 8 each morning, which in comparison to the inshore dock times of 9:30, was quite early. I won’t complain though, the long treks out to the ocean were certainly better than my view at my desk!

Friday was gorgeous, with temperatures in the 70s and winds 15 – 20, making it a perfect day for sailing. After three races in pretty consistent breeze, we headed back in. It was quite impressive coming back into the harbor; dodging tankers and watching the inshore classes finish their races. The marina was already bustling, with all 270 boats docking in the same place.

Onshore, familiar and unfamiliar faces filled the crowds. It was a lot of fun seeing friends from college and beyond, as well as many from Annapolis, with around 20 boats from local clubs in attendance. We even had a flyover too, check out the picture to the right...

By Friday night, the winds were already up, as were rumors of some bad weather rolling in. By early on Saturday morning winds were already in the 25 – 30 range, so races were cancelled. We got to enjoy a day off, with the thunderstorms missing Charleston, it was a nice day. Sunday handed us light, shifty breeze. We were able to complete 2 races, in steadily increasing winds. It was a great weekend of sailing and a nice way to start off the spring sailing season.

A great regatta in all aspects, the APS crew headed back north Sunday night. Thanks for all volunteers and race committee for a well run regatta. We'll be sure to mark our calendars for CRW 2012!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Ice Boatin' Recap

Watch Annapolitan Ashley Love’s video to learn a little something about a different kind of sailing...Who dat? I see some APS staffers on the ice...



Not everyone is happy the weather has turned – yeah, we’re talking about you DN Sailors. But one thing is for sure, these racers have spirit. After all, the Ice Boating tradition dates back over 100 years! Let's just say, these folks make it look all good and gnarly.

As the temperatures rise, we're keeping Ice Boating on the brain. You'll soon be able to check out the new DN section of the APS 2011 Spring Catalog!

*Mailing starts today so expect your copy in the next couple of weeks. Not on our catalog mailing list? Sign up here.




We know you're loving regattas of all kinds. Send your videos/photos our way at Footage@apsltd.com, and we'll spotlight your events!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Warming up for Charleston Race Week 2011

Team APS is gearing up for Charleston Race Week! Six of our staff members will be reporting to dock call on Friday morning. It will be my first time racing in Charleston and also my first time driving a trailer with a boat that is more than 16 feet long...yikes! We won't be stopping at too many drive-thrus. Aaron Freeman in Customer Service and I will be crewing on J/80s. From what I hear, we will be racing on the inshore course - which means a later dock call, more time to hit the snooze button, and another hour we can stay out late at the bars.

This year's Race Week has a whopping 279 boats registered with a 40% increase from last year's attendance, qualifying the regatta as the largest in the country. In fact, when the registration topped at 270 boats, the regatta chair realized that they had no space for that many competitors and thus added a fifth course. The inshore course alone has 200 boats registered. It's going to be a chicken race to the starting line, and hopefully, with the addition of another course, there will be less chance of a snafu. The fleet of 80s will consist of 26 boats - a pretty large fleet to race in - and many of the 80s are Annapolitans.

We had some team gear made for our boat. I was hoping for additional team gear for the after party similar to the sun dresses that were custom coordinated for the J120 Eurotrash Girl, but I was ruled out. Maybe next year, we'll have more motivation for wearing ridculously coordinated clothes.

I would have to say everyone from APS who is headed South for race week is incredibly stoked! It's going to be an amazing time with warmer weather for a change.

Look for a full Charleston report in the coming week!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Farr 30 Heads out the Door Today....

Check out these new Farr 30 jib sheets. We took green Samson Amsteel and pulled black Yale Cover-Only over the line. We replaced the traditional J-lock shackles used on Farr 30s with one of our new Dyneema Shackle Loops. We also replaced the traditional stainless ring with an Antal 14mm low friction ring that will run like butter on the stripped line - even under high loads. Rather than having the J-Lock jamming into the stainless ring at max trim, now this boat will have the soft shackle and the Antal ring preventing metal on metal clanging and banging. You should know carbon rigs will love this because (trust me) getting hit with a flogging J-Lock is fun for no one involved… Here's a close up of the jib sheet with the inhauler incomplete:

The inhauler complete is pretty impressive, too. The inhauler is made of 5/32" Dinghy Control Line by FSE Robline.

The guys in rigging are working hard as ever suiting boats up for the season - and sometimes, a boat owner comes along and is ready to rework it all. That's the case with this Farr 30. In addition to these good-looking jib sheets, the same boat is getting new guys, sheets, and a traveler. Here's a peek:










Turns out the boat is a fan of the Endura Braid by New England, which has a polyester cover with a 100% Dyneema DSK-75 Core. Nice Line. The Dyneema DSK-75 core works well for high loads, and the texture feels good on the hands. Plus, it stands up to the sun.


For the traveler, the boat is being outfitted with Swiftcord by Maffioli. Made with Dyneema SK-75 and Cordura BlendThe, this line is light and won't absorb water. It's also strong - but (like the Endura Braid) it won't tear up your hands.

We're not going to give away all the tricks on this boat, but we will leave you with one more bit of fruit for thought on this fine Friday afternoon: The Cunningham. More of the Dinghy Control Line by FSE Robline with AmSteel Blue by Samson, which is constructed of 100% Dyneema SK-75. Those of you who know this line know it is amazingly strong. For details, click to the APS site.






Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Henri Lloyd Atmosphere 2 Shirts & Element Shorts

Henri Lloyd has a good reputation in the industry, and the new Atmosphere 2 Long and Short Sleeve Shirts - along with the Element Shorts - are going to further the manufacturer’s esteem with the sailing public.

Basically, the Atmosphere 2 long and short sleeve shirts have everything you look for in your tech wear. They’re quick-drying, anti-microbial, UV protective, flexible, highly breathable, and comfortable. The Element shorts have zippered and quick-access pockets for convenience, stretch where you need it, and durability.

These products display good care in the details with flat-sewn seams and designs shaped to fit the body. You’ll have full range of motion to perform on the boat, and you’ll be happy for the carefree, classic style that will take you off the boat. (Really, I mean it. Sounds a little cheesy – but the APS male models looked great in these shorts. I’m just sayin…)

Henri Lloyd Atmosphere 2 Shirts

The list of benefits for this shirt is long. It is made with a Fast-Dri fabric, which once moist or wet, will return to its dry weight quickly. The fabric has Silver Ion technology. This means silver ions in the fabric stop bacteria from forming and offer an antimicrobial finish with odor control.

To get really technical about this gear, you should know, the shirts are made with bi-component technology (a combination of hard and soft shell fabrics) to ensure the perfect mix of protection, flexibility, and comfort. The Atmosphere 2 shirts are soft – but they’re designed to work for you.

There’s a nice, unique feature that is deserving of attention. Henri Lloyd has designed these shirts with nifty mesh side panels running the entire length of the garments – from sleeve end to waist to accelerate moisture evaporation and give you extreme breathability.

The shirts also boast UV SPF 30 Protection Rated by Aussie Rules. I didn’t know exactly what this meant (again, pleading new to APS!) so I looked it up. Apparently, clothing UV-protection classifications were first regulated in Australia. This was in the 1990s when skin cancer had become a mainstream concern, and folks were getting smart to the fact that the sun does in fact penetrate most fabrics.

According to the Aussie sun protection system, the UPF 30 rating given for the Henri Lloyd Atmosphere 2 shirts falls in protection category ‘Very Good.’ This means the fabric will permit about 3.5% UV transmission and effectively block 96.5% of UV radiation. Word on the street (or water…) is that everyone who spends time being active outdoors, and every manufacturer who outfits those folks, is putting more research into sun protective gear. Sounds good to me.

The Good

Mesh panels for increased breathability. The Atmosphere 2 shirts are available with long or short sleeves. They are high wicking and shaped to fit your body. Really, everything listed in the description above could be repeated in this list… Also, they fit true to size (men’s sizes), but work well for both men and women. I’m thinking they called this line Atmosphere 2 because the shirts are so light, it kind of feels like you’re wearing nothing at all…in a good, sun-protecting, wicking way, of course.

The Bad

Mesh panels for increased breathability. That’s right – different strokes for different folks. Not everyone sweats a lot; and if you fall into this category, you might find the mesh side panels a bit overkill. With that said, this would still qualify as an ideal summer/sun protection shirt for those people, right?

(I’m putting this ‘bad’ comment in parentheses because the following effect might not bother you at all. However, I think it’s an important disclaimer: The shirts are relatively thin and “tuft up” over chest hair. With that mentioned, they are indeed thicker than other tech shirts on the market that would be described as thin.)

Overall

Of the many ‘yays,’ there was only one ‘nay.’ The truth is, we’re really excited about these new shirts. They are really good tech shirts, and they’re being offered for a competitive price. What more can you ask for?

Henri Lloyd Element Shorts

The technical features of Henri Lloyd’s Element Shorts will not be overshadowed by the handsome and classic design that will attract so many to click through to purchase! Welded, zippered, water-resistant side pockets, quick-access gusseted thigh pocket with a Velcro closure, and like back pockets will house any and all items you need close at hand. A non-corrosive zip fly speaks for the seafaring capabilities of these shorts as does the fabric with details listed below.

A double closure at the waist (inner buttoned closure and snap closure over the fly) and a soft, almost felted feel on the interior will keep you feeling secure and comfortable. The exterior also has a nice feel, and when you touch the fabric, you get a sense of the durability and abrasion resistance. The shorts have a nice stretch. Made of Henri Lloyd’s ST softshell fabric, the shorts are also highly water resistant with a DWR finish that will shed surface water.

The guys who know the Henri Lloyd shorts range say the material feels similar to the Octane shorts with the good fit of the Fast-Dri shorts.

The Good

They fit comfortably. They also happen to be wind resistant, extremely breathable, and nylon-faced for enhanced abrasion-resistance. The easy care gets a big thumbs up, too. Machine wash. (PS. Do not put these in the dryer – you’ll compromise the finish and lose that water-resistance.)

The Bad
The guys who tried these shorts on – no women’s sizes, sorry ladies – say the Element shorts are a bit tight around the hips. The models say this isn’t quite “bad” as the shorts were still very comfortable thanks to some stretch and a hugging feeling. Officially, it was determined the ‘hug’ took some getting used to.

The sizing is a bit confusing. Say you wear a 32 waist or a Medium. Size 32 is listed for the Small on these shorts, but you’ll likely prefer to size up to the Medium if you like a looser fit. Again, you’ll be influenced by the tightness in the hips.

Overall

These shorts were a hit. The functional pockets, the durability, the feel, the look are all there. I’m pretty sure there will be more than one APS staffer rocking these shorts this summer. As far as the fit is concerned, our models sized for the fit in the hips and decided they’d stay a little loose in the waist. After all, it’s easy to throw on a belt if/when you need one and to leave some leeway for the BBQ belly.

Monday, April 4, 2011

APS Spinsheet Chesapeake Racer Profile - Jeff Todd

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

Annapolis sailor Jeff Todd grew up sailing on Cape May, NJ, back when junior sailors sailed on Blue Jays and Sunfish and Atlantic Raceweek actually lasted for a full week. His dad owned a Thistle and a Columbia 9.6, so in addition to competing in the high school Laser circuit up and down the Jersey coast, he competed in a number of big boat events. While attending the College of Charleston, he competed on Solings and Harpoons on the sailing team. Afterward, he came to Annapolis to work for Hood Sails.

Following two years there, a five-year stint at Sobstad Sails, and a hiatus from the industry for a few years, Todd went to work for North Sails in 1995; 16 years later he is the service manager at North 's Stevensville, MD, loft. Being a sailmaker offers "a great opportunity to interact with people who share the love of sailing," he says. "When you sail with the owners and crew, often the become like an extended family."

You might also sail often and well enough to rise to the top of the pack, as his track record demonstrates. Since 1987, as a skipper, Todd has won in the MORC, J/29, J/35, J/22, IRC (as tactician) East Coast Championships and the J/29, J/35 and J/120 (as tactician) North American Championships. He has captured High Point honors in the J/35, Melges 24, and J/22 classes, as well as winning significant regional events such as the Annapolis NOOD, Screwpile, and CBYRA Annapolis Race Week Regattas. In late February, Todd eked out a victory in a tie-breaker at the Layline J/22 Midwinter Championship Regatta in Tampa, FL, and won CBYRA High Point honors for 2010 in the J/22 class (on Hot Toddy, as all his family boats have been named).

Todd met his wife Kim (nee Harquail), the product of a Severna Park sailing family, at the Solomons Island Invitational. The couple had raced extensively together on a J/29 and J/35, including a win at the J/35 North Americans in Newport, RI, in 1992. Their daughter Cassie (16) sails with them on their J/22, and while their daughter Shelby (14) prefers field sports, she plans to sail on a Club 420 this summer with friends.

Spinsheet: When was the last time you fell overboard?
At the J/22 North Americans in Cleveland, OH, in 2007. We had finished and were in the line for the hoist. I was holding onto a piling precariously and "splash," in I went. I got a big laugh.

Do you have a memorable crash story?
No, but I have a good lost rig story. I was sailing with Bert Jabin on a Farr 37 in the 1980s. We were headed out to R2 when a big thunderstorm came rolling down the Severn River. We were the farthest out and saw all sorts of destruction and boats rounding up. We were preparing for it when the rig went down. It was back in the old days, so we didn't have enough lifejackets on board. When the Coast Guard came by, we waved them off as quickly as we could.

Who are your favorite people to sail with?
Chip Carr, Chris Ryan, my dad Steve Todd, my wife Kim Todd, my daughter Cassie Todd, Rick and Rich Born, and John Moran.

When was the last time you got seasick?
During the Annapolis to Newport Race. We were sailing in 35 knots with the number four up and a reef in the main. I went down below and came right back up...

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

If you were going on a road trip, what would you want on your playlist?
Jackson Brown, Brice Springsteen, and George Thorogood and the Delaware Destroyers.

If you had a T-shirt with your personal motto on it, what would it say?
Live for the day.

It's Saturday in the off-season...how do you spend the day?
Running kids around to Girl Scouts and basketball, lacrosse, and soccer games, working with my honey-do list around the house, and helping with race committee for St. Mary's High School sailing.

What three pieces of sailing gear can you not live without?
My Henri Lloyd foul weather gear for both inshore and offshore, Ronstan gloves, and Sperry Top-Sider sneakers.


What's your advice to a young racing sailor?
Sail as much as you can and with as many different people as you can. You will learn something different from all of them.

Can you give us one good sail trim tip?
What I like to talk to people about is main sail trim. When you're close hauled in 10 knots, get the last three feet on top batten paralell to the boom. As a general rule, it works on a lot of boats.


If money were no object, what kind of boat would you buy?
A Melges 24. They're fast and fun, and planing along at 15 knots puts a big smile on your face. We had one for awhile. Now we have kids.


A big congratulations to Todd for winning the J/22 Midwinters in Tampa, FL. Todd was also the first to install and test out the new J/22 spreader repair kit and has given us positive feedback. Be on the look out for a more in-depth blog post of the J/22 spreader repair kit written by our very own customer service expert, Warren Richter.