Friday, July 29, 2011

APS Spinsheet Chesapeake Racer Profile - Team APS

Among the boats this team sails on are the Laser, E-Scow, DN, J/22, J/80, J/109, Soverel 33, Beneteau 40.7, Beneteau 44.7, Farr 395, Farr 40, Log Canoes, and various handicap boats.

Mike Lindsley: Storefront Manager
What's your advice for young racing sailors?
Wear sunblock!  As great as it is to have a sweet hiking pants tan line across your Wayfers, using sunblock will save you a few trips to the dermatologist later in life.  Try using sunblock from Blue Lizard or Z-block-it will save your skin!

What three pieces of indispensible sailing gear do you own?
I almost always have Kaenon Sunglasses and a pair of Under Armor compression boxers stored in my Helly Hensen Duffle bag.

Steve Mazur: Customer Service
Do you have advice for young racers?
Wear the right gear-nothing worse than being cold and miserable.

What gear do you depend on?
Croakies, Sailing Angles Control Gloves, and waterproof iPod player case.

Matt Crooks: Storefront
Advice to young racing sailors?
try and get on as many boats as you can so that you can see how different skippers run their boats and figure out what works and what doesn't.

What's in your gear bag?
My Smith sunglasses, OluKai flip flops, and lots of sunscreen!

     Aaron Freeman: Customer Service Manager
     What nugget of wisdom do you have for young racing sailors?
     Don't be intimidated by "big" boats.  Walk the docks on Wednesday night looking to be crew.  As a junior sailor, you will bring some great skills to the table (you've probably practiced as many starts in the prior two weeks as many of the crew onboard will start in an entire season).  Have fun and be nice to people.  Sailing is a lifetime sport, which means you're probably going to see the same people that you see at mark roundings now for the next 30 to 50 years!

Warren Richter: Customer Service
If you had one piece of advice about racing for a young sailor, what would it be?
Be calm. Remaining calm and maintaining your composure in a difficult situation  or when you find yourself at the back of the fleet will get you much further than getting frustrated and loosing your cool.

What gear do you depend on?
Henri Lloyd Foul Weather Gear, Ronstan Gloves, Teva Shoes, and Rocky Gore-Tex socks.

John Maloney: Customer Service/Boat Sales Manager
What is your advice for young racing sailors?
Get in dinghies a lot!  Don't get used to bigger boats before you are used to dinghies.  You'll be able to sail big boats more effectively later on down the road.

Essential sailing gear?
It's been a while since I have frostbite raced, but my Kokatat drysuit has provided me with countless hours of comfort in the dead of winter.  Couldn't live (literally, I guess) without it.  I've owned a lot of different drysuits (and rolls of duct tape) over the years.  This one is worth the money.

Matt Fafoutis: Customer Service
Advice to young sailors?
Have fun.  Isn't that the whole point of sailing to begin with?  If you aren't having fun, why do it at all?

What's your favorite sailing gear?
Musto MPX Race Salopettes and Atlas gloves doing bow on big boats.  I never get on a boat without rigging tape and APS #WC10303, a shackle key bottle opener...I don't know which function I use more often.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Musto / APS Love

You appreciate Musto for bringing you top quality gear with innovative design, high tech materials, and a meticulous manufacturing process. Musto appreciates you for wearing that gear out on the water. As a thank you, Musto is giving back:

Earlier this Summer, we were hammering out details regarding a 4'x4' Musto poster board for the APS storefront with our Musto Rep Arthur. (The results of which are striking - see image above. Musto has partnered with CAMPER to sponsor Emirates Team New Zealand. Jeez, I'm wishing I was out on a boat like that right now instead of sitting at my computer!)

APS Musto J-World PromotionShortly after the poster was printed, Arthur surprised us with great news via email. He was giving us 9 Musto gift certificates to hand out to local regatta venues that could be redeemed at our store. All we had to do was pick 3 regatta events to which we could award these 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place prizes. (Do the math - it works out, we promise!)

Musto rocks! This random act of generosity deserves mucho praise!

It was difficult to choose an event for the you might imagine. Ultimately, APS decided to go with the J-World Annapolis Thursday Night Races. Why? Because three types of one design boats race on Thursday nights - J/22s, J/24s, and J/80s.  There's been an abundance of wind and talented sailors (70 boats!) out every Thursday night this season, and we think these devoted racers will have all sorts of warm and fuzzy feelings towards Musto when they're outfitting themselves at APS.

APS / Musto Prizes to be Awarded at Boatyard Bar and GrillA total of 9 prizes will be presented to the skippers of winning boats at the Awards Ceremony at the Boatyard Bar & Grill after the finish of the Second Series Races on August 25, 2011.

If you've been racing fast on Thursday nights and have neglected to visit the J-World site (Naughty!) - you can find details here: Musto Prizes for Thursday Night Racers!

Want to browse Musto gear on the APS website? Type Musto in the search bar here.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Guest Blog: Josh O. Makes a Good Call

It's always good to get feedback from customers on the products we sell at APS. Below, you'll read one of the best narrative reviews we've received all year. Complete with video...

Annapolis Performance Sailing APS Gill Marine Tool Folding Knife

Subject: Thank You, You guys saved my crew tonight..

Dear APS,

Thanks for the fast shipping on order xxx542. I ordered two nights ago and got a package this afternoon - a few hours before an eventful race. In the package was a Gill Marine Tool Folding Knife, which really saved our @$$. We were racing J/24s in New York Harbor and were hit by a solid squall (gusts to 58mph from a J/105's instruments that was near the windward shore so I'm guessing we got a bit more than that). With a solid knot in the spin halyard, we were unable to douse. We were getting tossed around and were about to blow out the kite. Luckily, I had knife to cut the spin halyard, it probably saved the boat. (One J/24 in our fleet was demasted, another sank. Luckily, everyone in the fleet is okay!)

The knife is great and made short work of the halyard. Thanks for a great product. It is actually our new lucky knife, I thought we lost it overboard during the squall, but we found it under the genny at the dock! I imagine the rest of the crew will be ordering one in the coming week.

Oh, and we had a GoPro mounted on the pushpit, so I'll forward you guys a link when we get that video on the web...

Thanks again,
Josh O.


Pretty good review, hey? Here's the video and some commentary Josh sent us a few days later after checking with his crew to make sure they were cool with us posting:

We gybed earlier in the video which put the fouled spinnaker in a bad spot. Unfortunately, we didn't have much room to gybe back and blanket the spin with the main. Our pit guy was hanging on for dear life at some points.

I was messing around on the bow with the marlin spike trying to get the knot out, but at the 2:30 mark someone saw a boat way below us in bad shape, and we made the decision to cut the line. It was an easy cut, and the sail dropped nicely.

After this we dropped sail and tried to get back in. We had someone on the bow spotting for us, and tying up the genny, and I tied up the main with a spin sheet around 6:30 in the video (We got the spin sheets from you guys, and they've served us very well in both light and heavy air).

Around 10:00 we saw Colgate 28 in trouble off the tip of Manhattan, that we believed had someone in the water, so we stood by for assistance there. Then we motored on home.

There were quite a few things we could have done better on this trip, but we all made it, and learned a bit.


If anyone else out there has cool (er, or dangerous and exciting) photos or video of APS products being used, please email them to Also, product feedback - good and bad - is always appreciated. Please send product feedback without photos/video to

Thank you for the guest blog, Josh O. We're glad your crew and everyone in the fleet made it out of those conditions without injury.

All the best from the APS staff.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Experience Dyneema by FSE Robline

The 2011 Dyneema Experience Team is underway testing the strength and function of Dyneema and sharing the Experience with the world.

Annapolis Performance Sailing APS Rigging FSE Robline Dyneema Experience Line

APS has been happy to get involved with the project. Here, we highlight Skipper Pete Hunter who has paired with FSE Robline to rework the running rigging on his Thompson 30 Wairere.

This is how you experience Dyneema:

Annapolis Performance Sailing APS Rigging FSE Robline Dyneema Experience Backstays with Karver BlocksThese backstays have been made from 12-strand single braid Ocean 3000 by FSE Robline, which is entirely Dyneema SK-75, abrasion and UV resistant. The upper and lower backstay legs have been assembled complete (read: a 12-strand eye splice secures Karver blocks and 2 lashings keep them in place). They are lashed to stay in place as a result of the diameter of the line, which runs thick (a.k.a. fat) in this application. A Ronstan Sailmaker's Thimble has been spliced in place to attach the backstays to the mast.

Silver 10mm Admiral Dyneema jib sheet (at left) Annapolis Performance Sailing APS Rigging FSE Robline Dyneema Experience Jib Sheetshas been made from Dyneema SK-75 core for a high breaking strength and a 32-plait polyester cover to minimize abrasion. The sheet has been finished with an end whip on on the tail and a high tech double braid eye splice on the other - to which a modified FSE Robline soft shackle has attached. APS riggers added a pull tab (see small red line) to the soft shackle to improve efficiency and ease of use. *Note: APS Dyneema Shackle Loops (DSLs) would be an ideal option for this application.
Annapolis Performance Sailing APS Rigging FSE Robline Dyneema Experience Inhaulers

The inhaulers on the right have been made from FSE Robline 6mm Purple Dinghy Control Line. The core is exposed at the luggage tag splice, and the cover has been whipped in place on both ends.

Below, you see the new spinnaker halyard. It has been made from 10mm Black Admiral Dyneema, which is the same line used in the jib sheets. The halyard has been stripped, buried, and tapered; finished with a Reeving Splice and a Halyard Ball Stop.

Annapolis Performance Sailing APS Rigging FSE Robline Dyneema Experience Spinnaker Halyard

Below is a tackline that has been made from 3/8" blue/silver FSE Robline Globe 5000. Prized for low stretch and strength, Globe 5000 has two covers to protect the Dyneema core. A 32-plait cover rests over an intermediate polyester cover with more structured fibers to protect (and integrally bulk) a Dyneema SK-75'impregnated core.' The core was disturbed when APS riggers strip tapered the line so blue Yale Maxijacket was carefully applied to reconstitute the line's UV integrity. (More info about Yale Maxijacket can be found below in the spinnaker sheet description.) APS riggers always reinforce disturbed lines with Maxijacket to ensure rigging clients get the longest life out of their lines as possible. This line has been finished with a luggage tag splice and an end whip.

Annapolis Performance Sailing APS Rigging Dyneema Experience Spinnaker SheetsLike the tackline, the spinnaker sheets were made from FSE Robline Globe 5000. Also, the sheets were reinforced with Yale Maxijacket where the cover was progressively stripped, tapered, and buried. Maxijacket coating is great stuff. Its primary function is UV protection. Maxijacket also firms lines/makes them stiffer; makes line more snag/abrasion-resistant; keeps grit, dust, and dirt from working into the line; and increases the life of line. The Globe 5000 core is already 'impregnated' with a coating that serves to protect the line; however, when the core has been manipulated and the braid has been worked apart to make way for splicing, tapering, or burying, it's a good idea to apply Maxijacket to reshield the line.

Annapolis Performance Sailing APS Rigging FSE Robline Dyneema Experience Jib Halyards

One role as Skipper in the Dyneema Experience is to get out on the water and work the Dyneema. That is why Pete Hunter wasn't so easy to get a hold of. In a phone interview after finishing up in 2nd place at the Screwpile Regatta in the Chesapeake Bay, he reflected on how Dyneema has effected Wairere's performance on the race course. He says, "It's been great so far. Usually, you replace line one piece at a time as they wear our or break - it was and honor (and a little overwhelming) to replace every single piece of line at once."

When Pete was taking the old line off the boat, he examined every connecting block. He was quick to state, "The [Dyneema Experience] saved us a lot of time and misery with parts that were nearly breaking. This was a good opportunity to replace what needed to be replaced."

As for the line, he's happy with the rigging job. He says, "The crew is happy, the line runs freely. The calculated stripping has made the line lighter and easier to use."

Here you can find a short review of the Dyneema Experience (and the APS rigging experience) from one of Wairere's crew.

Annapolis Performance Sailing APS Rigging FSE Robline Dyneema Experience Code Zero

The Dyneema Experience is running contests every week to give away free Dyneema goodies. If you want in on the random drawings, all you have to do is join the crew of one of the 40 team skippers. If you click here, you'll see the sign-up box to the right of Pete's profile.

APS is wishing you all the best, Dyneema Experience Skippers!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Solomons Island Race

Starting Line - Team Yellow Jacket- Photo courtesy of Wilbur

Five minutes before the start of the 2011 Solomons Island Race, the crew on-board Farr 40 Yellow Jacket was busy cooking up burgers so we'd be smokin' fast, on Fire at the start! (See Bill attempting to fit the lid on the grill...) We may not have been the most serious racers on the Bay that night, but we managed to do a pretty good job of sailing and having a little too much fun...
The wind gods were kind for our 55-mile trek down the Bay. A steady southerly breeze kept us upwind the entire race. We were guided by a full moon that may or may not have caused a little craziness on board.

Sometime in-between Annapolis
and Solomons - All smiles!
About 8 1/2 hours after the start, we reached Solomons. Everyone on-board miraculously stayed awake for the entire race, mainly thanks to Bill's espresso liquor shots! We reached Solmons at 3:11am, sleep-deprived, and looking for the infamous Solomons Bloody Marys. Only problem was, the bar at the Solomons Holiday Inn opens at 6am. So we took a power boat ride to kill some time and watch the other class boats finish. At this point, finding a comfortable place to crash would have been a great idea, but as they say, there's no rest for the weary! At least, that was my motivating force. After the $2 spicy Bloodies, most of the crew pilled into a van and headed back to Annapolis to sleep for the rest of the lazy day. It felt like the weekend had just ended. Luckily it was only Saturday!

Sunrise at Solomons Island

Monday, July 11, 2011

APS 20th Anniversary Party Recap

Weeks of planning finally paid off when APS staffers had the chance to hang out with Annapolis, North Virginia, Colorado, and Baltimore racers off the water at the APS 20th Anniversary Backyard BBQ!

There were more than just hot dogs on the grill, there were hot dogs in attendance! (Example a.k.a. Maxwell to the right.) Let's just say, the beer tent was as popular as ever considering it was one of the few places to find shade...We need more trees in this world or at least more Kaenons and Bimini Caps.

Thank you to those of you who were in town and ventured into the hot sun to join us! In the end, it felt good to chase away those 4th of July hangovers and officially celebrate 20 years of APS, 20 years of hard work and innovation, and 20 years of performance sailing. A solid crew of people filtered in over the course of the afternoon to eat food off the grill, drink icy cold beer and fruit punches, and shoot the breeze. I, for one, could have done with an earlier reapplication of sunscreen and maybe a little more water than beer... To think, when we started planning, we were worried about rain!

A good time was had by all, and even some mishaps helped make the day. It's the kind of stuff good comedy is made of, and in the end, you're left laughing with your friends: Invite a bunch of sailors over for burgers and find out you've broken the grill. (Did that happen when we were cleaning it up, or is it just old?) Or fight to defend yourself when people in their 20s and 30s give you trouble for opting out of the Moon Bounce. (APS is 20 not two, and I'm pretty sure the people asking about it would have exceeded the weight limit...) Good thing our guests were happy and laid back.

Really, it's those imperfections that make you band together and triumph! Grill emergency, shmrill emergency. Not skipping a beat, Harriet in accounting came to the rescue when she called her husband and requested that he deliver us from momentary chaos and drop off a proxy grill. (Thanks, Tom! You are awesome!)

DJ Grill Master Zach - who also happens to be the APS Shipping Manager - had it fired up in no time topped with sizzling BBQ bun stuffers. A good thing for us all to know: you can't promise hungry sailors food and not come through! What did you think of the burgers? Zach insisted on that extra shaker of Montreal Steak Seasoning. Seems like he's a man who knows.

Of course, we couldn't let you all stop by without sharing a little love. Thank you to everyone who contributed to our momento...

Here are some of our favorites among the Congratulations, Thanks, and Cheers our guests were kind enough to write on our fashioned "guest book" banner:

-Thanks APS...You've saved our butts through many broken halyards!

-Can't wait for the next 20!!

-Congrats APS for 20 years of Excellence! Annapolis V-15 Fleet

-#179 RedRum I don't know how much Opti gear I've bought, but it's a lot!

The drawings and greetings from the likes of J-World and the Aunt Jean Crew are here to stay! So now, it's just a matter of figuring out where to hang this beauty. In the storefront, perhaps?

Thank you for 20 years, Everyone! - High Fives coming your way from The APS Crew

For more pictures, check out the APS 20th Anniversary Party!!! album on Facebook.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

You're Invited...APS Celebrates 20 Years!

Extreme Sailing Series - Boston

The Fan Pier a.k.a. water-splashed heart of Boston  hosted the Extreme Sailing Series this weekend adding another piece of excitement to the Independence Day festivities.

11 teams completed 37 races. Quite the scene!  Over 5 days of racing, an estimated 55,000 spectators came out to take it all in.

It was a successful US debut of the Extreme Sailing Series: the Emirates Team New Zealand took the win on the last leg of the final race.  American Terry Hutchinson and his Artemis Racing Team had an 8 point lead going into the last race but couldn't quite fight off the Emirates Team. Congratulations go out to all participants for sailing hard!

Our Boston friend Nick was on the scene. Check out his pics below:

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Honorary Skipper J80 Fun Race 2011

...Apparently we were not the only ones who were thankful for the Honorary Skipper J80 Fun Race.  A few thank you letters from the crew on-board Crush came in the mail this week.  Thank you for the illustrations!

Last weekend, I volunteered with the J80 skippers and EYC members to host the 2nd Honorary Skipper J80 Fun Race, which has been set up to coincide with the Leukemia Cup to support The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's mission to "cure leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin's lymphoma and myeloma, and improve the quality of life of patients and their families." Local J80s had the wonderful opportunity to take young leukemia patients out with their families for 6 short races on the Bay. The winds were light, perfect for teaching/learning how to sail.
Photo by Sara Proctor
I sailed with Jesse McKnight on Crush. It was our first time sailing in the event, and we had no idea what to expect. Our first stop in the morning was spent setting up the party tent for the Leukemia Cup racers who were further out in the Bay. Everything came together incredibly fast with all the support from EYC volunteers. The patients and their families showed up around 11:00 to meet with the skippers, chow down on burgers and dogs, and find their boats.

Jesse and I were assigned to a family with 3 children; Alec, Alyssa, and Aaron. (It took me a while to remember the names because they all started with A...go'd think it would have made it easier for me!) The kids were happy and laughing excited for the day. It goes to show how something new and exciting on a sunny day can take the spotlight away from some of life's bigger, sadder dramas. Aaron, the middle child, was a former leukemia patient who, with the help of his brother Alec, was able to defeat leukemia completely. Alec was the only one in his family that had the perfect bone marrow match for Aaron. He donated his marrow at age 7. Their father told me that the bone marrow transfer is an incredibly painful process, especially for someone under the age of 10. There are heroes at every age. These kids were anything but weak as they pulled the lines and shared their joy with us. Jesse and I were grateful to have them onboard.

Photo by Sara Proctor
All three Aces took turns skippering the races. I'll say they did a pretty good job considering we won the entire regatta! Wooh! Congratulations go out to the A-team! ('A' because of their names...not because of our boat's victory. Everyone out on the water was a winner at the end of the day.)

The sun and heat were unbearable at times. Thankfully, we had plenty of liquids on board. At one point I was trimming the jib sheets and poking a hole in juice boxes at the same time. Had to stay hydrated!

At the end of the event, each child received a medal for racing with the 80s. I had a wonderful time getting to know Alec, Alyssa, and Aaron and teaching them how to sail. It's a great event that was inspiring to all people involved. It felt good to give the patients the chance to be out in the elements learning new skills and making new friends. I'm already looking forward to the event next year.