Wednesday, August 31, 2011

How’s the Kite Flying on Your Lighting?

Annapolis Performance Sailing APS Selden Lightning Spinnaker Pole

This Lightning Spinnaker Pole just left the building! That’s right, APS riggers make spinnaker and whisker poles – One Design and custom.

What’s so special about this pole? A large diameter in the middle gives the aluminum pole strength where needed. Also, tapered ends and the smaller end fittings they afford greatly decrease overall pole weight and increase ease of use.

Annapolis Performance Sailing APS Selden Lightning Spinnaker Pole

Two welded Stainless Steel D-Rings are secured to the center of the pole so you can go jaws up or jaws down. They are then wrapped with Low Stretch Halyard Leader, which is then epoxied so the line stays tight around the D-rings. Why are we seizing the D-rings like this rather than using eye straps? Drilling holes in the pole compromises its strength, and we don’t want that now, do we?

These are easy to maintain, too. If the epoxy cracks over time, all you have to do is brush a little more on.

Annapolis Performance Sailing APS Selden Lightning Spinnaker Pole

We’re using AmSteel Blue for the trip line because it’s strong, and it won’t absorb water. A shrink wrap tube is fixed around the knot that secures the trip line to the pole for added durability.

This spinnaker pole is built the same way for the Lightning, Flying Scot, and Thistle (other than length).

Not in any of those OD boats? Click here to see what we do for your class….

Friday, August 26, 2011

J-World Thursday Night Winners will be Rockin' Musto Gear!

Last night, the usual suspects plus several new faces showed up to the J-World Thursday Night Series Awards at the Boat Yard Bar & Grill. Despite the fact the final races were called off due to looming thunderstorms, a solid crowd of sailors found themselves in high spirits among friends.

APS and Musto were responsible for offering prizes up to the top racers in each class for the overall season, and our very own President Kyle Gross was on the scene shaking hands and passing out awards.

(Insert drum roll)...The awards went out to...

In the J/22 class:
Alan Finklestein finished Third overall, Kevin Elion in Rug Burn finished Second, and Jeff Todd in Hot Toddy, lead the fleet in First.

With 26 boats competing in the J/24 class:
Fleet Captain Brent Ellwood finished Third, Michael Murry's boat, Roo ended up in Second and Paul Van Ravenswaay's, Mil. Falcon took First.

The smallest yet loudest group of the J boats, the J/80 class: Ken Mangano in Mango finish Third overall, Rob Mairs in Puffinator captured a Second and Brian Robinson, Angry Cameleon took First for the season!

This year, Carole and Jeff did a wonderful job (as usual) organizing the Thursday Night Races that are a legend to many across the States.

A huge Thank You goes out to Musto and APS Musto Rep Arthur Libby for coordinating wtih us so we could give these racers some extra incentive to go faster out on the course. (Really, who isn't going to race faster when there are APS/Musto Gift Certificates on the line?!!)

Congratulations to all the winners. We'll see you when you come in to snatch up that Musto gear you've had your eye on all season! As always, Thursday Night Races are always quite competitive and incredibly fun. I'm already looking forward to next year's season.

But for now (and I'm sure I can speak for several APS Staffers) I've got frostbites on the mind!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Bull, The Bear, & The APS Staff Boating!

Annapolis Performance Sailing APS Bull and Bear Staff Boating
Yesterday evening, the APS Staff had the chance to take an evening sail out on the Bull and Bear Sandbaggers currently based out of Annapolis at the National Sailing Hall of Fame dock. These boats are replicas of New York Harbor cargo (mostly oysters as we understand it) boats built in the 1860s. These boats can build up a fair amount of speed thanks to long bowsprits and relatively large sail area - and back in the day, if the wind is kind and the sailing good, the first boat back to market had the advantage of naming its price for the day.

Annapolis Performance Sailing APS Product Manager BoatingIs that our Product Manager James McKenna holding the main out? It is! The sunset was beautiful, but we could have used a little more breeze... Friends and family of the staff were on board both boats to give the same ballast 40 lb sandbags once would have.

Annapolis Performance Sailing APS Fulfillment BoatingTorrey and Bryan from fulfillment were enjoying the light breeze and fresh air, too, as staffers took turns at the tiller. The rudders and centerboards were huge, and it took some time (and a little muscle) to bring the boat around when tacking and jibing.

Annapolis Performance Sailing APS Boating Customer Service Chesapeake RacerAll in all, everyone had a lot of fun. Warren from APS Customer Service and APS Spinsheet Chesapeake Bay Racer Ashley Love conspired to race the Bull against the Bear. That didn't quite happen this time around, but we can always hope for another opportunity.

A Big THANK YOU! goes out to the Bull and Bear skippers, first mates, and tender drivers working with the Friends of Bull and Bear Sandbaggers. Let's just say, a staff outing was long overdue! If you'd like to read more about the Bull and the Bear, click here. The boats travel every year so they may be coming to a town near you...

Annapolis Performance Sailing APS Boating into the Sunset
The photographs of the Bull and the Bear are courtesy of the National Sailing Hall of Fame -

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.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Hampton Yacht Club Regatta Report

This wonderful card made its way to our staff fridge! A big thanks to the Hampton Yacht Club Junior sailors. We always appreciate getting feedback of all sorts from regattas we've helped sponsor! If your event was/is sponsored by APS and you would like to submit pictures (with captions), please email them to:

For more information on our Regatta Sponsorship program and to fill out an APS Sponsorship Request form, please visit our Sponsorship Page.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Zero to 505 in Five Weekends....

505 stories from the front line. Guest blog writer/APS Storefront Manager Mike Lindsley writes, "It all started on a beautiful afternoon in June..."

I remember the perplexed look a young man and his father had painted on their faces as they entered the APS storefront for the first time. (Note: This reaction is not uncommon when it comes to first timers to APS as our mass inventory tends to overwhelm…)

John and Jack (father/son) did not waste any time to clue me in on their recent purchase of a dinghy and the fact they were in need of some real help. Jack’s search into finding a cool and unique project dinghy was over when he fell head over heels for the 1978 Parker hulled Lindsay 505.

For those of you not so into the history of 505 hull construction, a Parker-hulled Lindsay is a very rare boat, of which only 12 were produced. Former International 505 class president and “project manager” for the John/Jack 505 restoration project, Ali Meller explained to me the evolution of the design and construction of the 505 hull over the years. He informed that the Parker-hulled Lindsay is a combination of a partly-cored (soft) polyester hull that gets its constructional rigidity from the cold molded seat tanks and mahogany skeleton. This makes for a light and rigid boat.

The 505 has obviously been through many different constructional changes since the 1960s - materials ranging from plastic to carbon fiber construction - but a solid Parker-hulled Lindsay is quite sought after because of its longevity and ability to fare against newer boats in most local fleets. This particular boat sailed in the 1979 Worlds in Durban, South Africa and WON. (It was sailed by Steve Taylor and David Penfield.)

John and Jack’s boat at time of purchase was a nicely re-finished hull (no hardware), a mast (from another 505 that was too short), boom, spin pole, and a set of sails. This was a ‘blank slate’ that would need all of the typical 505’ing done to it - automatic controls, tapered control lines, all things that make a 505… a 505! John and Jack needed some guidance on where to begin placing hardware and running lines.

That’s where Ali Meller came in. Ali lead the project by first shimming the mast step to correct the too-short mast, measuring for all new running rigging, installing all new hardware, and going sailing with Jack. This project has taken the guys quite a few trips back and forth from their hometown near Philadelphia and quite a few $$’s a labor of love, right John?

John believes the stars were aligned for his son’s project. His first conversation with me at APS brought to light the fact there is a 505 fleet in Annapolis, that someone locally (Ali Meller) was willing to assist in this project, that no more than a stone’s throw away from where they would be working on the boat is a store (APS) with thousands of parts needed to outfit the boat. After 5 weekends (and a few weekdays), Jack now has a race-ready, sound vessel!

It’s a happy ending – perhaps, a beginning – for everyone involved. John is quite excited for the experience his son has had so far and looks forward to many years watching Jack sail his project race boat. Ali is ecstatic to have yet another 505 sailing in the Chesapeake Bay fleet. For Jack, this is just the beginning of a great journey known as the sailing lifestyle!

For more information on the 505, and if you are thinking about buying/ restoring one, go here: Everything on the site was written and researched by Ali Meller.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Inside the APS Storefront

Annapolis Performance Sailing APS StorefrontYou've heard about it once or twice. Heck, it's on the cover of the 2011 Spring catalog. (What?! You didn't get a FREE APS catalog? Better click here.) APS is not just a website, we have a storefront, too!

APS stocks what you need so you can have it as close to immediately as possible. We have to find somewhere to put all that stuff, right? So where do we put it? We treat our storefront like a warehouse. That's why sailors stop by on their way to the club because that widget busted, an upgrade is necessary, you get the picture... People have likened our storefront to a candy store for sailors. What a compliment!

Mike Annapolis Performance Sailing APS Storefront MangerStorefront Manager Mike Lindsley wants to make sure the storefront functions in the proper utiliarian way - but doesn't look so utilitarian. Sure, he'll have a table set up so folks coming into the storefront know what this week's Hot New Item is, and he'll set up gear that's relevant for whatever regatta is being hosted in Annapolis for the weekend. But what about the every day? What about making the store look good (and cool) for customers coming in to pick up parts or try on gear?

Posters! That is the answer! After being inspired by a cool 4' x 4' poster that Gill sent us a couple years ago, Mike contacted a few of our other favorite vendors. Check out the storefront now: *Note...the walls were empty before. This is a huge improvement!

Gill Annapolis Performance Sailing APS Storefront
Gill Started it all with this sweet poster!

Atlantis Poster Annapolis Performance Sailing APS Storefront
Atlantis in the house!

Musto Henri Lloyd Annapolis Performance Sailing APS Storefront
Henri Lloyd and Musto duly represented.

Zhik Slam Annapolis Performance Sailing APS Storefront
Zhik and SLAM on the big wall!
Hang tight for burgees to fill in the blank spaces...

What's that? You have a burgee you want APS to hang up on the wall? Mail it to:

Annapolis Performance Sailing
c/o Mike Lindsley
104 Severn Avenue
Annapolis, MD 21403

Thank you Gill, Atlantis, Musto, Henri Lloyd, Zhik, and SLAM for sending in such cool artwork (in-store customer feedback has been great!) - and for working with us to make the APS shopping experience even better!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

APS One Design Pre-Spec'd Rigging

APS outfits a range of One Design boats from keelboats like the Melges 24 and Sonar to dinghies like the Optimist and Thistle. Every class has rules about rigging - and the APS Rigging Department has put together class legal packages for sheets, control lines, and halyards.

What does this mean for you? No measurements! Pre-Spec'd means pre-specified - you just pick your favorite line. Check out what our riggers did for a J/24 last week:

Performance Sailing APS Rigging J24 Topping Lift Samson MLXAnnapolis
This topping lift has been constructed using Samson MLX. This is a good Dyneema SK-75/Polypro blended line that along with low stretch boasts a great feel in the hand. Also, the coated core in this line allows for your to strip the cover to save on weight - though, that doesn't effect this application. A Wichard Standard Snap/Safety Hook comes attached to the end as part of the package. To be clear...the hook is included as part of the pre-spec'd rigging.

Annapolis Performance Sailing APS Rigging J24 Foreguy Samson MLX
The foreguy shown above has been made from the same Samson MLX and also has a Wichard Standard Snap/Safety Hook attached to the end.

Annapolis Performance Sailing APS Rigging J24 Vang Yale Maxibraid Samson Amsteel Blue

This J/24 8:1 Vang Line has been made with a Yale Maxibraid Plus vang with 4:1 Purchase and a Samson AmSteel Blue vang 2:1 Cascade. Our riggers were hesitant to let me put this up because it's not so exciting, however, I'm just trying to let everyone know what they're hard at work doing on a daily basis - and really, this is the preferred method for constructing a vang for a J/24.

Not re-fitting the rigging on a J/24? Check out other APS Pre-Spec'd One Design packages here.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

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

Optimist a.k.a. Opti at Annapolis Performance Sailing APS

Item of discussion: Opti Airbags a.k.a. Optiparts Buoyancy Bags

Optimist a.k.a. Opti Airbags and Optiparts Buoyancy Bags
Necessity Scale: 10 out of 10 (Must Have)
Total Number in Boat: 3
Durability: 5 out of 10 (Not exactly a Punching Bag...)

Annapolis Performance Sailing Opti Airbags Red Long Tube EX1219CLCost (per item)

Minimum: $32.00 (EX1213, EX1215) Short-tube for inflation like a beachball.

Maximum: $35.00 (EX1217-19) Built with a long tube, which is much better for keeping air in the bag and makes it easier to blow up.

APS Special: $34.00 (EX1219CL) Normal red long tube with APS logo.

Annapolis Performance APS Thumbs UpGood News: Using airbags for buoyancy in Optis makes the boat much cheaper/lighter than having tanks or false decks. Hardly anyone can say they have been lucky enough to see an opti sink…to the bottom. Therefore, rest assured - airbags will keep the boat floating. That is, of course, assuming that opti sailors sail with three airbags that WORK.

Annapolis Performance Sailing APS Thumbs PhotoBad News: They are not tanks. You might find yourself pumping up your airbag(s) frequently. (Good way to hyperventilate for some people. Be careful.) Unfortunately, this is a sign that you are going to have to replace them, especially if you are sailing in a USODA regatta. You may notice most Opti sailors do not have the means to pay for their sailing, much less their airbags. Optimoms and Optidads get to immerse themselves with the maximum potential of their child’s “Opticost.” To put it simply, these airbags are One Design parts. Like many One Design parts, they are made by a select few companies, and they are very important to proper boat functionality. Take good care of them (tips to follow...), and be sure to replace them when you need to.

Annapolis Performance Sailing APS 3 Thumbs UpBest News: If you are able to take care of the airbags, you’ll get or should ultimately get a good amount of use from them.

Annapolis Performance Sailing APS Not Twenty Dollars
Personal Experience: I remember when my father and I learned that twenty dollars does not buy you a set of 3 airbags as our (now) APS Product Master James rang us up back in the day. (Oh yeah, APS promotes from within!)

From then on, I had a new found respect for my airbags…at least my dad did. In fact, it was such a good learning experience that it did not take my old man long to figure out a few ways to make those airbags last more than one summer. (WARNING: Opti maintenance habits are not genetically linked.)

Here are a few good lessons my parents still bring up to this day...

Annapolis Performance Sailing APS Optimist a.k.a. Opti Top Cover• The best way to kill your airbags is to travel with them in the boat, ESPECIALLY boats without a top cover on. If this is a standard for you or your child, you should maybe consider looking into an APSC410 or APSC411. (No excuse, we have top covers available under $50.) More covers can be found here.
• Don't use the airbags as a pillow or put heavy objects on them as that will put unnecessary wear on them.
• Leaving airbags exposed to sun is going to kill them quickly!
• Over-inflation of the airbag puts a good bit of pressure on the seams.
• Leaving the airbags in the boat in the off-season will likely land you in our storefront or on our website at least once a year.

Personal Recommendations:

Annapolis Performance Sailing APS Beach Ball•Avoid airbags with nozzles that resemble the ones on beach balls. (Short Tube)
•Remove all airbags before any road trip even if boats have a top covers.
•When you store deflated airbags, avoid folding the airbag; just roll it up if possible.
•They can be over inflated, consider a quick release of pressure if your airbags are bulging through the straps.
•Keep the airbags out of the sun with a top cover or store the boat upside down.
•Take the airbags out if the boat is not being used for any extended period of time.

Annapolis Performance Sailing APS Don't Let your Opti Sink like this...

I cannot say that I have been lucky enough to have seen an Opti sink to the bottom. Although, in my many years of “Optifun,” I recall various occurrences in which Opti sailors decided to experiment with the concept. A story or two from my early years (which might have involved no wind at sailing camp, youthful curiosity, and a somewhat-vicious bailer war) in which my friends and I learned that airbags are somewhat necessary to Opti Safety. We were not able sink a single boat…all the way to the bottom that is.