Thursday, October 27, 2011

Welcome Sailors!

It's East Coast Championship time in Annapolis! Do you hear that rumble? The sound of J/22, J/24, J/80, and J/105 Sailors psyching themselves up is getting louder...

We're sending a call out to those racers: If you haven't already weighed in at the Eastport Yacht Club, stop by APS for a weight preview. We have a Doctor's Scale by our Rope Wall, and it won't lie!

Annapolis Performance Sailing APS East Coast Championships J22 J80 J24

While you're here, be sure to pick up whatever gear you left at home. We're stocking gloves; Aegis spray tops, jackets, and bibs by Atlantis; Musto's MPX Race foul weather gear; Patagonia base layers and beanies, McLube HullKote, and Cheap Diver in the storefront. See you when you get here!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Introducing: The New Floating Windshift Sunglasses by Ronstan

Annapolis Performance Sailing APS Ronstan Floating Windshift SunglassesThe Aussies take sun protection very seriously, and the Melbourne-based marine company Ronstan is no exception. Introducing the brand new (and well thought-out) Windshift Sunglasses!

What makes these 'sunnies' stand apart from the rest? The TR-90 frame is tough. Despite having a stiffness that gives the frames a quality feel, they have a high flexural fatigue threshold. The glasses come in two colors: White/Blue or Black/Gray.

Annapolis Performance Sailing APS Floating Windshift Ronstan Sunglasses LensesThe amber lenses are polarized and photochromatic. This means they darken as it gets sunnier for ultimate protection from UVA/UVB rays. Plus, they float in even the most turbulent waters.

Ronstan brought on Aussie-based Barz Optics to manufacture the new glasses. Below, you'll see an exclusive APS video shot at the 2011 Annapolis Boat Show. Ronstan Sales Manager Ben Moon hands the spotlight over to Barz Optics founder Kevin Barr to discuss the technical features of the Windshift Sunglasses.

Want some info that's a little more personal? APS Customer Service Rep Matt F. tried out the Windshifts. Here's what he has to say:

I had the opportunity to use these new Ronstan sunglasses sailing on a race from Annapolis to Baltimore last weekend. And although I don’t think I can quite pull off the white frames (even if I’m from Jersey), I really liked them.

It was a fairly overcast day which was perfect for the Ronstan amber tinted lens. They had the ability to seemingly to brighten the day. I think this allows you to read more subtle differences in the water, particularly on days that are overcast. When the sun did come out, I didn't really notice the photochromaic (color changing) lens, but I still found them dark enough to work well in bright light conditions.

Considering I lost my last pair of sunglasses overboard only a weekend before (because my "Bowman’s croakie" (read: 3M rigging tape) broke during a scheisty gybe), I really appreciated the fact that the back of the arms are drilled out for a home-made Marlow Excel Pro croakie. Some of the guys around the shop drill out their glasses to do this but I could never bring myself to put a drill to my $100 pair of sunglasses.

A friend of mine was wearing Kaenon Pinos with the G12 lens, which I was able to swap out for a bit to compare with. Aside from the differences in tint, the Ronstans provided as much if not more clarity for reading wind shifts and puffs off the water, which for the price difference is actually pretty impressive. For what it’s worth, I think these lens are the best you can get for the price. The frame doesn’t feel as sturdy as the Kaenons or as Costa del Mar’s do, but you’re also not spending Kaenon or Costa del Mar money either.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

SLAM Looks back on APS's 20 Years

Some racers in the US are unaware the Italian marine outfitter SLAM has been developing innovative (and fashionable) technical sportswear for sailors since 1979. That's right - they've been around for a long time and continue to break new ground.

Here, the person responsible for bringing SLAM to the United States (and current Director of SLAM North America) Filippo Bovia reflects on the relationship he has shared with APS as we celebrate our 20th Anniversary year.

Annapolis Performance Sailing APS SLAM Vendor Interview

1. How does APS stand out as a retailer of SLAM products?
APS is a key retailer for SLAM, servicing one of the most prestigious sailing centers in the United States. They provide a superior level of customer service, knowledge, and expertise to an already sophisticated clientele.

2. What has been a high point for you when dealing with APS? With staff at APS?
I really enjoyed working with APS during the 2009 J/24 Worlds. It was cold, wet, and with very light air, but we had a very successful regatta from the merchandising point of view. The staff was always courteous and willing to work extra time.

3. What do you like about dealing with APS?
I like the level of knowledge and professionalism of its staff.

4. What is special about APS?
It continues to grow aggressively while most of its competitors are still fighting for survival. I think that the keys to APS’s success are enthusiasm and the ability to always bring new products and ideas to the market.

5. Why did you select APS as an avenue through which you would bring your products to market?
They were highly recommended to me by one of my customers. It was one of the best pieces of advice I ever received.

6. What five words would you use to describe APS?
Honest, passionate, knowledgeable, dedicated, innovative.

Whether you've worn one of their tech shirts until it's become your favorite or you're taking advantage of product innovations derived from Russell Coutts's testing input, you're thankful SLAM is in the game - especially if you're a slim fit.

They continue to innovate with their technical products while reflecting the glamour of the sport in their designs. Here are some products APS recommends checking out:

IconicAnnapolis Performance Sailing APS SLAM Shoes Code 1 3

SLAM launched its first footwear collection in 1996, and the brand's shoes have pervaded the market ever since. The Code 1 (left) and the Code 3 (right) are high performance sailing shoes that offer the wearer great control and balance on deck in extreme conditions.

Annapolis Performance Sailing APS SLAM BOR Spray TopInnovative

BOR stands for BMW Oracle Racing, and SLAM's BOR Spray Top was developed specifically for the program. If you're looking for a light, high-stretch, breathable spray top - look no further. The pros wear this gear for a reason.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Continuous Splice - Code Zero Furler

APS Continuous Splice + Karver Code Zero Furler + Samson MLX 1/4"= SeaCart 30 Furling Greatness!

Annapolis Performance Sailing APS Karver Code Zero Furler Continuous Splice Samson MLX

What's cool about a continuous splice is the fact that it's essential for the line diameter to be uniform throughout the splice - especially in this application so it will function properly in the furler.

Why'd the boat choose Samson MLX for the task? Most likely because it's a really nice line to handle. Seriously, the polyester cover jacket has a great feel, and it's notably pretty.

(The small blocks were provided by the owner of the boat to be included in the furling system. Novatec Shock Cord is attached to the extra blocks to act as twings so the sail can be furled from either side of this fast trimaran.)

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Velocitek Looks back on APS's 20 Years

Talk about innovation - Velocitek is responsible for bringing GPS based devices to the forefront of performance racing. Here, in honor of APS's 20th Anniversary, Velocitek President Alec M. Stewart reflects on the relationship his company has shared with APS in the last 6 years.

Annapolis Performance Sailing APS Velocitek Vendor Interview

1. How did your relationship with APS come about?
Here's the email I got from Rob Beach (Director of Marketing alum at APS) back in 2006:

"We have had a few inquiries regarding whether or not we carry your products. This leads us to wonder if you have dealers, only sell direct, or both. If you do have dealers, or would consider having them, what can we do about becoming one?

We look forward to hearing your thoughts and receiving any information you could provide.


Rob Beach"

APS was our first dealer in the US.

2. How does APS stand out as a retailer of Velocitek products?
APS sells more Velocitek products than any other independent retailer. I think a big part of this success is the time that the staff takes to understand our products so they can properly explain them to prospective customers.

3. What has been a high point for you when dealing with APS? APS Staff?
The level of professionalism, integrity and follow-through I experience when I deal with APS as a vendor or a customer is always impressive. I also appreciate it every time Lynn (APS Purchasing Manager) tells me to "have a nice day."

4. What success has Velocitek shared with APS?
APS was our first dealer and has been our biggest independent retailer year in, year out, ever since. I can say without a doubt that the success of Velocitek and probably the entire existence of the GPS instrument product category would not have been possible without the support of APS.

5. What five words would you use to describe APS?
Competent, responsive, honest, organized, friendly

6. What do you think is special about APS?
The whole organization is permeated by a culture of integrity and professionalism. This constantly shows up in how APS interacts with customers, vendors, and the community. As an entrepreneur, I find APS to be an inspiration and proof that you can do well by being fair, honest, and taking a long-term perspective.

It means a lot to the staff at APS to be recognized for high morale and a good work ethic - so you can imagine how we take feedback like this. Realizing the impact GPS technology could have on the sailing industry was cutting edge back in 2005, and the benefits for racing sailors everywhere are clear today. Way to go Velocitek!

Annapolis Performance Sailing APS Velocitek ProStart
Velocitek ProStart

The name fits the bill perfectly. The easy-to-use Velocitek ProStart is going to help any competitive sailor have a perfect start in the most straight-forward way you could hope for.

Annapolis Performance Sailing APS Velocitek SpeedPuck

Velocitek SpeedPuck

Measure the effectiveness of your sail trim and monitor the effects of windshifts and current on your heading and speed - again, with an ease you never thought possible. These tools help serious sailors improve their game.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

APS/Spinsheet Chesapeake Racer Profile - Kristen and Brian Robinson

Annapolis Performance Sailing APS J80 Chesapeake Racer Profile Brian and KristenTheir first date was on a J/24. “Our dads raced against and with each other on Little Neck Bay on Long Island Sound,” says Annapolis sailor Kristen Robinson as she sits next to her husband Brian on the deck of Eastport YC (EYC). “We joke that we never had a chance.” Since Brian was six years older than she, they knew each other growing up, but not well before Kristen turned 19 and the J/24 date. That was that.

When they were first married 12 years ago, the couple owned a Ranger 33 and sailed her only a few times before deciding their preference was for racing. They found a J/29 out of the Twin Cities and named her Wallbanger. Wrecking their J/29 on the road to Key West Race Week in 2005 was a “blessing in disguise,” says Kristen. “We walked the docks trying to make something good of a bad thing. We found a J/80, fell in love, and bought that very boat two months later.” They picked her up in Oklahoma around the same time they were preparing to move to Annapolis.

After their move that spring, their first regatta in their new boat, Angry Chameleon - named for a drink made with rum, Mountain Dew, and red Kool-Aide mix—was the Annapolis NOOD Regatta. The goal: to not finish last. The outcome: they finished fifth of six. They immediately packed up and headed to Seabrook, TX, for the J/80 National Championships. The goal: to not finish last. The outcome: they finished 27th of 28. The couple says they used to “go down to Texas to get our butts kicked and come back and kick butt.” And so it went.

Unless you have some time on your hands, don’t ask Kristen, who was the national J/80 class president for two years, the secretary for two years, and now the treasurer, what’s so great about the J/80. She says, “You can sail the boat at 90 percent by just knowing how to sail. It’s tweaky, too.” (“That’s the other 10 percent,” adds Brian). Kristen says, “This class is the best in the world! It’s unique in that no one holds secrets. They vomit information. They’ll tell you anything. You can’t tell who are the pros and who are the Joes in this class. We also throw really great parties.”

The Robinsons’ favorite regattas are Key West Race Week, the J/80 North American Championships, and Block Island Race Week (in which they sail on the J/109 Caminos with a crew of J/80 sailors). On the Bay, they relish in fun, relaxing Thursday night races out of J/World Annapolis. Last month, they took top honors convincingly, by finishing 12 points above the second-place boat, in the J/80 division at CBYRA Annapolis Race Week. The next weekend, they posted four bullets in six races and won the 17-boat J/Jamboree at Lake Winnipesaukee, NH.

Do you have a good crash story?
Kristen: At the J/29 North Americans, I was in the back of the pack on port tack coming into the guys rounding in first. I “T-boned” them, ripped our #3 in half like a piece of butter, broke the lifelines, and launched my 65-year-old father-inlaw overboard. After that, I was fired as driver.

When was the last time you fell overboard?
Brian: I fell in at the dock three years ago after frostbite racing. The next week, there was a blow-up inner tube and swim arms on the dock with a sign that said, “Brian Robinson must wear these on the docks.” I wore them for the race.

Who are your favorite people to sail with?
Tim Borland, Ben Fransen, Jesse McKnight, Chris Chadwick, and the J/109 Caminos crew.

What’s on your road trip playlist?
We have completely different taste in music [he likes death metal, she likes pop]. The rule on road trips is that you can play your iPod when you’re the one driving.

What three pieces of sailing gear could you not live without?
Kristen: My Ronstan three-finger sailing gloves, my Teva sandals, and my Astral lifejacket.
Brian: A dark, comfortable hat with a good brim, UV 30 sunglasses,and Coppertone 50 Sport.

What is your advice for young racing sailors?
Kristen: Find someone to teach you and give you hands-on experience. Go on different boats so that you know what you like.
Brian: If you show up with beer, someone will take you sailing.

What brought you to Annapolis?
Kristen: We were ready to move out of Queens and had a map of the East Coast... Brian had heard Annapolis was cool. We moved here to be near sailing, even before we had jobs here. We showed up at EYC, and you wouldn’t believe how they welcomed us.
Brian: It was the best decision we have ever made.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Boat Show Recap!

This year's Annapolis Boat Show was booming! We're not sure if the weather had more to do with mass attendance or if the boating clientele's eagerness to see boating industry's latest and greatest was contagious.

For those who couldn't make it, here's some eye candy:

Annapolis Performance Sailing APS One Design Boats Sale Boat Show 2011APS Boat Sales Manager John Maloney and Customer Service Manager Aaron Freeman hung out on the docks talking to folks about shiny new One Design dinghies and the APS 2011 Boat Sale that's running until Oct. 17th.

Annapolis Performance Sailing APS Slam Boat Show 2011The SLAM booth was looking as sleek as the Italian designs themselves.

Annapolis Performance Sailing APS Selden Reversible Winches Boat Show 2011This is a real sneak peek with more to come. Your eyes are working correctly - Seldén is launching the release of a Reversible winch! Wait for the blog post, it's coming...

Annapolis Performance Sailing APS Musto Samson Boat Show 2011Blue skies over Musto and Samson! Perfect for shopping. The reggae music from Pussers made us all do a double take - we're on the Bay, right? This isn't Tortola?

Annapolis Performance Sailing APS Gill Boat Show 2011Gill had a press conference Thursday morning, and APS was right there, staffing the booth and snapping photos like the pros. The winner of the Topaz sweepstakes was present to accept his award - a new boat and $500 worth of Gill gear! (We're wondering if he chose the Pro Dinghy Gear...) Plus, President of Gill North America David Pritchard and US Sales Manager Jerry Richards revealed new gear for 2012. Expect blog reviews this January...

Annapolis Performance Sailing APS Kids Sailing Boat Show 2011APS had a Kids' Sailing booth. Over 150 young sailors got to take APS Bugs around a mini-course!

Annapolis Performance Sailing APS Karver Boat Show 2011Karver's eye-catching colors and designs are as noteworthy as the blocks' working loads...To Karver's US Rep Nicholas - It was great to see you at APS before the show! Thanks for your compliments on our storefront!

This year's show was a great success. The good business, the sophisticated clientele, the elbow rubbing, and good times made it just about as good as it could be. Thank you to everyone in attendance. Here's to a good show for 2012!

PS. APS gathered some quality information from many of our vendors. We'll be pushing out product leaks in upcoming weeks. Stay tuned!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Checking in with Ronstan- Winches, Blocks, and Line

Check out this live footage from the 2011 Annapolis Boat Show. Hear the story from the men themselves as APS talks it up with Ronstan Sales Manager Ben Moon and President of US Operations Scot West about the expansion of Ronstan's product offering from Andersen winches to FSE Robline:

Learn what they have to say about Ronstan's acquisition of classic, standard, and electric Andersen Winches, the quality and unique features of Andersen products, and bringing the brand back into the limelight.

Here's some insight into Ronstan's light, strong, and reliable Core Blocks and their various applications.

Moving beyond winches and blocks, the guys describe here the new offerings from FSE Robline and the brand new (picture flashing lights!) Series 60 Continuous Furler. APS plans to add the Series 60 Furlers to the site once the Ronstan guys are finished sailing A-Cats for the week!

Cheers to a great Boat Show and more to come from Ronstan!

Friday, October 7, 2011

The 2011 Annapolis Boat Show has Commenced!

The drums are rolling and the bands are starting! Well, maybe those noises are just the sound of Sperry deck shoes on the docks at 15% off and safety whistles at the APS kids' sailing stand... One thing we know for sure - the sun is shining on the start of the 2011 Annapolis Boat Show, and APS staff is happy to be outdoors rubbing elbows with our ever-impressive racing clientele!

Could it be that because you harness her energy for sport year round, Nature is excited for you to get a deal on all the best gear you need when out on the water? Perhaps, she’s laughing because she knows you need replacement parts after that 25kt regatta rocked your boat. Either way, the weather is beautiful, and spirits are high! Now is the time to save 15% on almost everything in the store including items on the Sale Rack!

To keep our web followers in the loop, we're giving you a sneaky peek inside the Annapolis Boat Show! Enjoy the pictures:

We'll be posting pictures on our Facebook page during the show. Like us if you want some Boat Show entertainment!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Musto Looks back on APS's 20 Years

The 2011 Annapolis Boat Show starts tomorrow, and we’d like to take this opportunity to recognize one of the best marine outfitters in the world.

Musto sailng gear is a force to be reckoned with. When it comes to design innovation, using and developing the best technical materials on the market, and adhering to a meticulous manufacturing process - everyone knows Musto is top notch. The sailing public also knows this is the gear most likely to outlast even the highest expectations.

Annapolis Performance Sailing APS Musto Vendor Interview

You already know our take on Musto. Now, the tables turn. Musto’s North American Sales Representative, Arthur Libby, takes a few minutes to reflect on how APS has influenced the performance sailing industry in the US as we celebrate our 20th Anniversary.

1. From your perspective, how do you think APS has influenced performance sailing in the US? In the world?
APS was the first true One-Design specialists in US that focused on every part of OD Sailing. Not only did APS have the hardware needed, they also were always the first one to have the latest technology in sailing soft goods. APS has been a Musto supplier since day one 20 years ago and continues today to break new ground with our latest technology gear.

2.What is your favorite Boat Show memory with APS?
It is very hard to pick just one. We have always had a great relationship, and the APS Staff is First Class. One of my favorite memories is the year after the 2001 Volvo Ocean Race that Musto was the supplier for all the clothing sold at the stopovers. There was a container of VOR hats, shirts, gear bags, etc. that we were able to blow out at the Sailboat Show. The “Flea Market” atmosphere was amazing. We had people digging through the boxes looking for their sizes and lines at the cash register 20 people deep at time. That was fun. We even had our competitors shopping our stand.

3. What has been a high point for you when dealing with APS?
APS is the only customer that we have that has continued to have double digit growth year after year. APS and their Staff know how to sell technical clothing and have always been willing to take Musto’s new designs and support them. Whether it was blogging about our products or making videos demoing how best to use and care for our gear, they are always a step ahead of the rest. They know what their customers want and give it to them. Our high point has been watching APS grow to the powerhouse that they are now in the industry.

4. What do you like about dealing with APS?
APS is First Class from every perspective. From the product knowledge of the sales staff to their perfection of getting product shipped out the back door, everything is run like a well versed professional race team.

5.Why did you select APS as an avenue through which you would bring your products to market?
Musto products are very technical gear. It’s not the type of gear sold by price. APS and its staff understand their customers and what it takes to sell them exactly what they need for their type of sailing. They won’t sell a customer a coastal jacket to go offshore because they know the customer will be unhappy and uncomfortable in something not manufactured for the rigors offshore sailing has. APS is a “First Class” operation at everything they do, and the Musto product line fits their customers perfectly.

Thank you, Arthur. It’s true that APS customer service wants our patrons to get the gear best suited for their needs. We call it like we see it, and here are some especially noteworthy products APS staff recommends for sailors taking it to the extreme:

Annapolis Performance Sailing APS Musto Waterproof OutDry Sailing GlovesInnovative

The New Musto Waterproof OutDry Gloves. These gloves are fully waterproof and may just be the lightest, most dexterous gloves in the sailing market. We’re wondering what future sailing gear will adopt OutDry technology, which continuously proves its merit in the outdoor industry. These gloves literally seal out the water, wind, and cold. Click here to check them out.

IconicAnnapolis Performance Sailing APS Musto HPX Gore-Tex Ocean Foul Weather Gear

The Musto HPX Gore-Tex Ocean line represents what many call the “best offshore gear around.” This stuff will keep you warm and dry in even the most extreme conditions. You’ve seen it on world class offshore racers in perilous waters during circumnavigations – and you’re sure to see it for a long time to come!

*Be sure to take advantage of the APS 2011 Boat Show Sale. You’ll get a 15% discount on all your favorite sailing gear. And yes, take an additional 15% off Musto products on the Sale Rack!

Monday, October 3, 2011

The APS 2011 Boat Show Sale is here!

You’ve been waiting all year for our big sale, and your patience pays off today! For one week, you Get a 15% Discount on almost every product in the store. (And yes - this means you can take an additional 15% off items on the APS Sale Rack, too!) Find foul weather gear from your favorites like Musto, Gill, and SLAM and stock up on replacement parts from Harken and Ronstan.

This way, our web customers can benefit from the same perks as those able to make it to the Annapolis Boat Show in person.

You can picture yourself there…

You’re on the water at the show. You head to the Musto booth because you need a new dopp kit, and why not get the sweet Musto Washbag to bring with you on travel regattas? You enter the booth and find the Evolution Race tech shirt beside the bags. You’re looking at it, thinking about how you wore out your favorite tech shirt…

Suddenly, your eye spots the awesome New MPX Gore-Tex Race Jacket. You make your way over to it. It’s pristine, and the Gore-Tex feels smooth in your hand. Love at first sight.

What could be better than new foulies to rock this Fall? New foulies on sale. This is the time of year to get them!

Click here for more details.