Monday, February 27, 2012

APS Field Trip -- USS Freedom (LCS1)

Update: In case anyone thought that the idea of race marks being used with the USS Freedom was a bit far fetched, here is the.  The photo below was sent by the logistic company that purchased the APS Race Marks for the U.S. Navy.  This was after they put in another order for 50 marks to be used with the Indian Navy.  Race marks get used more often than you would think for non-sailing activities; triathlons, crew regattas and kayaking events, to name a few.

Every now and then, a very cool situation falls in our laps here at APS. A while back, Aaron down in Customer Service got a request for about a dozen APS Race Marks headed up to the Great Lakes area. At the time, he didn't think much of it because we get sizable orders for those all the time.

A few weeks later, Aaron gets a call from the same guy placing another large order for the same race marks. Now, high on the list of Aaron's many positive qualities is his inquisitive nature, so when someone calls up over the course of a couple of weeks and orders a metric gross of race marks, you tend to get curious and ask "what's up with that?".

As it was explained, this customer was buying marks to form a perimeter around one of the newest ships in the United States Navy, the USS Freedom. The Freedom is a Littoral Class Combat Ship, designed to be a fast, agile, focused-mission platform designed for operation in near-shore environments yet capable of open-ocean operation.

Anyways, the Freedom made a stop at the US Naval Academy here in Annapolis on its way to the naval base in Norfolk, VA. Through Aaron's hard work (you know, listening and typing...) an invitation was extended and a number of us were able to go aboard for a tour. So on a clear, stupidly cold Saturday morning, we all met here at the shop and headed over to check out the Freedom.

A few things about this boat stand out -- at 380ft long, 57ft wide and ~3,000 tons (fully loaded) she's a big ol' girl. Yet, that doesn't stop her semi-planing monohull from hitting a listed speed of 45 knots; in military/gov't speak probably means that she can pull 50-55kts.

That kind of speed doesn't come cheap or easy though -- it takes two 9,000HP turbo-charged diesel engines just to get her up to about 16kts. For that extra kick, she's equipped with two Rolls-Royce MT30 gas turbines, cranking out 36MW of power (FYI: your average power plant turbine kicks out about 40MW). These Rolls-Royce turbines are modified versions of the engine used on a Boeing 777, and they have a pretty solid appetite. At full speed, the Freedom sucks down 5,000 gallons of fuel each hour, at a cost of about $160,000 a fill-up. Yeah... $160,000. And when it's really working hard, those fill-ups come about every three days, amounting to a worst case scenario of something like $19M a year in fuel.

Other cool features included the Mk 110 57mm gun on the bow, cranking out up to 220 rounds per minute at a distance of up to nine miles. And we're talking nine miles with, and I quote from our guide, "gnats-ass accuracy" via 2-1/4" rounds that have six programmable fuses allowing the shells to go "boom" on contact, via a delay, at a certain time and three different proximity modes. In other words, they hit exactly what they want to hit and they can do it in a number of really bitchin' ways.

Additionally, it has a RIM-116 Rolling Airframe Missile system. This is a small, lightweight, infrared homing surface-to-air missile battery storing 21 missiles. There are also torpedoes that can be fitted in addition to the .50-caliber guns on either side of the bridge.

Another impressive aspect was the unmanned vehicles that this boat carries. At any time, she can deploy an ~11m RIB, a submarine or up to three MQ-8 Fire Scout helicopters. The Fire Scout's are really cool -- they look like toys (I actually though it was fake, at first), but these things are no joke. They're operated by remote control and can be fitted with Hellfire Air-to-Surface missiles, which would really put a crimp in your day should one end up near you.

Maybe most amazing about this boat was the the crew -- for all her length and abilities, she's run by a crew numbering only 40. There isn't a crewmember on the Freedom that doesn't have multiple duties and won't pitch in to help perform any task. Everyone has a specialty, but that doesn't stop the head engineer from helping in the mess and the head cook from helping overhaul the oil purification system.

I could keep going on about the amazing systems this ship has, but my fingers are tired and I still have another post to write. But I would like to end things with this thought -- I was staggered by the technology and sheer volume of the Freedom, but I walked away even more amazed and impressed by her crew. The men and women serving aboard were truly some of the most dedicated and talented sailors in the Navy, and my appreciation for their efforts in defense of this country and others was, and still is, indescribable. Thank you to the crew of the Freedom, to every serviceman and servicewoman in the military, and Godspeed to you all.

From left to right: Steve Mazur (Customer Service), Aaron Freeman (Customer Service), James McKenna (Storefront Mgr.), Lynn Bethell (Purchasing), Joanie Stone (Shipping Mgr.), Warren Richter (Customer Service), Arianne Dalton (Recieving), Mike Lindsey (Fulfillment), Jarrett Hering (Rigging), Chris Teixeira (Website Mgr.)

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Sea Monkey Crugear

What's all this monkey business?  It's Sea Monkey business!  Drake Borer is the owner a Viper 640, Sea Monkey and we think he has some awesome Crugear (it's not just because we made it either).

What more could you want from a logo than a peg-legged monkey with a sword, gun and eyepatch?  Nothing?  That's what we thought too.

Their current line up of Crugear includes:

Gill Technical Shirt with Dye Sublimation

Yes, that's right!  We can add logos to foul weather gear too.  Vinyl is applied to the outside of the gear and doesn't compromise it's ability to be completely waterproof.  A great option for those who hate to see their favorite tech shirt get covered by smocks when the weather turns.  For more great examples of vinyl, check out our gallery, here.  

Think you have something better?  Show your boat off with some new Crugear today! 

Monday, February 20, 2012

Sale Line!

Robline, Swiftcord, and Sta-Set OH MY!

Calling all deal hounds, have we got a treat for you!  At APS we always have quite the sale line collection; much of it comes from shorter lengths left over at the end of spools of line that we've sold for rigging or in orders.  Well, the collection bin is overfilling from our January Rigging Sale and it’s time for them to head to The Rack.  

These are all unique pieces, so get them while they are hot!  All pieces are one of a kind, with no replacement.  We’ve added 60 Sale Lines this week! Find them all here.

Just because Sale Line doesn’t apply for the extra 10% for our February Rigging Sale, that doesn’t mean you still can’t take advantage of 15% off Rigging Labor!

Have us end whip the ends for durability, strip to save weight or bulk for a clutch…the possibilities are (almost) endless!  All the details of the sale can be found here.

Happy Shopping Bargain Hunters! 

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

APS Regatta Sponsorship Program & Durable Race Marks

APS has ramped up our Regatta Sponsorship Program!  We take pride in our Sponsorship Program, that allows us support events from small, 25 boat fleets to national/worlds of 60 or more.  Across the US, from charity fun regattas to Nationals, APS has you covered.  

Here's how the program works: each level of sponsorship provides 5 gift certificates, banner(s), catalogs and stickers in the amounts proportional to the size of the event.  Applying is easy!  Simply email with the following information: 

Event Name
Event Date(s)
Event Website
Organizer Name

After we receive the email we will reply with our formal application, regatta hosting check list and details regarding special pricing on Event Gear and Race Marks.   

Did you say Race Marks?!  Why, yes we did!  Durable and long lasting, these APS marks are great for your event (and any racing).  The image below shows them in action and still looking brand new!  But judging by our logo, they're at least 6 years old.

Thank you goes out to John Payne for letting us use his photo

Let APS help you with your next event!  All of the information can be found on Sponsorship Page here.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Tylaska Shine: Get Your Boat Ready for Spring!

Is your boat ready for some spring cleaning?  With these warm temperatures, it's a great excuse to spend some hours outside, even in winter.  

Tylaska Shine gives the stainless on your boat that shine it deserves! Shine has been developed for use in the marine, aviation, automotive, motorcycle industries.  Designed to easily remove stains and to clean, polish and protect in just one application.

We recommend it for:
- Stainless Steel
- Aluminum
- Bronze
- Brass
- Copper 
- Pewter
- Nickel
- Sterling Silver
- Silver Plate

In addition, it can also clean and deoxidize fiberglass, and remove cloudiness from Plexiglass, clear vinyl, Eisenglass or Lexan.  
With just a little dob of paste and a soft cloth, you can look and feel like new. Easy to use, all you need is a rag (and maybe a tooth brush too if you're into fine scrubbing!). 

Tylaska’s protective coating is designed to last 3 to 6 months. Contains no harsh acids, caustics, or abrasives.   It’s non-toxic, non-abrasive and non-flammable, making it a great product to have around.  Unlike other cleaners, it doesn't have that strong, offensive odor.   

This stuff really is impressive; photos below show the before and after of testing the Tylaska Shine on the stainless on a J/80.  In case you can’t tell, the left image shows before and the right the after. 

Sailing season is quickly approaching!  Make sure your boat looks good too!  For more boat maintenance products, check out our Maintenance Section.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

February Rigging Sale

So you missed out on the January Rigging Sale, huh? Well, you're in luck!  You still have time to take advantage of our custom made rigging, cordage, wire and one design packages at discount prices!

For all of February receive:

15% off Rigging Labor
10% off Cordage and Wire
10% off One Design Packages

Go on, replace those tired halyards and frayed sheets.  With all of this warm weather around, your sailing season could be closer than you think.  With only 29 days in February, this isn't the time to procrastinate!

In case you needed some more persuasion, here is a small taste of what our rigging shop can do for you.

To the left are J/35 Genoa Sheets made of Samson MLX  with Dyneema Shackle Loops for easy attachment (and great weight savings).

Not only are the sheets color coded, but the DSLs are as well!

Guess he really wanted to ensure his crew wouldn't get confused.

In addition to new genoa sheets, this J/35 also got a brand new halyard for the 2012 season.  Made with New England Endura Braid, we covered the top 3 feet in New England DCS Cover.

Although not a standard practice to put cover on a double braid like Endura Braid,  DCS Cover provides superior chafe protection and a longer halyard life. It can be added to just about any high tech line we sell.

With all sorts of possibilities, now is the time to get your rigging updated!  Give our Customer Service team a call, 800.729.9767.