Friday, July 27, 2012

Will it Float??

One of the riggers here at APS ended up with his motorcycle keys at the bottom of the river last week. After a few days of diving and eventually the use of a magnet fishing rig he did manage to pull them out. The very next day the WaterBuoy was attached to his keyring.

We thought it would be cool to try one out:

It's a pretty cool little device that can lift up to 1kg of dry weight, has a built in flashing LED light, and gives you 24 hours of flotation to find your WaterBuoy. The unique patented trigger mechanism of the WaterBuoy is designed to activate the device after seconds of submersion in normal temperatures. This means that your valuables won't drift too far or sink too far before they resurface. It is also designed to minimise the chance of accidental activation -- the WaterBuoy must be submerged; splashing will not set it off.

If you have been "key fishing" before you should probably just click here.

More information on the WaterBuoy here.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Review: Atlantis Resolute Jacket

Aaron from Customer Service gives us the low down on his new Resolute Jacket from Atlantis.

My old Musto Corsica jacket was just about done, so I was in the market for a new lightweight rain jacket with a roll away hood.  Something that one would think would be an easy find here at the toy shop (APS’s storefront) turned out took some searching.

I finally found it,  the Resolute Jacket by Atlantis. The team up in Marblehead nailed it with this lightweight 3 layer laminate jacket that features waterproof zippers on the front, the hood compartment, and the pockets. It also boasts waterproof PU closures on the wrist, a reasonably high collar, fully taped seams,

a fluorescent hood and elastic draw on the hem which combine to make a really well thought out jacket.  The features I listed make this jacket suitable for sailing in inclement weather for everyone aft of the companionway as well as a really nice around the town piece for sailors and non –sailors alike. As far as sizing the jacket runs quite large, for reference the rest of my kit, my Musto MPX smock and Gill OS2 hooded smock are size large but in this jacket I needed a medium
and it fits perfectly.

The lightweight and supreme functionality of this jacket make it a no brainer to bring along on a Wednesday night race if there’s a chance of showers or even to an Orioles game (other more winning
teams also acceptable) where if it rains or not, at least the giant front pockets could be used to their full potential.

I don’t recommend gear just for the sake of writing a blog, and this one is a winner.


Pick one up here:

Monday, July 16, 2012

Review: Wichard 3 Function Knife

Some quick praise for a tool I’ve had for almost a decade, the Wichard 3-Function (W3) Knife. I have owned other sailing knives while I have had the W3 but I just keep coming back to it again and again.

Basics: The Shackler, spike and locking blade are the 3 tools packaged in this knife. The simple to use shackle key comes with a built in bottle opener. The marlin spike locks into place and is ready to work on the most difficult knots. To retract the spike and blade the shackle key must be raised. Finally the half-serrated 316L stainless steel blades give you the flexibility to cut through many materials. It has a colorful composite handle so that you can easily locate your knife and pre-cut hole for a tether. 
When I originally purchased the W3 the biggest selling point for me was it allowed for an awesome grip. The elastomer handle is full and rounded; it feels like you are holding a hammer or something with heft.  All three of the tools, when in use, need some force to operate, be it sawing, creating torque, or trying to wedge the spike.  The grip on the W3 makes you feel VERY secure when working, which is what I feel is its strongest selling point.  Next the construction of the tools is sturdy. The blade, shackler, and spike are all built from a nice weighty stainless steel. You know when you are using the W3 that you can really put it to work without hesitation. Many times when you need to pull the knife or other tool out to do a job it needs to be quick, correct, and safe. 

The Good:

Awesome grip, very solid durable construction, and streamline tool selection are the greatest parts of this knife. Everything is very functional and strong. The tools are large and perfect for 100's of jobs on the boat and dock. In my experience it lasts, even without a lot of proper maintenance. The dual function blade is great and provides enough of each type of edge to do a proper cutting job.

The Bad: Locking blades are in place for safety. Some are just better designed than others. This is a very typical locking system with the most benign of the 3 tools (shackler) being used as the unlocking key. To release the blade you have to lift the shackler up toward the exposed edge, essentially moving your hand and fingers at the sharpest part of the knife. This isn't a deal breaker and really shouldn't be but it is a system that could be better designed. The weight is another issue one might have. It is just about 5oz (4.938) and has a wide shape so it does take up real estate in a pocket. Finally, when the knife first arrives it needs to be worn in and WD-40ed. The tools are sticky and they are on a metal hinge so it needs a few shots of a lubricant and some open...close...repeat to wear it to a comfortable operating smoothness.

Overall: This has been the longest lasting and most useful knife I have had. The Good points very much outweigh the Bad. The weight isn't a real issue unless you just cannot stand things in your pocket. A break in process is typical with many hinged knifes and it gives you a chance to get to know the operation and parts of the tool. Finally, you will be very pleased with how well the W3 stands up to years of use and saltwater.

Pick one up here:

For a view of the function and operation of the Wichard 3 Function take a couple seconds to check out our YouTube video:  Or check it out on our Channel

Monday, July 9, 2012

First Look: Atlantis Shipyard Short

The Atlantis Shipyard short is a product of years of development, research, and design. The team in Marblehead, MA tested hundreds of shorts in the outdoor and sailing market to decide what features and materials they wanted in the Shipyard. The product of their hard work can now be your favorite short!

These shorts have classic good looks combined with innovative construction. They are meant to shed water, dry quickly and let you move around comfortably. They also have a mesh lined zippered pocket and multi-tool sheath that will be useful to tacticians and bowman alike.

Fabric: They are built of comfortable which has a lightweight Nylon 66 fabric has a soft cotton-like feel. This material will provide awesome protection from the deck and a level of comfort that you're not used to in sailing shorts.

Fit: Regular fit, straight-leg style, tab and button take-ups on each side allow you to fine-tune the fit. The leg ends just about the top to middle of the knee.

Closures: Zipper fly with traditional button waist closure.

Other: Lots of storage with six-pocket design includes zippered side pocket in addition to standard four, internal loop at top of pocket gives you a place to tie lanyards.

First Look:  After a few days of trying these on and wearing them for the product video, I am definitely  picking up a pair. The Shipyard are comfortable, fit well, and have well thought out features. My favorite part is the material, it feels lightweight on, but seems very durable and isn't abrasive to your skin. The years of research definitely show through.

Take a minute to check out our Shipyard overview video. It's a great way to see how the short wears and the layout of the storage areas.

Friday, July 6, 2012

On the Water: Sperry Long Sleeve Tech Shirt

Always working hard to keep our website up to date José Turcios's blue water sailing background and a love for traveling makes him a great touchstone for new products. He recently finished the Annapolis to Bermuda race and a delivery from Annapolis to Nantucket. (2012) With him on both trips was the Sperry Tech shirt.

     I was asked to try the Sperry Tech shirt  right before heading out to Wednesday night races. The weather was calling for it to be in the mid 50’s, little damp, and the winds to be around 5 kts, so I happily welcomed a chance to take out this long sleeve tech shirt by Sperry Topsider. It felt good, I liked it, and it was fun trying out new swag.

It is made out of 91% Polyester and 9% Spandex.  The shirt has all the basic qualities that you look for in a tech shirt:  quick dry, breathable, stretchy and lightweight. Having this kind of base layer on a cold and active night is essential for keeping warm and comfortable, whether you are at the helm or trimming sails.

This tech shirt also has extra accoutrements (I like the silliness of that word) that make it stand out: anti-microbial, SPF up to 50, water resistant, mesh inserts for extra breathability, hidden pocket zipper for holding cash, a key, and ID, Raglan sleeves for added mobility, flatlock seams for minimal chafing, and reflective logos for visibility. This all sounds awesome but you read this on so many products that you wonder how much of it is true and necessary. So this is what I figured out right from the start…

The shirt has that super soft, satiny feel to it.  The medium runs a little bit larger, leaving extra room.. Extra mesh panels, flatlock seams, reflective patches and super-secret, small side pocket all seem so synonymous with something that suggests…$pend the extra few dollars for the cool add-ons. 

The Good
It feels great! (I wonder if I can get sheets that feel so nice?)  The pocket is useful and I’m a sucker for something so practical but doesn’t interfere with the styling (It’s more useful during the summer when I don’t have so many foul weather gear pockets available). It kept me warm till the sun went down, which I was surprised about because I typically chill easily. Though it kept me warm, it still had that cool to the touch feel that tech shirts typically have. Strange combination, I know, but I really enjoyed wearing it while at the helm.  Since the fit is a bit loose, it doesn’t have that under armor tightness to it that sometimes reveals my stomach’s lack of exercise and love of good food. I also like the use of Raglan sleeves on this shirt because you get better range of motion and less pinching in your shoulders. It breathes really well and its anti-microbial fabric is very useful.

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

(I put 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. For those of us who have manly chest hair, it shows a bit. With that mentioned, they are indeed thicker than other tech shirts on the market that would be described as thin.)

Since first writing this review I have done the Bermuda Ocean Race and done a delivery to Nantucket from Annapolis and took the Sperry Long Sleeve Tech Top on both trips. GREAT ADDITION!!! It was a good base layer in the evenings, was extremely comfortable and convenient to fall asleep in, and provided me with ample sun protection during the day while keeping me cool. I wore this shirt on and off during the course of my 6 and 4 day trips and it managed to keep some of the odors in check with its anti-microbial fabric. The minor cons I listed don’t bother me at all. I’m actually thinking I want to get another shirt but this time in blue.


This shirt comes in Men's Long Sleeve, Short Sleeve, and Polos. Also
Women's Long, and Short sleeve.