Friday, April 25, 2014

How to Clean and Re-Waterproof Foul Weather Gear

Foul weather gear isn't built to last forever. If it was it would be as stiff as a board and wouldn't breathe at all. Actually it’d be a lot like foul weather gear 30 years ago. Fortunately technology has come a long way since then and now fabrics are breathable (a miraculous concept) and are significantly thinner than but just as waterproof as materials that came before it.

High quality garments can still last 5-10 years with good care. You need to rinse it out with fresh water frequently, especially if you sail in salt water. At least once a year I also clean and waterproof my well-loved garments with McNett’s Synthetic Fabric Cleaner.

Most garments have waterproof material either built into the fabric or coating the inside of the fabric. Most all jackets will also have a DWR coating (durable water repellent) on the exterior fabric which augments the garment’s inherent waterproof-ness. 

This DWR wears off after time but you can re-apply DWR with McNett’s Durable Waterproofing. McNett makes a wash-in waterproofing but I prefer the spray on version personally.

These two McNett products are specifically engineered for use on Gore-Tex or other similar 3-layer fabrics. You can use them on 2-layer fabrics but it’s important to keep in mind the 2-layer fabrics are typically less durable and should not ever be put into a drying machine for whatever reason.

Anyway without any (more) further adieu watch the video to see how to use these two products:

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

How to Put on a Drysuit

A new drysuit is a big investment and properly putting it on can help preserve it's life.  Just follow these simple procedures and your drysuit should live a long healthy life!

A few key things to keep in mind when using and preserving your investment.  We started with the booties.  Remember to always sit when putting the feet on.  Before you actually step into the suit make sure you have the suspenders in the right place. 

Don’t walk around in the suit until you have put boots on over the latex booties.  When putting your hands and neck through the seals, push evenly and remove any sharp jewelry.  Remember to fully engage the zipper.  

Try to rinse your suit off after each use in any salt or brackish water.  When you’re done for the day, absolutely don’t ball it up and put it in a bag.  Hang it out and store it hanging up.  Also, it’s a good idea to use products like seal saver and zipper care which we have here.  

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

How to Choose the Right Type of PFD

Here is a simple guide to understanding the different kinds PFD's we offer and how to choose the right one for your type of sailing.

Here's what we covered:

Buoyancy Aid: Lightweight, low-profile, less bulk. These are a good option for small and sporty keel boats, like a Melges 20 or J-70. I love mine!

Type III USCG Approved: These support a variety of sailing, from dinghies to small keel boats. If you are looking for a life jacket to use across the board, this is the way to go. It’s easy to get in and out of because it has a zipper closure, and their sporty design allows for comfort.

Type V USCG Approved: These life jackets are designed for a specific purpose. Our Type V life jackets are designed specifically for dinghy sailing, with a pullover design and the ability to move your arms in a wide range of motion.

USCG Approved Inflatable: This PFD is designed for inshore and coastal keelboat sailing. It is a super lightweight and comfortable inflatable.

Offshore Inflatable: The offshore inflatable is a high-performance PFD designed to endure the elements of ocean sailing. If you are going offshore, this inflatable will give you the best combination of safety and comfort.

And remember: always make sure to check your SI’s to make sure your PFD is in accordance with you club’s safety rules!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

How to Pack for a Mid Distance Race

As the sailing season gets back into full swing, many sailors will be gearing up for mid-distance races such as Annapolis to Bermuda and Newport to Bermuda—both excellent races to push personal and equipment limitations.  

I'm sailing the Annapolis to Bermuda.  For this race, I’ll be packing all (except for my foul weather gear, boots, and PFD) my gear into a 30L bag for weight and space saving purposes.

See all of the things that fit here:

What was covered:

For sun protection, I’ll be bringing : (1) Patagonia Sol Patrol Shirt, (2) APS Tech Shirt L/S, (1) APS Tech Shirt S/S, (1) OR Sun Hat, (1) Patagonia Sun Mask, (1) Costa Del MarSunglasses, (1) Gill UV Tech Polo and of course Z Block Sunscreen.

For my every day wear, I have 2 pairs of Slam Hissar Shorts paired with my Sperry TopsiderSeaRacer Shoes.

For the cooler nights, I chose the Zhik High Vis Beanie, HenriLloyd Elite baselayer (top and bottom), (1 pr) Smartwool Heavy Insulated Socks, (1) Gill Microgrid Fleece.  These baselayers and midlayer work great underneath my foul weather gear.

As far as accessories go, I have a pair of Ronstan Sticky Fingerless Gloves, LeathermanSkeletool, Tikka Plus 2 Headlamp, and Freestyle Mariner Watch.

Curious about what foul weather gear I’m taking?  Check back in with me in a few weeks.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

How to Install the Epic Laser Traveler

If you like your traveler; then you can keep your traveler.  But, if you are ready for something epic, the future is here. The Laser Epic Traveler by APS.

Made from New England’s Wire RopeReplacement, it is a double-braid Dyneema line.  Double braid means a better hold in the cleat with a higher resilience to UV damage, and of course, no stretch.

How does it work?

Our riggers splice a high-tech, six inch loop into the end; thus eliminating the potential for the tiller to get hung up on a bulky bowline.  Then, we use a 12:1 system with 1,000 lbs of pressure to ensure there will be no “set”, or elongation when the line is loaded up during sailing.  An end whip finishes off the inboard end for durability, and you are good to go.

Let’s see how to install it right: