I’ve had good experiences with APS shopping online, and am sure that shopping at the actual store would be just as good. if you’re in Annapolis, it might be worth stopping by to take advantage of their sale prices on rigging and new boats, or just to watch some of the demonstrations throughout the course of the day.
Posts Tagged 'aps'
Tags: aps, laser, sailing, sunfish, sunfish rigging, sunfish sailing, tune-up
Tags: aps, daggerboard retainer, halyard, intensity sails, jc strap, laser performance, mainsheet, o dock, outhaul, sail ties, sunfish, Sunfish Direct, sunfish lines, sunfish rigging, sunfish sailing
if you are in the market for new lines for your Sunfish, there are a plethora of options to choose from at the various Sunfish parts suppliers, as well as by calling your local sail shop, or even going down to the nearest hardware store to find some cheap line.
while the hardware store line is probably your cheapest option, the difficulty is usually that any line you find there will most likely not be low-stretch line, and the line could also absorb water when you are sailing – making it heavier and harder to handle. neither of those things are deal-breakers for a recreational sailor, but your time of the water will probably be improved by getting sailing line instead.
the Sunfish manufacturer, Laser Performance, has some “official” line kits available at Sunfish dealers. there is both a recreational ($83) and pro level ($134!) line kits that come with all the lines you could want and need, all pre-cut to the proper length and with the optimized line type for each line use on the Sunfish. these “official” line kits are rather expensive, though, and there are some better and cheaper options out there.
there is also the Sunfish “Tune-a-Fish Kit“, which includes the standard lines for your Sunfish, but also a hiking strap, plastic sail clips, and a tiller extension universal… all packaged in a cute little cooler with a Sunfish logo. the kit comes in at a pretty steep $130, though.
Annapolis Performance Sailing (APS) also has their own custom line kits: a pro/racing line kit ($99) and a recreational line kit ($50). the recreational line package is a pretty good deal — I actually bought this line kit last year – and have been very happy with it. the APS website also shows the approximate line lengths, diameters, and types of line you might consider for each line if you want to buy them individually.
if you are a purely recreational sailor, though, and have found an older Sunfish to start sailing, you might be better off just buying the line individually. there are the (2) basic control lines – the mainsheet for adjusting sail trim, and the halyard to raise and lower the sail. a 3rd line to consider is a piece of shock cord, sometimes called a JC strap – to act as a daggerboard retainer. this shock cord, if long enough, can also be run from the daggerboard up to the tack of the sail (where the 2 booms meet) and back – this will then double as both a daggerboard retainer, and will also help to hold your sail out when sailing downwind in light air.
Intensity Sails has some pretty inexpensive choices for these lines (and some are even on sale right now). the mainsheet is Bzzz Line available in 7mm or 8mm diameters and is on sale for $13, the halyard is 24 feet of 5mm line and is also $13, and the JC strap is $6.50.
a final line choice is if you want to switch away from the plastic sail clips to sail ties. I bought a small pre-cut kit last year and switched my new Sunfish sail to the sail ties. the colored line on the right-hand side is the outhaul line that connects to the boom end-cap.
for the future, though, for probably both the sail ties and maybe even the outhauls, I am planning to buy this spool of 1.8mm line from Intensity Sails. at 100-ft of line, it’s probably more than a typical sailor might need, but I don’t mind having enough to switch over several sails to the sail ties. the 100-ft spool should be enough for 3 full Sunfish sails.
for more information on Sunfish rigging, check out my list of Sunfish rigging guides.
I also went into detail on how I set up my new Sunfish sail (w/pictures).
Tags: aps, intensity sails, masthead fly, sunfish, sunfish forum, sunfish rigging, sunfish sail, sunfish sailing, tell-tales, wind indicator, windline sails
as part of my new Sunfish sail set-up that I described a while ago, I mentioned that I had added (3) sets of tell-tales. the tell-tales are positioned on the sail to help give an idea of how the wind is flowing along the sail, and can give you an idea of how the sail should be trimmed to achieve an optimum air flow. in addition to adding tell-tales to your sail, there are (2) other methods frequently used on Sunfish to help read how the wind is moving on the water.
one option is a masthead fly, which in the case of a Sunfish, will probably be more effective if it is mounted at the highest point up on the upper spar (and not down lower off the top of the mast). the masthead fly or wind indicator will be useful for sailing downwind, and will give you an indication of how the wind is shifting, and whether you should jibe. (I haven’t tried anything yet in this department.)
the other option is a wind indicator that is often placed at about eye level and frequently mounted off the upper spar. the wind indicator here is nice because it will give you an idea of how the wind is puffing and shifting, and can be very helpful for light wind sailing. there are several commercially available options for wind indicators (APS sells a few, Intensity Sails does too).
the C-Vane for Sunfish is about $30 to $35.
there is also the Kingfisher 200 for $15 to $20.
I had almost purchased one of those options a while back, but a weekend or two ago, I decided to initially try to create my own wind indicator to mount down at eye level, more or less following the procedure suggested by this pictorial at Windline Sails. all you need is a coat hanger to bend into a v-shape, and an old cassette tape to cut up to make small streamers. so I bent up a hanger into a large V-shape, with little drops at the tips of the V to tie the strands of cassette tape to. I differed slightly from that pictorial, though, in that I didn’t want to mount the coat hanger wind indicator to the upper spar using only duct tape.
my solution (I vaguely recall it mentioned on the Sunfish Forum, so I won’t take credit for the idea) was to take a small piece of 1 1/2″ diameter PVC pipe, maybe 3″ or 4″ long, and cut it into a C-shape. it took a little trial-and-error to get it just right, but now this C-shaped length of pipe would slip onto the upper spar of my Sunfish sail, and fit snugly enough to not slide up and down the spar, or twist side-to-side… but it is still easy to pull off at the end of a sailing session. I then drilled a hole to fit the bent section of coat hanger, and screwed the hanger in place (and filed down the tip of the screw that went through the PVC). so this is a view of the back of my home-made indicator, looking at the C-shaped piece of PVC that will “clamp” to the upper spar.
here is a picture of it mounted on the upper spar of the Sunfish sail. I have it mounted fairly low – you could mount it higher, but I found I can leave it mounted there, and still raise and lower the sail easily without having to move where the clamp is located. and as usual, anytime I’m fiddling with the boat in the driveway, my 3-yr old climbs aboard saying, “let’s go sailing, Dad!”
the coat hanger wire is hard to get really straight, so it isn’t exactly a thing of beauty. I made a very small loop/twist at the bottom of the 2″ drop – that’s where I tied a 10″ or 12″ long piece of cassette tape. the cassette tape is pretty flimsy stuff, so I’ll probably just throw the destroyed cassette into my box of sailing gear, so I’ll always have extra tape to make repairs. I have seen comments that the cassette tape can be too shifty and show wind too light to really sail in, so another option if you don’t have an old cassette tape is to just use a piece of yarn or something similar.
my 1st time sailing with the homemade wind indicator was 2 weekends ago when I sailed on Lake Erie with my boys. I was very impressed – it was excellent at showing me the light gusts and puffs of wind, and most importantly, giving me an better idea of the direction of the wind than trying to scan the beach for a fluttering flag or something similar. once the Sunfish is in motion, you certainly have to take that into account when “reading” the wind indicator, but if you are stalled out in light wind, or barely creeping along in the water, the light cassette tape does a good job of showing you how the wind is shifting, and you might be able to adjust your heading or sail trim, to pick up just a little bit more wind. I had all the parts necessary to make it lying around, so the bonus here is the only cost for me was the time I spent fiddling around making the wind indicator.
Tags: aps, gooseneck, intensity sails, sail, sail ties, Sailboat Garage, sunfish, sunfish forum, sunfish racing sail, sunfish rigging, sunfish sail, sunfish sailing, sunfish tuning, tell-tales, windline sails
last summer, I bought a new practice race-cut sail from APS for my Sunfish, as well as the recreational line package from APS. due to a back-order, I didn’t get the new sail until late in the summer, so I didn’t bother trying to use it, or even install it on my spars until this spring.
a few months ago, I posted about making a custom Sunfish logo for my new sail and installing sail numbers. since then I’ve been tweaking and adjusting some things, with a few projects left to go as well to finish it out… but here’s what I’ve done so far.
I used plastic sail clips (like shower curtain rings) to initially get the new sail installed on both the upper and lower spar. for a few specific locations, though, I switched out the sail clips for sail ties, and tied them around the spars, with just a bit of slack, using a square knot. I bought a package of (15) sail ties made from 1/8″ dacron line from the Sailboat Garage, and it was recommended to switch to sail ties at the following locations.
(3) ties at the clew or near the outhaul of the sail. I used an extra sail tie right at the clew of the sail. the outhaul line (1/8″ Excel Pro) is off the right edge of the picture.
(3) sail ties at the head off the sail, and (2) sail ties near where the halyard attaches to the upper spar. the line at the head of the sail is 1/8″ Excel Pro and the halyard is 3/16″ Excel Pro line, both from the APS line package. the (2) sail ties at the halyard will help prevent the sail clips from making the sail bunch up near the mast.
(2) sail ties at the gooseneck area, (1) at the cunningham location – the 1st sail grommet above the tack of the sail, and again I doubled up and used (2) sail ties at the tack on each spar, so (4) total at the tack. ideally, that would have been a single piece of line wrapped twice at each spar, but since the sail ties I bought were pre-cut to length, I just doubled them up. at this time, I also measured back from the front of the lower boom (starting at the end of the aluminum), and marked 1″ increments from 16″ to 23″ for setting the gooseneck for various wind conditions. having it marked really helps take the guess-work out of adjusting the sail. I bought my adjustable or quick-release gooseneck (a must-have) from Intensity Sails.
I also installed (3) pairs of tell-tales on my sail. there is a lot of debate on whether the tell-tales are effective on a Sunfish, but I have found them helpful since I installed them – as I pay more attention to them and try to adjust the sail trim correctly. the location of the tell-tales is also debatable, but I found this picture from the Sunfish Forum helpful, and more or less copied those locations.
so the picture below is my new Sunfish sail, complete with a new Sunfish logo I made and my sail numbers. this picture was taken prior to installing the sail ties. you can see where I installed the (3) pairs of sail tell-tales. by the way, having a sail with a window makes it so much more comfortable on my neck while sailing, so I’d highly recommend the window for any future sail purchase.
for someone starting out, I would probably recommend avoiding the plastic sail clips, and just using the sail ties for all of the grommets on the sail. the plastic sail clips are a pain to remove once installed, and the sail ties are pretty easy to tie on once you get started on it. I’ll probably buy this 100-ft spool of 1.8mm line from Intensity Sails and swap out my sail clips on this sail, as well as my others. the 100-ft spool should be enough for 3 full Sunfish sails.
my next project is to install the outhaul and cunningham cleats on the lower boom to help me shape the sail – I’ve bought the aluminum cleats and line (in a kit, actually), but haven’t installed them yet, so I’ll cover that in a future post.
for good tips on halyard location, gooseneck settings, and setting up your Sunfish sailboat and sail, see the Sunfish Tuning Guide by Scot Kyle.
for more tips on sail ties, tell-tales and general setup for your Sunfish sail, check out the nice Sunfish Bending On and Tuning Guide by Windline Sails.
I mentioned the (2) guides above as well as a few others in my post about Sunfish rigging guide(s).
Tags: aps, Derrick Fries, sailing, sailrite, start sailing right, sunfish, sunfish bible, sunfish class, sunfish logo, sunfish sail, us sailing
last summer, I bought the new practice racing sail from APS – similar in construction but much cheaper (~$150) than the officially-sanctioned Sunfish class-legal sail (~$460). since I’m just a recreational sailor at this point, this is a fine option for me, but if I wanted to participate in Sunfish Class races – I’d have to buy the class-legal sail. due to a back-order with APS, I didn’t get the sail last year until the summer was basically over, so I didn’t even get to use it, and it has just sat in the nice drawstring bag it came in from APS, stored down in my basement closet for the winter.
since the Sunfish logo is copyrighted, the practice sail from APS (or other places) shouldn’t come with the logo, and mine rightly didn’t – just a plain white sail with a window and an APS sticker. but, I wanted to have the Sunfish logo, so I decided to make my own.
I bought a piece of adhesive-backed sail insignia cloth from Sailrite – it turns out the minimum size I ordered could probably make enough logos for (4) sails, with logos cut out for both sides of the sail.
I used a template of the Sunfish logo (I found it at the Yahoo Sunfish Sailor Group), traced it onto the insignia cloth, and cut out the first logo. I then used that logo to trace the mirror image so that the (2) logos would be as similar as possible on each side of the new sail.
note: you’ll see (2) great books I was using to keep the insignia cloth flat – the upper right is the Sunfish Bible (a must have for Sunfish sailors), and the lower right is Start Sailing Right, a great intro book put out by US Sailing and the American Red Cross, written by Sunfish veteran Derrick Fries.
I was also planning to install my sail numbers on the new sail. I joined the Sunfish Class, and when you join, they assign you a set of unique sail numbers, and the Class even provides (2) sets of numbers for you – one set for each side of the sail.
I laid the sail out flat on my living room floor to get the position of the logo and my Sunfish Class sail numbers correct. after getting the positions figured out (the orientation of the Sunfish logo was the trickiest part), I moved the sail to the dining room table – a flat, hard surface so that I could then peel off the backing papers, and apply the insignia cloth and sail numbers to each side of the sail.
it was a little difficult to get the logo to sit flat and without any bubbles or wrinkles in it, but the adhesive backing lets you pull the logo back up a bit and re-position it if you need to (I would imagine it will set up more permanently now that I’m finished, though).
all told, it was a pretty simple process – it took me a bit of time to do it, but I was pretty picky and wanted it to look as good as I could get it.
Sailrite also has a pretty good video explaining how to cut out and install the logos to a sail.
Tags: annapolis performance sailing, aps, laser, regatta, sail, sailing, sunfish, sunfish parts, sunfish rigging, sunfish sailing, Sunfish supplies
after my last post, I wanted to make sure that I don’t give the impression that I don’t like Annapolis Performance Sailing (APS) or the great service that they provide. I’ve ordered several parts from them, and will continue to do so in the future. they have also started a blog – the APS Stern Scoop, providing commentary from employees (all “racing” sailors), as well as good product reviews, and notices of sales at APS.
this year APS celebrates their 20th year in business – as the business started in 1991 when the founder, Kyle Gross:
…recognized the need for a local business that would supply dinghy racers with everything they needed – from foul weather gear to obscure boat parts that seemed impossible to find.
The other thing has been the threat to sailing. Perceived (and in many cases, real) barriers: water access, cost, historically, an elitism had to be overcome. It seems that every sport has become a little more intense, whether it’s lacrosse or soccer or whatever you happen to do , there’s more equipment, the bar has been raised, it’s a bigger commitment. Therefore, the person that participated in 4 to 8 activities from organized sports to recreational whatever it is—scuba diving, I think the economic pressures and the commitment levels have required that people pick their top 1, 2, or 3 and there’s no room for others. There are so many barriers to sailing that it’s an easy one to just drop off of people’s radar, and it’s hard to overcome that. The sport has grown, and trust me, I’ve been happy for that change.