Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Sailing Goodies

Wow! What a great list of sailing doodads!

I wrote about my favorite sailing store Annapolis Performance Sailing before and I make no apologies for plugging them again because the list of Hot New Items on their website this week is a treasure trove of sailing booty. If you're looking to buy a gift for that special sailor in your life, you are sure to find something here to please him or her.

Top of the list are the Velocitek S3 GPS Speedometer and S5 GPS Race Computer. I wrote a post about the S3 back in December when I first heard about it via Rohan Veal's blog. A total indulgence of course for a middle-of-the-fleet weekend-warrior Laser sailor like me. What does it matter if I'm going at 2.1 or 2.2 knots? I'm not going to be breaking any sailing speed records. But there is something seductive about the idea of sailing a screaming reach with the eyes focused on those huge digits indicating my speed. If I move my weight 2 inches back does it squeeze out another 0.1 knot? How about if I just sheet in a smidgen? Only for practice of course. Expensive, but what a cool toy!

Then there is the C-Vane Laser Wind Indicator. A deceptively simple invention it solves a problem well know to anyone who has sailed Lasers for a time.
During any given regatta, one sailor will cross close enough to windward of another so that their boom passes just above the wind indicator of the leeward boat. Any Laser sailor knows what happens next. The mainsheet eventually rips the vane from its bracket, never to be seen again. There is a better way. C-VANE is here. When a threatening mainsheet passes over a C-VANE, it merely slides down the bracket, making a casual spin of the vane without hanging up and away it goes, leaving the wind indicator still attached and fully functional. Full protection from accidental removal and designed with less friction than any other small boat wind indicator, the C-VANE is the new paradigm for single handed sailors of all designs.
Another expensive trinket to avoid a very occasional mishap. But when you're racing in fleets like this one it might be worth it.

I don't quite know why APS is advertising cold weather gear in April on their Hot New Items List - suspect the winter gear will shortly be moving to Sale Rack Blowouts. However, one of the items on the list is a staple of my own frostbiting equipment and I can heartily recommend it. The Henri-Lloyd Goretex Drysuit is, at the same time, one of the most effective and one of the most hardwearing pieces of sailing clothing I have ever owned. No more of that yucky condensation in your nether regions that you always accumulate after an active day of sailing in a non-breathing drysuit. I must have had my current drysuit for at least five years now and even after all those years of frostbiting, grinding back and forth, in and out, on an abrasive Laser deck it's hardly showing any signs of wear.

The hot items list also includes Steve Cockerill's Boat Whisperer DVDs - something I don't need to buy as son #2 bought them for me for Christmas. I am ashamed to admit that I was trashing Steve for his choice of title in a post I wrote on the day after Christmas Day. But having watched them and also attended a talk by Steve a few weeks ago I can only say that, if you are a sailor of boats like the Laser these DVDs have the power to transform your life. They will convince you that many things you thought you knew about boat-handling are 180 degrees wrong. I'm going to have to write some posts about what Steve is teaching in the DVDs some time soon.

Finally, perhaps the most unusual item on the hot items list is the Alden Bugly Current Stick and Wetland Seed Sower.

Slip an Alden Bugly Current Stick and Wetland Seed Sower into the water near a mark. The ballasting is such that all but the yellow cap is submerged. Thus ABCs are unaffected by wind and are a far more reliable current telltale than "reading" the wake on a crab pot or other surface current telltale devices which are largely wind instead of current driven.

Pick it up and use it again or if you can't pick it up not to worry. ABCs are 100% biodegradable and as they biodegrade they release wetland seeds. Wetland grasses will grow from some of the seeds resulting in cleaner water we wouldn't otherwise have. You'll win the race and be the Johnny Appleseed of the racecourse. Cool!
What will they think of next?

Now where's my credit card? I have an urge to do some shopping for that "special sailor in my life". (Me of course.)


Litoralis said...

I saw those Current Stick and Wetland Seed Sowers in the APS catalog. What will they think of next?!!? I forsee an overpopulation of Panicum amarum grasses in popular racing areas in the near future.

Fred said...

Tillerman, you bring up themes, incredible. What have I done before bumbing into your blog. Kep up the good work and if you have 3 min. look at my January posting. The RS700, a great boat to sail, I can tell you. Time to travel? Let´s meet there.

Tillerman said...

Ah jim - don't taunt us poor sailors stranded in Northern America. Boats like the RS700 have never become popular here - litoralis posted some stuff on this sore topic back in November.

EVK4 said...

Take a look at Mauri Pro Sailing too, very good prices and excellent service....

Ben said...

Dear Tillerman,

First, let me thank you for your comments over on my blog. I hope you keep reading.

Secondly, we've got something in common, so I'm a surefire lock to start reading yours regularly. I'm an avid Laser sailor. I've been out of the game for about 5 years now because I lived in landlocked Central PA, but my wife and boy just moved to Marblehead, MA. My boat is stashed under my porch and I'm itching to hit the water in another month or so.

Maybe I'll see you out there!

Anonymous said...

We used the current sticks in Annaplolis this week at the Star Springs.(Western Hemi's). Alden was giving them out at the dock.
They work like a champ, better than losing sponges and/or tennis balls. What a great idea. We need the clean up the bay and plant more grasses anyway!
That's for another day/ another blog!

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