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APS/Spinsheet Chesapeake Racer Profile – Jahn Tihansky feature image

APS/Spinsheet Chesapeake Racer Profile – Jahn Tihansky

Seven years ago, if you had told Jahn Tihansky, owner J/ World Annapolis, that he would be the head coach of the U.S Naval Academy (USNA) varsity offshore sailing team, he would have told you that you were nuts.  With a sailing school to run, he wasn’t exactly looking for work – certainly not the kind which would consume 60 or 70 hours per week in sailing season.  But, opportunity knocked.  After much debate, as well as some prodding from […]

Seven years ago, if you had told Jahn Tihansky, owner J/ World Annapolis, that he would be the head coach of the U.S Naval Academy (USNA) varsity offshore sailing team, he would have told you that you were nuts.  With a sailing school to run, he wasn’t exactly looking for work – certainly not the kind which would consume 60 or 70 hours per week in sailing season.  But, opportunity knocked.  After much debate, as well as some prodding from Annapolis sailor Gary Jobson, (who’s a “rainmaker,” says Tihansky), who assured him that it was the opportunity of a lifetime, the business owner had to quickly find a way to make his school run without him and immerse himself into his new challenging post.  Six years later, Coach T, as the midshipmen call him, is still surprised at his good fortune and how well the pieces have come together.

A native of Tampa, FL, Tihansky’s family joined the Davis Island YC “because it had a pool.”  Curiosity and courage enough to hitch a ride on a Cal 27 at the age of 12 led him deep into the sport. “The crew figured out that I’d do anything on the boat from open beers to set the spinnaker, so they taught me to sail,” he says, which opened the door to yacht deliveries and many years of interesting racing experiences such as the 1978 Key West to Cuba Race.

After having run his own Sobstad loft as a young man and a stint at Sobstad’s corporate headquarters in Connecticut, Tihansky moved to Annapolis where he worked for Sobstad for four years before his opportunity to run J/World Annapolis and in 1993, to buy the sailing school.  It was his brainchild, the J/World big boat winter training program – during which students would train for and successfully compete in big regattas such as the Fort Lauderdale to Key West Race and Key West Race Week – that fit the type of coaching experience USNA was seeking.

What makes the USNA offshore sailing team unique is that beyond winning sailboat races, participation on the team counts as professional leadership development.  “Other sports just can’t compare to a kid leading a team of seven to prepare a big boat to go to Bermuda or even down the Bay,” says Tihansky, who says that coaches are on the boats as mentors, but the team runs the boat. “It’s a huge responsibility to learn to take care of an asset and take care of teammates.  In the tough situations, that’s when your character comes out – you’re puking and cold.  It’s 2 a.m., and you’re called on watch.  The crew must perform.  They have to drive, trim sails, navigate, and compete.  We do sail to sail well.  In early November, Coach T’s USNA varsity offshore sailing team clinched top honors in the Kennedy Cup, which serves as the intercollegiate Sailing Association’s Offshore National Championship.  The team, led by senior skipper Dillon Foster, won five of nine races and beat the nine other teams that qualified for the event; among them were SUNY-Maritime, U.S. Coast Guard Academy, Merchant Marine Academy, and St. Mary’s College.

Has anything surprised you about working at USNA?
The rate at which these kids climb the ladder is very high.  We will take five or six boats to Bermuda next summer and 40 percent of those kids will only have sailed for nine months.  They are on a fast track…I also hadn’t considered how this job and the kids’ level of fitness would keep me young.  I am fitter now than I used to be by just keeping up.  It’s a perk.


What’s your favorite place on the Bay?
I sail my A-Cat out of the West River SC in Galesville.  That’s a neat little part of the world down there.

What are your non-sailing passions?
I fly.  I have a pilot’s license and don’t get out there nearly enough, so sometimes I take lessons.  I also have a work bench and like fixing stuff.


What’s on your iPod?
I like old rock and roll: Eric Clapton, the Neville Brothers, even something like Lynard Skynard.  Some Jimmy Buffett.


Have you read any good books lately?
I just read John Adams by David McCullough.  Adams was instrumental in getting the U.S. Navy started.   I also read some fiction, The Afghan by Frederick Forsyth.

What sailing gear do you depend on?
A Skiff/Wet Suit, a smock top, Musto offshore top and bibs, Offshore Boots, quickdry undergarmentsrash guard-type stuff – and Gill wet socks.  Someone recently turned me on to Atlas $5 garden gloves.  Awesome grip.


What’s your advice to a young racing sailor?
Don’t get frustrated by not winning.  You have to have patience.  Keep your ears open.  There are a lot of great people in this sport willing to share information.  Find those people.  Don’t give up.

Article and Interview written by Molly Winans, published in Spinsheet December 2011.

Harken Looks back on APS’s 20 Years feature image

Harken Looks back on APS’s 20 Years

Everyone knows Harken. Famed with inventing the first ball bearing block in 1966 – Harken forever changed the course of performance sailing. Continuously innovating – the Harken product offering has grown over the last 4 decades to not only include hardware but also, soft goods. In fact, the Harken Ballistic Eco Pants were awarded the DAME Clothing and Crew Accessories Category award for 2011 at METS hosted last week. CEO of Harken Bill Goggins and Northeast Sales Representative Oakley Jones […]

Annapolis Performance Sailing APS Harken Ballistic Eco Pants

Everyone knows Harken. Famed with inventing the first ball bearing block in 1966 – Harken forever changed the course of performance sailing. Continuously innovating – the Harken product offering has grown over the last 4 decades to not only include hardware but also, soft goods.

In fact, the Harken Ballistic Eco Pants were awarded the DAME Clothing and Crew Accessories Category award for 2011 at METS hosted last week.
CEO of Harken Bill Goggins and Northeast Sales Representative Oakley Jones have taken some time out to talk about the connections they’ve shared with APS over the years in honor of the APS 20th Anniversary. Here’s what they really think:

1. What was your impression of Kyle during the first 10 years of APS?
Smart, fun to work with, not afraid to call you out if something didn’t seem right. Kyle is willing to fight for the best interests of the sailors and his employees. I love that about Kyle.

2. From your perspective, how do you think APS has influenced performance sailing in the US?
APS has influenced performance sailing in the US by gathering all the parts, little and big, that someone could ever need in one place backed by people who actually use the parts and have a passion for the sport. When you call APS you’re going to get a sailor on the phone who can talk the talk because they walk the walk. They’re probably still wearing damp shoes from racing the night before!

3. How does APS stand out as a retailer of Harken products?
APS and Harken share some of the same DNA as companies. Both saw a need in the market and have been trying their best to fill it over the years. Hard work and putting the customer first. This makes APS stand out. Their focus is the sailor.

4. Do you have any unique stories pertaining to APS?
I was doing one of the Wednesday morning training sessions I asked one of the guys if I could play “snacktician” bring anything to the meeting. I was told “go to Carlson’s Thai Kitchen and get a dozen donuts.” I thought they were messing with me since I’m from Newport, but sure enough the Thai food place serves a mean donut.

5. What is your favorite METS memory with APS?
We stayed up until 3am solving all of the world’s problems with our distributor for Helsiniki last year. To be precise, it’s our best memory, because we’ve forgotten all details.

6. What is special about APS?
The people. How we, Harken, are treated as partners and not just vendors. They give product feedback and reports back from the field as to how our gear is working.

7. What five words would you use to describe APS?

  • Dedicated
  • Knowledgeable
  • Sailors!
  • Passionate
  • One-Design (please let that be one word!)

Annapolis Performance Sailing APS Harken Ball Bearing BlockClassic

The Harken 2.25 and 3.00 Inch 57 mm Ball Bearing Blocks put them on the map in 1968 and are still available today. In 1968, a member of the press said, “…in [his] opinion, it would take years for yacht designers to come up with boats fast enough to stay under the sails that are sheeted with them.” Considering the blocks’ longevity in the market – it’s clear Harken has been a visionary company since day one.

Annapolis Performance Sailing APS Harken T2 57 Carbo Airblock 57mmInnovative

The T2 Soft Attach Block Line is a great representation of where Harken is headed. It is the first block with no fasteners, rivets, or other metal parts – making it what was once unrealistically light.

Annapolis Performance Sailing APS Harken T18 Soft Attach BlockBrand Spanking New

The New T18 Soft Attach Block deserves the spotlight, too. This 18mm block is small but mighty with a working load of 275lbs. Read more about Soft Attach Blocks here.

APS/Spinsheet Chesapeake Racer Profile – Farrah Hall feature image

APS/Spinsheet Chesapeake Racer Profile – Farrah Hall

We caught up with APS Chesapeake Racer Profile alumna Farrah Hall last month on a spectacular fall day with the dramatic backdrop of the U.S. Sailboat Show banners flying across the creek in downtown Annapolis. In between training sessions and competitions in Bulgaria, England, and Mexico, clearly itching to get out and enjoy the building whitecaps, Hall sat at the picnic tables in front of Compass Marketing – a sponsor of her campaign to represent the U.S. at the 2012 […]

We caught up with APS Chesapeake Racer Profile alumna Farrah Hall last month on a spectacular fall day with the dramatic backdrop of the U.S. Sailboat Show banners flying across the creek in downtown Annapolis. In between training sessions and competitions in Bulgaria, England, and Mexico, clearly itching to get out and enjoy the building whitecaps, Hall sat at the picnic tables in front of Compass Marketing – a sponsor of her campaign to represent the U.S. at the 2012 Olympics – primed for an afternoon of windsurfing practice off Horn Point with Maksymilian Wojcik from the Polish national sailing team.

Currently considered the top-ranked windsurfer for the U.S., Hall has come a long way since she started windsurfing as a teenager in the late 1990s on the Magothy River and often needed a tow home for lack of tacking and gybing knowledge. Although she started sailing at the age of 13, she did not fall in love with it until she started boardsailing in high school. As a serious track and field athlete and Olympic distance triathlete, she had what it took to excel at the sport. While at St. Mary’s College of Maryland, from which she graduated in 2003, Hall founded the windsurfing club and worked at a windsurfing shop in Martha’s Vinyard in the summer. It was when Mike Gebhardt, a two-time Olympic medalist, visited the college that Hall learned that boardsailing was an Olympic sport. She began racing shortly thereafter and having thoughts of taking her windsurfing to the next level.

Last June, Hall finished as the top American in the RS:X female class at the Sail for Gold Regatta in Weymouth, England. At prime time, she was competing in the Pan American Games in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, where she was third place. After the games, Hall will head to Australia to begin training for her next qualifying regatta, the Perth 2011 ISAF Sailing World Championships, for which she qualified in January at the Miami OCR and where she will compete to qualify for the 2012 Olympics.

What was your first most exciting recent event?
Our first pre-Olympic qualifier in Weymouth [U.K.], in June stands out for me. It was a very well-run event. The windsurfers usually sail inside the harbor where it’s flat, but they changed that this time. Outside the harbor it’s completely different. There are big gusts and big waves and interesting coastal effects. On this one course, there are big cliffs that make this lane you can catch to go upwind. The second course is near a high peninsula which makes for a natural stadium, where people can sit on the hill and watch. It makes the course shifty but really interesting. You had to watch the shifts all the time. A couple of times, I was behind and saw opportunities to catch up with puffs – and managed to have good races even after bad starts. That’s my favorite kind of racing; you have to think all the time.

Bulgaria was also exciting. It’s like the Hawaii of Eastern Europe. It has the same conditions everyday; it’s sunny and hot with a nice sea swell. You launch off the beach, which is always cool. There are the perfect conditions for planing – 12 to 15 knots – every day. You get in a lot of races.

With all that traveling, do you have a social life?
Not really. My social life is with the people on the racing circuit. I’m sort of an introvert anyway. I do miss my really good friends, especially when they have big life events. I have a friend who had a baby and another one who bought a new home. It’s hard when I’m not home to celebrate those events with them.

What’s your fitness routine?
I do heart-rate zone training where I build up a little more each week. Also, lifting, rowing, cycling, and running – hard, not far. I do speed workouts at intervals.

What’s new in your gear bag?
Atlantis high-tech shirts. I wear them sailing, running, and to the gym. Wet suits are also important gear for me. The one I have on is Neil Pryde. It’s hard to find one that works well for windsurfing.

What do you do to unwind and get your mind off competing and training?
I read constantly. I ready fantasy, science fiction, and adventure. I just finished the Game of Thrones series.

APS Expands Warehouse – Shipping/Call Center Close Thursday & Friday feature image

APS Expands Warehouse – Shipping/Call Center Close Thursday & Friday

Attention APS Customers: APS is making improvements to serve you better. We are expanding our facilities and streamlining our receiving, shipping, and warehousing processes. Who’s going to benefit most from the new and improved organization? You are! Of course, this means, we’re going to have to take some time to work it out… The APS Shipping Department will be closed tomorrow, Thursday, November 10 and Friday, November 11. Also, the APS Storefront and Call Center will be closed starting at […]

Attention APS Customers:

APS is making improvements to serve you better. We are expanding our facilities and streamlining our receiving, shipping, and warehousing processes. Who’s going to benefit most from the new and improved organization? You are!

Of course, this means, we’re going to have to take some time to work it out…

  • The APS Shipping Department will be closed tomorrow, Thursday, November 10 and Friday, November 11.
  • Also, the APS Storefront and Call Center will be closed starting at 12:00 pm Thursday, November 10 and will remained closed Friday. The APS Call Center will open, and normal shipping will resume Monday, November 14.

If you need something for the weekend or early next week, please Place Your Orders Today before 1:00pm EST.

Note: For those in the Annapolis area, the storefront will hold normal business hours during the weekend from 8:00 am to 12:00 pm Saturday and Sunday.

Thank you for your patience during this transition – we are proud to say APS keeps getting better every day!

Spinlock Looks back on APS’s 20 Years feature image

Spinlock Looks back on APS’s 20 Years

UK-Based Spinlock has developed a solid reputation for rope holding over the last 30 years. Their offering doesn’t just stop with extremely well-designed and well-manufactured cleats, clutches, and jammers. Spinlock takes it to the next level with their Deckware collection – a testament to their commitment to innovation. Here, Spinlock Special Projects gurus Jez Rowles and James Hall express their thoughts about APS and how we have evolved over the last 20 years.   1. What five words would you […]

UK-Based Spinlock has developed a solid reputation for rope holding over the last 30 years. Their offering doesn’t just stop with extremely well-designed and well-manufactured cleats, clutches, and jammers. Spinlock takes it to the next level with their Deckware collection – a testament to their commitment to innovation.

Here, Spinlock Special Projects gurus Jez Rowles and James Hall express their thoughts about APS and how we have evolved over the last 20 years.

 

1. What five words would you use to describe APS?
Clean, On-trend, Evolving, Motivated, Relevant.

2. How does APS stand out as a retailer of Spinlock products?
It’s painful watching some businesses struggle with the internet despite the size of the opportunity. Many even consider it a threat! Because of traditional manufacturer/dealer relations we, as the manufacturer, almost have one arm tied behind our back regarding e-commerce. Having a brand like APS to work with means all our developments, social, interactive, & informative get used so we all benefit. E-commerce strength is not to undervalue the store presence, but US geography is not on the side of any store-based business wishing to develop. The APS store is a beacon of light among so many frankly unpleasant marine retail experiences.

3. From your perspective, how do you think APS has influenced performance sailing in the US? In the world?
Many great products exist but lots are wrongly sold, eventually leaving the sailor dissatisfied. By having an opinion, as competitive sailors, and offering therefore informed advice – the right products must get sold to the right customer.

4. What is your favorite Boat Show memory with APS?
Very happy to see the APS athletes enjoying our hospitality during the Spinlock party last year. Glad to see we are not all taking it too seriously!

5. What is your favorite METS memory with APS?
Kyle always gives time but is rightly trying to keep moving during this busy event. He must have thought I was following him last year when, in the course of my ‘brand relations’ popped up on each stand behind him. Just further shows APS talking to the right companies.

6. What do you like about dealing with APS? APS staff?
The developed combination of professionalism & friendliness sometimes not easy to maintain.

7. What do you think is special about APS?
The team.

Spinlock is a truly great company. They carefully consider every detail when developing their various products, and the result is consistently so well done that the end-user reaps the benefits. Below, you’ll find some top Spinlock products APS recommends:

Rope-handling
Annapolis Performance Sailing APS Spinlock PXR Camcleat
The PXR Cam Cleats are all about precision control, and they release easily under load. A unique three stage adjustment spring allows the user to select the appropriate release setting depending on the application.

Annapolis Performance Sailing APS Spinlock Deckvest

Spinlock Deckvest

Spinlock recognized an area in which racing gear was lacking and filled in the holes with their innovative Deckware collection. We think the Deckvest is the best of the bunch.

Annapolis Performance Sailing APS Spinlock Tiller ExtensionsLatest and Greatest

Spinlock’s EA (asymmetric) Handle Grip Tiller extensions make the skipper’s job easier – providing more feedback, increased mobility, and comfort. Check them out – we even like the new colors. In addition to the original silver, you get your choice of graphite, citrus, or amber.

ISSA High School Single Handed Championship – 2012 Cressy Trophy

You hear it all the time because it’s true. The. Youth. Is. The. Future. That’s why APS is proud to support the ISSA a.k.a. the organization behind High School Sailors. Last Weekend, APS’s devotion to the sport (and the future of the sport) collided with our Annapolis roots. We’re talking ‘collided’ in a good way – like when chocolate collides with peanut butter at the Reeses factory. Ok – Halloween’s over, but you get the idea… Presented to the US […]

You hear it all the time because it’s true. The. Youth. Is. The. Future. That’s why APS is proud to support the ISSA a.k.a. the organization behind High School Sailors.

Last Weekend, APS’s devotion to the sport (and the future of the sport) collided with our Annapolis roots. We’re talking ‘collided’ in a good way – like when chocolate collides with peanut butter at the Reeses factory. Ok – Halloween’s over, but you get the idea…

Presented to the US Naval Academy (Hey Annapolis!) in honor of 1927 graduate Morton Starr Cressy, Jr., the Cressy Trophy currently represents National Champion Status for ISSA High School single-handed Laser Sailors. Rotating annually among the several ISSA districts, the regatta host this year was the Chicago Yacht Club.

It was an exciting regatta, too, with top racers exhibiting their skills as they battled it out over two days of building winds. (See Day 1 v. Day 2 as pictured above.) Director of Sailing at the Chicago Yacht Club said they almost reached their limits as far as conditions go – with winds reaching to the mid 20s – but luckily, all 18 of the scheduled races were completed.

And the 2012 winners are:
Full Rig: Martin County High School – Eric Lawrence
Radial Rig: Black River High School – Mitchell Kiss

Congratulations to all who competed!

PS. Nice Race Marks! 😉

All information and photographs were gathered from www.HighSchoolSailingUSA.org. The photographs are credited to Tom Monkus.

Zhik Looks back on APS’s 20 Years feature image

Zhik Looks back on APS’s 20 Years

Zhik, the Australia-based marine outfitter that rocks edgy graphics and innovative products suits some of the ‘Fastest Wet Athletes’ in the world. Sponsoring international speed stars including windsurfers, dinghy sailors, and fast cat hellions – this is a brand that has the performance racer (and only the performance racer) in mind. Here’s what the folks from Down Undah have to say about APS as we celebrate 20 years in the biz:   1. From your perspective, how do you think […]

Zhik, the Australia-based marine outfitter that rocks edgy graphics and innovative products suits some of the ‘Fastest Wet Athletes’ in the world. Sponsoring international speed stars including windsurfers, dinghy sailors, and fast cat hellions – this is a brand that has the performance racer (and only the performance racer) in mind.

Here’s what the folks from Down Undah have to say about APS as we celebrate 20 years in the biz:

 

1. From your perspective, how do you think APS has influenced performance sailing in the US? In the world?
APS was the first dealer in the USA to sell Zhik gear. That in itself says everything! They recognized the differences and supported them.

2. What about APS influenced you to approach us about bringing your products to market in the US?
I remember when Kyle told me about MAP pricing, and handed me a list of fleet sizes. We developed Sunfish, V15, 420 hiking straps for the US market with APS help.

3. How has teaming up with APS shaped the course of the future for Zhik?
APS gave Zhik a US presence when we first started. That shaped us up quite a bit!

4. Why did you select APS as an avenue through which you would bring your products to market?
Is this question like an obviousness test…? Derrrr.

5. What is special about APS?
APS “gets it.” They listen to everybody, and make their own educated choices. The philosophy at APS is similar to Zhik. Independent thinking. Fit for purpose.

6. What five words would you use to describe APS?
Here are three…“Amazingly Professional Service”

 

Zhik is a little bit like Chuck Norris – they don’t just think outside of the box – they create the box, and roundhouse kick their way to greatness. Here are some Zhik products that have changed the performance sailing market for the better:

Annapolis Performance Sailing APS Zhik Deckbeaters Shorts Pants

Deckbeaters

If you haven’t tried them, you should. These padded neoprene pants and shorts were designed to be wet sailing hiking outer gear – but because they up the anty on deck comfort, even folks on larger keelboats have been wearing them concealed under shorts.

Zhik ZKG Wet Deck ShoeSailing Shoes

Released at the beginning of this year, the ZKG Wet Deck Shoe has changed the way people think of sailing boots. Made of neoprene with a super-grip sole, the cool look hasn’t compromised function.

Welcome 2011 East Coast Championship Sailors feature image

Welcome 2011 East Coast Championship Sailors!

It’s East Coast Championship time in Annapolis! Do you hear that rumble? The sound of J/22, J/24, J/80, and J/105 Sailors psyching themselves up is getting louder… We’re sending a call out to those racers: If you haven’t already weighed in at the Eastport Yacht Club, stop by APS for a weight preview. We have a Doctor’s Scale by our Rope Wall, and it won’t lie!   While you’re here, be sure to pick up whatever gear you left at […]

It’s East Coast Championship time in Annapolis! Do you hear that rumble? The sound of J/22, J/24, J/80, and J/105 Sailors psyching themselves up is getting louder…

We’re sending a call out to those racers: If you haven’t already weighed in at the Eastport Yacht Club, stop by APS for a weight preview. We have a Doctor’s Scale by our Rope Wall, and it won’t lie!

 

While you’re here, be sure to pick up whatever gear you left at home. We’re stocking gloves, spray tops, jackets, and bibs, Musto’s MPX Race foul weather gear, Patagonia base layers and beanies, McLube HullKote, and Cheap Diver in the storefront. See you when you get here!