Friday, August 18, 2006

Inflatables Clearance Sale

Over the next two weeks I'm going to slash prices on last-of-lot inflatables to make way for new inventory. These prices are at or below wholesale to ensure outstanding savings for you and empty warehouse shelves for us. Keep in mind that many of these items only have one or two items left in stock! If you see an item you'd like, order it before it's gone!

Scroll down until you see the current clearance items:

SportsStuff Extreme Chariot 48" Ski

Quantity Remaining: 1

Our Price: $ 139.95 (30% OFF!)

AirHead RIP, Steerable Inflatable Ski

Quantity Remaining: 1

Our Price: $ 109.99 (30% OFF!)

AirHead Turbo Blast Ski Tube

Quantity Remaining: 1

Our Price: $ 109.99 (35% OFF!)

AirHead G-Force Inflatable Ski Tube

Quantity Remaining: 2

Our Price: $ 109.99 (35% OFF!)

Sevylor Tahiti Inflatable Kayak HF

Quantity Remaining: 1

Our Price: $ 89.99 (10% OFF!)

Sevylor Fiji Travel Kayak

Quantity Remaining: 6

Our Price: $ 65.95 (35% OFF!)

Sevylor Caravelle (4 Person)

Quantity Remaining: 1

Our Price: $ 44.50 (30% OFF!)

Sevylor Caravelle (2 Person)

Quantity Remaining: 1

Our Price: $ 16.95(30% OFF!)

Sevylor 6 ft 5 in. Catalina Boat

Quantity Remaining: 2

Our Price: $ 17.95 (20% OFF!)

Sevylor 6 ft 5 in Catalina Boat Kit

Quantity Remaining: 2

Our Price: $ 24.50 (35% OFF!)

Sevylor Jump-n-Tube

Quantity Remaining: 2

Our Price: $ 19.74 (20% OFF!)

Sevylor Bear Kickboard

Quantity Remaining: 3

Our Price: $ 8.50 (50% OFF!)

Sevylor Banana Lounge Float

Quantity Remaining: 3

Our Price: $ 29.95 (25% OFF!)

Sevylor River Float Tube - 42 inch

Quantity Remaining: 1

Our Price: $ 18.50 (30% OFF!)

Sevylor French Chaise Lounge Float

Quantity Remaining: 3

Our Price: $ 12.00 (40% OFF!)

Sevylor Ultra Tanner Float with Anchors

Quantity Remaining: 1

Our Price: $ 25.99 (25% OFF!)

Sevylor Pool Package, Anchor Motif

Quantity Remaining: 12

Our Price: $ 10.35 (30% OFF!)

Friday, August 11, 2006

Wakeboarding Daredevils

We love it when you send us your photos!

Recently one of our loyal customers offered to send us photos of his daredevil son flying high above Lake Champlain on the Wego Kite Tube. I even headed out on the lake one afternoon/evening to snap digitals of him myself, but I decided not to run them when SportsStuff withdrew the Kite Tube from the market.

When I told him that we weren't going to run any photos to avoid encouraging what was deemed to be a dangerous product, he promised to send me some pics of his son, Kevin Russell (top), and his son's friend from Connecticut, JJ Rohmer (bottom), wakeboarding. Both boys, friends from Camp Normandie, are impressive on the phat plank, questing for ever higher adrenaline highs.

Have some great snapshots of your own? Send them along (editor[AT]shipstore[DOT]com) so we can see what you're doing out on the water. Please include your full name and any other relevant information.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Mayor's Cup 2006

Ever sailed in Plattsburgh, New York's annual Mayor's Cup? Me neither, but four loyal members of our crew did spend this past Saturday spreading the good word about to the families attending the sailing regatta and festivities in downtown Plattsburgh.

Our new Warehouse & Inventory Clerk, Brian Lafountain, spent the last couple of weeks planning a vendor's booth to display and sell Sevylor water sports merchandise. When I arrived on Saturday to check in and see how everything was going, I was amazed with the booth they had set up, a tented showroom stock full of ski tubes, pool toys and all sorts of enticing summer inflatables. In addition to "Warehouse Brian",'s general manager Brian Olson and customer service representatives Debra Bridge and Carol Smith were assiting customers, decked out in our snazzy, new t-shirts.

In addition to retailing cool Sevylor merchandise and dispensing the latest Sevylor catalog, they were introducing new customers to one of the oldest (and obviously the best!) online marine supplies retailers... With full line catalogs, Beacon newsletter signups, and plenty of enthusiasm, Brian, Brian, Deb and Carol went the extra mile! Thanks crew, and congratulations, Brian Lafountain on a stunning success.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Wego Kite Tube Update

SportsStuff Wego Kite Tube

SportsStuff Wego Kite Tube
30 27 25 23

Defy gravity! Soar high above the water's surface with the hottest water sports inflatable of the summer, winner of the 2006 SGMA Sports Product of the Year. Every extreme, adrenaline addict's fantasy...

Promo Video
"How To" Video
Safety Instructions
More Photos
Order Now!

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Too Tuff at the "2006 Ultimate 20 North American Championships"

Cascade Locks, Oregon on June 22-25.

It took about 13 hours with stops to get from Benicia, CA to Cascade Locks, OR.

The Columbia River was everything they said it was. A good current, lots of wind. It felt like our home waters (the Carquinez Strait)

It was fun
We had so much fun. Everything from Dinner at the El Rio Mexican Cafe in Stevenson, WA to the excitement of motoring out of the launch area with its crazy eddy and ripping currents.

The races themselves were awsome. The course was short enough, and the wind fast enough that we got in 5 races the first day and 4 races when the wind turned around 180 degrees on the second day.

the challenge
The big challenge for us was to get the boat to move fast in conditions that tended to overpower the boat. Our tacks felt sloppy, It was very hard to figure out why the other boats were pulling away from us.

the education
Every race was like a new day in sailing school for us. Sometimes the whole fleet would leave us before we had any idea what was wrong, the first day was especially frustrating due to a boat full of water. Many times the reason was fairly obvious, like when you go 10 boat lengths past the leeward mark before you have the spinakar down. Other times the reason escaped us completely. On the last day we maintained a fairly consistent stategy of staying way in on the oregon side, since there should have been less current over there and there seemed to be plenty of wind, but that idea was only marginally sucessful, I guess it was not enough to compensate for the other goofs we made.

Too Tuff lives up to its name

After the incendent with the rocks in Benicia and the Ditch Run groundings, Too Tuff again lived up to its name. After the first race we noticed we had a water problem down below. With a little over 5 minutes between races, it took us until about about the 3rd race before we had our pump rigged and pumping. I estimate we pumped about 250 gallons of water out of the boat durring the rest of day 1. Water in Too Tuff is nothing new, but the boat was fixed by Ron Moore last fall... We were hoping to get more than 6 months out of his repair job. Since we *never* give up, We rounded up some silicon and supertape, and sealed up the keel as best we could on saturday morning. We improved the bilge pump setup just in case our repair job did not hold. The repair worked pretty well, Too Tuff was fairly dry on Saturday.

The course
I have attached two charts, one for friday and one for saturday showing our bread crumb trail for all the races. You can see some of the errors we made on the charts, like overstanding the mark on sunday, or driving past the downwind mark due to a late takedown. I even think you can see some of the tacks being to wide an angle.

The end of the first year
This event marks the end of the first year that I have been at the helm of Too Tuff. I bought Too Tuff from the estate of my good friend Steve Bales who died June 5th, 2005. I am proud of our first year sailing Too Tuff without Steve. Steve was one of the fiercest competitors I have ever known. Steve Bales is the inspiration for our *never* give up style of racing.

The Plan
Too Tuff will be at the High Sierra Regatta, Sailing hard and having fun. We will also be at the Jazz Cup on Labor Day Weekend ... Bring your boat and come and have some fun!

Day 1

Day 2

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Westport Marina in the News

One of our local newspapers, The Press Republican, recently ran a cover story about the impact of rising gasoline prices on local boaters' summer plans. The headline article, "Gas prices won't stop boaters", featured The Westport Marina prominently, and the photograph emblazoned under the headline, Priceless Fun, was our very own home fleeters, Steve, Carol and Chris Malone!

Captain Jim's parents, Bob and Dee Carroll were quoted as saying that they do not anticipate a reduction in the number of powerboaters on the lake this summer despite high fuel prices. Bob commented that prices are actually lower than they were last fall, and Dee anticipated increased traffic from Canadian boaters:
"With the Canadian exchange rate the lowest it has been in 12 to 15 years, we expect there will be added traffic from the north."
The Malones also emphasized that their plans to spend as much time on the water this summer as possible will not change.
"I'm not going to be changing my usage pattern. We like to cruise up to Burlington and spend the night," Steve said.

"Our son, Chris (age 12) loves to stay up late and fish from the side of the boat," Carol said. "It is something he looks forward to every summer."
Good news! And exciting to be featured.

Lake Champlain Burgee

Lake Champlain Burgee by Lisa ShermanThe scuttle-butt in the Adirondacks is that we've just passed through the rainiest May in history and are now well on our way to a record breaking June as well. Bah-humbug! Lake Champlain water levels remain too high for most people to use their docks, and corn on the cob is beginning to seem like a fantasy from a bygone era.

I was trying to remember the last nice day we've had, and then recognized that I was getting a little too "glass is half empty" for my own (or anyone else's) good, so I resolved to try and change my tune. Fortunately I got a little assistance from a close friend (and fellow Westport Marina dock boy during the late 80's and early 90's) who emailed this photograph taken by his wife during a rare and sacred sunshine soaked afternoon on Lake Champlain recently. He wrote, my wife "took this shot off the back of our boat this past weekend. I think it truly captures one of the many visuals that warm our hearts when on the water... Here's to summer!" So it hasn't rained every day.

That was just the boost I needed. And what a photograph!

I certainly share my friend's enthusiam for summer on the lake, and my optimism is rekindled. Perhaps this weekend the clouds will clear, the rain will cease, the sun will shine, and we'll head out for a waterski or a sail. The power of positive thinking...

Monday, June 12, 2006

Delta Ditch Run 2006

This year's attempt at the Delta Ditch Run was our most successful ditch run ever.

It took a full day friday to move Too Tuff to Richmond, Set up the boat and then drag the trailer to Stockton. Not only is it a long Race, Its a long *drive*!

On setup day, we tried to use my new Honda 2HP to motor Too Tuff over to our spot on the raft up before the race. It would not start. I am still trying to figure out why.

The wind was blowing about 12-15 at the start, and we got a fairly decent start, The other U20 (Ricochet had trouble with there first Spinnaker set, so we were off to an early lead. We waited a few minutes to put up our spinnaker, sailing high until I liked the angle better.

The whole fleet got the dreaded 5 blasts from a small freighter intent on docking right smack in the middle of the fleet. We took his stern with a good part of the fleet. It sure seemed like the captain of that vessel could have held off for 3 minutes while the fleet went by.

Delta Ditch Run 2006As we passed the brothers and entered San Pablo Bay (know locally as the "Foaming Caldron From Hell") the Wind started to build with gusts starting to hit 30-35 knots. We had a couple round ups during the big blasts, and it took a little work to get the boat on its feet and moving again. About the forth one of these, we were not so lucky, the boat stayed rolled over about 45 degrees, and even with the spinnaker sheet loose and flogging, we could not spill enough wind from the main to get the rudder back in the water and get the boat on its feet. After a while of just hanging in this state, I decided that I did not have enough length in the main sheet to let the main out far enough to spill enough air. So I reached down and untied the knot at the end of the main sheet so I could let it run, I grabbed the the next strand and started letting the main out some more. This is when all hell broke loose, my "plan" worked... as near as I can piece together, maybe the boat turned too far and back-winded or something... the next thing I was aware of is the taste of salt water in my mouth and nothing around me but water. I still had the main sheet in my hand, but the boat was not touching me at all. I realized that holding on to the main sheet was critical to my not being left behind! About this time my sospenders auto-inflate life jacket inflated and there I was body surfing behind Too Tuff which was *still* doing maybe 5 knots or so. I think the drag of my body in the water was sheeting in the main and giving the boat a pretty good push forward, By this time I had the presence of mind to yell to the crew (Our friend Phyllis and my wife Rosanne) "climb to the high side!" I was able to pull myself to the back of the boat at this point, but I really could not do anything useful but hang on and yell ideas at the crew. My next "idea" was to yell at Phyllis to blow the spinnaker halyard. It took her about 10 looonnnng seconds to get this accomplished, and the boat finally started to slow down. When the spinnaker hit the water, that finally fully put the brakes on and the crew was finally able to help/drag me on board. The open transom on the U20 makes that a bit more manageable than on other boats.

It turns out that during my time "away" from Too Tuff, Rosanne also get a good dunking, but was able to hang on to Too Tuff and did not get the body surfing experience, Phyllis reported that she got 1/2 the treatment that Rosanne got and so she was still on board and was the first one to get to the high side.

After I got back on board, it took us a long time to collect our wits, and figure how to get the spinnaker unwrapped from around the keel. Once that was done, We got the boat going again -- my wrist GPS was showing 10-11 knots with just the main up! We crossed the Foaming Cauldron with just the main and basically waited for the sun to dry us off.

This is marked as "A" on the chart:
Click here to see the chart

As we headed up the Carquinez Strait, the winds got light and fluky so Rosanne and Phyllis hoisted our soaking wet kite and we were back to "Normal" -- We did ponder briefly the idea of abandoning the race at our home port of Benicia, but that was rejected by all.

The rest of the race was *relatively* un-eventful I made a navigation "ops" and ran us aground in one of the spots where the channel is all the way on the starboard side of the river... I took Too Tuff right down the middle, We bumped a couple of times and then stopped hard. I had the crew do a quick jibe and get the boat pointed at deep water, We sheeted the main and spinnaker in hard and that titled the boat over enough for use to bump-sail-bump-sail back to deep water.

The sad part about that learning experience is that I did not learn my lesson very well and we did the same exact thing about 20 minutes later. At this point I had the crew's full assistance in keeping track of the navigation markers for the rest of the race.

This is marked as "B" on the chart. You can see the dotted line stray out of the deep water.

As we were getting closer to the finish in Stockton, we kept wondering if we were gonna make it to the finish before dark, well as you can probably guess by now, it was not to be. As the sun went down the wind slowed and eventually stopped completely, We were about a mile from the finish when we ran out of "gas" and could not seem to get an movement out of the boat at all. As the two remaining boats in the race ghosted by us, we decided we may have been caught in some seaweed or something. We jostled the rudder enough to get some little bit of boat speed going, but there was so little wind by then that we gave in and broke out the backup to the 2HP that did not work. We paddled for about 25 minutes before we got a horn at the finish and a cheer from shore. I don't know if they saw us paddling in the dark, but they did not DSQ us for paddling. We scored 103 out of about 120 boats overall, and all of the boats that where listed after us on the score sheet were DNF, so we were the last boat that actually finished -- Except we must DSQ ourselves for using the paddle. :(

This is marked as "C" on the chart.

Here are the results:

We arrived at about 10:45 at the dock, We missed the BBQ completely and we only got to listen to the excellent Blues Band for about 10 minutes before they packed it up.

Our hard earned Ditch Run T-Shirts were waiting for us though, we will where them proudly. My personal goal still remains: Finish the Ditch Run next year.

Hats off to my never say never crew: Rosanne Engelhardt and Phyllis Hartzell

Note: I made the chart that goes with this story using a Garmin foretrex 201 Wrist Top GPS, I downloaded the track from the Garmin with "LoadMyTracks" for the Mac and then I loaded the track data into GPSNavX. I stitched the big chart together with photoshop.

Mark Engelhardt
Too Tuff #2

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Wego Kite Tube Wins Sports Product of 2006!

Wego Kite TubeThe Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association (SGMA) named Wego Kite Tube the 2006 Sports Product of the Year!
"Drum roll, please. And the winner of the 9th Annual Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association Sports Product of the Year Award is…...the Wego Kite Tube by SportsStuff, Inc. The Wego Kite Tube is a ten-foot diameter flying tube. This one-rider inflatable tow tube whips across the water like a deck tube or glides like a kite while being pulled behind a motor or ski boat. It is the first of its kind and is pioneering a new exciting segment of watersports. The retail price is $599.95. "Each year, the Sports Product of the Year Award is a way to help honor and publicize many of the dynamic entrepreneurs in the sporting goods industry," said Tom Cove, president of the Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association (SGMA). "The inventors of these new products are true visionaries." Nominations for this program began last fall. In January of this year, the top 30 semifinalists of this program were released following a vote from a group of the leading sporting goods industry retailers."
And, if that's not enough reason why the Wego Kite Tube is the hottest watersport seller this season, check out the NEW Wego Kite Tube "how to" video now! which shows you how simple it is to start "kiting".

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

ShipStore Attends "Career Day"

"Sure. You want me to put together a presentation to show what ShipStore's all about?"
"Yeah, maybe some slides breaking down the different job descriptions."
"And a little background on ecommerce maybe..."
"Sounds good."

George Davis at Elizabethtown-Lewis Central SchoolAnd so it was decided at the end of last week that Captain Jim and I would attend "career day" at the Elizabethtown-Lewis Central School located about fifteen minutes away from our offices.

We met at ShipStore this morning and packed up a couple of oversized flat screens, Jim's nearly two thousand pound Mac "super computer", a couple of our new catalogs and then headed off to Elizabethtown. We were admitted to the school after signing in (a post-9/11 precaution) and headed off to a gymnasium/assembly hall where tables had been set up for local businesses.

We had a good time chatting with middle school and high school students about what we do. Some questions about how a small Adirondack company can have customers all over the world! Several students filled out interview sheets as assignments for teachers, and others gawked at the slick flat screen monitors. Lots of students asked if we were like Amazon or eBay! Some day, hopefully...

We also had the opportunity to chat with an US Army recruiter about his experience recruiting students and his own years in the service. He served in Iraq early on, and the rest of his troops are over there now without him. He was disappointed to have been selected for recruiting duty rather than going off to serve with the troops he's helped train.

The photos here are of the new addition to the school and of me being interviewed by a middle school student. Nice posture, George! Must be too many hours driving my laptop...

Friday, May 05, 2006

Too Tuff Crew!

Too Tuff CrewJust as Mark Engelhardt and his crew were getting tossed around Benicia Bay on their Ultimate 20 Too Tuff, the crew received a special shipment at our Westport, NY warehouse.

Mark's made us all honorary members of the Too Tuff crew so that we can live vicariously through them the next time they race. That's Captain Jim sporting the new duds, smiling to see the logo centered at the bottom of the regatta schedule. Or is he smiling because these shirts seem to flatter the chest to waist ratio. You decide!

Back when Mark was designing the shirts I mocked up a couple layouts which he chucked in favor of the "cencert venue" format. So I guess that Mark must think of himself as a bit of a rock star! Not sure that this last race captures that though...

Race Schedule:
  • Berkeley Midwinters (January 14-15)
  • Berkeley Midwinters (Feburary 11-12)
  • San Diego NOOD (March 17-19)
  • Benicia Yacht Club (April 6-Sept 14)
  • Konocti Cup (April 29)
  • Whiskeytown (May 27-28)
  • Go for the Gold (June 3-4)
  • Delta Ditch Run (June 10)
  • U20 North Americans (June 22-25)
  • High Sierra Regatta (July 15-16)
  • Jazz Cup (September 2)
  • Ultimate Sail Fest (Sept 29 - Oct 1)
  • Santa Cruz One Design (October 14-15)
  • Great Pumpkin (October 28-29)
  • Berkeley Midwinters (November 11-12)
  • Berkeley Midwinters (December 9-10)

29 Knots!

Well, We sailed our Ultimate 20 "Too Tuff" in the Benicia Yacht Club beer can race tonight and things did not go according to plan, The setup of the boat went pretty well, but it went downhill from there. The winds were blowing a steady 20 knots with gusts up to about 29 knots!

Our first bit of excitement came as we were sailing out of the marina, We got a full fledged knock down right in the middle of the turning basin in front of the fuel dock. We blew the main and the jib right away, but we still stayed on our side with the mast in the water until two of the crew climbed up over to side to get the boat back on its feet. When the boat snapped back up Rosanne (my wife) was still in the water! After Tom (with a little help from me) pulled her back on board, we luffed the sails and were being blown down toward the docks, I quickly selected a spot at the end of a dock finger to "crash" land and re-group. We made sure everyone was ok, put a reef in the main and continued on our way.

We had several more round ups and crashes on the way to the start. One of the more exciting ones was when I did not release the main during a tack -- as soon as we tacked, over we went , I blew the main and said "my bad" and we were back on or feet in a couple of seconds.

We got a decent start for the actual race, crossing the line maybe 15 seconds after the lead boat and on the edge of the course with less flood coming at us.

By this time my confidence was building as I was getting a better feel for how Too Tuff was going to behave in this much wind. Silly me. About 4 minutes into the race we hit bottom and then 1/2 a second later we hit bottom again and stopped cold. We had found the "rock" -- the rock that has cost many thousands in keel repair for the Benicia Yacht Club fleet. The irony is that I have been helping Joe Marra (the Race Committee Chairman) assemble the parts and pieces to put a "Danger Rock" hazard mark at the very spot where we hit. Of course, I placed the order with ;)

Well, extracting Too Tuff from this situation was not at all easy. We tried to float off (heal the boat way over and it only draws about a foot of water) but that just pushed us in shallower. Tom slipped off the boat during one of these attempts and since he was only standing in 2 feet of water, I had him stay in the water and attempt to push us back to deeper water. That was ineffective. We finally decided to crank up the keel and pull the rudder, with the idea of motoring out to deep water (We have a little 2HP Honda). About the time we were getting that organized, a man with a dingy showed up and helped tow us back to deep water and then back to the marina.

Crew damage was minimal (3 wet crew and the usual bumps and bruises)
Boat damage seems to be minimal too. The Keel has a couple small gouges at the trailing edge where it passes through the bottom of the keel box. A full inspection will have to wait until we get good light tomorrow. I believe we had less damage than I expected because during the last repair we had done, Ron Moore of Moore Sailboats made the keel fit very tightly in the keel box, so tight that we have to work the keel for and aft just to raise or lower it. I think that tightness made it so there was less movement of the keel relative to the keel box, resulting in less damage.

It seems like the Ultimate 20 is not really a perfect boat when the winds are near 30 knots, but it can be sailed in those conditions if you work at it and have quick efficient crew. We had 4 people total. I think we learned a lot :)

Photo Credit: Laurie Merrill / Tout Suite

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Mother's Day is Sunday, May 14th!

Sunday, May 14th is Mother's Day! Didn't sneak up on you, did it? No problem if it did because we've got a couple of great suggestions to keep you out of the dog house.

This morning Captain Jim laughed about the proverbial "Oh, you mean you didn't want a new chainsaw?" scenario that so many husbands have experienced first hand when they discover that they were projecting their own desires when buying for gifts for their wives. We wanted to propose some non-tradtional gift ideas rather than the same old jewelry thing, but we also wanted to make we weren't setting husbands up for failure. So I decided to bouble check with Samantha, the fulfillment guru who makes that all of the items you order get sourced and processed successfully. As a mother, she was pretty clear about what not to suggest. And she helped me come up with a few good suggestions as well...

JBL Stereo System for Mother's DayJBL Stereo System, AM/FM per Card 180 Watt (Black) - JBL's distinctive sound and quality have set the standard in home and professional audio, and now you can enjoy that benchmark performance aboard your vessel. The MR4B AM/FM/CD receiver boasts a 4 x 45-watt internal amplifier with electronic volume control, single-line output terminal, pre-amp fader control, and volume attentuator. ESP (Electronic Shock Protection) lets you cruise along at any speed without worrying about CDs skipping or other problems, even in rough seas. It has a detachable face, and it's wired remote ready. An AM/FM antenna also is available. Find out more about giving the JBL Stereo System for Mother's Day...

Beckson Marine Ship's Log for Mother's DayBeckson Marine Ship's Log - Proven information packed format, just like our full size log books, in a more convenient size for smaller boats. This Ship's Log has a laminated plastic cover with plastic binder. Size 5-1/2" x 8-1/2". Includes title page, cruising sheets, guest log, radio log, fuel readings, reparir log and engine hour readings. Comes in navy. Find out more about giving the Beckson Marine Ship's Log for Mother's Day...

Sevylor Ipanema Lounge for Mother's DaySevylor Ipanema Lounge - Relax in comfort and style! No longer a tie-down, this popularly priced Sevylor inflatable lounge is perfect on the deck or in the water. Contoured for extra comfort, plus 2 cup holders for Mother's Day libations (and a water "back up"). Designed for indoor and outdoor use, pool or beach. It's like a throne for your queen of the water loving lifestyle. Find out more about the Sevylor Ipanema Lounge here...

Sevylor 3 Position Pool Recliner for Mother's DaySevylor 3 Position Pool Recliner - The future in pool chairs is here today. Fully nylon covered, this chair is the most comfortable and rugged chair/lounge for land and pool use. A pontoon in the back allows the chair to be adjusted into 3 different positions and strong nylon straps allow for easy adjustment of the reclining backrest. Special link fittings let you join two of these chairs side by side or face to face. Includes a semi-rigid accordion cup holder. Note that the graphics may be slightly different than those in the photo. Find out more about giving the Sevylor 3 Position Pool Recliner for Mother's Day...

Sevylor Infinity Float Nylon Covered Mattress for Mother's DaySevylor Infinity Float Nylon Covered Mattress - This attractive inflatable is soft and comfortable yet strong and rugged. A must for any pool lover! Fully nylon covered for maximum comfort. Independent inflatable pillow secured by Velcro. Special link fittings to join mattresses side by side or face to face. Find out more about giving the Sevylor Infinity Float Nylon Covered Mattress for Mother's Day...

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Hiring Inventory/Warehouse Manager

We've posted the complete job description for our new Inventory/Warehouse Manager position which is currently open. Please pass this link along to anyone who you think might be interested:

More Information:

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Marine Repair Manuals

Mark Engelhardt has integrated a super handy Seloc selection wizard that makes it quick and easy to find the exact marine repair manual you need for your boat engine. The tool is available from all Seloc item pages.

On another note, it's down to the wire now, but you still have a few days to lock in amazing pre-season savings on commissioning products like paint, polish, cleaners, electronics, bilge pumps, etc. The sale ends this Sunday, May 7th so you should download the sale flyer now and place your order before it's too late!

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

2006 San Diego NOOD - Too Tuff Crew Review

PHOTOS By: DA-WOODY.COM / Dennis St.Onge

By Mark Engelhardt - Too Tuff and crew did the 2006 San Diego NOOD (stands for "National Offshore One-Design") this weekend. We raced 7 races over three days. The NOOD had a total of about 150 boats and the "Ultimate 20" class we sail in had 17 entries. We were sailing against the Silver Medal winner at the 2000 Olympics! Pease Glaser and Jay Glaser are world class sailors. No wonder it's so hard to win.

The drive down on I-5 was fairly uneventful. The trick was to leave at 5:30am to avoid Los Angeles traffic and arrive with enough daylight to prep the boat and get it in the water. We towed Too Tuff with our new 2006 Matrix XR. I really like the Matrix, and it tows the 1600lbs of Too Tuff and trailer quite well (even up the grapevine).

Racing on Friday was frustrating. The winds were light and variable, so it was hard to dream up a strategy that made anything happen. We ended near the back of the pack on each race.

Things changed drastically as far as the conditions on the second day of racing. Winds were up around 10-15 knots and the swell was about 5 feet (this is the off shore part of NOOD). We did much better since our home waters in Benicia have consistently strong afternoon winds. We hardly ever sail Too Tuff in light air. We placed 10th out of 17 boats in our best race on Saturday.

On Sunday, the winds were blowing about the same as Saturday, but we ended up shorthanded, so we couldn't safely fly the spinnaker until the last leg of the last race. This pretty much kept us from being very competitive on Sunday. We did have a really wild rounding of the leeward pin though. The hot shots from the J80 fleet arrived at the pin at the same time we did. One of the J80s took down its spinnaker and tacked right in front of us around the pin while two other J80s were right on top of us! We had to duck the first guy and sprint away to avoid being run down by one of the other J80s. How do you protest a boat in another fleet?

We packed up and drove part way home on Sunday night, flopped at a motel, then finished the drive on Monday. About 1000 miles by car, and probably 30 miles of sailing Too Tuff! It made for a great weekend.

More 2006 San Diego NOOD Links:

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Wego Kite Tube

Remember the Sevylor Manta Ray? It was last summer's hottest inflatable pull toy. Watch the Manta Ray video to understand why. In fact, it was so popular, nobody could keep it in stock. At we had to place Sevylor backorder requests from early summer onward just to keep up with the demand.

The Manta Ray's 13 foot wide wingspan enables the towable to lift off and hover over the water. That's right, no longer were marine towables just for skidding along the water's surface; the era of soaring towables had begun.

Once Sevylor threw down the gauntlet, it was only a matter of time before SportsStuff followed suit with what promises to be a serious contender, the SportsStuff Wego Kite Tube. If the Manta Ray video quickened your pulse, then watching the Wego Kite Tube video will feel like dancing the tango with a defibrillator! It's awesome, so much that I watched it twice.

SportsStuff refers to the Wego Kite Tube as a "next generation action towable" and promises that it'll take you to "a whole new level of excitement". The video supports the claims pretty well. Slightly smaller than the Manta Ray, the Wego Kite Tube is only (only?!?!) ten feet across, but it somehow looks more efficient and more stable despite the fact that it's shaped like a massive disk instead of a wide winged sea creature. Unlike the riders in the Manta Ray video who sometimes wobble or dive as they soar, the Wego Kite Tube riders seem stable and cofident. And they soar as high as anyone could ever even dream of wanting to soar. I want to do it:"Whip across the water like a deck tube, or fly through the air like a bird! Experience the thrill of flight as you rise above the water, reaching incredible heights, leaving nothing but adrenaline in your wake!"I'd love to hear from any of you with experience of either one or both. I think it's time we did a side-by-side comparison...

Monday, February 13, 2006

Blizzard of 2006 - Snow Tube Heaven!

A history-making snowfall in many parts of the northeast including the Big Apple! Better late than never. And the media can't get enough of it, nor can I, which explains how I came across this attention grabbing pair of sentences in todays New York Times article, "New York Region Digs Out After a Record Snowfall":
"The season's most popular sledding device is a something that looks like a beach toy — an inflatable plastic donut with a liner on the bottom of the hole. 'These tubes are all the rage,' said Mellissa Green, 39, of Brooklyn, who found her two young children after bedtime staring out the window at the snow."
Familiar? It should be because we've been trumpeting our praise for quite some time. Like years... Most recently, check out the mention in the Epoxy vs. Calk, Marine Wax vs. Water Stains newsletter or listen to my rant on Tuesday, February 7 in the "Squaw Skiing Update and Truckee Dining" blog posting. Let's face it, every "kid" who has access to snow absolutely loves Tube Pro Snow Tubes!

Some other Big Apple snow news you might find interesting include Mayor Bloomberg's statement about the blizzard of 2006, New York Times snow storm photos and snow accumulation history graphic.

Friday, February 10, 2006

In Benicia, California to Visit Webmaster!

After jogging around the Benicia Marina and Yacht Club this morning, following the shore along the wetlands and looking for interesting waterfowl, I headed off to meet Mark Engelhardt and his lovely wife, Roseanne for a sail on Carquinez Straight. Play this audio clip which Mark and I recorded while sailing his handsome sloop:

this is an audio post - click to play

Only a light breeze as we set out and enjoyed lunch, but the winds picked up a bit and provided an opportunity for for each of us to "play captain" for a while. Only a few other sailboats shared the bay with us, and yet the conditions were perfect... (Want to check out the rest of this posting?)

Friday, January 20, 2006

Binoculars and Asymmetric Dinghies

Remember the "binocular guy"? Back in November Alan Brooks from West Sussex, England got hold of us with some super helpful binocular advice to augment our How to Choose Binoculars Beacon article. The guy knows his stuff! When I asked him why, he explained:
"I'm an electronics engineer by trade with a long standing interest in photography, so I have a basic optics grounding and a technical bent. I've used binos for longer than I care to remember - the job occasionally requires a fair degree of surveying (GPS, tellurometer etc) and my hobby is sailing. I guess that you could call me a nerd and curiosity goes with the job. I just can't buy anything technical without trying to understand what I am buying and getting the best that I can afford."
Ah-ha! Now that's our kind of shopper! Informed buyers are the best buyers because they know exactly what they are getting, and what to ask for.

As for sailing, that's actually not Alan you're looking at at the helm of the asymmetric dinghy, but a friend at his club. But that is one type of sailing he does. He explains,
"Most of my sailing is as a dinghy and powerboat instructor at the local club... However, I also regularly crew for a friend on his 31 footer and we sail out of Chichester Harbour on the S.Coast of England."
We were so pleased with Alan's binocular help, that we sent him a complementary t-shirt. How about sending us your own feedback, your own suggestions, your own advice, and you just never know. Maybe you'll catch us on a generous day too!