2016 will be a banner year for Kyle Gross ’91 as it marks both the 25th anniversary of his graduation from St. Mary’s and the founding of his company, Annapolis Performance Sailing Ltd. (APS), which he started the same week he graduated. After a friend recommended freshman, non-sailor Kyle as a good addition to the St. Mary’s sailing team, Kyle quickly learned to sail. He sailed on the dinghy and offshore teams; worked at the waterfront for Mike Ironmonger, lived for a year on his sailboat, and worked for Sobstad Sailmakers in Solomons, Md. While he was sailing and studying economics, he recognized the need for a local business that could supply dinghy sailors with everything they needed—from foul weather gear to obscure boat parts. So the budding entrepreneur got a small bank loan and opened a shop in Annapolis, Md. Quickly realizing he needed a direct relationship with his vendors if his business was to grow, he went to England to find the people who were making dinghy equipment and gear. After that he started a mail order catalog using his friends, who he bribed with beer, to be models. He next expanded the company into outfitting larger keel boats for racing, and then later cruising Today, APS’ tag line is “The World Leader in Outfitting Sailors.” Kyle, through APS, has given back to St. Mary’s sailing program by being the title sponsor for many years. In 2014 APS sponsored the APS Team Race National Championships at the College. He’s also hired fellow alums to work for APS with the latest being, Ben Weiss ’15. As a board member of Sail America, he continues to look for ways to keep growing the sport of sailing. To see what APS has become, visit www.apsltd.com. Kyle lives in Annapolis, Md.
/ / Kyle Gross ’91 celebrates 25 years of Annapolis Performance Sailing Ltd.