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Astro-Physics Stowaway Ordering Process and Timeline

This article sets out how I bought my new Stowaway from AP, in case (A Peli Air – see above!) you want a hard-to-get AP scope or mount yourself.

I’ve italicised important points and pitfalls because - unlike most things - you probably want it more than AP need to sell it to you!

It started with a cheeky email to Astro Physics in late December 2020, shamelessly fishing for a Stowaway because I knew they were producing them again and I wanted one!

I took the approach of asking whether I was still on a waiting list (AP maintained waiting lists for all their products at one time). The answer was that, yes, I was still on a waiting list and had been for pushing twenty years... but it was the wrong one (back then I’d wanted a big refractor, a 155 or 160). Could I swap list? Err... no, sorry.

Fair enough. I’d tried and – as my friend says – God loves a tryer.

July 27th 2021 – Email notifying me about a new Stowaway list and draw

Then, most unexpectedly, I received an email from Marj at AP on the 23rd July 2021, saying they were opening a brand new list on July 30th to close just a week later. But the surprising thing was that, instead of a queue, the new list was to be a random draw.

AP had decided on this “departure from our usual process” ... “after much deliberation” ... “to give everyone an equal chance to purchase one”

The thing is, I could easily have missed the email, because it was headed simply ‘Astro-Physics Product News’!

July 30th – List opens

I responded with an email to go on the list. Simple as that!

August 3rd – Email to confirm my entry into the random draw

Three days later, I received an email back from AP confirming my entry. Was I hopeful? No, honestly not really. I’ve never had any luck in lotteries, draw or raffles.

August 6th – List closes

For a month or two I was all excited and checked my junk box every day, just in case. Then eventually I gave up and accepted I wasn’t getting one.

November 15th – Drawing Notification arrives

This was the big moment. The title of the email seemed clear, but then it just seemed to be some news about the production run. I had to read to the 3rd paragraph to get to the point – that, yes, I could order one at a price of $3750 and that I had two weeks to pay my 50% deposit.

Was I thrilled? What do you think!

November 17th – 50% deposit paid

I immediately confirmed I wanted one by email and Daleen at AP (who is super efficient BTW) sent a PayPal invoice back by return which I immediately paid. I’ve found by trial and error that the overall exchange rate from PayPal is pretty competitive with other ways of paying, from here in the UK at least.

December 8th – Final Invoice and shipping quote

I was expecting to wait for ages before getting my Stowaway, so I was surprised to get the final invoice, including a very reasonable shipping quote of $113. Again, I paid it immediately from a PayPal invoice sent by AP.

December 14th – FedEx shipping notice

Wow, that was quick! I imagined my Stowaway arriving for the New Year.

December 15th – FedEx email to pay duties

Just one day later (!) I got a FedEx email with a big orange button to pay the import duties (£708). I paid up immediately.

Overall, the Stowaway cost me: £1457.23 + £1567.83 + £708 = £3733.06 incl. shipping and all taxes and duties.

December 16th – “Hi. Your package is now out for delivery today.”

Yup, just two days after the shipping notification I received the big box with my shiny new Stowaway stowed away inside: