Now that the new season is open, it’s time to grab the board and rig out of storage, pack the wetsuit and towel and head straight to Invy right?
Whilst this may work for the majority of sailors out there, each season I can recall being asked questions like, ”Can I borrow a screwdriver to tighter my fin?” or “My downhaul rope just broke, do you have a spare one?”
As a club, Inverloch Windsurfing Club promotes sailing in a fun and safe environment. But one aspect that we cannot control is equipment failure due to poor maintenance. If your equipment fails whilst you are out sailing, you not only run the risk of personal injury but the loss of your equipment as well. Here are some simple things that you can do to stay safe out on the water.
– Lay all of your gear out on the lawn where possible to make it easy to see what is there and what’s missing.
This is usually how my back yard looks in preparation for a new season!
- Check any zippers on sail bags and board bags for corrosion. This often happens when the gear has been stored without first removing the salt water. If the zip is stuck, do not try to force it open. Boil the kettle and pour the hot water directly onto the stuck zipper. You may be required to repeat this once or twice but you will soon be able to free the zipper from the stuck position.
Mick Green demonstrates how to carry a boom.
NOTE ….Try not allow the boiling hot water to come in contact with the sail material. I have tried this to see what happens and although I could not see any difference, it may have long-term affects on the sail. (Don’t burn yourself)
-Check each boom and mast base for signs of wear in the cleats or beans in the tubing. Remove the boom end fully to give it a good clean with fresh water, and once again clean any corrosion if required. If your boom is stuck in the last position it was sailed, you may need to use a pole or a post secured to the ground and work it loose. Flexing the boom arms inwards and outwards may also help, and once again hot water can be used.
- Check all ropes for signs of fatigue. If you can’t be 100% certain that it wont break, replace the rope now.
-Check your Uni-joint for signs of cracks in the rubber joint.
- Check your board for any damage that may have occurred whilst in storage, or perhaps something you were going to fix but forgot.
If your board has a “vent” bolt in the top to prevent the board from expanding in the heat, make sure that bolt can be easily loosened and tightened and make sure you have the right screwdriver in your kit to do this. Make sure the screwdriver is a snug fit.
Check your vent bolt is tight before the board gets wet!
Check your fin is a snug fit and you have the correct fin bolts.
- Check your foot straps are tight but do not try to over tighten them.
- Check your fin for cracks around the base and make sure that you have the correct fin bolt/bolts to secure to the board. Check this by fitting it into the board and tighten. I have been known to lend fin bolts to people and I have been caught on occasions when the fin bolts left in my fins are incorrect. TIP Once you have the right bolt/bolts, buy spare ones for replacements if you loose one in the sand or grass.
- Check you sails for signs of wear and tare and repair if required. Check for broken batterns and cams (if fitted)
Check the stitching is OK and make sure there are no holes.
– Be sure to have your screwdriver and a down hauling tool with you
– Bring plenty of personal protection such as drinking water, sunscreen, appropriate clothing for the day and some food to help sustain your energy.
I think something is about to break!
Now that your gear is ready for the season to come, you can sail with confidence and get on with having fun on the water.
Be safe out there and have fun,