Monday, July 9, 2012

The Appeal · Tenerife · Mast Bases

MNA (Member National Authority) is the fancy
 name for a country in ISAF vernacular.
Save Olympic Windsurfing · With only weeks before the start of the 2012 Olympics, US Windsurfing's President, Karen Marriott, sent US Sailing a letter which said, in part: "As you know, the windsurfing community here in the United States (and around the world) has been quite upset by the May ISAF vote that replaced windsurfing with kiteboard racing in the 2016 Olympic Games...We feel this vote was taken with faulty information and, in fact, the vote itself is invalid and a new vote should be taken at the November ISAF meeting, if not before...We look forward to answering any further questions at our upcoming (still to be scheduled) conference call. On behalf of all windsurfers in the United States, the US Windsurfing Association would like to thank you for the opportunity to provide you with this information and for your thoughtful consideration of this very important issue."

In the letter, US Windsurfing urges US Sailing to look at their new website: Save Olympic Windsurfing. The website is a tour de force, rebutting the rationale for replacing windsurfing with kite racing at the 2016 Olympics in Brazil. Contributors to the site include Jerome Samson, Nevin Sayre, Platt Johnson, Doug Waldo and Karen Marriott. Adding to the urgency of the protest is this assertion from the website: "We believe that this decision was misguided, and respectfully appeal to US Sailing to examine the facts and reconsider its position. If a formal request can be assembled and submitted by August 1, 2012, the ISAF Council will revisit the issue at its Annual Meeting in Dún Laoghaire in November 2012."

Tenerife · In the waning minutes of the live webcast from Pozo, Ben Proffitt confirmed that the live video coverage would continue at the next PWA event set to run July 12 - 18. Lively commentary and interviews give these webcasts the same feel we expect from mainstream TV sports coverage. My favorite interview moments: I learned that 34 year old multiple World Champion Iballa Moreno started windsurfing at 17 and turned pro three years later. And, Phillip Koster has a secret for his super fast and amazingly consistent double forwards: with your back hand reach all the way back and grip the boom's adjustable tail piece. He warned that he does sometimes cut his hand on the adjustment holes of the tail piece. Congratulations to Ben and the PWA for their outstanding work in bringing the World Tour to all of us diehard fans.

The embedded video player will activate when the broadcast goes live from the Wave Contest in Tenerife. In the meantime you can watch last week's daily video summaries from Pozo by clicking: Newest.

Video player has been removed.

Practice Safe Windsurfing · Equipment failure is rarely anticipated. Spontaneous mast breakage, when it happens on land, is a weird blessing. When your mast breaks offshore, no matter how far off, it's a freak out. That ol' sage advice, don't sail any further offshore than you're willing to swim back, is worth taking to heart. Booms break too. When that happens, you hope the arm that broke is not the one you need to get back to shore. And that's right, you can sail with only one boom arm. You also might hit something in the water and lose a fin. Or worse, while sailing at max speed, run aground. The resulting sudden stop can cause the rider to be violently catapulted which may completely disintegrate the board and some or all of the rig above it. Equipment fails. Booms and masts are hard to survey for imminent trouble. Sometimes you're just going to be unlucky, and no amount of prior, proper planning is going to help.

Just a week ago, 3 of my mast bases failed in a period of 45 minutes. The first one broke about a half mile from shore; I got back without incident. Changed out the broken base with another one, repeated the run a half mile from shore and it also failed mid jibe. Again, I returned to shore without incident, replaced the broken mast base with yet another one and it too broke. What failed?  It was the flexible urethane tendon in the mast base assembly. All 3 broke where the tendons had been drilled. 

The mast base must be disassembled and the tendon inspected periodically. How often? At least once a year. Chinook's team riders replace their tendons once every year. Why do tendons fail? In short, the tendon loses its ability to flex properly. Sometimes they begin to show fine cracks in the area which you can see, but more commonly, cracks propagate from the drilled holes in the tendon. When you disassemble to inspect and see a crack running away from the drilled hole, replace the tendon. All 3 of the mast base companies (Chinook, Epic Gear, Streamlined ) I contacted talked about reasons that might effect the longevity of a tendon. All 3 mentioned heat and humidity as possible culprits for shortening the life span of your tendon. Humidity, we can't do anything about as windsurfing mostly occurs in water environments. Heat might be something to think about. I store all my gear in a SUV all the time. In Florida and anywhere there is decent solar radiation, temperatures inside a vehicle get pretty dang hot even when outside air temps are modestly cool.

Every mast base manufacturer uses a different formula for their urethane tendon that balances strength, flexibility and UV inhibition (color). They all, as expected, tout their unique product. And most likely, all will work well if you follow some simple regular inspection or replacement on a timed interval of your mast base tendon.

What about rubber hourglass mast bases? They offer a softer feel than the tendon. Chinook suggested that perhaps rubber may last longer than urethane. While they are easier to inspect, they may be too difficult for some to replace worn parts. And over time they may cost more to use since full replacement might be required.  On the other hand,  tendons are relatively straight forward to replace and cost between $15-20.

Postcript ·  Had to do a double take when my Caller ID said NY Times. Must be a subscription robo call I thought and almost didn't answer, but what the hell..."This is Daniel Slotnick from the New York Times, do you have a few minutes for an interview about Jim Drake...I saw your blog." Daniel didn't know much about windsurfing or Jim Drake. We talked for about 40 minutes. I later learned that US Windsurfing Prez, Karen Marriott, had given the reporter my name and number. Thanks to Daniel for doing such a good job on the Jim Drake news obit and for spelling my name correctly. It was also a thrill to have DaNewsBlog linked in an article from The Grey LadyJim Drake, Creator of the Windsurfer, Dies at 83

1 comment:

  1. Well done Clyde, every article in the main press is a bonus for all windsurfers I think. Keep up the good work and great articles