Saturday, July 18, 2015

Fixing a Slipping Mast Extension

Last time I sailed, I noticed I couldn't keep as much downhaul tension on my sail as I like. The downhaul line slowly slipped as I sailed. By the time I returned to shore, I had lost more than an inch of downhaul.

At first I thought it was because the cleat on my mast extension had some sand and shells stuck in it. Next time I rigged up, I cleaned the cleat with a bit of driftwood. The downhaul still slipped.

Time to see how these things are built. I have a typical Chinook aluminum mast extension (only an older model I think).

The bottom of the extension has a couple of pulleys, and the jam (or clam) cleat.

The design is clever. The cleat is held in with a screw that prevents it from falling out, but it isn't load bearing at all. Instead, when under tension, the cleat is pulled up into the pocket it is mounted in. It's a nice design that alleviates the need for a strong fastener.

This also means the cleat is easily replaceable. I removed the screw, and used the hook remover in a knock-off Swiss Army knife to gently wiggle the cleat in it's plastic cave. After wiggling for a minute, the it loosened enough to pop out with my fingers. It, and several years of sand and salt. Poof!

The cleat was marked CL712. A little searching, and I found several retailers selling the exact part. for less than $6. Amazing. An off-the-shelf part. Thanks for making easy-to-fix stuff Chinook!

I ordered the part from Winddance Boardshop. It cost a buck or two more than another shop. Why not support some fellow sailors in Hood River? A week later, I had the cleat. It even included two iron-free screws that look like an exact match for the screw in the photo above. Except these screws didn't have a head worn away by years of sand and water.

You can see above how worn the original cleat and screw were. Also note the collection of tiny shells and sand that has turned into cement in the old one.

I cleaned the salt and sand out of the pocket before slipping in the new cleat. I then used one of the new screws to finish the job.

As good as new. I can't wait to try out my new cleat!

Friday, July 17, 2015

Come Windsurf in July - Corpus Christi

Light Winds on the Laguna Madre
Join us for some beach time July 24 - 26, 2015 at the Padre Island National Seashore. You don't need to know how to surf, windsurf, or sail. Worldwinds can train you -- as long as you sign up in advanced. Be sure to check out my advice on preparing for a Windsurfing trip here.

The general outline of one of these trips is this:

We all arrive late Friday morning. It's OK if you can't take Friday off, just show up at the beach Saturday morning.

If you're new to Windsurfing, you'll need take the beginner class at Worldwinds. The rest of us will rig our boards while you learn the basics on the water. Be sure to reserve some gear if you plan to rent!

We'll enjoy windsurfing until late afternoon. Around 6pm or 7p we'll meet on the island to share our sailing stories over dinner and beer. After all that, I guarantee you'll sleep like a baby.

The next morning we wake up, eat breakfast, and then do it again. I usually Windsurf until 3 or 4pm on Sunday before packing up and driving back.

Beginners should only plan to spend 2-3 hours on the water each day. There is plenty to do in the Padre Island National Seashore and Corpus Christi if you decide to turn your board in before the rest of us.

I'll be staying at the Best Western on the Island. You can read my thoughts on Corpus Christi accommodations here.