Sunday, July 5, 2009

Boom Blues

**UPDATE - 8 July 09 - Got a replacement; a secondhand Fiberspar all-carbon boom**

**Begin original post**

My second honeymoon with formula windsurfing hit a speed bump yesterday when one of my aluminum boom arms broke.

boom blues

I think it happened when I pumped the sail hard coming out of a jibe to pop the cams. Thankfully the boom didn't separate on the water - it just started to feel wobbly and "spongy" and I wasn't able to pump onto a plane. At first I thought maybe the tail piece was slipping, which has happened before when I didn't lock it in tight, but that wasn't the case. Back in my driveway when I got a chance to look at the broken spot I was surprised how thin the aluminum was there. You'd think they would reinforce that spot more, since there's so much stress where the boom arms meet the boom head.

I've had the boom for about two years so I think it's out of warranty. It's a shame that the whole rest of the boom will have to be tossed just because of that one break. Unless anyone has repair ideas?


Johnny Douglass said...

Bummer scummer. It's hard to see exactly how it broke. Does the little stub on the boom end telescope into the longer curved part? If so I'd recommend mixing up a batch of Westsystem epoxy and glue it back in. I use 105 epoxy, 205 hardner, and 404 thickener/filler for everything. It's better than duct tape. I'd do that then drill and install several aluminum pop rivets for good measure before the epoxy cures.

James Douglass said...

Hey Dad- Good idea- I have some of that kind of epoxy and filler around so I'll have a go with it. Couldn't hurt. :)

Frank said...

Hi James after you put the epoxy on strap the boom to a table or something flat until the epoxy sets.
Fiberspar has a instructional repair on there website that is good. The flat surface will keep the arms straight so the tail piece will slide easy. Taking the head off will make the repair easier. All carbon booms are the real answer for sail water.

Andy said...

You can order boom arms from any Chinook dealer, if you don't feel like repairing. Of course, if one arm went, the other might not be far behind. Luckily, the boom head is interchangeable, and the tailpiece should work in lots of different booms too, so you can keep those parts as spares.

I've got a few formula length carbon booms if you're interested.

James Douglass said...

Frank- Yeah, Fiberspar is pretty good about posting boom-maintenance instructions on their website. I replaced a fiberspar boom head one time, and some adjustment cuffs. I don't think this aluminum boom is going to be so amenable to repair though, since it was the arm itself that broke and not a replaceable part. The guy I bought the formula board from is selling a fiberspar boom for $200 so I might get that as a (hopefully) long term investment.

G-42 said...

Aluminum booms scare me. Aluminum formula booms really scare me...

It's hard to swallow when you are plunking down major cash for a carbon boom - but given the higher longevity, you're ending up paying less per unit of use, and you get better performance (stiffer, lighter).

Sometimes, it's not that you get what you pay for, it's that you pay for what you get (and hopefully, that doesn't involve any breakage while far offshore).

Frank said...

Hi James=Fiberspar 250-308 or 220
I have had one of each and for a 9.8 the 250 is much better. My 250 has the narrow back end but still works well. Even on the 11.5 Gaastra kPro which is sort of flat in the belly but I like the sail.

James Douglass said...

Frank- For now I picked up a used Fiberspar 220 - 265 cm. If I feel excessively weighed down with $$ in the future I'll get the 250 - 308 cm. So far my re-entry into formula has cost me:

$150 for crappy Neil Pryde 8.7, good 520 mast, and so-so Epic aluminum boom that I gave to my dad.

$200 for good 2004 Exocet board.

$200 for good 2004 Aerotech 9.8

$75 for good 70 cm Select fin

$200 for used carbon boom

Total = $825