Thursday, September 17, 2009

Fibersnap Booms (Rant)

Doh! Just as the summer doldrums were giving way to decent, 10-knot, after-work seabreezes, I broke my big Fiberspar boom. This makes it impossible to rig my big 9.8 msq sail. The max I can rig now is 6.6 msq, which means my planing threshold has gone up from ~9 knots to ~14 knots, which is not-unless-there's-a-hurricane wind this time of year in Florida.

This is the second boom I've broken since my re-entry into big-sail "formula" windsurfing earlier this summer. The first was no surprise, since it was an aluminum boom. The one yesterday was a carbon boom, but it was still no surprise, because I broke the same headpiece on another Fiberspar when I first got into formula in Virginia. Replacing it was a huge headache, which hastened my 2-year forumla hiatus.

I think the Fiberspar headpieces, which are the same for small booms as for big booms, just aren't strong enough for the stress of handling jumbo 9.0 - 12.5 msq sails. Some people, after they buy a formula boom, painstakingly reinforce the headpiece with several layers of expensive carbon fiber cloth. Aaaghhhhh... it gives me a headache just thinking about it. Why don't they make them strong enough in the first place? They're definitely expensive enough.

The only thing that makes me feel a little better is that I got this boom relatively cheap, used, for $200, and it served me for a dozen or so sweet-ass sessions on my formula board and 9.8 sail. Ironically, a new headpiece would cost me about the same as the boom did. An entirely new boom would be $700 - $1000, though. Insane. I'll figure out something, but might have to put aside my formula dreams for another couple paychecks.

In related news, my stylish minivan now has non-bald tires, fresh brakes, and four hubcaps. The speedometer and A/C still only work when they feel like it.


rod.r said...

Hey James. Sorry to hear about your gear / car problems. My father inlaw was a mechanic and in his job and in most things in life he followed a simple rule...."fit new and forget".

Frank said...

This was supposed to be the last year for Fiberspar booms made like the ones you have. They are to be manufactured in the same plant as Maui booms in China but with Fiberspar parts.I have a set of Maui booms 230-290 and fiberspar 250-308. The Maui are much heavier in the back in than the Fiberspar but just replaced the head on the Fiberspar. Both have there draw backs.

James Douglass said...

Rod- Yeah, I reckon that was good advice.

Frank- Where did you get the replacement head for the fiberspar? Do you remember how much it was and stuff? Thanks.

John said...

Hi James,

The older (2000-2003ish) Fiberspar booms had a narrow 32mm front cross tube which was subsequently beefed up to 39mm diameter at some point. Bic Sport NA recently confirmed for me that the front end repair kits now incorporate the thicker/stronger head tube. I inquired about this part to proactively address this weak point on my 2000 Fiberspar 220-268 boom before it explodes. I'm still debating between the Fiberspar front end replacement kit with thicker cross tube verses carbon wrap/reinforcement and retrofitting the MauiSails head. Nevertheless, Bic Sport NA will sell the replacement part directly, but I've also seen it listed at Windance for $150

James Douglass said...

Hey John- Thanks for the advice on where I can order the replacement part. Good to know the new heads are beefed up.