Sunday, August 18, 2013

The Bigger the Boom the Bigger the Break

I love formula windsurfing but it's kind of a boondoggle. Sailing overpowered on oversized, over-tensioned, overpriced, over-complicated gear is just asking for something to go wrong. First you hear a "Pop!" "Crunch!" or "RRrrip!" of failing carbon fiber and plastic, and then you hear a "cha-ching! cha-ching!" of cash pouring out of your bank account to replace the broken gear.

So beautiful, so powerful, so fragile.
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The pop I heard yesterday was my Chinook Carbon 230-310 cm boom breaking just behind the harness lines. It happened when I was just sailing along with my 11.0 after doing some filming with my GoPro camera (see below). Fortunately, I was upwind when it happened and was able to bag out the sail and plane downwind back to the launch with just one half of the boom supporting the sail.

The rubber skin of the boom was the only thing holding the arm together.
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Fixing a broken boom arm is apparently pretty tough. The part is under so much load when sailing that a less than perfect fix will just break again. I'm going to try it, though. The guys on the forum say the way to go is to epoxy a smaller diameter tube into the broken part of the boom, and then wrap many layers of carbon fiber cloth around the outside of the wound, too. For the inside tube I'll cannibalize part of the tailpiece of the same boom that I'm trying to repair. I won't be able to extend the boom as long anymore, but I'll still be able to extend it enough to fit my 11.0 with some space leftover. Best case scenario is that it holds up great, and the boom is just a little heavier than before. Worst case scenario is that it immediately breaks again and I have to pay several hundred dollars for a new boom. I'll keep y'all posted. In the meantime, the video of my windsurfing session (not including the boom break) is below. The song is heavy metal, so turn the sound off if you don't like heavy metal.

Boom Break 17 Aug 2013 from James Douglass on Vimeo.

PS- Though there wasn't much wind today, my buddy and I got a surprisingly good SUP session in smoothly breaking waves at Wiggins Pass State Park in Naples. I think these waves may have been generated by the tropical storm on the other side of the Gulf of Mexico.

1 comment:

Frank said...

James have you checked on a new boom arm from Chinook? A few years ago I broke a boom arm and it was not that expensive to replace the hole arm.