Sunday, September 15, 2013

Hackjob Windsurf Modifications- Yet to be Tested

My last windsurfing post was about breaking my big boom. Since the break coincided with the start of a busy semester of teaching, it took me a while to deal with it. I would tinker with it for an hour or so, then hit a setback, then have to leave it for days to keep up with real life things. The downtime was prolonged by my decision to concurrently attempt liposuction on my formula board; narrowing the tail section 5 cm by cutting "wingers" off the sides.

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To stay sane in the meantime I sneaked a few paddleboard sessions in flat water or barely-catchable waves. These days I'll chase any wave over 1 foot high, because that's juuuust big enough to catch with the sup, and it's about the maximum size you can hope for in summer in West Florida. I also took the windsup out for a non-planing cruise with my 8.0 sail; the biggest sail I can rig without my big boom. That slow-motion windsurfing session really emphasized that I needed to get my big-sail toys working again.

Finally, this week, I got everything done. Here's a summary of what I did:

Boom-
*Shaved away the grip around either side of the break, and filed down the carbon fiber snags inside the break.
*Cut a ~7" chunk of narrow carbon tube from one arm of the tailpiece to be an internal splint for the break.
*Cut a ~12" section of a broken mast top to be an external splint for the break.
*Sanded and/or wrapped with fiberglass cloth as necessary to make both splints fit snugly.
*Epoxied the splints into place, and made sure the boom was aligned right by putting the tailpiece back in.
*Waited for it to harden then sanded the rough bits around the external splint.

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Board-
*Made a mark at the corner of the tail, 1" in from original edge of the board.
*Measured 15" up from the corner of the tail and made a mark 1/2" in from the original edge of the board.
*Sawed a straight line between the marks with a jigsaw that I bought at Home Depot.
*Awkwardly sawed a bevel on the upper deck of the board at the edge of the new tail outline.
*Epoxied a couple layers of fiberglass over the exposed foam of the cut-out area.
*Spread some epoxy mixed with filler over the area to fair it and to glue on strips of foam padding for my heels.
*Sanded things as smooth as possible and painted over the modified area so it would match the rest of the board.

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This morning there was a nice 10-14 mph breeze blowing, so I loaded up the gear and headed for the beach. I brought along my GPS so I could measure any changes in top-speed or upwind angle that my board modifications might have granted. I was low on gas, so I stopped for a fill-up at the Valero station. With a full tank, a fully loaded van, and a some nice wind, I was ready for ACTION!!!!

Then my @#$@#%$ piece of @#$% van wouldn't start. Rhonda came to the gas station to give me a jump but that didn't help. So I called AAA and had to watch my weekend windsurfing dreams roll away on a tow-truck. Sigh...

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7 comments:

Spencer Thompson said...

James: I'm having Mark Nelson build me a custom winger right now, it's 1/2 done. E-mail me via my website, www.windjunkie.net and I'll send you a couple of photos, pretty awesome!

Iggy said...

I know big booms cost big bucks, but your fix could be go south real quick.
Like your MacGyver skills!
Hopefully you wont need that big boom soon as those cold fronts start rolling through this fall.
Iggy

CdnGuy said...

Drag about the van, hope the mods work for you.

Steve Bodner said...

Jim
Nice mods !
Always better to replace something when it can be fixed vs buying a new one.
Glad to see boom is back in order.
I've got a great light air formula fin for you that I haven't used in ages.
Email me at usa4windsurfing@gmail and I'll give you the specs.
Enjoy the fall winds

Arden Anderson said...

Cool project. Modifying older equipment can be a nice way to get more life out of stuff that might otherwise sit on the shelf. If you're interested, I did a similar cutout modification to an old Mistral Energy a few years ago:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uo3R3jbkjwQ

Arden

James Douglass said...

Arden- That's cool! Was the board faster in the end?

Arden Anderson said...

Yes, mostly because the high end control was improved. The stock energy usually started to feel very "nailed down" and unable to deal with chop once speed got over ~30 mph (using arm mounted gps). Top speed I ever recorded on gps was 33 or 34 mph in very flat conditions at Bird Island Basin.

After modification the board felt much looser even at 30+ mph and I regularly recorded speeds of 34 or 35 mph in choppy local conditions on Lake Winnebago. I'm pretty sure I've gotten the board over 37 I think the cutouts reduce the amount of lift generated way back on the board and lets the board ride a little higher angle in the water. It is also more sensitive to slight rider input to get through chop.

The reduction in waterline on the rail reduced the upwind ability, but the board still can get upwind ok as long as it's lit enough to stay on the fin. But definitely worse upwind if only lightly powered.

Overall, the mods did what I hoped - added high wind control and top end speed.