Jeez -- 'Nuther LOOOONG Swim

Jeez -- 'Nuther LOOOONG Swim

Post by NLW TFW » Mon, 25 May 1998 04:00:00


For the second time recently, a Chinook uni bolt failure separated my rig from
my board with zero warning. The difference this time was the size of the lake
and the wind direction: 80 square miles and side-off, with NO access to the
downwind side. i.e., the pre*** conditions at our major lake. We always
check our gear before heading out, and the bolt (between cup and uni) was as
tight as it could be and still allow rotation.

But on my outside jibe -- of course --  the bolt snapped in mid-hop in 4.7 wind
and the board came down 20 feet downwind of me on a near-plane. I sprinted for
it, but "sank up to my ankles after 50 yards" as the gap widened. The board
blew away quickly. I swam back to my sail and began digging through my
emergency *** pack I wear just for this lake.

The guys on shore couldn't find me or my signal mirror through binoculars (you
can't aim those mirrors for crap). None of the three flares or two smoke bombs
worked; they're now just orange shoreline litter. I was dressed to swim for a
few hours (it was 5+ hours until dark), but not just bob until dark and then
HOPE I got rescued. The air was in the 80s, the water lower 60s, and I was in a
4/3 steamer. I could swim in a beam reach and catch a peninsula a mile away if
I started swimming now, but if I waited much longer I'd miss the peninsula and
have to swim twice as far across the wind to catch the shore. The swell was 3-4
feet and whitecapping heavily -- wind in the low to mid 30s. NO fun swimming!

So I used two of my *** pack items, abandoned the sail, took some directional
sightings and took off. First I slugged down some of the glucose (for
diabetics, at any ***tore), then I put on the webbed surfers' gloves. The
glucose provides quick but sustained energy, and the gloves add POWER
(efficiency). I sighted on a mountain peak 180 degrees from my target
peninsula, rolled onto my back, and started backstroking (arms in synch, legs
frog-kicking -- a very powerful yet relaxing stroke; I think it's actually
called the inverted *** stroke). My helmet visor kept most breaking swell
out of my mouth, and my 5kg-flotation vest kept my face above the water.
Sidestroking -- a very solid stroke for me in calmer water -- produced too much
gagging in those waves. The flotation was INDISPENSABLE in that amount of
chop/swell, but it didn't slow my sprint to the board. This vest fits like a
neoprene vest, has HUGE armholes, and never rides up an inch. I'd have been a
waterlogged carcass quickly without the flotation.

Missed the peninsula by a 100 meters a couple of hours later, sprinted straight
upwind to catch it, and walked ashore just as the State Park boat Kirk had
called on my cell phone arrived. The rangers were expecting to find the usual
floater (this lake culls the state's IQ gene pool quite effectively and
frequently), and were relieved to see a live zombie in full neoprene, helmet,
harness, and float vest (no PFD required here). They took me out to search for
my gear, to no avail. The waves far downwind were by now over 6 feet -- we're
heading down that way next time we can get a few good sailors on the water and
some observers manning the cellphone, now that the weather's finally heating
up. A couple of miles downwind on a full sinker is not to be taken lightly in
this remote lake, and phones/marine radio don't have enough range at water
level.

The rangers looked for the gear a couple of days later, after a 35-40-mph/4.0
day, using their knowledge of the lake and its wind and water patterns. But it
was the fishermen who predicted where it came ashore, and found it -- and the
sail -- three days later. The rig was barely damaged; the board may be
repairable. The rangers said I was a textbook example of how to survive a
boating emergency; they pull the bodies of people who value their gear more
than their lives out of the water way too often.

I'm having the uni bolt scanning-electron-microscoped out of curiosity. I want
to know if Chinook encountered some counterfeit bolts.

Mike \m/
Never Leave Wind To Find Wind

 
 
 

Jeez -- 'Nuther LOOOONG Swim

Post by Ross Flemi » Tue, 26 May 1998 04:00:00


Quote:
>The guys on shore couldn't find me or my signal mirror through binoculars (you
>can't aim those mirrors for crap). None of the three flares or two smoke bombs
>worked; they're now just orange shoreline litter.

        I am glad that you are OK and were able to recover your
equipment.  What kind of flares and smokes where you using?  
        I have had bad luck with the SkyBlazer 30 sec. smoke
cannisters and they probably wouldn't produce enough volume of smoke
to be seen anyway.  I find that the shrink wrap chafes through and
they become waterlogged and useless after about 2 months in my
lifejacket.  The Pans-Wesix 3min. SOLAS grade smoke cannisters that I
have on my boat are too big to carry on my person and I don't  trust
the hand held smokes.  Any suggestions?
        I have had very good luck with the SkyBlazer meteor flares in
the self contained launchers.  I have shot off about 15 expired flares
over the years (New Years Eve at a ski area)  that were toughly
exposed to water and only had 2 fail.  They are pretty idiot proof and
float.  The down side is that they don't go as high as claimed (only
200' not 400') and only burn for a few seconds.
        I just found out on Saturday that they are now making a
SkyBlazer Twinstar that has two stars in each flare that is the same
size as the original model.  These seem like a good idea and I will be
getting some before I start storm sailing next winter.  They are also
making a white flare that can be used in less dire situations.  
        A mirror wouldn't be of much use on Puget Sound during a
winter storm but I do carry a strobe.  
--------------------------------------------
Ross Fleming


 
 
 

Jeez -- 'Nuther LOOOONG Swim

Post by WARDO » Tue, 26 May 1998 04:00:00

Mike,
Have you tried the twin bolt plate from Chinook? I used to have the same
problem with single bolt units.
I haven't had a single issue with the twins. Ounce of prevention........


Quote:
>For the second time recently, a Chinook uni bolt failure separated my rig
from
>my board with zero warning. >I'm having the uni bolt

scanning-electron-microscoped out of curiosity. I want
Quote:
>to know if Chinook encountered some counterfeit bolts.

>Mike \m/
>Never Leave Wind To Find Wind


 
 
 

Jeez -- 'Nuther LOOOONG Swim

Post by Dimitar Bojantch » Tue, 26 May 1998 04:00:00

Switched to a double bolt today -- during my last two sessions on my
Screamer at Crissy and Berkeley, the single bolt came apart... It
didn't get lost but I had to reattach the rig in 3 - 4 ft. chop and
heavy wind with the whole thing twisting from side to side. Not too
hard but these two occurrences were sufficiently disconcerning to make
me get the double bolt, like I have on my other boards... .

        D.

Quote:

>Mike,
>Have you tried the twin bolt plate from Chinook? I used to have the same
>problem with single bolt units.
>I haven't had a single issue with the twins. Ounce of prevention........



>>For the second time recently, a Chinook uni bolt failure separated my rig
>from
>>my board with zero warning. >I'm having the uni bolt
>scanning-electron-microscoped out of curiosity. I want
>>to know if Chinook encountered some counterfeit bolts.

>>Mike \m/
>>Never Leave Wind To Find Wind

--
===============================================================================

Pontix Consulting, Inc.               http://www.pontix.com/
Personal Info                         http://www.pontix.com/dimitar
 
 
 

Jeez -- 'Nuther LOOOONG Swim

Post by NLW TFW » Wed, 27 May 1998 04:00:00

Re:" What kind of flares and smokes where you using?"

I was using the basic SkyBlazer flares and smoke bombs. They were a couple of
years old, but have been carried very seldom, and only in fresh water. One side
of my stainless steel signal mirror was totally rusted, too.

Guess I'll upgrade my signal stuff and check it more often.

Mike \m/
Never Leave Wind To Find Wind

 
 
 

Jeez -- 'Nuther LOOOONG Swim

Post by Neau » Wed, 27 May 1998 04:00:00

Glad Mike was prepared for self rescue.  Of course, you never know when one of
those bolts might break.  My brother was in the water a long time at Third
Avenue with a broken universal joint (a broken bolt on an ART base) before he
jerry rigged it and limped back in.  Although people saw him in the water and
went for a spare, the current was strong, and no one could sail back out and
find him.  What saved him was that he had anticipated a broken base and had run
a piece of downhaul line through an 8 mm nut which he had put in the mast track
forward of the U-joint.  This line, 18 inches long or so, was clipped around
the mast just above the downhaul cleat.  It fit somewhat loosely so it wouldn't
get tight if he ended up flipping the sail more in one direction than the
other.  His board never got away from his rig.  He ultimately put the mast base
pad around the bottom end of the mast base extension, tied the mast base as
tightly as he could to the nut in the mast track (still pretty loose once he
stood up), and sailed back in, mostly on plane.

There's no way we can test the bolts on the mast bases, but the failure rate is
high enough that most busy sailors are aware of one or two occasions when
someone they knew or saw had a break.  I wonder whether they should be replaced
periodically even when they look great.

L. D. Lide

 
 
 

Jeez -- 'Nuther LOOOONG Swim

Post by NLW TFW » Wed, 27 May 1998 04:00:00

Re:"Switched to a double bolt today -- during my last two sessions on my
Screamer at Crissy and Berkeley, the single bolt came apart... It
didn't get lost but I had to reattach the rig in 3 - 4 ft. chop and
heavy wind with the whole thing twisting from side to side. Not too
hard but these two occurrences were sufficiently disconcerning to make
me get the double bolt, like I have on my other boards"

I agree. I've used only the two-bolt bases since a single-bolt foot ripped a
chunk out of a deck box in a new board about 6 years ago. I'll probably replace
the cup-to-uni bolts I've had fail twice with stronger bolts, if I can find
some.

Mike \m/
Never Leave Wind To Find Wind

 
 
 

Jeez -- 'Nuther LOOOONG Swim

Post by Sailm » Wed, 27 May 1998 04:00:00


Quote:
(NLW TFW NM) writes:

>For the second time recently, a Chinook uni bolt failure separated my rig
>from
>my board with zero warning. The difference this time was the size of the lake
>and the wind direction: 80 square miles and side-off, with NO access to the
>downwind side. i.e., the pre*** conditions at our major lake. We always
>check our gear before heading out, and the bolt (between cup and uni) was as
>tight as it could be and still allow rotation.

I've also had this happen a couple of times and now carry a spare .

To prevent them snapping replace the bolts with T4 one's (the grade of
stainless ,usually T2 is used) and if you are realy worried drill and tap the
UJ to 10mm bomb proof !!. I use the North pin stuff and use a big washer at the
bottom.

I used  to use an extension with a cup and had to use a metal spacer on the UJ
to enable the cup to rotate freely but still have the nut on securely and not
have any slack that increases the leverage on the pin. It seems to my layman
brain that the cup/base(north pin system) need to be a close fit otherwise the
leaverage on the pin is increased which work hardens the bolt esp T2 . If this
last bit is wrong please let me know as I said Im just a layman but the T4
bolts are good and of the 3 people have upgraded none have had a failure.

Mike

Good sailing

 
 
 

Jeez -- 'Nuther LOOOONG Swim

Post by NLW TFW » Thu, 28 May 1998 04:00:00

Sailmad --

Thanks for the T2-T4 conversion info. I'll get right on it, if I live that
long.

Mike \m/
Never Leave Wind To Find Wind

 
 
 

Jeez -- 'Nuther LOOOONG Swim

Post by TomBuckO » Thu, 28 May 1998 04:00:00

Mike:

Thanks for sharing the story - I sometimes feel a little funny with my ***
pack full o' safety stuff - but once again - it makes a difference.

I'm gonna add the swim gloves to my kit - already have line, tools, flares,
strobe, signal mirror and cell phone.

Tom O'Brien - Chicago

 
 
 

Jeez -- 'Nuther LOOOONG Swim

Post by WARDO » Thu, 28 May 1998 04:00:00

Buddy!
Lose the North pin system now!!!!! I have had them break in the waves, in the
Gorge,
in the bay, on the lakes......bad ,bad ,bad design. Matter of fact, I took it in
the shorts to replace all my North rig components...masts,booms,bases........These
breakdowns were some of the worst water experiences of my life.....sooner or
later....believe me.....you don't even want to go there!

Quote:


> (NLW TFW NM) writes:

> >For the second time recently, a Chinook uni bolt failure separated my rig
> >from
> >my board with zero warning. The difference this time was the size of the lake
> >and the wind direction: 80 square miles and side-off, with NO access to the
> >downwind side. i.e., the pre*** conditions at our major lake. We always
> >check our gear before heading out, and the bolt (between cup and uni) was as
> >tight as it could be and still allow rotation.

> I've also had this happen a couple of times and now carry a spare .

> To prevent them snapping replace the bolts with T4 one's (the grade of
> stainless ,usually T2 is used) and if you are realy worried drill and tap the
> UJ to 10mm bomb proof !!. I use the North pin stuff and use a big washer at the
> bottom.

> I used  to use an extension with a cup and had to use a metal spacer on the UJ
> to enable the cup to rotate freely but still have the nut on securely and not
> have any slack that increases the leverage on the pin. It seems to my layman
> brain that the cup/base(north pin system) need to be a close fit otherwise the
> leaverage on the pin is increased which work hardens the bolt esp T2 . If this
> last bit is wrong please let me know as I said Im just a layman but the T4
> bolts are good and of the 3 people have upgraded none have had a failure.

> Mike

> Good sailing

 
 
 

Jeez -- 'Nuther LOOOONG Swim

Post by sailquik (Roger Jacks » Thu, 28 May 1998 04:00:00

Quote:

>Buddy!
>Lose the North pin system now!!!!! I have had them break in the waves, in the
>Gorge,
>in the bay, on the lakes......bad ,bad ,bad design. Matter of fact, I took it in
>the shorts to replace all my North rig components...masts,booms,bases........These
>breakdowns were some of the worst water experiences of my life.....sooner or
>later....believe me.....you don't even want to go there!

Wardog:
I'd have to disagree with you on this one.
Properly fitted with the large thick washer under the pin, the North Race
System has proven to be more reliable than any other joint I've ever used.
If you upgrade to the Chinook/Genuine Streamlined short tendon base, and
use the North Pin/Washer they seem to be almost bomb proof in my
experience.
I've spent some time in the impact zone at Hatteras, and I fully expected
something about the joint to fail, but it never has. I'm pushing almost 2
seasons of very heavy sailing on my first Chinook/Steamlined, and it looks
and works like I bought it last month.
I do use a Chinook 2 bolt quite often in the surf, but more as a precaution
than as a result of any failure of the North system.
Just my opinion, but the materials in the Chinook/Streamlined are over
engineered to the max, and with this joint as a foundation, and the cast
aluminum sockets around the tendon it makes a very strong versatile unit
when combined with a properly assembled and Locktite'd North Pin.
later

sailquik (Roger Jackson) US 3704        (301)872-9459 (In MD)
F2/North/Sailworks/Tectonics/True Ames  (919)995-3204 (In Hatteras)
Lvl 1 WS Instructor


 
 
 

Jeez -- 'Nuther LOOOONG Swim

Post by WARDO » Thu, 28 May 1998 04:00:00

You are lucky ,Bro!!!
Maybe my Jalama sessions weakened them, but I know quite a few other wave sailors who
had similar experiences....I use exclusively Chinook and Streamlined...haven't had one
failure...my buddy Nat Gill was sailing at Hookipa on a 25' day last winter and bent
the pins in his Chinook base....I change my components out every year whether they need
it or not...that is how critical it is where I sail....I will be testing the "New"
Windsurfing Hawaii  products and let ya'll know what I think....Streamlined tendons
though...always.....I have one hell of a pile of North "crap"...use to sail it
exclusively...as did many sailors when Boyd went to school here.....rots of ruck...

Quote:


> >Buddy!
> >Lose the North pin system now!!!!! I have had them break in the waves, in the
> >Gorge,
> >in the bay, on the lakes......bad ,bad ,bad design. Matter of fact, I took it in
> >the shorts to replace all my North rig components...masts,booms,bases........These
> >breakdowns were some of the worst water experiences of my life.....sooner or
> >later....believe me.....you don't even want to go there!

> Wardog:
> I'd have to disagree with you on this one.
> Properly fitted with the large thick washer under the pin, the North Race
> System has proven to be more reliable than any other joint I've ever used.
> If you upgrade to the Chinook/Genuine Streamlined short tendon base, and
> use the North Pin/Washer they seem to be almost bomb proof in my
> experience.
> I've spent some time in the impact zone at Hatteras, and I fully expected
> something about the joint to fail, but it never has. I'm pushing almost 2
> seasons of very heavy sailing on my first Chinook/Steamlined, and it looks
> and works like I bought it last month.
> I do use a Chinook 2 bolt quite often in the surf, but more as a precaution
> than as a result of any failure of the North system.
> Just my opinion, but the materials in the Chinook/Streamlined are over
> engineered to the max, and with this joint as a foundation, and the cast
> aluminum sockets around the tendon it makes a very strong versatile unit
> when combined with a properly assembled and Locktite'd North Pin.
> later

> sailquik (Roger Jackson) US 3704        (301)872-9459 (In MD)
> F2/North/Sailworks/Tectonics/True Ames  (919)995-3204 (In Hatteras)
> Lvl 1 WS Instructor