Re: A day in the life of a windsurfer - survival story

From: Bob Prevett (
Date: Thu Apr 09 1998 - 13:06:45 PDT

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From: "Bob Prevett" <>
Message-Id: <>
Date: Thu, 9 Apr 1998 13:06:45 -0700
Subject: Re: A day in the life of a windsurfer - survival story
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resend - didn't seem to make it out first time:

I just read Carlos' story; damn, that was intense.

It seems that a lot of rescue situations occur when the board and rig seperate. It is
essential that we take the steps to prevent this from happening. Carlos makes an
important point along these lines: check your equipment, toss and replace
lines/universals that are suspect.

However, there are steps that one can take to help prevent the rig from seperating
from the board in case of mast-base or universal failure. These steps really work!;
I've been using them for the last three years (after the Rob Novak "swimming to the
bridge" story).

The basic idea is to provide fail-safes for the various ways a rig can seperate from a
board. I use the common Windsurf Hawaii star base, so the detailed instructions apply
to that setup, but could probably be extended to other bases as well.

Failure mode 1 - mast base slides out of mast track: To prevent this, there is a
little leash line that is attached to the base through a hole. My F2 has a hole in
the front of the mast base slot, through which I have a second leash line attached.
Once I tighten down the mast base, I just tie these two lines together. If the mast
base slides out, the tied lines prevent the board and rig from getting more than a
foot away from each other. I also keep a spare mast base nut in my safety pack. This
system avoid a rescue situation on a 5.0m2 day two summers ago.

Failure mode 2 - the universal rubber hourglass shears/rips: To prevent this, the mast
base universal has this blue webbing on either side of the hourglass. If the
hourglass rips, the webbing holds this together. So, it's important to have a mast
base that has this safety feature. I have seem some tendon type universals with a
little crappy piece of line that supposedly serves the same purpose; looks flimsy to
me. At Coyote last summer, my hourglass did blow out. That blue webbing worked so
well that I sailed back in on a full powered plane without the rig bashing down on the
deck of my board. Walked over to ASD, bought a new base, and was back on the water in
20 minutes!

Failure mode 3 - the clip at the top of the base which connects to the extension
fails: To prevent this, I tie off the excess downhaul line to the top cup of the mast
base. If the clip fails, board and rig will not get more than a foot apart. I haven't
a clip failure yet, but I think that I am covered for clip failure. This approach
does not have any line binding issues since the top cup twists with the rig.

There are certainly less common failure modes for which I am not covered; example: the
bolts at top or bottom of the hourglass shearing off. So the best bet is to replace
the universal earlier rather than later.

If any Third Ave sailor would like to see how exactly I do method 1 and 3, I'm usally
at 3rd when it's blowing, drive a gold Acura Legend and sail an F2 Axxis with Neil
Pryde sails; just flag me down, I would be happy to show others.

Bob "mudman" Prevett

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