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Spring Thaw

Last update, January 27, 2003



Be Prepared



"Hey Vern, you have two boats, why another?"

"I needed something more to do."


It is a fact that if you own a full scale boat or airplane, you will always have something to do. They, by their own devious selves begin crying for attention the minute you touch them. Airplanes are regulated and licensed. You will be required to do certain things whether you fly it or not. Ah, but toy boats are a different matter and hence, a few pages that will make you wonder if this is really a hobby.


Pre-Race Check

Batteries: There are 9 million battery systems on this playground. Everyone has their preference and reasons. Simplicity should be at the top of the list. Here you have seen a simple diagram with a switch and Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH) batteries prepared by a professional and wired with standard fittings for all our gear. The failure of a battery pack for physical reasons at the lake is rare. Failure of a battery pack because it is out of juice should never happen, never.

RMG users: Turn off the Battery Limiter.

Charge the batteries the night before and check them in the morning with a meter. All boat packs should be in the very high 6v range and the TX a very high 10v range. Convention is AA packs and you should have three packs for the boat and two for the TX. That is one more than needed for each. Reason? A physical failure of a pack means it is trashed. If you do not have a back up for the TX, you are done for the day. If you lose a boat pack the remaining two are like a slow leak in the front left...the clock is ticking.


Lines: Complete the checks in Maintenance. Look for fraying on the tension line's long loop that connects to the turning block. If a loop knot is used there, check for wear but do not disturb it. Check the winch line at the drum and at the collector loop for wear. While you have it out check the connecting loops for the sheet lines. This takes five minutes. Replacing a tension line is five minutes more, a winch line is 15 minutes and a sheet line is five. Replacing them after they break is a long time.


Check the sheet lines where they go through a guide and at all adjusters. Carefully inspect the backstay and the jib swivel lines. Check the three corners of the sails and the string hinge at the head of the main if used.


When the other rigs are checked, make sure the gooseneck connection for the main boom and the base of the vang are secure and not able to slide. It is easier to tighten them while the rig is un-stepped.


Hull: Cleaning the hull is not a popular or exciting thing to do but it will surprise you how much accumulates and changes. Run your fingers over the surface and you will feel the crud.


Most know that they are not to wax the bottom of a sailboat, any sailboat. McGuire's has a mild abrasive used for cleaning plastic windows and deflectors. This makes a good cleaner. Sanding (1500 or 1600 grit) is not needed for every regatta. However, running your fingers over the keel and along the sheer line of the gunwale may pick up scratches and nicks. Remove them.



The Rest:

  1. Check that the radio system will come to life.

  2. Inspect shroud line connectors for corrosion on all the rigs. Can you still turn them?

  3. When was the last time you changed the rudder grease?

  4. Are there any bugs in your boots?


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