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Time to reflect and smell the roses; time to start preparations for next season

30 June 2017 Phil Smidmore

Boat maintenance, check your brolga turnbuckles

"Boat maintenance, check your brolga turnbuckles"

Photo by:
Kylie Wilson,

It was great to launch five new boats this season, with the four of them that sailed the NSW States and/or Nationals winning 6 of the 11 races of those two regattas, and one winning the NSW States. In the West, Michael Manford won both the Syd Corser Regatta, and the WA State Championship in his 2012 Pacesetter. I’m looking forward to building more new boats, especially in the lead up to the Brisbane Worlds, which are now just over one year away.

During the season, I sold the entire batch of 20 masts I finished in early October, with 13 of them being exported. John Bertrand started the season off well by winning the Cowes Worlds using one of my masts, and the first three boats at the Australian Championships all used my masts. In early June, Steve Benjamin, one of my export buyers, won the US Nationals, whilst Graeme Taylor’s Magpie followed up their win at the nationals with another at Mooloolaba. I’m currently working on building another batch of masts, which will end with mast number 600!

Although it’s mid-winter, there is another season just around the corner, and now is the time to freshen up your boat to maximise your next season’s results, and enjoyment. Replace tired ropes and blocks that no longer run freely, make sure the pumps work, and the bilge is clear of all debris, so that the pumps will not get indigestion. Grease up the turnbuckles and mast screw winder, as well as generally bringing your boat up to date. Items such as mast lever and electric pump are now on nearly all of the boats. Once you have them, you will wonder how you ever did without them. If you do fit any new systems, make sure their ropes all run freely, and do not rub against ropes and fittings already in place. Another reason to get in now, is that I will not be brining in my 2017 price list until August 1st this year.

Very importantly, please ensure your boat is fully compliant with all of the Class Rules. Items that I often see not complying include mast gate length, ropes and wires being too small for bulkhead holes, unfilled holes in knees and bulkheads, as well as undersize halyards. Swinging spreaders will swing more with wear, which may affect both performance and rule compliance.

Please check your Brolga turnbuckles. The most recent version, which has been around for about four years now, has more meat around the pressed in toggle pin, and the toggle plates are a heavier gauge. If you do not have this version, please retrofit a new toggle assembly, as there have been some failures of the older version ones.

Good luck to those going to San Francisco for the 2017 Worlds - hopefully an Aussie team can again bring the Founders’ Bowl home with them.

Good Sailing,

Phil Smidmore


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