23 July 2007
Over the last few months, a number of early Bladerider customers have experienced some equipment failures. Each of the problems are identified below with an explaination and solution for those experiencing similar problems:
- Hull - A few of the very early production hulls have had the following issues:
- The hull was not glued together to the deck properly and small cracks appeared underneath the front wing bar. All boats with this problem have been or will be fixed. All boats after hull number 8 now have a much stronger front bulkhead and the deck and hull are bonded together much better now.
- There is only two layers of carbon fibre wrapped around the hull and small cracks appear on the bottom of hull near the bow. Some of these boats have had reinforcement put in place and the others will be fixed soon. All boats after hull number 8 now have 3 layers of carbon and have proven to be extremely strong and can withstand even the most violent high speed crashes.
- Some wing covers have been known to pull out of their tracks due to the fiberglass track splitting. All of these boats that have had this problem have now been fixed and have not had any problems since. All boats after hull number 8 now have carbon tracks and have never had a problem.
- Most early hulls have been known to have a minor leak but we now have a process in the factory that individually pressurises and seals all hull air leaks prior to shipment.
- The rear wing bar mounting pads have been known to crack under huge loads, however none have ever collapsed entirely. Any existing boats with any cracks can be fixed by wrapping additional carbon fibre around the pad. It is also recommended that users glue on high density rubber pads to reduce the bar from slipping if the U-bolt is not tight enough. We are currently working on a upgrade to the rear wing bar and mounting pads that should not have any of these issues and will also be easier and faster to fit.
- Mast Stump - The top of the mast stump on early models does not have enough reinforcement around it and therefore if anyone is suspicious of the strength of their stump, it is recommended to wrap an extra few layers around the top part of the stump. All new production boats will be supplied with stronger units.
- Front and Rear Hydrofoil - A number of front hydrofoils have broken recently at the 2007 Moth World Championships and another four customers who received boats in the last month have also experienced the same issue and have since been sent a replacement. This was as a result of a change in the carbon fibre layup of the foil (basically there was not enough). All the hydrofoils at the World Championships were reinforced and did not cause any problems during the regatta. Any customers concerned about their foils can contact our warranty department for a short term fix to the problem (if any), otherwise a replacement of the new layup for both the front and rear hydrofoil can be sent out as soon as they are available.
- Front Hydrofoil Flap - On very rare occasions, the front hydrofoil flap has detached from the front hydrofoil. We are now using a new method of flap attachment so that the kevlar hinge is glued into the flap and the front foil.
- Centerboard - Over the last few months, only four centerboards have been known to fail. This was due to a change in the layup of the carbon in the mould, and we have since rectified this several months ago and has not caused any problems since with the new production models.
- Centerboard Push Rod & Bell Crank - The performance of the Bladerider can be significantly enhanced if the push rod through the centerboard has no friction or slackness (under compression) in it while the bell crank should have absolutely no slack in it whatsoever. The current black plastic push rod connector (to the bell crank) also only has a short life span and we are in the process of producing a much stronger version. We also now have available with all new boats, a new and adjustable stainless steel bell crank and are in the process of upgrading the control rod slide tube along with the factory settings as so the customer can use straight out of the box and enjoy the same experience as the World Championship team riders have been recently. Any customers with boats delivered already can tune their centerboards and front foil using the new 'Trouble Shooting Guide' or contact us for replacement parts.
- Rudder Box - The rudder box has been a continual problem due to the huge twisting forces in the area. As a result, the back and front edge of the rudder box has been known to crack after approximately 25-50 hours of use. This can be easily fixed on existing units at any stage by wrapping the back edge with several layers of carbon and uni-carbon at the top and bottom edge, or alternatively we can easily send out a replacement at any time using a new layup. All rudder boxes made from July 2007 onwards will use a new layup and are structural much stronger. However designs will be commenced soon on a new and improved rudder box that will be a lot stronger around the pivoting area and will have flawless fitting for the rudder blade, without the need for any internal webbing.
- Wing Tubes - A few of the wing tubes have been leaking and by July 2007 we will ensure that all tubes are sealed correctly prior to shipping. Only recently we have also noticed that some outer wing tubes plugs are slightly too long and not glued in correctly. This has now been corrected in the factory for future builds.
- Vang Pulleys - Due to the low foredeck and massive amount of load required on the vang, the supplied Ronstan RF30101HL pulleys used in the upper and lower part of the vang cascade are not rated high enough and consequently deform (however they have never broken, and they still work, but the sheave does not spin as easily as it should). Therefore we are now using a high load Ronstan wire block (RF413) rated to 450kg.
- Ropes - Some ropes on early boats that have been supplied are not large enough diameter or long enough and are now increased in size and length to withstand greater loads and to make it easier to use.
To our knowledge, there has not been any production failures or imperfections of any other parts including masts, booms, sails, wing covers, boat covers, rudder gantries, rudder blades, spreaders or custom stainless steel fittings. However we are in the process of making changes to the following products to improve quality, strength, simplicity, ease of use and life span:
- Front Wing Bar Mounting Bolts - We have recently replaced these bolts with allen key bolts to make mounting easier, however we are investigating alternatives to make the initial fitting process even easier and more secure.
- Wing Covers - as these items incur a very high wear rate, we have improved the stitching, reinforcement and high load points to provide a tighter and longer lasting fit.
- Boat Covers - Small modifications have been made to the top cover to make for a better fit.
- Foil Finish - We are currently investigating alternative finish methods for the foils to provide a 'scratch-free' and faster surface.
If any customer has any questions regarding the above information, please contact us.