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The Commodore

A Good Time To Check Your Gear

Writing these past "Commodore's Comment" has been a quarterly event for me and now a monthly format, so I am not up to speed on the timing yet. However, with the timely thaw this past month in Southwestern Ontario and the reminders of the perils of cold rushing water, it brings to mind the necessity to plan now for your early and late season boating safety and fun that can be had if you are prepared for the temperatures.

The Boat Show is this month and that may be a great place to look for offshore gear if you are planning a trip on the lakes in May or early June. I know from the trips last year that even in June, the temperature on a trip from Niagara to Midland was restricted to daily high air temperatures of just 8º C. Those days are long if you are not dressed for the weather and those sailors on that trip found it a long trip in their heavy gear all day every day. But they would not have been able to travel if it had not been for that gear.

Thinking safety again and the Boat Show, consider rigging replacement, both standing and running, especially if you have looked at the threads on the turnbuckle ends with a magnifying lens and seen cracks or wear. Any running rigging that is frayed is weakened to about 50% of loading and the good old sun will have had an effect on things with the UV degradation over time. When you buy rope for lines, make sure you ask what the load limits are and use the recommended safety factors of 5x for normal loads and 10x for loads that may be used to lift people, (lines like halyards if you need to go to the top of the mast or hoist someone in from the water). If you have never replaced any of the hardware on the boat, then you might also want to consider having a look at some of that when you are at the show as well. There is good representation at the show, from manufacturers in North American, Down Under and Europe. In many cases, you have the opportunity to talk to the manufacturers directly and you can often ascertain the dates of their seasonal discounts and then deal with their sales agents under the same roof. Having a block break under load is best avoided as I can attest from experience, since I have had one of the old brown fiber sided ones do just that.

Since you now have some reasons to go to the boat show, don't hesitate to make it this Saturday the 17th and come over to dinner and the AGM that evening at the Keating Channel Pub on Villiers St., just south of the lift bridge on Cherry St. and east.

Don Campbell - GLAA Commodore