TK Rigs Update 2

11 July 2006

Dear Sailor,

Ali Masters sailing with the rig. It's fair to say that it's been a steep learning curve for everyone involved with the UK Techno 293 OD class since the introduction of the first TK rigs almost six months ago. Mid-way through the 2006 season, sailors and coaches now have a much better understanding about how to set up and sail the TK rigs in order to achieve the best performance around the race course and also to maximise longevity.

Tushingham Sails have been very concerned about the premature mast and batten failures experienced by a relatively small proportion of sailors with the new TK 6.8 and 7.8 rigs and have worked hard to identify the root causes. However, with the exception of the incorrect upper cam being fitted in the first batch of sails (and subsequently rectified), these investigations have not identified any manufacturing or design defects with the existing battens and masts, which are high quality components from proven manufacturers.

That said, there has also been an acknowledgement that for junior racers, sailing the same rig 2, 3, 4+ times a week, often in very harsh environments there is a need to look at ways of increasing the robustness and long term durability of the masts and battens. This review has led Tushingham to develop up-rated masts and battens and these are now undergoing a short 'real world' trial, prior to making them available to sailors. Please note that these component changes will not alter the performance of the rigs and are solely intended to provide improved robustness and durability.

The planned changes can be summarised as follows:

  • The lower mast sections in the area between the two cams will now be covered with a layer of Kevlar (the same material used in bullet proof vests) to provide increased toughness and wear resistance.
  • The two cammed battens will now be of a solid rod construction with a thicker front end. This change provides a slightly more progressive bend in the front part of the batten with improved strength at the tip. Moreover, the price of replacement rod battens is much less than for the tube/rod type.

Although it is anticipated that these new components will provide significantly improved durability, the rigs will still need to be handled with reasonable care when rigging and also on the water. To assist sailors with this Tushingham have developed a rigging guide detailing best practice on how to set up and sail the TK rigs, or direct from Tushingham dealers.

As soon as Tushingham and our coaches are confident that the new components are performing satisfactorily, full supplies will be made available through the shops. New rigs will be supplied with the up-graded components. For exiting rig owners, the new masts will then be offered on a no-cost swap basis through the shop where the rig was purchased. The battens will be available for purchase through the shops at a cost of £7 each.

In view of the scale of this exchange programme, sailors may need to be patient for a short time until full stocks are received from the manufacturers, so unless your mast is very badly worn, or your battens are starting to fracture, then there is no immediate rush for you to obtain the new parts.

Tushingham have asked us to emphasise that if you need any new/replacement kit - you must contact the shop that sold it to you. The RYA and the TSG can communicate information on equipment, but they are not responsible for handling it.

Clearly, for those sailors planning to attend the World Championship in Sicily at the beginning of August, this matter needs to be finalised urgently and working with Tushingham we are aiming to provide a further announcement by 14 July, detailing exactly when the new parts will be available.

Hopefully, this note adequately explains the position that we have currently reached, but should you have any queries then please will you raise them through the TSG email address.

Regards
Techno Support Group