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Preparing Your Star for the Sailing Season

To stay competitive, you need to make sure everything on your boat is in working order. Now is the perfect time to make sure you’re ready to hit the water flying at the start of the season. Quantum Star Class expert George Szabo shares a small list of common wear spots he always checks on his boat, especially when borrowing or chartering a boat. With some free time now, go through your boat and revamp, restore, refresh, and repair a few items so that your upcoming season is hassle-free.

Spars

  • Inspect the forestay. Is it losing any strands near the deck?
  • How does the upper shroud fork fitting look? Is the fork bent or possibly cracked?
  • Does the backstay look worn out?
  • Are the staymaster locks and keepers all in place? Are they still functional? I like to put a piece of inner tube from a bicycle or shock cord around them for protection.
  • If you have a wire lower runner, check to make sure it is not eating into the mast. Does it need a washer behind it? Is it time to replace the lower shroud tang with one that holds a rope lower runner? 

Mast

  • Check to make sure your mast is straight.
  • If you have a mast with the eight-screw forestay fitting at the hounds to connect all the shrouds, I suggest taking the screws out and looking for cracks coming from the screw holes.
  • If you have new-style Emmeti spreaders, check for any visual issues on the inboard end. If you have inverted your mast, the inboard end can be weaker.
  • Are your spreaders straight? How do the spreader bracket rivets look? Check for cracks in the bracket welds or bent brackets.
  • How do the mast butt rivets look? 
  • Check to make sure the sides of the whisker pole collar have not broken off.
  • Make sure the grip tape on the mast is holding up.
  • Are there any meat hooks in the main halyard near the shackle? 
  • Check the mast trailer bags for any wear.

Tuning

  • Are your spreaders aligned and shrouds even? Intermediates correct?
  • Make sure your forestay is marked for measurement point.
  • Watch this tuning refresher video
  • Is your spare rig straight, set up with all of the necessary parts, tuned, and ready to go racing at a moment’s notice if necessary?

Whisker pole 

  • Make sure the line is tight to the pole.
  • Drill a hole in the middle of the pole to help it break more easily when you dip the pole on the run.

Boom

  • Is the line worn on the Ti-lite Blocks at the end of the boom?
  • Check to make sure the boom cloth mainsheet holder is not tearing off.
  • How do the rivets on the mainsheet eye strap look?

Rigging

  • If you have an older boat, check for rust under the deck forestay.
  • Check for chafe on the jib cunningham at the deck.
  • Make sure your hiking straps have shock cords and that they are not frayed or torn.
  • Are all control lines running freely? Often the cunningham block at the gooseneck is bent and needs to be replaced.
  • Check the mainsheet block. How does the “U” fitting that holds your double ratchet to the swivel look? 
  • Check the wear and stretch of your halyards and sheets.
  • Does the universal joint on the tiller extension look okay? It’s a good idea to put some tape there to ensure you don’t have a problem during the race.
  • Are all of the ring dings straight and taped? 
  • Inspect the Tie-lite Blocks. Is there any chafe on the lines holding your Tie-lite Blocks?
  • Do you have a functional kelpstick?
  • Do you have spare halyard pins and ring dings in the boat? 

Hull

  • If you have an old Folli hull, how does the bow look? Are there any cracks or issues in the fiberglass holding the forestay tube?
  • The connector between the rudder post and the tiller is a common wear spot, so be sure to check that it is intact.
  • Is it time to replace the bolts with shroud ramps?
  • If you have an old P-star hull, how does the tiller look on the aft six inches? This is a common wear spot.
  • Check for rust on the keel.
  • Are your bailers filled and smooth?
  • Has your hull been sanded smooth, rubbed with compound, and polished with Teflon twice?
  • Is the mast step stiff? You don’t want it rotating from worn screw holes.
  • Does the hiking harness line look good? Make sure you have spare hiking lines handy.
  • Is your flag chart in good shape?
  • How does the harness cleat on the hull look? Some have been splitting lately, so double check.

Trailer

  • Are all trailer lights working? 
  • How old are the tires? Do you have a spare tire ready?
  • Are the trailer chains and clips working?
  • Is the third wheel working, including the welded ring on the trailer that holds the post?
  • Give your trailer boxes a deep cleaning.
  • Make sure your towing kit is complete with a jack, lug wrench, block of wood, rag, and flashlight.
  • Do you have all the lug nuts for the spare tire?
  • Check tie-downs to make sure they are not frayed.
  • Make sure the mast will clear your car.

Want to learn more about Stars or have questions on the above tips? Contact George Szabo.

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