After my recent shark experience I thought it was a particularly good time to inspect my unis. I’ve always been pretty good about eyeballing them and giving them a bend to see if any cracks or rot are visible, but a post in the Live to Sail blog was taking uni inspection to the next level. In short, Live to Sail's George (under the guidance of Lost In Hatteras' Andy) disassembled his unis to check out the portion of the tendon where the bolt passes through.
Because I worry about gear failure (and now I REALLY worry about gear failure) I actually keep a separate uni for ocean and “far from shore” sessions…it’s always my newest uni. I save my older ones for sailing all the spots where a breakdown would be no big deal (I still inspect those unis too, mind you.) And every few years I buy a new uni which bumps the top one down the uni heirarchy, and the oldest goes into the trash.
I was inspired by both the shark and the Live to Sail post, so I took out my tool box and prepared to disassemble and inspect. To my horror, the ocean uni (aka the Shark Session uni) was missing one of its retaining nuts. The bolt holding the tendon to the bottom of the uni was being held in place by friction alone. That was Bad. Then I slid out the bolt to see what condition my newest tendon was in…it was cracked halfway through.
So I drove to the windsurfing shop to get parts from Jon Ford. While installing the new tendon with my new nut, I asked Jon if it was possible to overtighten.
“Make sure its tight, but you don’t want to really crank it,” he said, about a second after I’d really cranked it, and managed to split the top of the uni.
So I ended up buying a brand new uni. My new ocean uni.
(photo swiped from Live to Sail: The tendon looked great until George and Andy disassembled the unit.)