The guide to
windsurfing in N.Z.

Bruce Spedding

Gear security is always a problem, especially if you're like me, don't have a garage and live down a long path which means lots of trudging up and down with boards, booms 'n bags, a real hassle after a sailing session when all I want to do is have a hot shower and flop down. A one time I kept all my gear next to the path on the way to the house, out of sight of the road, but one day an observant (windsurfing) neighbour who had seen me loading/unloading decided to upgrade his quiver (well slightly upgrade, if you think my gear is dated/worn I guess his must have been chronic!). Another time I drove home in my van after visiting a friend only to discover my mast had been stolen while I had been visiting. This is minor of course compared to some thefts, including the recent trailer load that went missing at the Butlers Reef Nationals! Anyway, we've probably all been away on holiday, gear loaded up on the roof rack and forced at some stage to walk away from it with the worry it may not be there when we get back from our meal, movie or whatever. Everyone who owns a mountain bike probably has a lock for it, but locking windsurfing gear onto a vehicle is not as easy. Step one is to find some way of connecting a cable or something to your board, step two is then connecting the cable to the vehicle. Below are described three ways of attaching cable to your board, once you have done this you can either lock the cable to your roof rack and hope the thief is not determined, or pass the cable inside the vehicle (one method involves a cable with a ball on the end that is put through an open window which is then wound up, the ball prevents the cable being pulled out).

The first method is probably the simplest and involves an old mast base (Figure 1), just drill one or more holes around the edge, screw it on to the mast or fin box until it's tight and one of the holes is lined up with the slot, then lock a padlock through the hole, which stops the base from being unscrewed again. A cable can be passed through the padlock to lock the whole affair to the roof rack or whatever.

The next method uses a piece metal tube or rod, 1 to 2 cm diameter and a few centimetres long. Drill a hole through the pipe just large enough for the threaded part of a fin screw to pass through, and then drill the hole out large enough to take the head of the screw, but not all the way through (i.e. deep countersink). If you've used a solid bar you then need to drill a hole lengthwise just large enough to take a cable (if you only have a large diameter tube you could fill it with epoxy and then drill out to desired diameter). A small screw or rivet could also be attached in line with the hole to help lock the pipe on to the mast/fin box. To use just fasten the tube to the box as shown in Figure 2, and then pass a cable through the tube and off around the roof rack or whatever, the cable blocks access to the screw, preventing it from being undone.

The third method follows the same theme, only this time the locking mechanism is made out of a standard hasp available from a hardware store, you know, the kind of thing you put on the garden shed door so you can lock it. Start with a metal plate wide and long enough to mount the hasp and ? on as shown in Figure 3. Drill a hole in the middle for the fin/mast box bolt and add another bolt or rivet to key the whole lot into the box. The plate is bolted onto the box as shown and then the hasp is folded over and either locked with a padlock or a cable can be passed through the ? and away to the roof rack etc.

Whichever method you use, or any other scheme you may come up with, use a good brass lock or you won't be able to get it undone one day!

What happened to my stolen gear? Well the mast was stolen across the road from a park and near the university, so I rang my friend and asked her to look in the park, sure enough, some drunken student had been using it for pole vaulting and had dumped it when they got bored (students haven't changed since my day). And the stolen windsurfing gear? Well, knowing that all that gear can't have been carried away under someone's arm and I remembered that a truck had been parked at the bottom of the path the previous evening with the number-plate 2 SEXY (can you believe it?),so I asked around the neighbours and found out that some guys had shifted out of a house further up that day and had left their phone number. I passed all this on to the police who dropped in on them a week later, all the gear was behind the couch. The guy responsible said he'd found it on the road and was just looking after it (he got off). The number plate was not registered to the truck.

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