Like any racing dinghy, your boat will respond to loving care and attention.
Much experience on how best to do this has been built up over the years and shared on the Blaze Forum.
In order to help newcomers and oldies alike to find useful advice on particular elements of Blaze maintenance, extracts have been made from the Forum on different elements of the Blaze (see sub-pages to this page).
To get up-to-date advice, offer advice and ask further advice, do join the Blaze Forum.
The pintle problem is well known - later Mk II boats do have bolted fittings and a hatch to allow access to the inside of the rudder post. MkI boats have screws going into a nylon block within the post. The screws always undo in time - best method of improving is to remove the screws and fill the holes with epoxy resin before replacing the screws in the holes. Do not over tighten though as this does not help - let the resin do the job. You can also use gelcoat if you do not have epoxy.
Then get the alignment sorted by adjusting the bottom bolted pintle - the small hatch obviously allowed whoever to gain some access originally. You might have to remove the fitting completely first - fill in holes with resin and a little glass and then carefully re-drill and bolt - fiddly stuff but might be much easier than a larger hatch.
Checked over the standing rigging – it has been found that the 'rigging links' that connect the shrouds to the mast tangs were badly cracked on both sides - literally 2/3 through on one side and 3/4 on the other !!
The stainless was also rusted in the cracks from the recent salt exposure. Note that these were cracked on the top surface and would have been un-noticible from the ground - if you have not checked yours recently do it soon .....
It would be an extremely quick way to lose a complete mast for just a couple of pounds to replace suspect items. I'll photo and put on the Cirrus website soon. The morale of this tale is simple - check your boat regularly, rudder fittings, mast fittings, wings etc - you sail a racing boat and like everything else stuff wears or get damaged occasionally.
These parts on my boat at the time were only about 3.5 years old and while I use the boat often we can all miss stuff especially if we 'expect stuff to last forever' or if we don't do a bit of preventative checking - I reckon one more windy day and the mast would have gone and with it the race or event to say nothing about potential injury.
Slot gasket replacement
Slot sealers - awful job but well worth doing as the result is a worthwhile speed improvement for low cost. Patiance and planning - Cut the slot before fitting but tape it back together with masking tape to place/glue on the boat - much easier that way
Cirrus have some pre-cut and shaped strips that they sell intended for new boats.
The secret is to very carefully clean off the old stuff (use acetone if available) and put a THIN layer of evostick on both surfaces and wait until they really appear to be dry. Only then put in contact.
The parcel tape idea is a very good one. It's well worth doing indoors if you can.
If not pre-cut, cut it down the middle BEFORE you put on the boat and hold it all together with a bit of tape (you can use masking tape) until all glued in position. Remove when all is completed. This ensures both sides match very accurately.
Lastly - leave it as long as possible before the plate is put down. Impact stuff can work well in only a few minutes but a couple of days is better. And when not using make SURE the plate is held above the slot sealer on the cleated control lines. If it rests for any length of time on the sealer when not used you really are tempting fate!!!
Good luck and have fun!!
Mark 1 wings, If they work well leave alone –
if they are bent or 'difficult' you can upgrade to the later type - we do kits. However why spend when it’s not needed ? ..... A tramp upgrade might be money well spent though - the later, laced type ones are MUCH better and longer.
If /When the wings get slightly out of shape, which has happened to many of the earlier boats, we all tend to push and shove and occasionally thump the tubes to get wings either 'in' or 'out'. This is a bit frustrating but not a major problem in itself. (and does not ever happen with the 'X' ones) The problem however is not immediately obvious but it may cause you to damage the wing beyond repair. All the manipulation puts repeated pressure on the inboard end fixings, particularly the forward ones. The inboard 'anchor' there is a machine screw which attaches the wing to the hull and it has a stainless steel square shaped 'washer' to spread the load.
As you 'manipulate' the wing it slowly eats away at the edges of this 'washer' which being stainless is fairly 'soft' - its also countersunk to maintain a low profile - and the hole slowly becomes enlarged over time.
Eventually it WILL become large enough for the machine screw to pull through. You will probably be right out on the wing at the time of course and the wing, tramp etc will very rapidly join you in the water as you fall backwards. This also levers the gunwale attachment off the boat certainly destroying the wing, possibly also damaging the gunwale.
The square 'washers' used on the inboard end of the wing tubes can be the cause of premature failures. These items spread the load over a large area of the 'fixed' alloy tubes and feature a countersink recess for the fastening screw that goes into the hull (actually into a tapped small brass block moulded into the hull).
The way that the 'washers' countersink has been manufactured for much of the boats history is by drilling into them with a large drill partially through the stainless material. This is fine in principle but it leads a 'sharp' inboard edge that can be widened if there is any working (movement) of the wings whatsoever over time. Stainless steel is fairly 'soft' and perhaps this is inevitable.
The answer was to produce a countersink by different means - by only drilling a hole to the thread diameter of the fastening screw and then using a press to create the countersink. You end up with a countersink but with NO thinning of the material where the screw rests on it - ie full material thickness is retained with no vulnerable angles or 'edge'.