Mk I

I have just taken apart the wings on my son's Mk1 Blaze (570) to see if I can improve things and thought I'd better pass on a bit of information.
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 I have found 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.
I'm investigating ways of improving the Mk arrangement in general currently and will keep all informed however do check these 'washers' now and if necessary replace or at least put a low profile normal washer over them as a short term remedy.
I remember a year or two ago Roger Williams had exactly the experience I describe - I now understand why. It was not a wrongly 'over' countersunk component as we thought it was at the time it was in fact wear & tear on it - so check them out.
The good news is the solution can only be a few pence.
Regards - Mike Lyons

Mk I

Mark I 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 its not needed ? ..... A tramp upgrade might be money well spent though - the later, laced type ones are MUCH better and longer.

Wing problems

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'.
Anyway I recently had a batch made because I was concerned about my own supplied 'washers' and wanted to sort something before mine failed (I saw Roger Williams demolish one of his wings a year or two back !) I substituted them last week after having them in my toolkit for about three months. I should have done so sooner and was horrified by the wear on these critical items - the boat is 18 months old but I am a more intensive user! The removed ones had less than HALF the screw head supported and were obviously very worn. Stuart Brown has taken some of my spares to do his boat and Peter Barlow another couple.
If there is demand I can get a load made up and bring them along to Warsash in a few weeks time. It may be possible to fashion a temporary fix out of a stainless 'penny' washer but whatever you do my advice is to check out your ones NOW - if the hole is much more than that needed for the screw thread to pass through be concerned.
Mine were very dodgy indeed. The basic wing design is not bad and the general engineering OK. In most respects it is better than RS or even Ovington wing systems. However manufacturing variability means that 'drilling' is not the way to go when producing these vital washers in my opinion.
For longevity they must be 'pressed' not 'drilled' and on some very recent boats I have now seen pressed washers but don't know if these are original or replaced units.
I'll take a photo or two and sent to David Pye to put on the website in the next week - but do check yours asap in any case - all it takes is a screwdriver and 5 minutes. Could save your wing after all and might avoid a bit of an incident !
Let us know what you find and if there is sufficient interest I'll organise it so we have enough for all those who want some 'pressed' ones at Warsash.
Mike Lyons