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Powerbox into 80's Equipe

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Joined: 26 Apr 2010
Posts: 106

PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2012 8:55 am    Post subject: Powerbox into 80's Equipe Reply with quote

Before I embark on a challenging project, thought I would ask if anyone has any advice about my 80's Equipe. Picked it up at garage sale for $50, not good shape, but dry, no major repairs. Sailing it last season, I discovered that the e-box had a great deal of flex, so much so that it was peeling the skin of the board at it's edges. I had a 14" fin installed. I patched the peeling skin and put in a smaller fin. Would not sail as well on a reach with larger sails - could live with that but the box was still flexing. I took a closer look. It turns out the box flexes because the whole bottom of the board in the tail flexes. Yikes. I don't know what explains how this might happen (no repair or damage that I can see - I am all but certain this is original board, original finbox), but something must be done. my thought is to remove the old box and install a powerbox and discover/repair the problem in the process. I have done one powerbox install before - in a Superlight, but it was easy, since the box very nearly fit into the cavity left when the spring-fin mechanism was removed. I have read the Baord Lady on this subject, think I could do an ugly version of her beautiful work (ugly but functional) - any thoughts on whether this is a fools errand? Any thoughts on what the cause of the flexing is? In other words, is this terminal, not worth repairing?
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Joined: 06 Jul 2001
Posts: 4562
Location: Shipsterns Bluff, Tasmania. Colorado

PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2012 9:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

remove the old box, and determine the cause.

If its a reasonable fix, then by all means replace with the powerbox.

From the description it has some internal damage. Since you have but 50 invested, you could turn it into a bench, and say you received your moneys worth.

K4 fins
4Boards....May the fours be with you
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Joined: 08 Nov 1993
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2012 12:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

From what you're saying, I would guess that the E-Box either was never bonded to the deck, or that an existing bond to the deck has been compromised. That said, you'll really not understand what going on until you remove the existing box, and develop a plan to reinforce the cavity and install a new box. Also, if it was me, I would pass on the Powerbox and go with a Waterat Tuttle box. If you contrast the design and build quality between the two there is no comparison. In my view the extra expense would be worth it. Of course, I have to admit to having many Tuttle based fins and no Powerbox fins. Still though, even if the reverse scenario was the case, I would go the extra mile and buy a Tuttle based fin.
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Joined: 26 Apr 2010
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2012 3:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, the old box has to go first. But just taking the box out won't reveal anything, I don't think, since the box is plastic set into a recess built into the board. I will have to cut into the board to find any problems, so I assumed I should have a solution ready - new box. Yes, I had assumed that something might not be right structurally, but I have at least considered the idea that there was NO connection between top and bottom of the board at the finbox. The old fins were small, and sails of the era had their center-of-effort further back, so reaching you were on top of the fin, instead of in front of it (more leverage), so it's at least possible there was no re-inforcing. Anyway, I have all powerbox fins, no tuttle, so despite the more robust tuttle box, I would use powerbox (I think the Chinook ones look pretty good). Either way, the big advantage is to connect/reconnect top and bottom of board.

I guess what I was really curious about is whether or not the old LCS materials could rot and loose their structural rigidity? If the area around the finbox leaked in the past, could this set up conditions for rot?
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Joined: 03 Jul 2009
Posts: 3808
Location: East Bay

PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2012 5:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Seen over 20 Equipes with boxes replaced with TUTTLE boxes, as SWChandler said.
Cut out thru deck to check for skin damage. Tuttle is the strongest, and 2 screws are needed to retain 14" fins.
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Joined: 01 Mar 2011
Posts: 58
Location: St Petersburg Fl

PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2012 5:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here is my take on what's wrong. The plastic skin has been broken near the edge of the fin box and the water has delaminated the fin box and the glass fiber around the fin box. Most of Mistral board had chopped strand fiberglass with epoxy but some times not enough epoxy and if the board has been stored in the sun it degrades the plastic skin. I had the same thing happen to an old Mistral Electron Mast track. the track cracked then water got in saturated the foam and a few jumps later and the front of the box caved in. All the foam was soaking wet when I cut it out. Find the center line of the board and draw pencil lines as a reference before you remove the box. Also I'd check the thickness of the tail to make sure you have the thickness for a power box cassette along with foot strap inserts on the deck, you might have to cut notches in the top of the cassette for clearance around the inserts. If I recall some of the older Mistral boards had very thin tail area. I'd cut the fin box out with a short jig saw blade then stuff the cavity with paper towels and put the board out in the sun to get it warm and see if the towels get wet. Then just follow the board lady recommendations and it should go fine. I measured my 1998 Equipe II XR and it's PB fin box is 3.5" from the rear of the board to the rear of the box. I use a MFC Liquid pro 44cm fin Lot longer than stock and works well with an 8.5 sqm sail. Tuttle box would be over kill since you wouldn't want any thing much longer than 45cm fin. The Chinook PWR Box wrapped in 1/2 " divinycell will be very strong for that board and fin size. Did the same install on a 85 Super light worked great No foot straps in the way. Hope this help good luck. Michael
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 11, 2012 7:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I put a 15" fin in my 87' equipe and in a strong gust and alot of foot pressure it folded over and fell out of the board. From the tail forward about 24" there was no resin in the fiberglass. I dried it all out and used WEST SYSTEM I install a Tuttle Box. I was able to run a 50cm fin with out any problem.

I have to admit I was biased against buying any Mistral boards ever again. That is until I bought an Equipe II this summer with a power box.

Tuttle is the way to go.
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 11, 2012 10:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ok, thanks for all the advice, this is all very helpful. Boardhead1, I think it could well be delamination of the skin, or some such. Any thoughts on where to get small sheets of divinycell?
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Joined: 10 Apr 2000
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 11, 2012 5:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

As others said replacing the fin box was standard operating procedure on the Equipe 1. The first time I sailed mine in 20 knots of wind the box flexed so much the pin on the trailing edge of the fin popped out of the box and I lost the fin. I replaced it with a Tuttle manufactured box (Waterrat) which you can purchase from Fiberglass Supply.

The Chinook verson was not available at the time and is less expensive ($15.83 vs $62.14). The Waterrat version already has a foam encasement and a bottom flange so you do not need to make a secondary cassette out of foam. Give the difference in price you may want to construct a cassette around the Chinook version. Chinook also offers a power box version if you choose to go this way.

I remember that the front screw for the Tuttle box was in the same location as the very rear foot strap screw. I ended up removing that insert in the process and using the front fin screw to secure the strap. The single screw in the power box would be just behind the rear foot strap.

If you can't find a small quantity of divinycell you can construct the reinforcement from wood. Given the size of the cassette the weight difference will be very little. The ends can be made from several small pieces from solid wood cut to the same thickness as the box and the sides from a reasonable grade of exterior plywood. You can most probably buy a 2 X 2 piece of 1/4 inch plywood from a local lumber yard.

I would also make a larger flange from plywood similar to the carbon flange shown in the picture of the Tuttle box shown on the Fiberglass Supply web site. As I recall the Equipe fin box is set into a molded recess in the bottom of the board. Unfortunately I don't remember how deep that was. I would first remove the existing box. A router is the best tool if you have access to one. Cut through the bottom of the box for the entire length of the slot and through the ends. You may be able to pry out the sides once it is split in two. If it is still stuck you may need to route off the flange down to the recess.

To build the flange cut a piece of plywood the same size as the mistral finbox recess. Using the fin box (Tuttle or Power box) trace the outline on the plywood and cut it out so it is a good fit. A little loose is better than too tight because the resin and structural filler will fill the gap. With the flange on a flat surface and the box in the center of the cutout hole you can measure the dimensions for the ends and sides. Don't worry too about the top fit becuase you will have cut it once you have the hole in the board cut.

Assemble the cassette containing the box using epoxy resin with a structural filler. It is important to make sure all of the surfaces are saturated with epoxy resin and all voids are filled with filler. It may be easier to assemble the sides and ends first before inserting the box and bottom flange. You can use small brass nails to hold things together while the epoxy cures. I would also add a structural epoxy fillet between the wood sides and the bottom flange.

I personally like the Gougeon Brothers WEST system epoxy system. Their web wsite has a lot of information regarding the use of epoxy resin and the proper fillers. Their pump system also allows the proper metering of small quantities of resin.

After you get the cassette built route out a hole in the foam in order for it to fit. I left the top deck skin in place and cut the height of the box to fit. This is a bit tricker to do and I think I used one of those profile jigs which is a bunch a wires side by side that you press against a shape to reproduce it. The other option is to route through the deck skin as shown in the Boardlady's web site. When the box is fitted flush with the bottom of the board you can trace the deck profile on the sides of the casette where it needs to be cut.

I wont go into detail as to how to insert the box because the Boardlady's web site covers this in detail.

If you get stuck along the way you can always post some pictures once you get the old box removed.
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