Apr 29, 2010
Vent Plug Advice Extras!
If you leave your board on the roof of your car you should use your vent plug. If you leave your board in a board bag you should use your vent plug. If your gear lives in a vehicle that warms up on hot days you should use your vent plug. If you fly with your gear or drive across huge mountain ranges you should use your vent plug. The problem is that if we take out our vent plug we might not remember to put it back in.
Here's some tips to help you treat your board the way you should:
1. Replace o-ring gasket on your vent plug screw once a year.
2. Don’t crank the screw…just squeeze the o-ring a little bit to prevent air from passing.
3. When the inevitable happens and you find yourself on the water and you haven't closed the plug, a penny tucked into your footstraps can be used as a screw driver in a pinch.
4. Once a board has water in it, it is imperative that you use the vent plug everyday, as water vapor will expand more than just air, and the potential for your board to delaminate goes way up.
5. Although it's tempting fate, you do not have to completely remove the vent plug for it to do its job. To help make sure you close it before going sailing you can get out a Sharpie and make a mark to let you know whether it's open or closed. This works best with flathead screw driver vent plugs. Tighten your vent plug and then with the Sharpie continue the line on either side of the slot. Now with a quick glance you'll be able to tell if it's closed or not.
6. If you are one-of-those-people who rolls the dice by never loosening their vent plug, we suggest doing the following at the least every so often. When the temperature rises during the first heat wave of the year, bake your board in the sun for about 15 minutes with the vent plug out. Then, take the board out of the sun and close the vent (screw it in). If later on down the road you get an even hotter day then repeat this again.
7. For those of you that use a Chinook 2-Bolt plate in their mast track, you can use it to make sure you at least look at your vent plug everyday! Once you have removed your vent plug at the end of a day of sailing, simply drop it into the 2-Bolt plate upside down and then close the cotter pin. It will be locked-in and can't fall out. Next time you go sailing you won't be able to hit the water without removing the plug, so you'll be sure to put it back into the board.
8. When the inevitable happens and you get water in the vent, you'll want to dry the board as quickly as possible. Remove the plug completely, flip the board upside down to see if any water comes out. Once no more drips are coming out, turn the board upright and shove the end of a rolled up end of piece of paper towel into the vent and then bake it in the sun or a warm place. When the paper towel is dry you've gotten as much water out as you're going to get.