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Portable course deployment question

75Tique75Tique Posts: 114 Solid Baller
I have "custody" of a portable slalom course, Instaslalom, I believe. Two questions.

When deploying it, of course its not straight until you stretch out the anchor at one end. Twice now, in an effort to get it straight, we had to pull so hard that we actually buckled one of the arms between the boat gate bouys (and both times, it was ball one arm when pulling the anchor at the ball six end.

Question on this. In the old days, when I laid out courses with my friends in MA, both anchors were on the bottom, with one anchor having another rope to pull on.

Down here , the folks I ski with said stretch the course out with the anchor at the boat and drop it when straight, I find that method flawed, but its not my place to say. Could that be the problem. (They have a ski rope handle with a carabiner on it attached to the anchor (a 30 to 50 ish pound mushroom) The anchor sits on the platform and we hold that handle till we cant hold it any more and the anchor flies into the water) Seems when we did it with the long leader down to the anchor on the bottom in the old days, the course straightened out much more easily.

The guys I was putting it in with today suggested trying to stretch it out as each arm is deployed. Any merit to that?

Another problem. At the boat gate end of the arm, there is only an inch or so of PVC to put the loop of the nylon main line over. Sometimes the loop has slipped off the arm, some where during deployment or stretching. Im sure that may be contributing to the alignment problem if it happens during the stretch effort.

Any suggestions how to avoid these?
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  • UWSkierUWSkier Posts: 1,426 Mega Baller
    We always used the leader off the second anchor as well to straighten. Doing it that way transmits less actual linear force down the mainline and is easier on your course.
  • h2onhkh2onhk Posts: 305 Crazy Baller
    @75Tique When we deploy ours we make sure the first anchor is firmly set before putting in the rest of the course. The last anchor has an additional ~100' of rope with lead weights, handle and buoy on it that we use to straighten the course. We drop the last anchor when the course is "almost good enough" then use this additional rope to finish straightening out. Slow and steady tension is the key to a straight course without damage. Once straight we drive off to the right side away from gate and drop the additional rope. Buoy keeps the handle close to the surface to easily retrieve later
  • Tom351Tom351 Posts: 121 Baller
    I prefer to use a leader as you mentioned- and just pull the anchor along the bottom. We would always then just attach a green buoy to the end of the leader for easy anchor release/retrieval. The navy-type self releasing anchors seem to work better than musrooms...(link below)- they dig in really well and will easily release when you pull on the leader:
  • BraceMakerBraceMaker Posts: 4,229 Mega Baller
    There's different ways - but I suppose it also depends how many people you have, I like to keep some tension the whole time, but it basically requires 3-4 people. If you only had one I'd probably let it be a bit more slack to avoid having to have someone holding the mainline tight. But the better aligned you can launch it the faster it is to get it tensioned and ski.
  • jhughesjhughes Posts: 1,021 Mega Baller
    edited June 2019
    Tensioning is more about time than force. Also, mind the seaweed as if there is seaweed then undue tension is required and that is when things start to break. Long leader attached to second anchor is definitely key for tensioning.

    We tension as much as we can up until the anchor hits the platform, then keep tensioning as we let the leader out. The driver is just going in and out of gear, no continuous gear.

    We don't really tension as we deploy the course. That's always been a a waste of time. We fairly recklessly drop everything in and then tension at the end.
  • Bill22Bill22 Posts: 1,702 Mega Baller
    ^^ +1 we do what @jhughes said and use thin work gloves with the finger tips cut off. I think most use navy anchors not the mushroom.
  • epnaultepnault Posts: 335 Crazy Baller
    On calm days I put mine in by myself on my pontoon 17 minutes. In my experience drop the last anchor and then tension off the leader but go slow with the boat when that anchor comes off the floor. It takes time and just a little power. You need to be able to hold it with one hand or it is too much pressure. Most of the times the problem with crooked course is poor anchors or heavy weeds in the mainline.
  • skihackerskihacker Posts: 358 Solid Baller
    It isn't always possible due to wind and number of people but we always found it was way easier to keep it straight as we launch it rather than straighten it at the end, shallow water and weeds can make it tough too. And we also used a tether for the second anchor, hold it off the bottom and steady throttle for final straightening.
  • Fam-manFam-man Posts: 203 Solid Baller
    edited June 2019
    We’ve broken lots of arms deploying and tensioning and weeds is the biggest reason. We now tie the risers short to keep the arms close to surface. Mid point between arms we attach a fender or bouy to mainline. We also try to keep things as straight as possible as we go along.
    This method keeps everything out of the weeds and allows us to put in straight.

    If there’s a slight bow to an arm when you put tension on the mainline the bow will quickly buckle.

    Downside is we need to swim back along and untie risers and unhook midpoint floaters and let everything sink down.
  • gregygregy Posts: 2,583 Mega Baller
    We use a rope (leader) on each end tied to the anchor with a green ball. I put a light anchor that can be adjusted for depth and it make for a rough 55m ball. I really don't worry if it not perfectly straight. If you want to or if you have cross wind you can put a anchor out in the middle to straighten it. Like someone above said. Pull slowly and be patient.
  • emwheatonemwheaton Posts: 23 Baller
    We keep a bunch of O-rings in the boat and slide them over the ends of the PVC after we slide the mainline loops on. Seems to help keep the loops from sliding off, particularly on the gates, as you mentioned. Cable ties also work.

    We also tension the same way @jhughes outlined, but we tension and straighten slightly as we go to keep everything in relatively in line. We have an easier time getting the course straight and tight if everything is close to in line before we start tensioning with the 2nd anchor.
  • thagerthager Posts: 4,875 Mega Baller
    Back in my portable days I doubled the gate pipes with a slightly larger and shorter pvc pipe over the gate pipe to prevent buckling it.
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