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Portable Course

Justin_CJustin_C Posts: 226 Baller
edited July 2012 in Technique & Theory
Not sure that this is in the right category but I'll ask anyway. I have a portable course on my lake and I'm having a really tough time keeping the buoy arms straight under water. They have a huge bow in them even after adding some extra buoys in the middle of the arms to try and float them a little. I went out a couple days ago to try and get a rough measurement, and according to my math, the course may be as much as 2 feet narrow (mind you my measurements were done on a windy day buy tying string to the boat guide and pulling it to the turn ball and marking it, then measuring it on land). This course is home made so I guess my question is two-fold. Are there any suggestions for keeping the arms straight, and, do companies such as insta-slalom make their arms longer to account for the bending of the arms?

Comments

  • WishWish Posts: 7,982 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    When you say home made, can you give some more details as to your design and materials used? Maybe post a picture of arms on land. That may help point to a potential problem. Is your intent to leave the course in permenantly or remove after each use? Great job tackling the build of one of those. That can't be easy.
    >>> 11.25..a different kettle of fish. <<<
  • Justin_CJustin_C Posts: 226 Baller
    The design is just the usual PVC pipe arms and they are attached to another smaller PVC that holds the boat guides. I bought it from someone else who built it so I can't take the credit, haha. I believe the mainline is an EZ-slalom but I can't say for sure. I don't have any pictures of it on land but my plan is to leave it in for the summer and remove it for the winter.
  • AndreAndre Posts: 1,317 Mega Baller
    edited July 2012
    What kind of arm-pvc pipe are you using? If it's sagging that much,your flotation isn't right for sure.Not knowing how you made your home version of the diamond shape-boat guide-arms assembly,it's difficult to help you.
    -More flotations along the lenght of the arm at the right places.
    -No.All measurements (at least with my instructions that came with the best system in the world,E-Z-Slalom,you're Welcome Ed!) calls for the right measurements for the arms.
    I'm sure Ed will chime in with more ideas!
    Good luck!
  • thagerthager Posts: 4,845 Mega Baller
    I built my own and while not hard it was time consuming. I used stainless steel cable. Mine was measured to the exact measurements. My guess is you need to shorten the rope on the middle support buoys to lift the bow or use a length of capped pvc pipe safety tied to the arms as a counter float. What size/ schedule pvc did you use?
    Stir vigorously then leave!
  • gregygregy Posts: 2,583 Mega Baller
    I use two methods which both worked. I used some bottles partially filled with water and tied them to the arms under water, then later we put a extra set of bouys about half way between. think EZ used floatation inside the tubes.
  • scuppersscuppers Posts: 451 Baller
    This might help - Slide in to the PVC booms as much foam pipe insulation as it takes take the sag out.
    Chuck Link, Deland Florida
  • Justin_CJustin_C Posts: 226 Baller
    This is the same design as what I have (which is why I think it is an EZ-slalom mainline). The arm goes out to the side obviously and is sagging in the middle (if this helps answer any of the questions)
  • Justin_CJustin_C Posts: 226 Baller
    And I can't remember what size/schedule the PVC is. Thanks for all the suggestions too. I'll certainly give some of these a try.
  • WishWish Posts: 7,982 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    Main cable by a manufacturer is a good thing. If its sagging where the joints are, you can get something rigid (aluminum L or U channel or heavy gauge PVC) material to length needed and use heavy duty sun resistant zip ties to attach and brace where needed. Or something that runs full length or close to it.
    >>> 11.25..a different kettle of fish. <<<
  • WishWish Posts: 7,982 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    edited July 2012
    Also, I've heard of using longer sections of PVC and placing PVC end caps on them which will trap air making them float. Attach with zip ties to float longer sections where needed and it will also help brace the arms
    >>> 11.25..a different kettle of fish. <<<
  • 94009400 Posts: 626 Crazy Baller
    edited July 2012
    Something to consider on floating courses: if the wind is blowing down the length of the course, the arms can bend with the wind and bring the arms in if nothing is constructed to prevent that (such as a diagonal cable or anchoring at the turns)
  • rodltg2rodltg2 Posts: 1,051 Crazy Baller
    I used spray foam insulation , mini course bouy and foam noodles.
  • Paul_kPaul_k Posts: 14 Baller
    the portable that I use has pipe insulation or foam just in the middle section of pvc none in the boat gate or skier ball sections each section has two pvc pipes that extend so 6 pvc pipe total with foam in the center only the rest is supported by the bouys
  • WBLskierWBLskier Posts: 469 Baller
    The insulation gets water logged if you leave it in the water for long periods of time and then sags in the middle. We had the same problem. Replace the foam inside with either pipe insulation from the hardware store, or in the alternative, rig up external flotation with noodles (probably on sale this time of year)...a little more work if you are putting it up and down often but easier to replace if you plan to leave it in most of the time.
  • tfriesstfriess Posts: 401 Baller
    make sure you put floatation in one of the sections on each ball
    Can I just ski 24/7?
  • Jody_SealJody_Seal Posts: 2,901 Mega Baller
    edited July 2012
    I hang a standard brick off each boom end where the turn balls are and utilize 24" of rubber tubing to attach the buoy to the boom end attachment lines. I also cut on my band saw flotation biscuits out of old foam bullet buoys that slide over the mid sections of the booms. all this helps keep the pvc booms level with the rest of the course.
    The brick and rubber tubing also minimize the buoy bounce inherent in cable courses when the boat runs down the course.
    Hobby Boats can be expensive when the hobbyist is limited on their own skill and expertise.


  • Ed_ObermeierEd_Obermeier Posts: 1,339 Crazy Baller
    Haven't been on here lately so I'm a bit late to the conversation but I'll try to throw out a couple of things that might help.

    First off, telescoping portable course buoy arms aren't the best thing to use for a permanent or semi-permanent course install. Generally they're made from thin wall pressure rated PVC which left in the water long enough will begin to bow and warp. Upgrading to Schedule 40 PVC will help with that issue - won't be as easy to get in and out as it will no longer be a telescoping design but if you're leaving it in the water all season that really shouldn't be a big issue. I'm wondering if you don't already have warped PVC, in which case replacement is the only cure for that. If your turn balls are out of position as much as 2 feet you have some really serious warpage or arm sag going on.

    As WBLskier pointed out the foam floatation inside the arms, left in the water over time will waterlog and require replacement. If you're getting arm sag at the center of the arm it either doesn't have any floatation in it, it's waterlogged, or there just isn't enough floatation in it. Several of the suggestions above (add a novice ball to the arm, change out the floatation foam in the arm, use a capped section of the same PVC as a floatation chamber strapped to the arm, etc) are all good options. The internal (foam) floatation goes only in the center most smaller diameter pipe in each arm. Generally a 4' long section is the correct amount, at least with our arms. FYI if your inner boat guide buoy is sitting noticably deeper than the outside buoy, that is a definite sign of sag at the center of the arm. Add floatation at the center of the arm to solve.

    @Andre thanks for the kudos. Check is in the mail...

    As I think through this I'll edit this to add to it. As always anyone with questions about any facet of a floating-type course is welcome to write or call me anytime. I'm always happy to answer questions and be helpful in whatever manner I'm able.


    Cheers and Regards,

    Ed @EZ-Slalom



    Ed Obermeier - owner, EZ-Slalom Course Systems
    www.ez-slalom.com
  • Justin_CJustin_C Posts: 226 Baller
    Thanks Ed,
    It's actually not a telescopic design so that discounts that. I'm thinking the best way may be to add the beginner buoy. I've tried floating some foam buoys on really short ropes in the middle of the sag but it seems like I either get too much floating and it brings it to the surface or not enough and there is still a major sag. I also thought of adding weight to the ends of the arms because when I added the middle buoy it cause all of my turn buoys to float way too high.
  • Ed_ObermeierEd_Obermeier Posts: 1,339 Crazy Baller
    If it's not a telescoping portable course arm design then it's likely all Schedule 40, probably 1 1/2"? Get a 4' long section of the same pipe and cap both ends, strap it to the arm at exactly the center point of each arm. Should solve the problem. Gotta have the correct amount of floatation at the center of the arm and the 4' float chamber does that well. You'll still be able to add the novice balls if you like, shouldn't change anything.

    Rather than weighting under the turn balls put water in them to make them sit down properly. Adding a counterweight under the turn ball only sinks the ball, doesn't offset arm sag in any manner. In other words it doesn't bow the arm back up in any manner, it only sinks the turn ball a bit. Water in the buoy does the same thing and is much simpler.

    Ed
    Ed Obermeier - owner, EZ-Slalom Course Systems
    www.ez-slalom.com
  • 6balls6balls Posts: 5,327 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    I may be full of baloney, but on a buddies course we cut a line longitudinally down swim noodles and wrapped it around the PVC secured with some zip ties mid-arm. I would like to also talk him into river adapters going both ways to make sure no north/south deviations. May have to buy 'em myself and do a secret install.
    Dave Ross--die cancer die
  • Ed_ObermeierEd_Obermeier Posts: 1,339 Crazy Baller
    @6balls don't know why that wouldn't work, long as you get the correct amount of noodle in place. Any sort of floatation should work, it's just a matter of getting the correct amount in the correct place. Shoot me an e-mail and I'll send you a diagram of a tidal current adapter system you can build your self that is proven to work in two way tidal current with 15'+ rise and fall. Locks the entire course together as a single unit, nothing moves.
    Ed Obermeier - owner, EZ-Slalom Course Systems
    www.ez-slalom.com
  • lblb Posts: 36 Baller
    We have used one of Ed's EZ slalom portable courses as a permanent for 12 years and always put on the novice balls and it keeps everything very true. we have done maintenance (changing clips and buoy lines and the main line once) for the cost compared to reliability and longevity it is pretty cost effective to buy one. not to mention if you have any questions about anything all you have to do is call Ed and he will tell you how to fix it. (we lowered our course PVC and mainline 18" to avoid damage from I/Os and keeps it cleaner)
  • 6balls6balls Posts: 5,327 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    @Ed Obermeier I figured river adapters for him going both ways would lock it all up. He is on a public lake that isn't heavily used, but because of it's size NW wind results in white caps and can leave his PVC arms permanently bowed up/down course even it mainline/driver course straight. After multiple days sustained wind it's tough to correct. We have tried some weighted lines at right distance but if water drops a bit it becomes worthless.
    Dave Ross--die cancer die
  • Justin_CJustin_C Posts: 226 Baller
    How do you go about putting water in the buoys?
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