Q1: Can I fine-adjust the length of the Powerlink topstay?
A1: Yes! This is one of the basic features for a topstay to function properly.
Q2: How do I know if the Powerlink topstays fit my boat?
A2: Because of its hinged end connectors, a Powerlink topstay fits basically any shell and rigger. You need to know three things before ordering Powerlink topstays. They are:
1) The distance between the top of the oarlock pin and the attachment point at the boat hull.
2) The diameter of the bolt used to attach the Powerlink topstay to the hull.
3) The diameter of the stud or bolt used to attach the Powerlink topstay to the oarlock pin.
Q3: Why can’t I specify port or starboard when ordering a Powerlink topstay?
A3: Powerlink topstays are symmetric in design and can therefore be used on either side of a boat hull.
Q4: Can the Powerlink topstays be “stacked” as it is necessary for 2x and 4x shells?
A4: Yes! The Hull Connectors of the Powerlink topstays are sized to fit on top of a rigger stay – even the Filippi ones.
Q5: Why is it not necessary to tighten anything on the Powerlink topstay?
A5: The screws securing the two end connectors to the topstay itself don’t need to be tightened completely for the Powerlink topstays function properly. Thread lockers prevent the screws from loosening. The length adjustment mechanism has enough inherent friction built in to keep its setting. These features greatly simplify installation as shown in this pdf file.
Q6: Are the plastic components strong enough and do they wear out?
A6: The glass reinforced thermoplastics used are extremely tough and do not corrode in salt water. It is unlikely that you ever will have to replace a plastic part used in the Powerlink topstays.
Q7: What are those damaging forces talked about elsewhere on this website?
A7: This applies mainly for shells with backstays mounted on top of their gunwales: During a rowing stroke, the rigger flexes up and down. This flexing movement is transferred into the gunwale through the backstay. If a backstay is not fitted properly, say after raising or lowering a wing rigger, it will bend the gunwale-lip after installation. Both cases can lead to the development of premature cracks along the gunwale-lip. The Powerlink topstay has a double hinge at the hull connector. This unique design feature eliminates misfits and minimizes bending forces from the vertical movements of a rigger during a rowing stroke.
Q8: Can I tighten the two Philips screws completely?
A8: It is not necessary to tighten the two screws securing the two end connectors to the Powerlink topstay for it to function properly. However, tightening them completely after all the adjustments have been made, is just fine.
Q9: How well do Powerlink topstays perform in salt water?
A9: Powerlink topstays have been used in a salt water environment since 2006. No corrosion issues have been noted so far. It is difficult to predict how long a part will last in a salt water environment. Much depends on actual conditions like temperature, length of exposure per row, storage environment and maintenance. Powerlink topstays were designed with salt water in mind. Several design features were implemented to minimize any potential for corrosion.
Q10: How does the length adjustment mechanism work?
A10: The larger diameter Outer Tube has a thread on its inside. The smaller diameter Inner Tube has an outside thread and can be threaded into the Outer Tube. One unique feature is that the inside thread is located deep inside the Outer Tube. This way the Inner Tube is attached through the thread and stabilized in the non-threaded portion of the Outer Tube. The result is a very tight connection and a rigid topstay without the need for large lock nuts.
Q11: With nothing to tighten, how can the length setting stay secure?
A11: The small pitch of the thread and the inherent friction inside the thread and between the tightly fitting Inner Tube and Outer Tube, is enough to keep the length settings fixed.
Q12: The length adjustment mechanism seems to be frozen. What can be done?
A12: The length mechanism has the tendency to tighten up as its glass reinforced thermoplastic threaded sleeve absorbs water and swells. The Inner Tube has a small diameter and a very smooth surface. This makes it hard to get a good grip, especially in dry conditions.
The grip can be improved by simply wrapping, while simultaneously twisting, electrical tape around the Inner Tube – as shown in the linked video.
This method can be used to make length adjustments or to disassemble the Powerlink topstay. If the topstay is disassembled, clean any debris which might be in the threads. At this time a ‘dry’ lubricant, like the ones used for bicycle chains can be applied to the thread of the Inner Tube.
Q: Do the Powerlink topstays fit Hudson sculling shells with installed splash guards?
A: After a simple modification to the splash guard, the Powerlink topstays can be mounted on top of the guard. The modification consists of removing a small amount of material for clearance. This will not affect the functionality of the splash guard, regardless if it is used with or without a Powerlink topstay. If you are interested, ask for instructions on how to perform the modification.