I've recently broken my Aeron RDM 36 carbon extension, and replaced it with a Chinook RDM 32 carbon extension. After a few months of use, I am able to compare the two products.
Carbon Extensions: Chinook rdm vs Aeron rdm
The Carbon Extension that I broke was the one visible in this link. The Chinook, on the other hand, is the one you can see in this other link. I state that I bought this Chinook, because many retailers I had contacted for products of other brands (e.g. AL360) unfortunately did not have the article available, although it was in stock on their website..... So, I made the order on Hatropina website, I was quickly supplied with the Chinook extension rdm, in time for my imminent (at that time) departure for South Africa. I also point out that the Aeron extension is equivalent to the Goya extension, for which Aeron produces the component. The Goya differs only in the stopper that blocks the mast base, and in the length (32 cm instead of 36)
Rdm Aeron extension
The Aeron extension is made of carbon (probably 100% - unverifiable data), has notches every 2 cm (side holes and not bow - stern placed), downhaul pulley integrated into the plastic base, and downhaul cleat that allows the release performing a lateral traction of the rope (that is, standing up, with the sail on the ground, starboard side on the laying surface). The mast base positioning stopper is very convenient and consists of two steel semi-circles (with small nubs in the center that fit into the extension's adjustment holes - see photo), joined by two pins at the end and held closed on the extension by an elastic band (better to have some spare ones). Pushing up the stopper, it opens; down, it blocks.
With these features, the extension is extremely comfortable and functional, with the possibility of moving the stopper easily, and of releasing the downhaul while standing, with the sail on the ground (starboard side against the support surface), placing one foot against the base , and pulling the downhaul upwards, and therefore towards yourself.
On the sturdiness and resistance of the product, I can say that I have used it for 4-5 years even in demanding conditions (ocean wave spots, remedying some important wipe-outs), and that it only broke when the mast tip got stuck against the rocky bottom, and an oncoming wave put pressure on the board. Speaking with Boucke Becker, the owner of Whitcraft, in Fuerteventura, I remember that he had pointed out to me that their extensions have bow-stern holes, and not lateral ones, to offer greater lateral resistance, given that in the event of a wipe out, the extensions are subjected at the greatest effort right on the sides.
So far, I consider Aeron extension a valid product at a reasonable price (some carbon extensions, today, have well exceeded 200 euros)
Rdm Chinook extension
The Chinook extension is 100% carbon, has notches every 2 cm (also in this case, side holes), pulley for the downhaul integrated in the plastic base, and downhaul cleat which allows the release by pulling aft the line (that is, horizontally, with the sail on the ground, starboard side on the laying surface). The original retainer for positioning the mast base is plastic made. Upon delivery, I was provided with another relatively comfortable retainer (always a Chinook piece, see photo), which consists of a circle of thick, rigid plastic, which has two opposite holes, into which the steel pin, that passes through the extension holes, enters. A sort of plastic cap, at one end of the pin, blocks it on the retainer, to prevent it from disengaging.
Chinook is known for producing quality, and robust components. The short period of use does not yet allow me to confirm on the resistance. The original stopper can be fixed easily, but tends to get stuck with sand and doesn't feel as solid. The replacement one does its job, looks sturdy, but can't be placed easily, with one hand.
As for the downhaul cleat, it appears less comfortable than the Aeron extension one. In fact, if it is very easy to pull the downhaul line upwards, as described above, it is, however, more awkward to pull it sideways, i.e. parallel to the ground, with the sail rigged and laying on the ground (starboard side, always against the laying plane). To exercise effective traction, you cannot help yourself by pushing the base extension with your leg, but only need to pull aft with your arm.
Ultimately, this extension also seems to me a valid product, but it can be improved in some details.
Hang loose. Fabio
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