Many of the paraglider pilots across the US, Canada, and areas of Central and South America are likely familiar with Stuart Caruk. He's the guy who typically is at the towing end of the towline driving Nighmare. He custom designed and built this aluminum hulled boat with 2 independently controlled hydraulic winches so that he could tow 2 tandem paragliders at the same time. He's also responsible for the final assembly of each of the well over 600 TowMeUp Hydraulic Winch systems that are in use worldwide.
Some of you may know that Stu suffered from a bout of Kidney cancer in 2007, and underwent a nephrectomy to remove the cancer tumors from his kidney. Stu has managed with around 24% of a normal persons kidney function since then. Recently things took a rapid turn for the worse, and his kidney and liver functions shut down. He was hospitalized and stuck on a transplant list and told he wouldn't come out of the hospital without a transplant. Well, stubborn as he is, 10 days later he left the hospital. He is now supposed to be at home, but more typically he's working at the shop still. His days are full of tests and appointments doing all the work ups for a dual kidney / liver transplant. If you're really curious you can follow his updates on his Facebook Page. Just search for Stuart Caruk Ridgefield, WA and you should find a link with a paraglider in the picture. Make sure he knows you're a paraglider pilot (or a hang glider pilot) or he often simply deletes the request as spam.
The last run of winches has been completed and shipped. If you had a firm guarantee of a delivery date, or had paid a deposit your winch should be on its way to you and will arrive on schedule. Typically Stu starts a run of winches every 6 - 8 weeks. With his upcoming surgery he has cancelled all the production runs until after his transplant surgery. This may change as things unfold, but for now we're not planning on having systems available before Feb or March 2016. There are winch frames and parts to build several dozen winches at the shop, so if you need a part you should still be able to get it. If you need direct help and support from Stu for an existing winch, you can fire off an email to Anita@TowMeUp.com. She will make sure that the message gets through to him, but she also acts like a gatekeeper during this somewhat hectic time.
All the small stuff will be available through the website as usual. Tow Bridles and Spectra line are set up now. Weak links, and tree kits will be added next. Stu simply chose the wrong time to get sick right after changing web hosts...
Please bear with us during this somewhat challenging time.
Many people have asked if there is anything they can do to help out. Stuart pretty much has the same never say quit attitude he's always had. He would prefer that you tow up, work on your favorite maneuver to waste altitude frivolously on the way down, and go back and do it again. If you've never seen your glider deflated, He would love it if you would get with a competent SIV coach and at the very least tow up and learn asymetric collapses, full frontals, and pitch oscilations big enough to give you a collapse.