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Old 01-27-2004
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New X-46 -- New Intro -- First Questions

I have always liked the designs of X-yachts but have also been quite suspicious of their galvanized steel structures. I looked at a quite used X-boat when I was shopping for my current boat and the bilge was a rusty pond of water. A keel stepped mast (which pretty much guarentees water in the bilge) combined with a iron structure in the bilge seems like a less than perfect idea.

Carbon spars are a mixed blessing. My sense is that they offer a very noticable increase in stability being substantially lighter than a similar aluminum mast. The reduced weight aloft means a smaller roll and pitch angle and less risk of excitation rolling. The lower roll and pitch moment of inertia could result in a slightly faster roll rate. If the weight savings is added back as additional ballast, some of that roll rate increase could be offset by the ballast.

The issues with carbon fiber masts are varied. They are expensive to build and more expensive to repair. They are actually quite prone to electrolysis (remember that mast but in the bilge water with an steel girder). They can be permanently weakened by running electrical current through them such as induced current from a nearby lightning strike. (A local race boat''s mast was condemned after testing revealed a major drop in strength due to a lightning strike hundreds of feet away.) Some insurance companies will not insure boats with carbon fiber masts and others simply exclude damage to a carbon fiber mast or damage due to failure of a carbon fiber mast.

There is no way that I would put in mast furling on a boat like this. In principle I like in boom furling but there are issues with in boom furling that would not make sense with a small crew on a high performance boat. In boom furling is sensitive to the boat''s angle to the wind when the reefing is being done. Ideally you are on a beat or even closer to the wind. On a performance boat there are a lot of times when that is less than ideal. I very much agree with Paul that a well thought through two line reefing system lead back to the cockpit makes a lot more sense on a boat like this, especially since you are sailing short handed. I also agree that a Dutchman flaking system makes a lot of sense on a boat of this size and type.

I am not sure that I have helped you any but reservations and tough decisions aside, this should be a super boat in so many ways.

Respectfully,
Jeff
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