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post #1 of 17 Old 02-11-2010 Thread Starter
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How much performance do you lose by ..

free standing reinforced mast such as freedom yacht or a hunter legend? I am not a performance freak nor a racer but like to sail as fast as possible dependent on wind condition at the time. are there any other peculiarities tied to free standing mast and are there distinct advantages and what are they?
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post #2 of 17 Old 02-11-2010
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Advantages - Less windage, less weight, your mast doesn't fall down if a shroud breaks, no expense of replacing standing rigging.

Loss of performance? I don't see why there should be any loss of performance but I've never owned one. Anybody out there experienced with them?
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post #3 of 17 Old 02-11-2010
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One advantage of a freestanding mast is that you can often hoist/drop the mainsail on almost any point of sail, since you can let it luff on almost any point of sail, since there are no shrouds or stays to get in its way.

Properly designed, there really isn't any significant performance penalty.

BTW, I wouldn't necessarily agree that a freestanding mast is going to have less weight aloft or present less windage. First, the freestanding mast has to be heavier than a properly stayed mast of the same height. Second, the freestanding mast is usually of greater size than a stayed mast of the same height.

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post #4 of 17 Old 02-11-2010
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A good discussion on the benefits of these rigs can be found here
Free Standing Masts
Remember that they are trying to sell these rigs but they really make a good argument. I am actually surprised that we don't see more of these rigs.
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post #5 of 17 Old 02-11-2010
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The real reason we don't see more of these rigs is simple—the boat has to be designed with them from the beginning, as they are almost impossible to retrofit. Few designers are going to want to license the rig on their boat from another designer. Free-standing rigs also have some significant disadvantages over a properly stayed rig, and many designers are not willing to accept those compromises.

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Remember that they are trying to sell these rigs but they really make a good argument. I am actually surprised that we don't see more of these rigs.

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post #6 of 17 Old 02-11-2010
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They're heavy, in the worst possible area. Weight in the bow, stern is bad enough, why put something so under engineered on a boat. There's a reason people spend the extra money for a carbon rig, use a dingy windex, switch to hi tech line instead of wire, and strip their halyards. Weight up high is bad.

No backstay to bend the mast, no way to tighten the forestay underway.
To me, it just seems like the engineers gave up and said, "lets just put big strong stick on the boat and get rid of all these pesky wires.

"Bryan and Carey report that the boat sails faster, points higher, balances better, and is just a lot more fun to sail than it ever was before. "

WOW, someone should let the Vendee and Volvo guys know they're doing it wrong. Or... B&C could learn how to tune a rig. There aslo was no mention of sails used in the before and after test. I hope they used the same sails, b/c if they ordered a new set, well, there's your speed, pointing and fun factor right there. Maybe I'm way off based and don't understand the technology, but I see this as being the bastard child of masts, not the "soon to be norm".

And why put wood in a mast? Wood rots.

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post #7 of 17 Old 02-11-2010
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Maybe some answers..

A good carbon mast is lighter than an aluminium mast. A good carbon mast is tapered so the weight is lower which can be used to reduce keel weight. A good carbon mast bends when the breeze blows reducing power much the same as an automatic backstay. Upwind when you sheet in the main you bend the mast back tightening the jib luff. Off wind the mast bends forward adding draft to the jib. In all cases its faster. The reason AC boats and Volvo boats do not use a freestanding mast is the thin lightweight hulls that need the loads spreadout over a larger area. Like anything else all technologies are a compromise, and in certain applications some rigs are better than others. Its nice we have choices. When I was involved on designing the hydraulic lines for the Boeing 767 we decided that Cryofit connections were the best way to go. The Boeing 757 engineers decided that permaswage connections were better. Now both airplanes are flying with a different system of Hydraulic lines.
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post #8 of 17 Old 02-11-2010
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I will beg to differ

Freedom did a fine job on a wide range of boats with free standing carbon masts that have stood the test of time

Being faster than a standard mast up-wind is NOT on that list in some case they do well downwind

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post #9 of 17 Old 02-11-2010
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May did do well racing etc. BUT, IIRC in the last 2-4 months "Sail" had an article about advantages and disadvantages of different types of rigs, spreader quantity for a given height etc. The more spreaders, the lighter the mast column, also the narrower the spreader section needed to be. so a lighter mast and accesories by IIRC as much as 50%. A triple spreader rig can be lighter than a double, which is lighter than a single. Also a triple has a considerable % narrower base for the shrouds is needed, giving that rig a better upwind ability as per how close it can sail to the wind.

There was some discussion re the stay less rig, IIRC that was the heaviest.

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post #10 of 17 Old 02-11-2010
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Most boats use a constant section mast while an unstayed rig has a tapered mast and no metal weight up top so it is lighter if well engineered. On a standard stayed rig if one of many small items breaks the rig is over the side. If it's not there it can't break. Vendee Globe - both Project Amazon and Lady Pepperell were very fast in round the world races. The biggest reason you don't see many is that no racing rules allow them. They have other advantages as well such as eliminating the risk of an accidental gybe. And they're as fast or faster than a conventional rig. Sailors are very conservative. Next time you fly - at over 500 mph, notice there are no stays on the wings. Airplanes gave up on rigging a long time ago and wings don't fall off very often.

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Living aboard in Victoria Harbour
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