Tapered Mast vs. Standard Mast - Page 2 - SailNet Community
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post #11 of 29 Old 01-17-2012 Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by tommays View Post
It is a bit of a bitch to know when rod is at the end of its service life BUT NAVTEC has a good guide about the service life of rod and wire

Probem with rod is that it is hard to look at the heads as they are the weak link and hidden in fitting
Thanks for the reply, I've come to that conclusion as well.
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post #12 of 29 Old 01-17-2012
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I am comparing two sister 39' boats for purchase and could use some input.
....
My intended use is for long term cruising with plenty of foreign ports of call.
.....

Chris
Nothing wrong with tapered masts and rod rigging, but given your intended use, are either of these boats prepped and equipped for that purpose?

When buying a boat you can save a big bundle of money if you only consider boats whose current owners have equipped them for your intended use, i.e. if looking for long term cruising, dont even think about a boat prepped as a race boat or a coastal cruiser.

Re-purposing a boat will coast a bundle, in addition to the updates and repairs you are likely to need to do anyway with a new ownership.

Regardless of the mast type, and starting only with a blue-water design, I would think you want a boat equipped with a windvane, ssb radio, extra tanks, extra anchors with chain rodes, windlass, storm sails, inner forestay, etc... Adding this gear to a standard boat will run you tens of thousands of money otherwise needed for upgrades and repairs.

If you have already targeted you boats in this manner, then I would think either mast OK.
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post #13 of 29 Old 01-17-2012
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gadangit, i was being sarcastic. you got to take me with a block of salt. i generaly inject a dose of that to stimulate debate. the reality is, i want to know as well. i have a tapered fractional rig too. at no time did i ever feel as though my rig was going to fail, even when the rail was under water as i was doing 360 degree dough nuts! but i do want to know never the less.
very good question sir.
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post #14 of 29 Old 01-17-2012
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Nothing wrong with a tapered mast - it's more expensive to produce but properly done reduces weight and rolling moment aloft.. but probably not to any degree that would be significant to a non-racing cruiser.

Rod rigging is fine, low windage, clean, and low stretch but the issue (esp tropical cruising) is, I believe, the inability to monitor it's condition and preempt failures. Wire can be repaired DIY with the right spares and the right fittings - something you could never do in a remote cruising location or at sea with rod.

The OP is probably wise to switch away from rod rigging that has some miles on it... but if the boat is otherwise appropriate (difficult to guess given the limited info) whether or not the mast is tapered is likely a non-issue.

Ron

1984 Fast/Nicholson 345 "FastForward"

".. there is much you could do at sea with common sense.. and very little you could do without it.."
Capt G E Ericson (from "The Cruel Sea" by Nicholas Monsarrat)
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post #15 of 29 Old 01-17-2012
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A tapered mast will (typically) be able to be better in heavy air, because the spar will react more when backstay tension is applied - opening up top of mainsail leech and tensioning forestay.

A tapered mast also looks better (purely subjective).

The windage difference is nil, but the weight aloft might be 25-75 lbs depending on the spars being compared


Rod rigging is usually though to be better since it lasts longer than wire. However, in an older boat one would really really really really need to inspect the rods. Wire rigging shows it age relatively obviously, whereas rod rigging requires a more careful inspection.
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post #16 of 29 Old 01-17-2012
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what are we looking for on rod rigging?
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post #17 of 29 Old 01-17-2012
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itty bitty cracks especially at the ends - but don't try this at home - use an expert.


here is a decent overview

http://www.americanriggingsupply.com...0Guidlines.pdf

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post #18 of 29 Old 01-17-2012
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The problem with long term and long distance cruising is metal fatigue, especially when the rig tension exceeds 30% ultimate tensile strength of the wire.

Tapered masts have the distinct advantage over 'telephone pole' masts in that they can be radically bowed to accommodate massive draft reduction in mainsail .... much better than reefing when beating in heavy winds, and much better than beating with a reefed main which doesnt dampen the roll period as well as does a 'full-up & board flat' main. Ditto, the same in 'light wind sailing' ... draft reduction to keep separation stalls from occurring; a flat main better keeps the airflow from becoming 'unattached'. A good 'bendy rig' can get the main as flat as a sheet of plywood.

The downside of the tapered mast is that you will be sailing a lot of the time with rig tension exceeding 30% UTS .... and that vastly accelerates fatigue of the wire and its connections. Also too, rod rigging, etc. isnt common and replacement components in probably most of the 'out of the way' and remote port in the world will be impossible.

Rx: The tapered mast is a much better choice for 'coastal' sailing in 'populated' places of the world, especially for FAST 'coastal' sailing in these places; however, if you intend sailing to the more remote places of the planet (where you will be 'entirely on your own') ... then the 'telephone pole' will be a more 'robust' and 'stronger' and 'longer lasting' choice.
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post #19 of 29 Old 01-17-2012 Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by sailingfool View Post
Nothing wrong with tapered masts and rod rigging, but given your intended use, are either of these boats prepped and equipped for that purpose?

When buying a boat you can save a big bundle of money if you only consider boats whose current owners have equipped them for your intended use, i.e. if looking for long term cruising, dont even think about a boat prepped as a race boat or a coastal cruiser.

Re-purposing a boat will coast a bundle, in addition to the updates and repairs you are likely to need to do anyway with a new ownership.

Regardless of the mast type, and starting only with a blue-water design, I would think you want a boat equipped with a windvane, ssb radio, extra tanks, extra anchors with chain rodes, windlass, storm sails, inner forestay, etc... Adding this gear to a standard boat will run you tens of thousands of money otherwise needed for upgrades and repairs.

If you have already targeted you boats in this manner, then I would think either mast OK.
Excellent points which are definitely part of the equation. But being an engineer, I wanted to eliminate all the variables and focus on this particular item. This is not an inexpensive endeavor for sure! Both boats come with a completely different set of equipment and the mast wasn't something I could get my head around. The Admiral and her spreadsheet can handle the rest...
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post #20 of 29 Old 01-17-2012 Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by RichH View Post
The problem with long term and long distance cruising is metal fatigue, especially when the rig tension exceeds 30% ultimate tensile strength of the wire.

Tapered masts have the distinct advantage over 'telephone pole' masts in that they can be radically bowed to accommodate massive draft reduction in mainsail .... much better than reefing when beating in heavy winds, and much better than beating with a reefed main which doesnt dampen the roll period as well as does a 'full-up & board flat' main. Ditto, the same in 'light wind sailing' ... draft reduction to keep separation stalls from occurring; a flat main better keeps the airflow from becoming 'unattached'. A good 'bendy rig' can get the main as flat as a sheet of plywood.

The downside of the tapered mast is that you will be sailing a lot of the time with rig tension exceeding 30% UTS .... and that vastly accelerates fatigue of the wire and its connections. Also too, rod rigging, etc. isnt common and replacement components in probably most of the 'out of the way' and remote port in the world will be impossible.

Rx: The tapered mast is a much better choice for 'coastal' sailing in 'populated' places of the world, especially for FAST 'coastal' sailing in these places; however, if you intend sailing to the more remote places of the planet (where you will be 'entirely on your own') ... then the 'telephone pole' will be a more 'robust' and 'stronger' and 'longer lasting' choice.
Very interesting post, thanks much.
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