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  #1  
Old 10-31-2006
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Longer mast....

Posing a fundamental question, and please, no books. I see comments at times where some wish for longer masts. So, let's say you have a choice of original 38.5 ft, or stepping up to 44ft. Forget additional rigging and sails costs. The boat is the Bristol 32. Is that increase in mast, and commensurate increase in sail area worth it from any standpoint, or a lot of trouble for minimal, if any real gains. I'm speaking of overall handling, not thinking I'll defy physics and get more speed beyond the obvious. The Bristol 32 had a short rig 35ft and tall of 40ft, then in '76 this was reduced to roughly 34 and 38.5ft. Now, granted, I think these guys knew what they were doing, being it was Ted Hood, in a company run by Clint Pearson back then. But, they were looking at the consumer market, as it were, and CCA rule books. Any benefits to 4 more feet?
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Old 10-31-2006
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Four more feet will give you a fairly large increase in sail area, and should make the sail a bit more effective, as the wind higher up is usually a bit faster than it is lower down. It will also increase the heeling of the boat, given the same strength wind, and make the boat a bit more tender—both due to more sail area and more weight aloft. Lastly, the rig will be a bit weaker, as the angles on the shrouds and stays will change.

For instance, the mast on my boat is 35.5' and they offer a 38' mast as well. The boom is 11' long or so. So, by going to the taller mast, I have gained about 28 sq. ft. of sail area. The mainsail was originally 242 sq. ft, and is now 270 sq. ft., an increase of 12% or so.
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Old 10-31-2006
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Seabreeze, what are the current dimensions of your sail with the current mast? With that information you can figure out the additional sail area gained by four more feet of sail height, ignoring any roach issues.

The problem is, additional sail area will only help you until you have to reef. More sail area typically means reefing sooner, or adding more keel depth or weight to keep you from heeling, because more sail area further up means you'll also heel sooner, and have to reef sooner, and there goes that extra sail area. Catch-22, unless the extra height snags more breeze for you in light airs often enough to mean something.
SD-
"Lastly, the rig will be a bit weaker, " I disagree, the mast section, the spreaders, the rigging, probably can all be beefed up to compensate.
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Old 10-31-2006
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Unless you're also beefing up the chainplates, the rigging will generally be weaker, as the angles on the rigging are effectively narrower, since the mast is taller, but the shroud and stay base distances has not changed. This is particularly true if you are retrofitting a taller mast, rather than a factory installation of a taller mast.
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Old 10-31-2006
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Unless it's also lighter, payoff may be minimal. You could ask Hood why they cut back on the first "tall" version, from 40 to 38.5 feet. Could it be that the heeling moment from the taller mast just wasn't helpful, or that the added sail area that high up was simply heeling the boat over instead of pushing it forward? There must be a point of diminishing returns. As Sailingdog also points out, the taller mast using the same rigging base may also put new strains on the boat that it was not engineered to handle.
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I wish I could talk with Ted Hood, but unless I just happen to run into him, I doubt it. All-in-all, pretty much what I was thinking, especially about catching a bit more air up top. Not sure why they shortened things, but it took 10 years into the production run to do it. It also appears the boats lost a few hundred pounds (close to 1,000lbs) in displacement at the same time. The boom was also shortened minimally, maybe a foot.
On heeling, as I understand it, the 32's heel readily until around 20-25 degrees anyway, then hunker down, so that's gonna be there no matter what, but a bit more weight stuck out there with a longer mast, so a bit slower righting.
Now the curveball. Since these boats can have some stout weather helm, especially with big headsails (though my recent experiences on a Cat 310 tell me this isn't just a CCA boat issue) could a taller mast and sail setup compensate for a shorter-footed main, say down from 13.5ft to around 10ft? Thus, reducing weather helm by moving the CE forward some, but maintaining sail area with more height. Yes, I know there's the Lee Helm issue, but that not-withstanding at the moment.....
With the headsail providing so much of the thrust, is a shorter-footed main that big a deal? In light air it's gonna poke anyway, and once it picks up a breeze, I'll have to reef fairly soon, but maybe not quite as soon with a shorter-footed main. So, when the breeze is strong enough to matter, would I really miss the larger, low-aspect main that would already be reefed as opposed to a shorter-footed main that could stay up til a few knots more breeze kicked in?
I asked Deiter Empacher, who was involved in the design of the '32, and he referred me to the Bristol owner's homepage. Yawn. That's the first page I found last January. Ted's a recluse from what I've gathered. I guess they're tired of talking about the old days.
I posed the question to Ted Brewer and he just said he couldn't answer about my boat. I asked what he'd do to the Douglas 32 (very, very close in basic specs, rigging included--I mean like Discovery Channel US/Russia cold war espionage close) with newer rigs in mind and he made no comment. All he would commit to was if the sails were matched to the boat, weather helm shouldn't be a problem. Well, yeah, that much I figured.
I don't want to make any crazy mods. Just posing questions and pondering alternatives before making the cut. I have a replacement mast that is 44'5". It had an above-deck height of, woohoo!, 38.5ft. on the C&C 29 it came from. Ultimately, I'll probably take the easy way and cut for 38.5ft. That'll put the boom at the proper height without relocation, etc., then deal with weather helm by bending the mast, flattening the main, etc. I know all this is kinda out there without hands-on. I'm not a purist. New stuff that makes the experience better is a plus to me, just as mods to the rig are. Comments?
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Old 11-01-2006
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While making the mast taller and the boom shorter will move the COE forward, it will also move it up. As the boat heels, the COE will be even further outboard, and that will contribute to weather helm, so the change in the sail plan may or may not have less weather helm. The more a boat heels the greater the weather helm, and the taller the rig, the more the boat heels..... hmm...

There are alot of variables involved when modifying a sail plan, from its effects on center of effort, weather helm, heeling, boat stability, power, etc. You need to talk to a qualified marine architect or rigger before doing this. They can at least tell you if the chainplates are going to be able to take the strain of the new rig and whether the new rig will make your boat more or less likely to capsize.

If you do go with the taller mast, just remember you will probably incur a lot of additional costs—new sails to fit the rig, new standing rigging, new running rigging, new wiring for masthead lights, VHF antenna, wind instruments, etc. YMMV.
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Old 11-01-2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by seabreeze_97
I wish I could talk with Ted Hood, but unless I just happen to run into him, I doubt it. ...
.... I have a replacement mast that is 44'5". It had an above-deck height of, woohoo!, 38.5ft. on the C&C 29 it came from. Ultimately, I'll probably take the easy way and cut for 38.5ft. That'll put the boom at the proper height without relocation, etc., then deal with weather helm by bending the mast, flattening the main, etc. I know all this is kinda out there without hands-on. I'm not a purist. New stuff that makes the experience better is a plus to me, just as mods to the rig are. Comments?
Yikes, SB you sound serious about this installation. Wanting to add speed to a 32' that rates only around 222 ,by adding sail area is very understandable. A realistic solution is - buy a different boat.

Those C&C 29 masts were telephone poles, they are not bendy rigs. "Flatting the main, etc.." will reduce heel and thus weatherhelm, in the same way your reef does today, but your weather helm problem will still exist if you try to make the boat go.

I guess the Bristol 32 has its pluses, but it is slow and cant take a breeze. If those tradeoffs are getting less satisfactory, you may be ready for a change.

Good luck.
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Old 11-01-2006
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I will put in a strong comment here as someone who has had both the stadard and tall rigs. DO NOT GO TALL!

What are you really going to gain? A little more speed in light airs? Not really. If you are all that concerned about it, throw out a larger genny or cruising spinnaker. It will be cheaper, easier to change out, and a lot less heartache, and easier to control.

Tall rigs are a totally bad idea. We got a tall rig on our 380 and the boat went from a fairly sure footed boat to a very tender boat. A mast is like a lever, another few feet can really add a lot more "heeling moment", if that is the right term. If you throw out a bunch or canvas on light days, it is not really going to make that much difference anyway. But when trying to reef down to make the boat comfortable in heavy air, you will play a heck of a time getting the reefed main to perform well while a the same time having a boat that is really topsy-turny... almost to the point of dangerous when the seas approach 7-10 feet off the beam.

I don't care if your boat is just on the lake and will never see the ocean, still a bad idea. No one likes a tender boat. It is hard to make it run fast, it is uncomforable on the crew, and it makes it difficult to anticipate when to fall off for safety.

Do what you want, but I have been there and done that and cannot say enough against it.

- CD

PS Catalina no longer offers the tall rig on the 380. Wonder why?
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Old 11-01-2006
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First hand info

Maybe you could get some first hand information to answer the question of why the mast length was reduced to begin with...

Ted Hood Design Group, One Little Harbor Landing, Portsmouth, RI 02871. (401) 683-7003. Fax (401) 683-7029.
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