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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Boat Review and Purchase Forum > Sailboat Design and Construction > Carbon Masts and Carbon Rigging - the facts?
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Thread: Carbon Masts and Carbon Rigging - the facts? Reply to Thread
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Topic Review (Newest First)
06-15-2011 09:21 AM
bobperry Gary carbon mast for a trailerable boat is probably not a good idea. Carbon masts are not durable and don't like to be banged around. I think in a situation where you would be raising and lowering rig freqently there would be too many times when you are liable to nick the mast wall. Aluminum is durable.
06-04-2011 07:54 PM
GaryHLucas Would carbon be a good choice for a trailerable boat? Raising the mast on a trailerable boat would be a lot easier if it weighed half as much.

I don't know anything about carbon masts. When I hear about failures though it makes me think of the failures I see in my every day work. Most failures on mechanical stuff seems to come from poor engineering, or poor execution of the technologies involved, rather than bad technology. I'm on my second boat with keel support problems, and both were clearly due to poor engineering. So I'd like to see real data on the actual failures.

Gary H. Lucas
06-03-2011 11:24 PM
WDS123 Carbon Masts are good choice for all out race boats where every lb is makes a difference. The Schock 40 is an example where a Carbon Mast is a sensible choice.

The vast majority of sailboats are not all out race boats and a carbon mast is simply vanity for these vessels. Examples of slow boats with Carbon rigs are the Alerion Express and many J/Boats.

If one wants to increase performance in a performance cruiser than much better to buy a performance style ALU rig (tapered mast and shaped spreaders). On a 30 footer, the difference in weight aloft between a carbon rig and a performance ALU rig might be 50-75 lbs.

BTW - when carbon fails it tends to fail "catastrophically" when ALUM fails it tends to bend.
06-01-2011 01:50 PM
tommays From what i have seen to get life out of the Carbon mast its needs to be painted as the sexy clear finishes have a limited UV life span VS a Carbon mast painted in white Alwgrip

There are a few Jboats amoung others that are built with Alu OR Carbon as and extra and the carbon mast boats take a 6 to 8 second hit on there rating


The only bigger production boat i have seen with NON-Metal standing is something like the Melges 32 because the Carbon and PBO is a BIG JUMP in cost
06-01-2011 12:47 PM
puddinlegs
Quote:
Originally Posted by PCP View Post
Yes, no one talking about poles but I agree with you. Mi next boat probably will not have a carbon mast, just because it is too expensive, but a spinnaker carbon pole is on my short list. On a 40ft boat handling a pole alone makes a huge difference if it is a a carbon one or an aluminum one

Regards

Paulo
If I were buying a new boat and it had a carbon mast as part of the deal, that'd be fine. Many have great track records. The biggest drawback (aside from the weight aloft of course) for cruisers is that you can't simply drill to move or add things as all the holes/perforations are engineered to maintain the integrity of the composite structure. I've also seen examples of hopelessly mangled AL masts cut, spliced, or otherwise repaired in locations that would be impossible with carbon. Interestingly, many of the newer AL spars are much lighter than their 60's and 70's counterparts. If one were to put a new rig in an old S&S Swan, the performance upgrade (much much less weight above deck!) is indeed significant. Paulo, the carbon pole was mentioned in the context of an example where carbon can be a very nice upgade on any boat, cruising or racing. It makes life significantly easier for the crew even if a carbon mast isn't in the picture. Another one would be a carbon emergency rudder where 'light' can make a great difference in getting things safely rigged and in the water. Yes, drift, but all part of a discussion of where carbon can make a difference for the average sailor.
06-01-2011 11:42 AM
blt2ski Paulo,

You are correct in that the OP was asking about masts vs spin poles, BUT, while the conversation has drifted a bit, it does show the wt difference, and were in some cases, going to the carbon vs alum WILL make a better cost effective spending of funds for cruisers, racers etc. Someday when the economy picks up, maybe the money on a carbon pole will be worth it. ALong with alum is a bit more forgiving with rookie folks learning the ropes if you will flying a spin with a pole. Been using the AS like a sym. works nice in some deep down wind situations, even going to a reach the sail has a bit better shape etc.

Marty
06-01-2011 11:27 AM
PCP
Quote:
Originally Posted by blt2ski View Post
.

...

I did buy a spin pole last summer, could not see in this particular $$ environment spending it on a carbon one. BUT, handling the carbon vs alum at fisheries. wowzza! 5 lbs vs 12 for a 12' pole on my boat. I could imagine if one has to deal with a 16-20' pole on some larger boats. Say NCarr! not sure how big that J is, but an aluminum one might be too big for one, and two folks could certainly have an issue in rougher seas.

...

Marty
Yes, no one talking about poles but I agree with you. Mi next boat probably will not have a carbon mast, just because it is too expensive, but a spinnaker carbon pole is on my short list. On a 40ft boat handling a pole alone makes a huge difference if it is a a carbon one or an aluminum one

Regards

Paulo
06-01-2011 10:45 AM
blt2ski Pudding,

I would agree that a carbon spar on boats our ages, and the design that aluminum is probably a fine way to go. But as mentioned, some of the lighter boats out there like the pogo, it would make a difference in performance in many more ways than some of the older designs. Or should was say, a more noticeable difference.

I did buy a spin pole last summer, could not see in this particular $$ environment spending it on a carbon one. BUT, handling the carbon vs alum at fisheries. wowzza! 5 lbs vs 12 for a 12' pole on my boat. I could imagine if one has to deal with a 16-20' pole on some larger boats. Say NCarr! not sure how big that J is, but an aluminum one might be too big for one, and two folks could certainly have an issue in rougher seas.

Hope your feeling better!

Marty
06-01-2011 09:46 AM
PCP Regarding saving weight and the location of the weight that is much more important in a Pogo or any other very light boat comparing with an heavier boat. As a 40ft Pogo can weight half the weight of a medium weight cruiser, that saved weight on the mast is twice more important in the Pogo than in an heavier boat in what regards increasing righting moment.

You have the opposite with the ballast on the keel. The lighter the boat the less ballast you need for the same effect (assuming the same draft).

Regards

Paulo
06-01-2011 09:44 AM
TQA I am wandering around the Eastern Caribbean just now and have seen a couple of boats where the carbon mast has failed unexpectedly this year. One a mega yacht and one a cruiser. Both made comments about benign conditions and it not being expected.

I can understand a failure when everything is strapped in tight and you are banging away to windward in a big sea but that does not seem to have been the case in both these boats.

Anybody got an idea why they should fail like this? Are CF rigs prone to fatigue?
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