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MuddyBottom 05-31-2011 06:52 AM

Carbon Masts and Carbon Rigging - the facts?
Does anyone have any numbers to support:
The weight saving a carbon mast provides over aluminium?
The weight saving carbon rigging provide over rod/wire?
What % of weight aloft is your mast vs your standing rigging?

Sorry for all the questions but I am trying to sort fact from spin, and if some one can provide example weights that would be much appreciated.

For the pedantic ones I would be looking at the savings in an average sized cruiser-racer (say 35-45).

I’m just getting back into sailing and am looking at modern cruiser racers – the sailor in me wants a fast boat for the thrill of it, while the family man wants a nice stable boat (when underpowered) the missus can enjoy, so for the final question:

Will reducing weight aloft, for the same ballast, make for a smoother more comfortable ride, or will it make the boat more skittish?


bobperry 05-31-2011 09:24 AM

A carbon mast will save you about half the weight of the equivalent alu section.

I have never done a boat with anything but wire or Navtec rod so I don't know about the rigging weight. A quick look at a Navtec catalog or web site will give you an answer to comparative rigging weights. Navtec claims its PBO rigging is 80% lighter than s.s. wire.

I don't think the boat would be more "skittish" but it would be stiffer and stiffer is faster.

I had one owner of a 43' ketch who went with a new carbon rig and he said he could not really tell the difference. One opinion.

blt2ski 05-31-2011 09:45 AM

According to a sailing world article a few years back, they used lbs on the bow or rail you did not have to have, a C&C 115 saved 220 lbs on the rail to keep the same boat upright vs a alum/SS wire combo. That was one of the bigger boats used. Smaller ones like my 29' were in the 50-100 lbs range.


tdw 05-31-2011 06:15 PM

For a cruiser/racer, not new and presumably not state of the art in design why would you go to the expense of CF rig ? Or in fact are you thinking of buying a brand new boat ?

Sorry that is not answering your question is it ? Reality is I have no idea (about a lot of stuff in general) but carbon rigs in particular except that a lot of owners with seemingly more money than sense have them.

bobperry 05-31-2011 06:21 PM

Yeah, I have to agree with Womby.
If you have maxed out everything on the boat short of the spars then go carbon. Then when you have paid for that you can look at PBO rigging.

But first you have to have perfect sails. Start with the sails.
If you have a fully found cruising boat with all the "necessary" **** on board you certainly do not need a carbon rig and PBO rigging.

blt2ski 05-31-2011 11:46 PM

Considering there are not too many boats with carbon rigs, unless one goes new as an option, not sure this would matter. UNLESS, one is looking at say Tarten or C&C, then some older models have alum rigs, newer carbon in the last 5-7 yrs or so. And those with options, not sure how many here in the states got carbon rigs vs aluminum, probably more th latter than carbon.

Not sure I would go carbon on my rig, the again......if I did the tall mast version due to the aluminum going......carbon could be beneficial...I think $$$ would get in my way before the actual issue of which I would do would occur.


bobperry 06-01-2011 12:16 AM

You keep thinking about it.
For me it's just numbers and numbers can make sense.
That includes dollars too.

blt2ski 06-01-2011 01:14 AM


For the general "HOW" I use my boat, carbon would probably make sense number wise in more ways than one frankly. I use it for racing more than I do cruising or equal. Then again, I went on a 3 hr cruise the other night on an old peterson war horse that is alum and rod rigging, still gets into the 48N top 25, despite an old IOR design, ie "Shoot the Moon" Well balanced and quick mind you.

If i were to go new, and carbon were an option, I would go for it frankly. Probably do so if my alum bit the dust. But as you say, everything has a number including the dollar number needing to add up in the end. I would probably need to see the difference in righting moment to decide if the difference was worth it or not. or amount of rail meat I could delete......again, more numbers to play with, confuse one.... or make sense of something...... in the mean time. I have aluminum and SS rigging, all original, so probably need to dismast the boat, redo the SS, may go to rod.......keep the aluminum, already have dyneema lines, and laminate sails. No dacron or sta-set on my boat! I am sure a carbon mast would help, just how that is another story.......

puddinlegs 06-01-2011 02:12 AM

Marty, on older boats like ours, $$$ is much better spent on sails than a carbon rig redux... but certainly spring for carbon spin pole! They rock on any boat!

MuddyBottom 06-01-2011 04:13 AM

Thanks for the posts guys - I'm getting into sailing after 20 years off and am looking at various new boats.

I'm partial to the modern low-displacement cruiser-racers, such as the pogo, and am just wondering how much of a difference I would see going carbon.

Ditto not much point going carbon if a lot of your weight is in the rigging: so curious about what % weight aloft is your rigging?


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