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Old 21-01-2016, 12:26   #1
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carbon fiber masts

hi all I am looking at a freedom 39 pilothouse schooner rigged with carbon fiber masts. I was wondering if anybody had any experience with them and the pros and cons . to my inexperienced eye it looks like a clean and simple rig. thanks
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Old 21-01-2016, 15:02   #2
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Re: carbon fiber masts

Hi, I have a Freedom and are really sold on the no rigging thing. Check out the freedom yacht forum. Its a small but very informative forum.
Cheers Dale.

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Old 21-01-2016, 16:37   #3
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Re: carbon fiber masts

thanks for the reply , have you ever heard of a mast failure on a freedom with the carbon fiber rig ? this boat has gone through an extensive refit but the rig is so simple I am wondering what the lifespan of the poles are. Denny
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Old 21-01-2016, 18:24   #4
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Re: carbon fiber masts

I believe there is a question about using a fibre carbon mast in high lightening prone areas.
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Old 21-01-2016, 18:43   #5
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Re: carbon fiber masts

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Originally Posted by Going Walkabout View Post
I believe there is a question about using a fibre carbon mast in high lightening prone areas.
There isn't. CF survived lightning strikes about as well as aluminium.
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Old 21-01-2016, 19:17   #6
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Re: carbon fiber masts

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Originally Posted by Stumble View Post
There isn't. CF survived lightning strikes about as well as aluminium.
Do you have a CF mast? If so was it ever hit by lightning? What do you base you statement on?

I found this discussion somewhere else about CF and lightening.

Default Re: Carbon masts and lightning
Even though I know little about the subject, except in a personal, practical way (my Eclipse was struck by lightning in 2003) I did write an article on lightning and lightning protection that was published in several magazines.

You can see a copy on my website Articles pages.

I also suggest looking at the Marine Lightning Protection Inc. and www.strikeshield.com websites.

Yesterday I was talking to someone who has a Lagoon 42 on charter management, the one with the electric engines. It was hit by lightning and the engines were totally destroyed. Over USD100,000 in damage in total

If you look at the statistics you will see that multihulls are at much greater risk of being hit by lightning than monohulls (in part because there is no metal keel)

See here http://marinelightning.com/catamaran...ml#BoatUSStats

the photo of the Moorings cat on fire was taken only a few yards from where I write this

Carbon masts are a higher risk than metal masts. The carbon is a sort of conductor, the epoxy isn't. So it tends to heat up and explode

I certainly wouldn't have a carbon mast if tropical sailing and I would fit a Strike Shield lightning rod or Marine Lightning system on any boat with sensitive electronics

Richard Woods of Woods Designs

Another comment on CF masts.
An alum mast hit with a side strike may still survive but if even a strand of carbon gets hit it's a new stick that will need to be installed. Big bucks

And another comment on CF masts.I just finished watching a program about a SuperPuma helicopter which was ferrying workers to a offshore oilrig in the North Sea. They never made it as they were struck by lightening and the tail rotor let go which resulted in a ditching in Force 10 weather. All 16 passengers and 2 pilots were successfully rescued and nobody was hurt. The investigators from the Civil Aviation Authority in Britain had determined that the tail rotor blades that were originally made from fiberglass were now being made from carbon fiber. They quite unexpectantly discovered that carbon fiber is a greater conductor of electricity than fiberglass by as much as 1000 times. In this case, the rotors while operating in a storm cloud generated enough static electricity to cause a lightening strike which was concentrated at the tail rotor and it exploded causing the crash.

With the ever increasing use of carbon fiber for masts, I think a warning should go out to those owners of boats with carbon fiber masts to ensure that their rigs are protected against lightening. Particularly for those folks who live in areas that are prone to lightening.

Yet another worthwhile comment.The real problem with Carbon Fiber masts is that the resin does not conduct electricity well, while the carbon fiber does... so the heat from the resistance often causes the laminate to delaminate. However, since the damage is often internal to the laminate, it doesn't appear to be significantly damaged and then fails catastrophically, with little or no warning.
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Old 21-01-2016, 21:30   #7
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Re: carbon fiber masts

Those who have Freedoms love them (I have a 38), and those who don't have Freedoms remark about poorly they go to weather, how fearful they would be of unstayed rigs, how vulnerable the carbon fiber mast is, etc, etc, etc. I have many friends who have had their stayed rigs come down, some more than once. I have heard of one CF mast that has broken when the owner rigged the spinnaker, I think it was, to the top of the mast. I've never heard of one that had completely come down. A direct lightening hit would be a serious problem, yes; but there is no evidence that CF is more prone to getting hit than any other type of mast. These are fractional rigs and because the masts are so bendy, you want to be really careful about the forces, if you change how they're rigged. The mast bend, by the way, means a hard knock during a gust on a regular sailboat is just a slight roll on the Freedom. I don't know anything about the F39, but overall the Freedoms were built strong and for easy sailing. The small, self-tending jib on my sloop is pretty ineffective, but it doesn't mean you can't be competitive (you can check my race results for that!). You could also go to FreedomYachts.org for more info from people who own Freedoms.
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Old 21-01-2016, 22:30   #8
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Re: carbon fiber masts

I know of 2 different mast failures in Freedom 33's. One from knowing the owner, personally, & the other is via a Freedom 33 which was posted for sale on here, & is likely still listed in the archives.
The loss of it's masts, & the reasons for same, were listed in the F/S writeup when I read it last year (probably 2014).

The one which I know of personally, was on a boat which was well maintained, & only gently sailed. Being home ported, all of her life in San Diego. And as she came off of a wave "the mast just shattered", as the owner put it.
Not a big wave mind you, & in maybe 10kts of breeze. And it was the fore mast, which, I think was the case with the other Freedom 33 referred to on here.
Also, on the boat that I know of which lost her rig. She wasn't yet 10yrs old when it happened. So I'm thinking that it wasn't due to age, or UV either. But by then, Freedom was out of business, so sorting things out was "complicated".

You should do some reading on www.sponbergyachtdesign.com as he was the lead designer/engineer at TPI for quite a while, when the boats were being built. And he has heaps of knowledge on freestanding spars.
Also, make sure that this fix has been done to the masts http://sponbergyachtdesign.com/FREED...T%20REPAIR.pdf Too, ensure that their finish & structure, especially around the collar & step, is in good condition. And has been maintained such that no UV has ever reached the CF itself.

One other wizard/genius, in the design world, who's done some free standing rigged boats, is Yves Tanton. And he's very easy to talk to, if you're so inclined.

Ah, & be very cautious about any Non OEM equipment bolted onto the spars. As CF spars can be finicky, & real sensitive to such at times.

On the lighting thing. Statistically speaking, a cruising boat is likely to take a lightning hit at some point in her lifetime. And with a CF spar, pretty often that means that the spar's a write off.
Especially as it's nigh on impossible, without advanced NDT equipment, to inspect such composites for damage. It's easier than it used to be. The catch being; getting the guys & the equipment to the mast, or vice versa.
NDT = Non-Destructive Testing, BTW.

Although, on the lighting thing, you'd be wise to do your own research. As, for example, J-boats (& many others), have, in essence, a lightning rod at the top of their carbon spars, connected to a #4 AWG wire, running down the inside of the tube, & grounded to Neptune's Realm.

All of that said, there have been Freedom's, which have cruised all over the place. So...
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Old 21-01-2016, 23:08   #9
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Re: carbon fiber masts

Quote:
Originally Posted by Going Walkabout View Post
Do you have a CF mast? If so was it ever hit by lightning? What do you base you statement on?


..........



Default Re: Carbon masts and lightning

Even though I know little about the subject, except in a personal, practical way (my Eclipse was struck by lightning in 2003) I did write an article on lightning and lightning protection that was published in several magazines.



.

At least you are honest about not knowing ur subject.

Tesla wrote some interesting stuff.

Carbon is a bit better than sort of a conductor. Good carbon brushes are the life of commutation.
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Old 22-01-2016, 07:09   #10
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Re: carbon fiber masts

friends have a trimaran with a special high tech carbon fibre mast.
they were hit by lightning in cartagena and thought they were ok. sailing to san diego, they found off nicaraugua they were mistaken as the mast shattered into nothing from the lightning strike. they motored into zihuatenejo and told me their story.
so.. with cf masts, mebbe a special protection needs to be invented to dissipate lightning before it destroys mast??
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Old 22-01-2016, 07:41   #11
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Re: carbon fiber masts

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Those who have Freedoms love them (I have a 38)...........
All this time I knew there was something different about you but I couldn't put my finger on it... Till now... Something about big sticks without all of the dangly bits...

I get it now...

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Old 22-01-2016, 07:45   #12
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Re: carbon fiber masts

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There isn't. CF survived lightning strikes about as well as aluminium.
I am pretty certain this is not true.

For example, in order to achieve effective lightning protection, the Boeing Dreamliner has had to incorporate aluminium mesh into its composite structure. Just how effective this solution is remains to be seen…

http://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/ca...0090034169.pdf

Aircraft Carbon Composites And Lightning
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Old 22-01-2016, 08:09   #13
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Re: carbon fiber masts

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Originally Posted by rivercrane View Post
hi all I am looking at a freedom 39 pilothouse schooner rigged with carbon fiber masts. I was wondering if anybody had any experience with them and the pros and cons . to my inexperienced eye it looks like a clean and simple rig. thanks
Welcome to CF!

Likely you will not have great problems… though I would have to caution that in my experience the failure mode of carbon is sudden and without warning. Aluminium and other materials tend to "tell" you when they are moving towards failure.
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Old 22-01-2016, 08:27   #14
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Re: carbon fiber masts

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Welcome to CF!

Likely you will not have great problems… though I would have to caution that in my experience the failure mode of carbon is sudden and without warning. Aluminium and other materials tend to "tell" you when they are moving towards failure.

From aircraft I can tell you this is true, stuff is Hell for strong, then suddenly catastrophic failure, no precursors.
Cousre if it's designed so that it never sees an overload, then it will not fail
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Old 22-01-2016, 08:29   #15
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Re: carbon fiber masts

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From aircraft I can tell you this is true, stuff is Hell for strong, then suddenly catastrophic failure, no precursors.
Cousre if it's designed so that it never sees an overload, then it will not fail
Yep… but sometimes design has unexpected gifts and surprises. Just ask Pete Goss and Team Phillips.

Not that I intend to put the OP off here, and I don't. Freedom rigs are superbasic and IMHO ideal for carbon if there ever was a good application for this material, as of course there is.

But I have seen a few spars "blow up" all of a sudden. Can be a little startling, and rather dangerous. Though honestly I would feel much safer with freedom carbon rig than a stayed carbon rig. If sudden failure the majority will likely be catapulted free of the vessel…
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