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Old 13-02-2018, 23:42   #1
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carbon mast - experiences anybody?

who has or had a carbon mast, what was the general experience with it? would you go for one again?
how to go about mounting fittings like steps or nosetangs for solentstays?
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Old 14-02-2018, 03:00   #2
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Re: carbon mast - experiences anybody?

Okay I'll try to summarise my experiences with a carbon fibre rigg : 1. Awesome stable, awesome lightweight. I'm sailing now since 35K miles with this rigg. Did once a service at the shrouds which is much more simple as with rod ones - I have so far absolutely no complains. 2. The downside is that you are not allowed to drill holes or attach additional stuff without a back up from the designer - the cf masts are designed for certain loads on certain points. But overall I would every time again go for a cf rigg. You also can check my website lifgun.com to get more information and some pics.
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Old 14-02-2018, 04:28   #3
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Re: carbon mast - experiences anybody?

Can you surface mount things like steps with epoxy?
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Old 14-02-2018, 04:35   #4
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Re: carbon mast - experiences anybody?

If you are not racing, you probably don't need one unless you just like the idea.

I've had two carbon fiber masts.

The first was broken in half just above the spreaders due to the spinnaker being up and a mainsheet that wasn't tight enough when a strong wind gust hit

The second one lasted until I sold the boat a few years later..........the boat was a Nacra F-17 Beach Cat
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Old 14-02-2018, 04:37   #5
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Re: carbon mast - experiences anybody?

cf mast sure wouldn't be my choice, some interesting boats on the second hand market come with one though.
little holes for maststeps up to the lower spreaders I would dare make, but a solentstay-tang is something altogether different!
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Old 14-02-2018, 08:36   #6
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Re: carbon mast - experiences anybody?

Free standing carbon fiber mast. Loved it. Low maintenance. Light weight
and no heavy always to be watched and need to replace rigging.

The rig of the future.
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Old 14-02-2018, 08:48   #7
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Re: carbon mast - experiences anybody?

Agreed!
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Old 14-02-2018, 08:49   #8
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Re: carbon mast - experiences anybody?

Ways better then any aluminum tree....
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Old 14-02-2018, 09:03   #9
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Re: carbon mast - experiences anybody?

You might want to speak to the folks at Tartan.
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Old 14-02-2018, 10:13   #10
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Re: carbon mast - experiences anybody?

Love my Freedom Freestanding Carbon Mast!
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Old 14-02-2018, 10:44   #11
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Re: carbon mast - experiences anybody?

We have a Hall Spars carbon rig. No complaints at all. The posters above are correct, though-it's not an easy matter to add gear. Adding something like a solent stay is probably not in the cards without sending the rig to a builder for reinforcement. I think that if you want a CF rig, you're going to be living with what you get.

The light weight up high is a huge boon, though. And not just for racers. Keeping weight aloft to a minimum is a benefit to any boat.

Probably the only real downside is that a lightning strike will probably wipe it out. But, that's why we have insurance.
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Old 14-02-2018, 11:10   #12
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Re: carbon mast - experiences anybody?

Quote:
Originally Posted by TJ D View Post
The light weight up high is a huge boon, though. And not just for racers. Keeping weight aloft to a minimum is a benefit to any boat.
Of course it beneficial, but usually for most boats especially those under say 40' it's not worth the extra cost........unless maybe you are racing
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Old 14-02-2018, 14:06   #13
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Re: carbon mast - experiences anybody?

I've got a free standing one on a 30 year old freedom 28. It still looks new. Zero problems
the boat has a furling jib which is attached to the mast. Zero problems.

There are no shrouds to hold on to when going forward. Something that lasts 30 years with no problems gets an A in my book
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Old 14-02-2018, 14:42   #14
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Re: carbon mast - experiences anybody?

Read TJD's comment carefully re lightning strikes. A large nearby catamaran on which much money had been spent took a mast head lightning strike. The carbon fiber mast was severely damaged where metal tangs etc. exited. The lightning hit a VHF antenna and the mast may now be a total write off.
I have seen lightning strikes on alloy masts and beside the usual instrument losses etc. the masts invariably survive or can be easily repaired.
Alloy has extremely low electrical resistance and thus minimal heat generated at large current flow areas. Carbon fiber has "medium " resistance leading to extreme temperatures at high current flow areas - although it is a bit more complicated than this. The carbon fiber damage seen on the local mast was mainly where wiring and metal fittings exited. The carbon fiber damage was most extensive around load bearing spots such as spreaders and the base. Cheerful eh?

Also, it seems that the damage on the cat to ancillary electrical components was greater than expected. Starter motors, alternators, air conditioners, washing machine etc. as well as electric winches. Everything electrical. A local electrician observed that with an alloy mast connected to the earthing system there would have probably have been less damage to ancillaries.

If weight saving is your main issue, try the relatively more cost effective process of replacing SS rigging with Dynex etc. This material can be readily stored and is very user friendly.
If a mast is mechanically damaged, I would rather have to deal with aluminium than high tech carbon fiber.
The cost of the carbon mast referred to above cost more than most of the complete cruising sailing craft in our marina. It is seriously very, very expensive and you could cruise for years on the cost savings of using standard well understood aluminium.

TJD's comment about insurance says it all. What was not mentioned was the increase in insurance premiums required to cover carbon fiber mast replacement. I would certainly check this out. Lightning may be excluded.

However, if you are loaded with money and want to win races go ahead. But consult the real experts as you could be simply wasting money. Fiber masts are usually designed and engineered from the ground up to suit the particular vessel requirements. Generally you can't obtain a uniform extrusion as they have wound in extra (engineer determined) reinforcing at load points and some fiber orientation/quantity may be variable as well. A mast is important but there are many other considerations in racing.

If cruising and you need to add something onto the mast, alloy allows riveting, thread taping, welding, sleaving etc. Alloy is also malleable.( i.e. a "dent" may lead to minimal strength loss). Not so for carbon fiber.
Another issue to consider is that many epoxy materials don't like UV. I would be asking the providers about certified data on the longevity of the material. It is also usually left black which means that in the tropics it gets cooked, which seems a negative as well. It has lower thermal conductivity as well possibly leading to different thermal stressing issues. e.g. baking hot on one sunlit side, cold on the other.
Finally, can anyone list any current production cruising sailing boats that use carbon fiber masts?
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Old 14-02-2018, 15:30   #15
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Re: carbon mast - experiences anybody?

Bilgewater,

A lightning strike is not always a death sentence to a carbon rig, but you absolutely do need a lightning conductor down the rig, particularly if you are using composite shrouds.

Off hand I can't think of any budget cruisers that use carbon rigs, but quite a lot of premium brands use exclusively carbon. Basically unless you are building to a price point everyone is using carbon rigs these days.

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