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Old 24-12-2012, 17:20   #16
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Re: How Much Do Mast Steps Affect Performance?

The noise is what I dislike....
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Old 24-12-2012, 19:11   #17
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Re: How Much Do Mast Steps Affect Performance?

On a racing boat: no steps.

On a cruising one ... oh man, just look up: the radar dome, the extra stays, the vindvane, the windgen, the arch, the dodger, the stackpack, the lazyjacks, the ...

Perhaps 1% extra in the cruising setup.

And mind you downwind it actually helps.

b.
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Old 24-12-2012, 19:29   #18
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Re: How Much Do Mast Steps Affect Performance?

Having had them on both masts on a ketch we owned Id say it is about the same or less drag then a Taff rail log !! Just my 2 cents
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Old 24-12-2012, 20:42   #19
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Re: How Much Do Mast Steps Affect Performance?

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And mind you downwind it actually helps.

I always wondered about that too...is it really true.

Noise level is nil, they never make any perceptible noise.

One interesting side note is taht ships have told us that we present a larger target than other boats around with no steps. So we took the radar reflector off and still same...might actually be true!
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Old 25-12-2012, 00:04   #20
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Re: How Much Do Mast Steps Affect Performance?

Downwind, you could have some little bitty sails in the steps.
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Old 25-12-2012, 02:20   #21
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Re: How Much Do Mast Steps Affect Performance?

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Originally Posted by Celestialsailor View Post
Hell...I'm going to put ratlines up my lowers and steps above the spreaders to the top. While cruising the advantage far outweighs the .01 kt. I'll loose. Also...I'm dragging a tree blade prop. I heard that I loose .1 of a knot with that...who cares. I want the option of clawing off a lee shore and going aloft quickly and safely when I loose a halyard aloft.
yeah thats what ive got - if you use the flat triangle steps - ie non folding, run a line up the outer edge because they're a bastard for tangling halyards in a bit of a blow...I suspect the folding ones would be more of a nuisance because you cant run a line up them but i reckon they'd stick out enough to foul the halyards...but they are really handy - i've spent a lot of time sitting up the mast, managed to replace all the standing rigging too, cable at a time
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Old 25-12-2012, 06:57   #22
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Re: How Much Do Mast Steps Affect Performance?

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Originally Posted by Auzzee View Post
...As far as speed performance is concerned, perhaps the absence of mast steps may mean you can complete your circumnavigation yesterday instead of today...but, as I like to be at sea and think racing is generally the province of vehicles equipped with V8s, it matters to me not one whit!

(What the hell is a 'whit' anyway?)
A "whit" is the amount of performance handicap that may be attributable to mast steps - a an indefinite quantity that is below average size or magnitude, a tiny scarcely detectable amount, or the smallest part or particle imaginable.
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Old 25-12-2012, 07:20   #23
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Winch yourself up there when needed and be done with it.

Better yet, winch your wench up there!

Every hole you put in your mast weakens it. 30 holes? Pass.
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Old 25-12-2012, 10:19   #24
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Re: How Much Do Mast Steps Affect Performance?

Better yet, winch your wench up there!

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Looks like you got a good looking one winched up and flying in the wind Gary...
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Old 25-12-2012, 10:27   #25
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Re: How Much Do Mast Steps Affect Performance?

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Originally Posted by Surfer Girl View Post
Regarding the OP's question about performance penalty with mast steps, windage isn't really the most important issue. Rather, disruption of the laminar airflow at the leading edge of the air foil (mainsail) and also parasitic drag induced by the mast steps at the crucial air flow entry point. Small things can actually have quite an effect on the above. This is one of the reasons smaller (and some larger) sailing cats have rotating masts - to keep the leading edge as clean as possible on different points of sail. Any disruption to the airflow as it 'splits' around the leading edge of a sail (or wing) will have performance penalties. How much of a penalty with mast steps would have to be wind tunnel tested to get accurate data.... which of course, no one is going to do .

For example, vibrating wires (stays & shrouds) although thin, produce a lot of parasitic drag because the oscillation (vibration) really magnifies the disrupted airflow. Again, one of the reasons many racing monos flirted with rod rigging in the late 90s and 00's.

Since you're a cruiser and your mast steps provide you with a big positive in accessing your mast & appendages easily and I assume, when you sail you're not in a big hurry - it's no big deal. Interesting question however and I would love to see some actual tested data......
A faired mast and step tread,even faired wire rigging would help to reduce the drag and provide better performance or go a step farther and go with a stayless faired rig...
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Old 25-12-2012, 13:39   #26
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Re: How Much Do Mast Steps Affect Performance?

Agree with the holes in mast thing. My mast is keel stepped, freestanding that the rigger recommends not drilling holes in for anything as they promote cracks forming. It does have an extra halyard for retrieving run-away halyard. The mast also bends to spill gusts.
Weird huh...
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