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Old 27-07-2008, 05:23   #1
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Carbon Spars on Multihulls

Has anyone replaced their masts, booms etc with carbon fibre versions in the attempt to save weight and in so doing increase performance and improve on hobby horseing/pitching movement having dramatically reduced the weight.
If so, I would like to hear what the differences made were and how much more a carbon fibre rig as opposed to a standard aluminium rig.
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Old 27-07-2008, 13:36   #2
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Riggin lighter

I have been using Dynex Dux as I change over my rigging for a lot of reasons. I have 34' Searunner Trimaran. As I replace stainless wire I am using synthetic line that is 1/6 the weight yet 40% stronger. I also have no worries about corrosin, swages, and the fatigue among other things. It is easy to splice and use. I will try to find a few photos. So far I have relaced my runner backs, backstay, life lines, halyards. This fall I will go 100% Sythetic.
It is about the same if not a bit cheaper than using stainless. It is easily the cheapest way to save some weight aloft. I suspect a carbon fiber wing mast would cost more than my boat...:-) If you look close you can see the backstay and runners and lifelines.

My friend John at http://www.colligomarine.com/ we have both re-rigged our trimarans in Mexico. John has got a number of signifigant boats rigging with the stuff. Check it out.
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Old 27-07-2008, 15:11   #3
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More on lighter synthetics

Just found a good thread with better photos than I have on this stuff. We are just getting started really...:-)

dynex dux - SparTalk
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Old 28-07-2008, 02:31   #4
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Hi Jmolan
Much appreciate your response, I should have included standing rigging in my first post which I really meant to do, this is good informative stuff.
You mentioned a carbon wing mast, I had not considered a wing mast, rotating possibly, but you think the cost of a carbon wing mast would be about what $50,000 or more?
I was more just thinking of a direct replacement for a standard aluminium mast.
I would also consider replacing all lifelines with Dynex Tux as this must also save on weight and be better than SS wire.
If you or John (Colligomarine) know anybody who makes carbon spars it would be interesting to find out a closer cost of the carbon spars.
Thanks
Forgot to ask what does Dynex Tux feel like is it coarse or smooth and would you consider covereing areas that might likely be prone to chafe with Keval/Dyneema sleeving?
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Old 28-07-2008, 03:22   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ireaney View Post
You mentioned a carbon wing mast, I had not considered a wing mast, rotating possibly, but you think the cost of a carbon wing mast would be about what $50,000 or more?
I was more just thinking of a direct replacement for a standard aluminium mast.
If you or John (Colligomarine) know anybody who makes carbon spars it would be interesting to find out a closer cost of the carbon spars.
ireaney
Rob Denney has posted here quite a bit. He wiould be able to give you the lowdown on most aspects. In a recent thread he was saying a carbon mast SHOULD not be all that different to a conventional rig. There are many others that seem to think of a new BMW whenever that dirty word "Carbon" is mentioned.
If going for a new stick why not go the whole way and go free standing. If its for a new build the stick may end up cheaper than a complete stayed rig.
Search for some of his posts and I would think most of your Q's should be addressed.

Mike
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Old 28-07-2008, 05:57   #6
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For the FastCat 455 the carbon rig has a total weight of 137 kilo and the aluminum rig a weight of 278 kilo , both with PBO side stays .
The hobby horsing is less on the carbon version and the sailed speeds are a bit better on the carbon version , the aerodynamic resistance is a bit less on the carbon version since the mast is tapered and the shape of the pole is smaller.

Greetings

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Old 28-07-2008, 06:49   #7
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Gideon, There seem to be some differences of opinion to the costs, would you say a carbon rig was significantly more expensive than aluminium or what sort of % price increase wise.
Thanks
Ian
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Old 28-07-2008, 09:25   #8
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Hallo Ian the cost of a carbon rig ( mast , boom and spreaders ) is Euro 30.000,00 more expensive than the aluminium version, that is a price increase of 7 % over the standard rig for the FastCat 435.
I find it worthwhile since it also makes a boat safer.
It all depends if one can afford it off course.

Greetings

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Old 28-07-2008, 09:36   #9
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Hi Gideon
Thanks, not as bad as I thought.
Ian
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Old 28-07-2008, 20:30   #10
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I've priced a carbon mast section for my boat, (from Allyacht) and it came in at nearly 10 times the price of the alloy section I'm getting. Obviously the wire and fittings will cost roughly the same for both rigs, but I honestly couldn't justify the expense.

A free standing carbon rig might make better economic sense though.
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Old 28-07-2008, 20:41   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ireaney View Post
Has anyone replaced their masts, booms etc with carbon fibre versions in the attempt to save weight and in so doing increase performance and improve on hobby horseing/pitching movement having dramatically reduced the weight.
If so, I would like to hear what the differences made were and how much more a carbon fibre rig as opposed to a standard aluminium rig.

G'day,

Thanks Mike.

Some rough and ready numbers based on carbon masts we have designed and/or built. Happy to detail any of the following if required.

A carbon mast will be between 40 and 60% the weight of an alloy mast for the same loads. The heavy end is a straight swap, composite for alloy, the lighter includes tapering the section and the laminate. Can get lighter still with high modulus carbon, but it is ridiculously expensive.

Materials cost is about $AUS22/kg or $US10/pound. Plus wastage (won't be much), consumables (cheap vac bag, gloves, sheet of mdf, etc) or paint.

Engineering costs about $1,000, depending on how detailed you want it. Any designer with any interest in improving his boats should be willing to pay for, or susidise this fee.

Plans to build it yourself cost $1,000, and include sail track and all composite fittings. Building requires competence with a jigsaw, stringline, resin and vacuum bagging. Build a short piece first and you will know as much as the experts.

Wing mast is a little harder to build, and will weigh and cost a little more. How much depends on the section.

Unstayed oval is as easy to build as stayed, has more material in it, but way fewer fittings to make. Unstayed wing is a bit of a building challenge. Unstayed telescoping is the next area of development.

Unstayed will weigh about 10% less than ss stayed alloy including all the bits hanging off the mast. The boat will be considerably lighter as there is much less deck gear and beefing up required. I have not done the comparison with rope rigging, which is a huge weight saving, but check how often it needs replacing before you buy it. Video of an unstayed mast at speed at

There are no guarantees attached to the plans, but there are various simple tests to ensure it is built correctly and it is a simple exercise to bench test the mast to ensure it meets the engineered spec. After this, there are too many rigging and use variables.

The same system can be used to build beams and booms with the same costs and weight savings. A slightly more exciting technique is used for rudder shafts.

I am meant to be visiting China in October to set up a carbon mast factory. Aim is to build carbon masts cheaper than retail alloy. Will keep you posted.

regards,

Rob
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Old 28-07-2008, 22:01   #12
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I found the sailing performance and safety comments about the rotating carbon wing mast and boom performance interesting on Barrocka, especially about how effective it is using the carbon wing mast when sailing in heavy weather.


Quote:
The mast was constructed by the same build team, from vacuum bagged carbon laminates over a 4mm Oregon skin, resulting in a spar with a chord of 500mm but only half the weight of an aluminium spar. The boom is also composite.

Craig & Andrew with mast shell under vacuum





Quote:
Performance

Barrocka is admired by all wherever she sails but it is her performance that astounds many.

The carbon wing mast is a large contributing factor to the boat's sailing ability. With its aerodynamic shape and the rotation ability, mainsail performance is greatly improved. The boat is lighter overall and travels flatter in the water due to less weight aloft. The spreader-less design reduces aerodynamic drag, weight aloft and tangles with halyards and sails.

On light days, if the wind is aft of the beam, with full screecher and main she has achieved 9 knots in 6 knots of true breeze. Most other cruising yachts are motoring in these conditions.

When the wind is up a little, she sails dry and flat, effortlessly averaging 200 mile days on passages and making short coastal trips a breeze, with minimal sail handling.


The Spar

In a good breeze she will excite hardened racers, frequently sailing in the 20's. Her best logged 24 hours is a staggering 352 nautical miles of the Tasman sea , sailed on autopilot with hot meals and children sharing the watch.

Although Barrocka has a storm sail system which includes a forth reefing point in the main, it has never been used. In a gale she will sail with all sail safely packed away, purely on her 9 sq m of mast area and a rag of jib unfurled. Zero sail handling in heavy conditions greatly adds to the comfort, safety and confidence of a family crew.
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Old 29-07-2008, 02:10   #13
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What if 9 m2 of "sail" area is too much?
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Old 29-07-2008, 02:54   #14
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Rob,
Many thanks for the info about carbon spars, I am not sure what the weight would be of a 60ft mast, could you give me an idea what I would have to expect to pay at the moment before you start manufacturing in China, only a ball park figure.
Also have you considered what the shipping costs would be from China to say the UK.
This sounds very interesting.
Thanks
Ian
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Old 29-07-2008, 09:46   #15
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What if 9 m2 of "sail" area is too much?
If it is a freestanding wing turn it so the trailing edge points into the wind. A bit more drag than the leading edge pointing onto the wind, but does not develop any sudden drive forces at inconvenient times. Assuming it is a single sail rig, the mast will be far enough forward to act as a wind vane, helping the boat run with the wind.

If it is a stayed wing mast with limited rotation, be prepared for an exciting ride!

Ian,

No idea of the weight without some more information, but you can work on 60% of the alloy spar. Build costs depend on your wages and overheads. Bare tube is pretty quick to build, all the add ons for a stayed rig add time, as does a show room finish. I may know someone in Portsmouth who could build it for you if you are in a hurry.

What boat have you got, how much does the alloy tube weigh? If you don't know this, then you need to have it engineered. I need the weight, centreline to centreline beam and the rigging plan, plus $1,000 to get this done.

Shipping anything that does not fit in a container is expensive. We are working on some deals, intending to send them in bulk eventually. It will be cheaper to get it in two pieces less than 40' and join them. This is easier with a stayed rig than an unstayed one as the join can be at the hounds or spreaders.

regards,

Rob
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