Masts, Spars, Carbon, and prices

Discussion in 'Laser Talk' started by Ross B, Apr 3, 2007.

  1. TonyB

    TonyB Member

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    You really think so? With the vang loads you need to use to go fast upwind in 15 knots plus, bending is inevitable. You will get a longer life in you nurse the section for the first couple of months, but you really shouldn't need to. You should be able to put a new mast up and go sailing without having to worry.

    Bending back doesn't really work. You can make a mast look straight again, but it returns to it's banana shape as soon as you put any load on.

    Would a sleeve fix the problem, or would it alter the bend characteristics too much? Carbon is the ultimate answer, but it is a long way away.
     
  2. Josef

    Josef New Member

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    Bending it back has worked flawlessly for all my top sections, the one I'm mainly using now has worked for like 4 years and it's hardly bent at all after a days sail =p

    Anyway, people need to relize that carbon masts are quite fragile too, just a small misstake in handling and it breaks.
    Carbon might be the answer for some people who got enough money but for ALOT of lasersailors it's just not an option due to the prize =/
     
  3. Merrily

    Merrily Administrator Staff Member

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    What sort of handling breaks a carbon mast? I have one that came with the Europe Dinghy that I picked up for a song after the Europe lost to the Radial as Women's single-handed dinghy.
     
  4. TonyB

    TonyB Member

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    Carbon is very stiff and strong, but has poor impact resistance. Drop it on a sharp part of the deck or hit it with a hammer and you might be in trouble. It also can't handle UV light very well. Protect it from hammers and the sun and it will last.

    I expect that the carbon section being tested is blended with some other material to improve its impact resistance. Doing this is only a problem if you are obsessed with minimising weight, which I assume the Laser class isn't overly worried about.
     
  5. tomsinamerica

    tomsinamerica New Member

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    Carbon tubing can be very very fragile. I ride bikes a lot (to try to shift one or two of my 200+lbs) and I'd never buy a used bike as I've seen how fragile they can be.

    I've sailed boats with stayed carbon masts and they seem fairly robust but with the Laser and the method of rigging, I get the feeling they will have to work on the impact resistance for when the top section inevitably rolls off the deck while rigging and lands on something hard & pointy.

    It will be an interesting development. To me, expanding the weight range downwards for radial and 4.7 would be a great thing, especially the radial to capture more of the aging Opti sailors. I don't really want to see it introduced into the full rig. I think so much has been done already to expand the weight range downwards with the new rigging options, I don't really see any need to do more as I think the fleet will suffer in the long term.
     
  6. SFBayLaser

    SFBayLaser Member

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    Just a quick note... the more appropriate term to apply to the spars being tested is "composite." I'll agree that calling them "carbon" has lots more appeal but is, unfortunately, not entirely accurate...

    Tracy
     
  7. Merrily

    Merrily Administrator Staff Member

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    That's interesting. It never occurred to me that my Europe mast is a tube and I don't think that it is. It has the appearance and weight of being a rod. So I wonder if the Laser carbon is a tube? If so, that does seem like it would be fragile.
     
  8. Merrily

    Merrily Administrator Staff Member

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    OK, so I wonder if the Laser composite is a tube or a rod?
     
  9. tomsinamerica

    tomsinamerica New Member

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    I'm fairly confident that it will be a tube. I'd guess your Europe mast is a tube also. Carbon rod is pretty heavy for a mast. Granted it's carbon, but there's a fair chunk of resin holding it all together.

    Mix a little kevlar cloth in it would work to improve it's impact resistance but then it would be more susceptible to UV damage....

    I say stick with good old aluminum... ;-)
     
  10. SFBayLaser

    SFBayLaser Member

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    Yes, they are tubes.

    The North American testing program is getting underway. Part of this should also include having some of these spars available for inspection, and **perhaps** (which is a very highly qualified "maybe") a test sail, at upcoming major events. So, for the curious, even if you don't sail a major it might be worth stopping by to have a look.
     
  11. Deimos

    Deimos Member

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    Can you clarify if they are for Radial only and are they just top/bottom sections or both ?


    Many thanks
    Ian
     
  12. Rob B

    Rob B Active Member

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    Radial top section only.
     
  13. rippa

    rippa Member

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    :D Faaar out! Anyone follow the America's Cup? How many Lasers could you buy?
    Crzzzyyy sh....! Lets get that little dinghy modernized. New sail, 10 sail makers, high tech hull, same weight, carbon rig, new materials. everyone happy? Heaps of old boats on the market.?
     
  14. SFBayLaser

    SFBayLaser Member

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    That is correct, the goal is to produce a new spar for the Radial only and for the reasons already discussed in this thread (ie reduce the advantage of heavy sailors, widen the competitive weight range, reduce the minimum competitive weight, etc.)
     
  15. Georg W.F.

    Georg W.F. Member

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    The issue with the bendy top section is a "new" issue and hopefully a temporary one. With that I mean that the top sections used to be much better, but in the last couple of years people have been bending a lot top sections. I assume here that the quality of the tubing used for the masts has declined. My assumption is based upon the fact that many sailors prefer the aussie masts. Also, note that a lot of people refer to their masts that have lasted forever, while others buy a couple of top sections per season. The latter are all new sections, and perhaps of poor quality.

    The problem might also be related to the new vangs. I am not thinking of upwind, but downwind sailing here. Before the new vangs were introduced, you has to ease the vang before rounding the mark, otherwise you could forget about easing. Now, that is not an issue, so I see a lot of people round the mark and start the downwind leg with their vangs still super tight. I have even seen guys with their vangs very tight for the whole downwind leg. No deathrolls for them, indeed, but back on shore an unpleasant discovery: a very nice curve in their upper.

    It is true that masts become stiffer (which is on the one hand good, but at some point they will simply break) but is it true that recently masts have declined in quality?

    G
     
  16. Laser76489

    Laser76489 Member

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    Is it possible that top sections are bending/breaking more easily than before because people are able to haul on more vang with the new control systems?? Just a thought..I know that I now sail with more vang than before...because I can.
     
  17. Rob B

    Rob B Active Member

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    You hit the nail on the head.
     
  18. Georg W.F.

    Georg W.F. Member

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    Yes, that was part of my point: either the new controls or the quality of the masts could be a problem. I am still leaning towards the latter, since a discrepencay seems to exist between US masts and other masts.

    G
     
  19. HikedLikeCrazy

    HikedLikeCrazy New Member

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    I don't see how carbon fiber masts could ever become class legal. The fact that they bend under a lot of pressure can be a real advantage if say you're sailing in really heavy wind. Say a huge gust comes along and all the boats with regular alluminum masts start to capsize. The guy with the carbon fiber mast's sail will auto dump somewhat and he'll have less of a chance of capsizing.

    1500 dollars isn't a lot for the guys who buy new hulls every year, but the great thing about laser sailing is that you can buy a perfectly decent hull and spars for 1000, put a new sail on it and win races. It's not as much of an arms race as some other classes and it shouldn't be that way.
     

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