I live and sail in Corpus Christi, Texas. Usually at least every other day we have winds gusting to 20 knts. Over the past year and a half I have broken 3 laser top sections each less than 10 months old. I have bent 3 laser bottom section (2 radial) beyond use, and each section was less than a year old. I wash my spars no different than any other laser sailor. Last summer I purchased a radial European bottom section from an aquantence, who brought it back from a regatta. This mast has not bent even through it has been through multiple regattas and a few practices. This mast is also slightly lighter in weight. It is not the older black European section, it is the new silver one. Also, at Smythe (a US singlehanded junior regatta) this past year I bent a new standard rig lower section useless. The boats and parts were brand new. I was charged for this section. I hiked on one leg of one race during the event. I know of two other people that bent their spars back to a condition at which they could be sold by the charterers. I had a talk with the man whose new boat I chartered. I told him of my past experiences. He went on to tell me that a friend of his imports his spars form Australia. This same man is envolved with the making or selling of laser spars in the US/NA region. Now I do not believe these differences in spars makes a great difference in racing if any; however, if the European spars last longer, then I want them because it owuld save me money. A year ago the European spars were black. The North American spars were silver. They are supposed to be made to the same standards but they are different colors. I was told that the spars were supposed to be exactly alike. I have also been told, and know through experience, that they are not. Radial sails have a difference in sail shape and size, as I have posted (and recieved confirmation by Murphs) once before. I understand that eventually the MK5 will no longer exist, but there is still a difference in shape directly related to sailmaker. Also the other day I took a look at two of my radial sails (one North and one Hyde, each used at two events) and felt them. The Hyde felt significantly crisper and was a slightly different color (whiter), even though it has been used in windier conditions than the North. Also, my old radial Hyde sail is not anywhere near as blown out as my old Norths and have recieved the same use. I have also been told that laser radial sails are supposed to be made identical. All I want is for the North American sail and spar makers to use exactly what the guys in Europe use, not ofr a competative edge, but for longer lasting products.