I don't know the exact composite that's used for the Expo mast, but some are incredibly strong - they're famous for lots of things from body armor to F1 racing car monocoques - there's a section on one brand (Kevlar) here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kevlar. Pound for pound I would assume the Expo mast is much stronger than the standard 14.2.
Shouldn't matter if you carefully inspect the boat and its tackle. I have a Mod. 1 with the aluminum past and am not familiar with the composite mast on the Expo so would not really know what problems to look for there, but the hull & sails are all pretty simple to inspect and detect issues.
The Expo mast is definitely one piece. As I said before I can pretty much pick up the mast, sail and carrying bag in one hand.
FYI : I was considering shipping an Expo when I couldn't find one locally, and asked the same question of Catalina customer service. I've pasted their reply below but you can probably direct technical questions to them - they seemed very supportive.
Best of luck with finding an Expo,
Attached is the mast assembly drawing and it shows a length of 23' 3 1/2". I hope this helps.
21200 Victory Blvd.
Woodland Hills, CA 91367
(818) 884-7700 ext. 237
(818) 884-3810 Fax firstname.lastname@example.org
Hi All, I'm currently searching for an Expo to buy and ship to Egypt where I sail (will start sailing) on the red sea. The Expo is proving more difficult to find and will cost more to ship since it has a slightly longer mast that will not fit in a 20' container and hence will need a 40' cont.
The standard C14.2 will probably be easy to find and cheaper to ship. my intentions with sailing is not racing but rather to go cruising with kids. Reef the main sail, anchor and just play around. So the Expo seemed perfect. I'm willing to reconsider the standard rig if someone assures me that I can still do the same with it. I also suspect that I will sail solo a lot.
The boat will be always stored on the beach trolley, so the mast will always stay stepped in and accordingly rigging should be easy for both models, correct?