Bent spar

Thread starter #1
After one sail, my lower spar is bent and I am talking with Vanguard about it now. To my amazement, there is a chance that I won't get a new spar to replace this one. I am being told the spar has to be tested and if it passes, it's my spar. Bent or not, it won't get replaced. After one outing? Wow.

So that means, because I don't sail any different than anyone else, that there must be a ton of guys out there sailing with spars that are bent. Are there? Are you?

And here's my question: How big a deal is it to sail with a bent spar. I mean, in terms of speed. How much slower am I if I have to sail with this thing?

Has anyone had the same experience as me? What am I to expect regarding replacement? This is my first new-boat purchase in 25 years (my last Laser was #17273) and after one month of ownership, I am already a little nervous. It doesn't make any sense.
Without more details it's tough to have an opinion. Was it a radial lower or a full rig lower. I believe that the radials have a thinner wall and are a little more susceptible to bending than the full rig lower sections.

Also, what were the conditions like? What was the wind speed? Did you wipe out? Get the mast stuck in the mud? Have a lot of vang on when you wiped out? All of those could contribute to bending a spar.

I sympathize because I bent a brand new top section the first time out this summer, within the first couple hours of using it! But it was pretty windy, I wiped out a bunch, probably had way too much vang on when I did and probably even touched the bottom in the process so I can't really blame the spar (too much). Of course I was pretty annoyed since I've managed to break a couple old spars in the past but I've never bent one before; and even though I really wanted to blame the stupid spar it was most likely the nut on the end of the tiller that caused it to bend. ;-)

Anyways it sounds like Vanguard is being fair about it -- at least they're willing to test the spar to see if it might be defective rather than just assume that it was your fault. If the spar turns out to be within spec maybe your dealer will be willing to cut you a break on a replacement for good relations. Good luck!
Thread starter #3
It was blowing about 18 knots and I flipped once, but did not hit bottom. I don't think I had the vang on at the time as I was on a downwind leg. I am light (160) for the full rig, which was what I was in, so I was vanged pretty hard, but what am I supposed to do? Not vang cause the mast can't take it? I trying to win a race. I mean, these boats are for racing, arn't they?
the thing is if its not badly bent its not a big deal. u can try to get it as straight as u can be careful tho. make sure to line up your sections. and soon as you throw on some vang the mast temporailly bends so its not a biggie if its just pre bent that much
The best way to bend a bottom section is to capsize to windward on a downwind leg. Cautiously bend back or just rivet vang and goose neck fitting on opposite side of mast. A badly bent bottom section has to be thrown out.
Radial bottom sections do seem to be very weak at the moment. I have two bottom sections. One is 4/5 years old, very very worn at deck level and quite corroded around fittings but is still straight so it gets used for club racing only. My supposedly good bottom section is about a year old with probably around 30 days use but is very bent. You can't straighten a bottom section and it really does affect my boatspeed. However I have to use this one for opens as its less likely to fail than my old one. My last charter boat I managed to bend the bottom section within a week and it was not a particularly windy event (had at least one day drifting around in nothing)
I've got a new one on order and will see if that is any stronger than recent bottom sections (when it finally gets in stock)
My radial bottom section is bent too, only used it about 6 times. Though i did take it out in a 30 + knot day ... Couldn't manage to keep it moving closed hauled but had some amazing reaches!