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carbon top section

sailor327

New Member
I just got my summer issue of "The Laser Sailor" and i am amazed at the fact that the Carbon top section might be coming out for the radial this fall or winter. its also is great that it might be so cheap at under 300$ compared to the tiny Carbon tiller which is 180$.
 

49208

Tentmaker
Amazing except for the fact that if you want to sail either a 4.7 or full rig as well, you still need the alum top section too....
 
That sounds great.....I don't know what the advantages are, could you either tell me or post some of the article or something?

I know carbon fibre is strong and light, that's about it.

Why do you still need a different one for standard and 4.7? wouldn't they at least make it compatible?
 

Merrily

Administrator
computeroman2 said:
That sounds great.....I don't know what the advantages are, could you either tell me or post some of the article or something?

I know carbon fibre is strong and light, that's about it.

Why do you still need a different one for standard and 4.7? wouldn't they at least make it compatible?
The goal for making a the carbon top section for the radial, as I understand it, is to make the radial easier to sail for lighter women in the Olympic. It will not be legal to use for the 4.7 or standard, but for racing and sailing at the local level, I may be tempted to try it.

Merrily
 

terraslaser

New Member
i think it would just bend off to much on a fullrig because the bottom section is quite stiff in a full rig where as on a radial it is very bendy.

oh and can some tell for much that is in english pounds? :)
 

SFBayLaser

Member
It is my understanding that the plan is to introduce the composite spar for use by the Radial and 4.7 but not for the Laser. I **think** the eventual plan is to adopt the composite spar across all rigs (post 2008???). I suppose we will all have more information on this topic after the World Council meeting in Fortaleza at the end of the month (I know that ILCA is planning an article on this topic which will probably appear in the Winter Laser World).

Until then, Ned's article in The Laser Sailor is the best source of information currently available... and if you are not an ILCA-NA member you can still join now and get a copy of this issue to read all about it (and your membership will be valid through the end of 2006) - just go to www.laser.org and sign up online.

Tracy
 

Sunray

New Member
terraslaser said:
i think it would just bend off to much on a fullrig because the bottom section is quite stiff in a full rig where as on a radial it is very bendy.

oh and can some tell for much that is in english pounds? :)
I lived in London for a couple of years and I seem to remember that 200 pounds would be the rough equivalent of $300.... The 166 pound answer sounds about right......
Ray
 

Merrily

Administrator
Sunray said:
I lived in London for a couple of years and I seem to remember that 200 pounds would be the rough equivalent of $300.... The 166 pound answer sounds about right......
Ray
The exchange rate changes day by day, and the dollar is weak right now.

Merrily
 

torrid

Just sailing
At 150 lbs., how much benefit would I see from a carbon top section on a Radial? I think it would tend to be of more benefit for lighter sailors.
 

Murphs

New Member
yeah, in testing they have found it helps lighter sailors alot more than it helps heavier radial sailors

i think the composite spar is only for the radial for now and will probably be legal soon
 

Tom

New Member
Yeh when i had ago of it, it was windy and me being only 68kg at the time found it great. I have heard that it will be legal after the Australian national (december to january this year) so i guess its just all about waiting now :p
 

Chuoui

New Member
With the carbon top making it easier for the lighter guys is it going to move the weight range down and kill off the 4.7??
 
Carbon top sections suck they shouldnt change it, i would have liked it a while ago but now i can just see that it would change the technique in heavy air so much that it would be not good. If you can't handle the radial in heavy air sail a different boat or hike more
 

TheBoathouse

New Member
Chuoui said:
With the carbon top making it easier for the lighter guys is it going to move the weight range down and kill off the 4.7??
No I don't think so. The carbon top will make it easier for the 135 pound (61kg) person to compete but the 110 pound (50kg) ex-Opti kid would still struggle with it in any breeze.
 

3335

New Member
What I've been wondering is if these top sections are significantly stronger. I've seen 3 or 4 friends break their (aluminum) top sections this year, and I'd hate for that to happen to me! (I tend to be slightly accident prone.) Does anyone know about this mast's breakablilty?
 

Sunray

New Member
Well, listen,I STILL have not bought the laser (looking for a complete package---laser, trailer, dolly, e.t.c.) but when I DO buy it, in general I would like NOT to spend even MORE money for an additional top-section. I mean, money is not THAT critical if you want a "competitive rig"---key phrase here---the breakability factor is something to consider also---but I figure that if you are in some relatively serious competitions, then you should think about saving up for this "improvement" (if all the talking-heads really think the extra expense is worth it, that is).

Heck, I have not even been on a sailboat in 20 years, but I am determined to practise hard and get competitive and hopefully move up in the ranks, and I think I would justify the expense if it were 'class-legal' and it would make me competitive.....( which contradicts the statement on top there, but what the heck...this is a forum....

Ray
Miami Beach
 

Murphs

New Member
they havent managed to break one while sailing here, one got destroyed in transit last year

but i hear they're broken one in france.

dont forget that these sections have been tested beyond the normal pressure that a laser rig would have on even the windiest days so one break is a hell of a lot better than how many times the alum section would have broken under the same testing
 
L

LarsenCanvas

Guest
I've seen a number of broken top sections mainly from corrusion. I've also see bent ones. So this will not be a problem with carbon fiber. I think it will be worth the expense in the long run.
 

ehfaust

New Member
Important New Info Regarding Carbon Top Sections

All,
I have just returned from the World Council Meeting in Fortaleza, Brazil. During the meeting, we heard a report from Chip Johns, owner of Vanguard, who has been spearheading the development of the carbon top section.

Within the past few weeks, there was a breakage of one of the test spars being used by a sailor in Europe. According to Chip, this event was a serious setback to the development of the carbon mast, and until the proper testing and evaluation can be completed, plans to release the carbon top section to the market have been put on hold.

Chip and the other builders have spent tens of thousands of dollars in developing this piece of equipment, and they don't want to release a product that may break. They feel badly about it, but they are doing the right thing by doing further research and testing before a potentially inferior product is released to the general sailing public. There is a chance that the spar that broke had a manufacturing defect, but until such time as they can pinpoint the source of the problem no plans to release the carbon mast to the market are being caried out.

As a result of these latest developements, it is very likely that all Radial events in 2006 will be sailed with a standard aluminum top section. This will include, specifically, the 2006 Radial Worlds in California. No plans to roll out the new product are currently in the works, and when such plans come about, they will be executed carefully under well publicized procedures.

That is basically all the information I have about this subject, but I will attempt to address any questions you may have on this forum.

See you on the water,
Eric Faust
ILCA-NA Vice Chairman
 

Merrily

Administrator
LarsenCanvas said:
I've seen a number of broken top sections mainly from corrusion. I've also see bent ones. So this will not be a problem with carbon fiber. I think it will be worth the expense in the long run.
I have a carbon mast on my Europe dinghy. It's very strong, but it does need extra care; i.e. it must be kept covered when not in use. Sunlight degrades it. This shouldn't be much of a problem. Just throw it under the top cover, for example.

Too bad there's a developmental setback. I think sailors here are losing sight of the purpose of the carbon mast, to allow lightweight women to sail the Radial at the international level. If the mast is not ready, it will be a setback to the Laser class in the Olympics. Remember that the Europe dinghy was the Women's single handed dinghy in previous Olympics, and if the Radial can't serve as well as the Europe, it may not last beyond 2008.

Merrily
 

Clive Humphris

ILCA Technical
I sail a Radial in Victoria, Australia, weigh 67Kg, and wind conditions mean I sail with high vang pressure say about 50% of the time. I sail most weekends in club races, October to April, 2 or 3 significant weekend regattas like Masters and States and a week long summer series. This program would be typical for a reasonably keen racer I believe.

I have found the upper section to be reliable only with the following maintenance programmme:-
1. Regular after race high pressure wash of the collar joint to help minimise salt water corrosion.
2. After a high wind day I normally have to straighten an approx. 50mm tip permanent set to maintain straight.
3. At the end of every season I end for end the spar, enabling an extra year of life.
4. I do, of course, always install the pop rivet on the collar to aft so that the pop rivet is on the compression side of the spar.

I draw the following conclusions from this:-
1. With my usage on high wind days the aluminium in the collar area is taken beyond the yield point stress level. This leads to metal fatigue and limits the life of the spar.
2. The reliability of the spar is adequate for me providing I stick to the above programme.
3. I need to fund a new spar every 2 years.
4. This experience is particular to my usage and the spar materials I happen to have. Because the design would appear to be marginal it would only take small changes in material temper and/or wall thickness and usage to make the life unacceptable for some sailers.

Based on this I would recommend that:-
1. A carbon spar would be a welcome change assuming that the fatigue life is greatly increased and the stiffness characteristics are close to the existing aluminium spar.
2. As long as the carbon spar is no more than double the aluminium price it would justify itself just on the ecomomics of ownership alone.
3. The added advantage is less maintenance mucking around.
4. The stiffness characteristics could be modified at the margin to make the boat more sailable for a slightly lower sailer weight range.

I hope my snapshot view of this problem helps,

Clive Humphris
179407
 

Far away

New Member
Interesting thread. I have to say that I'm skeptical regarding this development. In my view the beauty of the laser is that it was always one of the strictest and most uniform one-design classes. True enough it has it's technological limitations but it was very much a boat of its time and stuck to this basic design as opposed to hopping on every modish bandwagon. The result was a class that guaranteed an identical rig no matter what level you raced at. Unlike many other dinghies there was the reassurance of knowing that the battered old laser in the sailing school had a rig the same as any at the top end of the world championship. I felt this created an ethos of solidarity between the beginner racer and the 'pros'.

Then comes admission to the Olympics and suddenly a rig that's sold in the tens of thousands for decades is nolonger adequate. New control line arrangements are devised seemingly to make the boat more manageable to sail - missing the obvious irony that having provided endless enjoyment for a generation of amateur sailors the boat has to made 'easier' to sail at the behest of those who should have least difficulty: semi-professional Olympians!

And now to the carbon top section. No doubt the marine industry and the pro sailor/designer elite will justify this change as being absolutely indispensible - again conveniently forgetting the past 35 years of stellar success as a popular class. It'll be a matter of urgency to ensure the class's longevity will go the argument, all the while forgetting that the boat's utter simplicity was such an attraction for the ordinary Joe far removed from yacht design and rig theory.

All the while the distance will grow between those lasers lying down at the sailing school and those in the olympic bubble. The feeling of togetherness and the concept of an incomparably simple one-design becoming ever more diluted.

What next? Will the future hinge on a carbon boom? Could cutting edge sail cloth be in the equation? I mean that plain white has become awfully tired. Gotta move with the trends, remember gadgets equals sales and simple boats won't sell forever... well, er... another 35 years that is. Then there's carbon fibre foils to think about and what of honey comb construction for the hull. And y'know that hull shape, could we do something there... after all we've changed everything else!!
 

Murphs

New Member
last time i checked, the radial rig hasnt been around for 35 years

ILCA has obviously tried a few things to reduce the optimum weight range for the radial rig such as the mk6 sail.

IMO this is the best solution for 2 reasons

1. allows lighter sailors (women) to be more competitive across the wind range
2. new carbon top sections are much more reliable than the old aluminium ones, im on my 3rd top section in two seasons.

What next? Will the future hinge on a carbon boom? Could cutting edge sail cloth be in the equation? I mean that plain white has become awfully tired. Gotta move with the trends, remember gadgets equals sales and simple boats won't sell forever... well, er... another 35 years that is. Then there's carbon fibre foils to think about and what of honey comb construction for the hull. And y'know that hull shape, could we do something there... after all we've changed everything else!!
performance sailcraft europe have introduced other boats (laser 3000, 4000, 5000) with all these different new technologies, most of them havent worked.

the carbon top section isnt being introduced to sell more boats, its being introduced for the reasons ive stated above, so your little rant at the end is quite useless
 

Far away

New Member
Not useless just a different opinion from yours.

My vent may not have been that clear but my point wasn't that these changes have been introduced to boost sales but that an elite in the class may be creating a divide between boats at the cutting edge of racing and older lasers lying down at the club/sailing school. The bit about increasing sales was simply an ironic argument that they might deploy to rationalise (convince themselves?) such alterations to the boat. It's my view that the laser sells and has sold well just as it is.

Indeed, I really feel that these modifications might well dampen the popularity of the class - they diminish one of original selling points: a total one-design. Be they lasers in the dinghy park or on the olympic circuit the boats were identical. I always thought that gave a sort of reassurance or even allure to club racers - 'my old rig is no different than the world champion's'.

With the control line changes and this new carbon top section that old uniformity will have been broken. How many old lasers out there still being sailed have the new control lines or will have a carbon spar? Few, I'd say. The psychology of the total one-design uniting potterer and professional will have been breached.
 
Think about this though.
first of all, everyone i've talked to is completely embracing the new upgrades. the old systems were really a pain in the neck. My dad tells me stories about how when he was sailing lasers in college, to tighten the vang, you pinched, stood up and leaned on the boom, and took inthe slack. That is not only annoying, but it takes focus off of tactics and racing and puts them on boathandling.

The carbon spar is ONLY going to be legal for the radial, NOT the standard rig. the radial rig was and is still in development, what with all the changes they've made, and this is just another step in the development of the mature radial. after all, it's only been around since the late 80's, not the 60's.

On the contrary, alot of people i know say they would get a laser but the controls seem so hard. the new controls make the sail easier to control, which allwos you to put all of your focus on racing, NOT how the hell you're going to get all that vang off at the crowded windward mark. And isn't that what a one-design class is supposed to do any? take the focus off of equipment and put it on racing?
 

49208

Tentmaker
Far away said:
Not useless just a different opinion from yours.

My vent may not have been that clear but my point wasn't that these changes have been introduced to boost sales but that an elite in the class may be creating a divide between boats at the cutting edge of racing and older lasers lying down at the club/sailing school. The bit about increasing sales was simply an ironic argument that they might deploy to rationalise (convince themselves?) such alterations to the boat. It's my view that the laser sells and has sold well just as it is.

Indeed, I really feel that these modifications might well dampen the popularity of the class - they diminish one of original selling points: a total one-design. Be they lasers in the dinghy park or on the olympic circuit the boats were identical. I always thought that gave a sort of reassurance or even allure to club racers - 'my old rig is no different than the world champion's'.

With the control line changes and this new carbon top section that old uniformity will have been broken. How many old lasers out there still being sailed have the new control lines or will have a carbon spar? Few, I'd say. The psychology of the total one-design uniting potterer and professional will have been breached.
IMHO, the control line changes were helpful in both the sales side and in bringing old and new faces back into the boat. Where I sail 90% of the boats that race that did not come with the new rigging have upgraded to it. The remaining 10% have at least taken advantage of the changes allowing additional blocks and lines to be added to the control lines.

I would expect the same sort of numbers with the carbon top section. As already pointed out, it's promising to solve two issues (longevity of the section and body weight) that I hear many that sail in the class complain about.

Is it the allure of having the same setup as a world champ that compels someone to enjoy their older boat ? Maybe for some and they are not excluded from making the changes to their boats to bring them to the same level of equipment and fitting out.

I'm trying really hard to come up with a One Design boat that has been around as long as the Laser has that has not allowed any changes over that time period, but I'm drawing a blank.
 

49208

Tentmaker
computeroman2 said:
The carbon spar is ONLY going to be legal for the radial, NOT the standard rig. the radial rig was and is still in development, what with all the changes they've made, and this is just another step in the development of the mature radial. after all, it's only been around since the late 80's, not the 60's.
For now. It's simply a matter of time before it's allowed for the full rig and 4.7 That's allready the stated plan and only makes sense.
 

Murphs

New Member
its really ugly on the full rig, the stiff bottom section doesnt work well with such a bendy top section

unless they redesigned the sail.......
 

abenn

New Member
I don't think the "club sailor sailing an old boat, maybe still with the old rigging" is really going to be worried about whether a carbon top section is introduced. If they are still sailing like this, then they probably aren't really interested in winning the club or regional championships and are happy to just take part in laser sailing and maybe make snide remarks about the guys with all the latest stuff.
As I understand it, the biggest differential between boats is the newness of the sail and anyone who's really keen probably already buys a new sail every year or so (at a greater cost than whats being suggested for the top section) which puts them at a great advantage relative to those with older sails/gear.
Full rig sailors should look forward to all the cheap, second hand Aluminium top sections that will be available if radial sailors start buying the carbon ones.
 
Something else i just thought of....Isn't it true that the carbon section will lower the min. weight by 15 or 20lbs, but won't help those at the higher end at all? I thought that in fact, the higher end would want to keep the alum. mast because it is stiffer. So wouldn't that mean something like if you're light, you'll be more competitive? aka. able to focus on racing more and on when your legs are going to have terminal failure due to hiking so long less?
Which means more good racing?
 

Murphs

New Member
computeroman2 said:
Something else i just thought of....Isn't it true that the carbon section will lower the min. weight by 15 or 20lbs, but won't help those at the higher end at all? I thought that in fact, the higher end would want to keep the alum. mast because it is stiffer. So wouldn't that mean something like if you're light, you'll be more competitive? aka. able to focus on racing more and on when your legs are going to have terminal failure due to hiking so long less?
Which means more good racing?
thats one of the main reasons they introduced the carbon section, helps women be more competitive. heavier sailors would still benefit from the new section but not as much as lighter sailors
 
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