What's new

Composite Upper

keenbean

Member
Hi all,

Just wondered what the general consensus is about the carbon mast and whether it is lighter/faster than the old version?

Any thoughts before i splash some cash?

Cheers!
 

LaLi

Well-Known Member
The aluminium topmasts weigh between 2.6 and 3.1 kg, and the composite ones 2.4 to 2.55, so that's a difference of 50 to 700(!) grams. (Source)

The composite spars are certainly faster in the sense that they're used more by the faster people :D who used to go through an inordinate number of aluminium spars in a given time.

Talked yesterday with my longtime Lightning helmsman, who had been sailing Lasers with his son. He, too, was thinking about getting a composite topmast, because "now that it's allowed, surely that's the way to go". That may be as objective as it gets :D

_
 

Rob B

Well-Known Member
Spend your money on something else. Unless. of course you find you are rolling through an aluminum top section every couple of years or so. The "composite" section was made specifically to stop the top section bending/breaking that has been going on since the new vang system came out. The top and "physical" sailors benefit from the composite. It is also a little stiffer so if you are a heavier or more physical sailor you can make that work for you in breeze. Otherwise the aluminum rig is more "bendy" and forgiving for those who can't hike as hard. After 3 years of sailing the composite top section I've found it works for me in breeze, but is a detriment in light air. This year I'm actually going to take my old aluminum section with me to every regatta and if it's light, (under 10 knots) I'll sail with it instead.
 

LaLi

Well-Known Member
It is also a little stiffer
How much stiffer? Have you (or someone else) measured it?

a detriment in light air
Why? Because it's stiffer?

I'm actually going to take my old aluminum section with me to every regatta and if it's light, (under 10 knots) I'll sail with it instead.
Do you know if anyone else is doing this?


To keenbean: if you're buying a new topmast anyway, then it's probably smart to invest in a composite spar. But if you already have a perfectly good aluminium stick, then it makes little sense to spend the money. (This is what I am doing myself.)

_
 
Last edited:

Rob B

Well-Known Member
How much stiffer? Have you (or someone else) measured it? It's widely discussed being stiffer- Discussed w/two current cycle olympic campaigner- one Radial and one full- One qualified for games, one didn't- I've had some coaching from both.

Why? Because it's stiffer? - Yes

Do you know if anyone else is doing this? - There are very few composite tops in our district - none on the inland lake clubs. I'm pretty sure I'll be the first one doing this, but I've lost some significant speed in the 2-6 knots breeze range and it's all been since I onboarded the composite top section. I'm actually lighter and in better physical condition than I was 3 yrs ago so I know it's not me. My tactics have been solid as well as good starts. My light air sail/vang settings and boat trim are proper as well. When folks start sailing away from you head to head something is wrong though and the top section is all I've done different outside of being in better physical condition. I discussed this with one of the olympic campaigners this past weekend and she said "Definitely- the carbon is slower in light air".


To keenbean: if you're buying a new topmast anyway, then it's probably smart to invest in a composite spar. But if you already have a perfectly good aluminium stick, then it makes little sense to spend the money. (This is what I am doing myself.)

_
 

Rob B

Well-Known Member
Rob,

In light air, would you recommend a little more vang to bend the composite top.
On the MKII cut sail you'll need more vang in light air regardless of which top section you use, (like B2B). Check out the International Sailing Academy website for full tutorials on how to set up a boat. It's worth the $15 a month until you feel comfortable with your settings and technique.
 
Top