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Re: Carbon upper mast


In a thread titled "Carbon Spars" in the "Laser Sailing" board, Tom Scully wrote:

> Laser was made as a cheap simple boat that everyone could afford
> and that is a major reason to the sucess of the boat
> ...
> I think if we did end up with carbon spars, then you should only be
> allowed carbon spars, and eliminate the choice of aliminium and carbon
> spars to keep it all one design.

Regarding the first statement, there are those who maintain that a carbon upper would make the Laser Radial a cheaper boat to maintain and race than with an aluminum upper. How many times have you bent an upper?

[BTW, in 1999, the estimate the Class was given was somewhere between $225 to $250 for a carbon Laser top section. Source: March 1999, Lainie Pardey, ILCA NA, VP.]

Regarding the second statement, I think Tom's stated preference would be better understood if we considered all possible Class Rules alternatives here.

The underlying assumption in Tom's statement here is that the Radial with the carbon upper would just not be the same one-design boat as the Radial with the aluminum upper. That is a reasonable statement.

For the same sail to work, the carbon upper must have the same bend characteristics as the aluminum upper. Even if it does, its weight will be different. If it doesn't have the same bend characteristics, if it is stiffer (or bendier, as in the self-depowering skiff rigs of Julian Bethwaite), it's a whole new boat.

But recognizing that, we have many options as a Class. One road the Class will NOT take is to abandon the good old aluminum upper mast. The Laser Class leadership is "against anything that makes current equipment obsolete" (and that's quted from Ian Lineberger, currently ILCA President). So what are the options?

The same issue is now being faced by the Byte class which is testing a whole new carbon rig (upper + lower) along with a new full-batten mylar sail. It's called the "CII rig". The options they are considering are:

1. Reject the CII rig and exclude it from any Byte Class events. In such a case, the Copyright Holder and the manufacturers would then have to decide whether or not to create an entirely new boat with a new name and new Class structure.
2. Elect to set up the CII as a completely separate Class (like the Radial) with its own Rules and Constitution but under the Byte Class International Association.
3. Modify the Class rules to allow the CII to sail in Byte events with a separate start for the CII Division.
4.Same as Item 3 but set a time limit during which any National Class Association must decide to change over to the CII rig entirely, stay with the mixed events as in Item 3 or stay with the present rig entirely.

The applications of these to the Laser Class are obvious. But the Laser class will (should) never completely do away with the aluminum upper shared by both the Standard and Radial rigs.


Shevy Gunter

The Carbon upper discussion dates back to 1999, formally to the ILCA World Council meeting in Melbourne. Subsequently, a Claas Rule change for a "carbon upper Radial mast" was voted on by the membership on 15 September 1999. For: 1050; Against: 717!! So, the proposal was narrowly defeated, receiving only 59.4% approval instead of the required 66.66%.


New Member
I have heard from people in other classes talking about changes to carbon. I was told carbon mast may be brought in in some classes as aluminium stocks are dropping and the price is increasing. They led me to believe eventually it would be cheaper to buy carbon masts.

I also was informed that that dacron sails were on the way out in Europe due to the environmental damage caused while producing the material.

I do not know if any of this is true maybe; someone could comment on this.