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  1. #1
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    Not all masts are equal.... even like for like

    I recently broke a mast on my race sail, and it was replaced by an identical mast..... or so I thought. My 9.6m sail sets differently on the new mast. In fact, when I first went out, all the cams jumped off and the sail was very wrinkled. I came back in, added some more downhaul, tightened the bottom 2 battens (a lot) and went back out.

    The sail looked great, when rigged, and rotates much better than on the old mast, although it could do with a spacer on the top cam. Also, seems to be fuller low down and is brilliant in light winds. It requires less effort to downhaul. My conclusion is that this mast is slightly softer and bends more throughout.

    However, has anyone else noticed that 2 (top end) masts, which should be identical, are actually slightly different. Sail and mast manufacturers stress so much how their sails are designed for a particular mast, if there is variation in masts, them this seems a little strange

  2. #2
    Senior Member Graemef's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mattsurf View Post

    However, has anyone else noticed that 2 (top end) masts, which should be identical, are actually slightly different.
    Yes, very much so hence custom building a race sail to a particular mast.

    In fact many years ago when windsurfing was in it's prime, there was a store in Hood River, that built a mast bending device to check all the masts they had access to from various builders to log the variations, both between the builders and the masts from the same builder and you wouldn't believe the variation in tolerance.

    There was however one local builder who's system produced better than average consistency and they were the first company to build skinny masts, it was that long ago they were one piece, but they went on to produce two pieces and AFAIK they are the company that still produces for Ezzy today, hence why I chose Ezzy. They were called No Limitz, they didn't do race masts but they did specialise in quality durable masts for use in the Gorge.

    Why were they more consistent?

    It was down to the process they used and I doubt even now they'd like me sharing that process, so I won't but it's a true tale, there have however been many motorways built since then and I dare say other builders have refined their techniques, but in answer to your question once again, yes there is quite a lot of variation even between same brand same mast.

  3. #3
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    Which is why I often question those who suggest that they have to buy brand x mast for their brand x sail. Surely there has to be enough tolerance in each sail to cope with the variances in masts? If not there would be a lot of unhappy customers. I'm not talking top end racers here, but for the average joe wave mincer like myself as long as it rigs relatively well there surely is no problem.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Asle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by phill104 View Post
    Which is why I often question those who suggest that they have to buy brand x mast for their brand x sail. Surely there has to be enough tolerance in each sail to cope with the variances in masts? If not there would be a lot of unhappy customers. I'm not talking top end racers here, but for the average joe wave mincer like myself as long as it rigs relatively well there surely is no problem.
    Buying brand x mast for brand x sail is not a must and often not the best combination, but if you are average joe it is a pretty safe combination. Masts in the same brand seems to vary more or less, but I guess there is enough tolerance within the same brands sails? Blending x and y you might hit on a bigger variance and there will be a bigger chance that you will fall out of the ok tolerance space.

    If you are top of the pops joe you will buy, borrow and test several masts and get that extra out of you rig.

  5. #5
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    It may be the same mast from the same brand but it may not be the same production year. The top end masts are produced each year usually to match that brand's full race sail. If the design of that sail changes as it invariably does each year, there is a possibility the mast curve/bend characteristics have also been changed. It is rare to see a brand actually advertise the fact that they have changed mast specs......probably because they are reluctant to admit that their new masts may not best fit all the sails sold in previous years! It may also be that a brand has changed supplier resulting in differences in specification.

  6. #6
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    I have seen masts tested on a test setup built by a German sail maker all of the same year, from the same batch even. Many had substantially different bend curves given the same load. It was quite an eye opener at the time although I had suspected as much. I am sure a few on here have seen similar but would not say which brands etc for fear of the backlash.

  7. #7
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    You are dealing with wrapped carbon fiber. The variances can be pretty big.

    The same thing happens with golf shafts, even the very expensive ones. Lots of times when a top pro changes drivers, they have the shaft pulled out of the old one and put in the new one.

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