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-   -   Should beginner get hi-carbon mast? (http://www.star-board-windsurfing.com/forum/showthread.php?t=9552)

imbrooks 15th September 2010 08:04 PM

Should beginner get hi-carbon mast?
 
Hi, I posted in free forum the other day, was considering purchase of used Rio M.

Yesterday I made the decision and bought the board :) Now I am excited to get started building my skills (but not so happy about my deleted bank account.)

As a beginner, I am doing a lot of uphauling. 100% (cannot beach or waterstart yet). At the shop, I was feeling very poor.. so tried to save some money by going w/ cheaper mast. It is Bic 30% carbon 430 w/ 6.0 sail, aluminum boom. Yesterday out on the water it felt VERY heavy during uphauling. Much heavier than my prior experiences w/ rental rigs (and smaller sails).

So here is my question: should a beginner spend the money and get a better mast (50% or higher)? If so, what % carbonmast is best value-for-money?

Yesterday I thought "no", it is only a luxury. Today I am wondering "yes"? Will hi-carbon mast make big difference in terms of uphauling/strain on lower back? Also, once in upright position, will hi-carbon mast be easier to steer, or same as lo-carbon?

I figure I can go back to the shop where purchased and return/upgrade to better mast if necessary.

In lieu of hi-carbon mast, will "easy uphaul" system be a cheap fix?

Thanks -

Roger 16th September 2010 12:54 AM

Hi imbrooks,
The simple answers here are:
Yes, a 75% carbon mast weighs 2/3 as much as a 45% carbon mast.
So, whenever possible, yes, I recommend a higher carbon mast.
Why?
1/ Lighter weight masts (when you consider the sailor is on the wrong end of the lever here) are MUCH easier to uphaul.
2/ Beginner/advancing sailors are not doing waves or other gear threatening disciplines, so they are very easy on masts.
The "durability factor" for a 100% or 75% mast, in the hands of a beginner who has been taught to uphaul correctly (use your legs.... thigh muscles are much bigger and stronger than the small muscles in your lower back), and to handle power vs overpowering situations easily.... it's simple, sheet out when the pressure builds to keep the pressure from the rig from pulling you over.
It's not just a "luxury".
If you either can't uphaul all day, or your muscles (especially if you are using your back) give out before you want to quit sailing for the day then you are not having fun.
If you aren't having fun, you don't learn much and can become so frustrated with the sport that you give
up completely.
If a 75% or 100% carbon mast, makes the difference between having fun, less sore muscles, and perhaps giving up on the sport entirely, then I say buy the higher priced mast.
If you buy a mast that has pretty standard bend characteristics (I.E. 430 cm IMCS 21-23; 460 cm IMCS
24-26) you can carry that mast forward for many years and many different sails.
I have a bunch of Powerex 100% 430/460/490 masts that have been in pretty serious demo service for more than 10 years. They still work fine on the latest sails.
Not to say that none have ever broken, but if you take good care of them off the water (where most damage occurs) they seem to last virtually forever.
So the added investment in a 75% carbon mast, over the long term, does not cost you much.
75% is probably the current best price, but if you have the money, I would suggest going for a 100%
mast which is the lightest possible.
Not many people break 430/ 460 / 490 cm 100% carbon masts sailing in < 20 knot conditions with no
shore pound or surf, if they take care of the mast off the water.
Be sure to use a bar of soap on the ferrule, use vinyl electrical tape on the mast joint after you slide it together, index the two pieces to eliminate any gaps to the extent possible.
Store your mast in a reflective bag to avoid heat breakage (this destroys many high carbon masts).
I broke 2 490 cm masts in one day in Florida due to the rigs laying on the beach and the mast heating
up from the sun. Both masts snapped right in the boom cutout area where the sun could heat the mast directly.
An easy uphaul is OK, but it adds alot of complexity (and time drifiting down wind) to uphauling a small rig
where simply having a light weight mast can make uphauling quite easy.
The Easy Uphaul was really designed for rigs > 7.5 m2 or maybe 6.5m2 for young women and small sized non adult guys.
So, I would take your 30% carbon mast back and get at least a 75% carbon.
Be sure the mast specifications match the mast recommendations for your sail.
As far as once you get the rig uphauled, yes, it will be much easier to handle your rig
in transitions, and since you are a beginner, you are still holding the rig up, so the lighter mast
will be very noticeable.
Hope this helps,
Roger

imbrooks 16th September 2010 11:06 PM

Roger, thanks for the feedback. It's good to know that my setup is in fact "heavy", and I am not just an uphaul weakling...

A few more questions:

1. You mentioned using a bar of soap on the "ferrule". Is this the top cap of the sail? If so, I am guesing soap just helps the ferrule slip on-off easier and less likely to scratch the top of the mast?

2. You mentioned wrapping electrical tape around the mast joint. What is the purpose of this....to prevent sand from entering the joint while rigging? Is this something you do even if you are breaking down the mast at the end of every session?

3. So if I am going to upgrade to a higher-carbon mast, does it make sense to go w/ a "skinny" mast? From reading on other forums, a lot of ppl comment that a skinny feels better while gripping the mast. (As a beginner, I will be gripping it quite a bit...) Also, is a skinny "stronger", ie thicker sidewalls. If so, what is the downside of a skinny?

Thanks again for the education :) ---

joe_windsurfer 17th September 2010 04:58 AM

...
obviously not roger here ...

1. why does sailing and windsurfing have so many terms :-) "ferrule". is the piece that goes from the bottom piece inside the top piece of the mast

2. people join mast with tape to stop sand and to keep mast together when de-rigging.

3. just last weekend i was informed that skinny masts are MUCH more durable that regular SRS - whoda thunk ?

actually the reason i am chirping in is: i started on a very small budget !! and used old "crap" for years. {AND 30% carbon is NOT crap} i still use an epoxy mast on my old simmer 6-oh. the question is - how much uphauling are you doing ? when i fall in , i try to fall with the sail and usually means placed to go - so, i get out quick n uphaul n go. i even do this with 8.5 and 10-oh. okay my masts are now 90 % and 100% carbon, butt that was NOT always the case. i used the difficulty of uphauling as a way to ensure i did NOT fall in :-) i am learning waterstarts after 2 years on shortboards, butt in a typical session i uphaul usually less than 5 times. most people fall in when turning about - tacking or jibing/gybing. thus i mastered the tack - the easier of the two(2).

in other words - yes, more carbon may be lighter, but NOT necessary to start with. i HAD to wait and did. now even my boom is carbon :-)

Roger 17th September 2010 07:35 AM

Hi imbrooks,
Here's your questions, with answers:

1. You mentioned using a bar of soap on the "ferrule". Is this the top cap of the sail? If so, I am guesing soap just helps the ferrule slip on-off easier and less likely to scratch the top of the mast?

As Joe WS suggests, the ferrule is the on the top of the lower mast section, and is what sticks up inside the top half of the mast. On some skinny masts, the ferrule actually extends down from the top section.


2. You mentioned wrapping electrical tape around the mast joint. What is the purpose of this....to prevent sand from entering the joint while rigging? Is this something you do even if you are breaking down the mast at the end of every session?
I "re-use" the tape several times. Buy good quality 3M electrical tape (a little pricey, but you can use it more times, and it's peanuts compared to damaging your high carbon mast.
After you apply a little soap (bar of soap here) to the outside of the male part that connects the two parts of the mast (this serves as a lube so it comes apart easy, keeps the close tolerance diameters free to turn when you want to take it apart at the end of the session, and actually seals out sand and salt water to some degree) push the two halves together and turn them relative to each other untl the gap between them closes up. Not all masts are cut truly square to the bore, so if you index them one to another you get the best fit, and maximum strength,

3. So if I am going to upgrade to a higher-carbon mast, does it make sense to go w/ a "skinny" mast? From reading on other forums, a lot of ppl comment that a skinny feels better while gripping the mast. (As a beginner, I will be gripping it quite a bit...) Also, is a skinny "stronger", ie thicker sidewalls. If so, what is the downside of a skinny?

Skinny masts are indeed stronger, but do you want strong..... or lightweight and easy to uphaul.
I use them sometimes, in sails that require them (like my 6.2 m2 Sailworks NX slalom which was
designed on a 430 cm Sailworks Backbone (1.9 Kg.) I have both Sailworks and Powerex Std. Dia. 430 masts (SDM) that weigh less (the Sailworks Joystick 430 weighs 1.7 Kg.,) so I use the mast that the sail was designed to be rigged on in all cases.
Only thing I do not like about Skinny masts is that they all sink due to far less volume of air trapped inside.
It's not so fun to come up from a big wipeout and find you board upside down with the rig pointing straight down toward the bottom.
It's a bit hard to right your board with the mast sunk, and then you have alot more pulling to get the rig up
from pointing down.
If you sail in a shallow place maybe this is not such an issue, but if you sail in water deeper than the length of your mast, ..... beware.
Hope this helps,
Roger
P.S All good points made by Joe Windsurfer..... Thanks!

imbrooks 17th September 2010 09:08 AM

Joe, I can understand your point, "why does Newbie need expensive equipment"? I used to be a competitive cyclist, and find it laughable when I see today's newbies on their $4000 full-carbon bikes. Last week, I was riding heavy steel, single gear bike, and wearing full backpack and flip-flop sandals. My amusement was to catch "triathlete" type on the road and watch his frustration as realizes guy in flip-flops is just as fast :)

However, unlike cycling, windsurfing has reputation of being "steep learning curve". You mentioned you learned on "crap" for years -- what if you had wide-style board/light gear back then. Maybe you could have progressed much faster? That's my hope.

Also, as 40yr. old guy, I know my back has seen better days. The other day, I strained my back just downhauling the sail! And my height: 5'-7"..., I don't have much leverage for uphauling. If more money on lighter mast will save my back, I probably should do it!

Roger, thanks for the tip on sinking RDMs. Would this be a factor even for my board (Rio M)..think it's 195L? Maybe I'll stick w/ SDM.

Roger 17th September 2010 10:09 AM

Hi imbrooks,
Sounds like the first thing you need to invest in is a good downhaul crank.
Using your back or legs to downhaul a sail, when there are "tools" that take
all the pressure off your body, makes no sense to me. I use my Chinook
Rig Winch even on the small 2.5-5.0 Retro Ripper Trainer sails.
Not sure if a short RDM can turn over a Rio M, but in any case the SDM will not sink
completely, due to the buoyancy of the air inside.
Hope this helps,
Roger

joe_windsurfer 18th September 2010 03:49 AM

imbrooks

roger is THE MAN
i chirped my 2 cents cuz i donut want people NOT to windsurf due to $$$ issues
some old stuff still goes well - i still use my old BIC Dufour Wing to teach and on the lake
new boards are much more user-friendly, but it feels expensive to start
in my first 10 years of lake boarding i spent less than $1000
with shortboarding i spend about that a year - for last 3 years - 1 board and 2 sails + accessories

as Roger says - take care of your back !!
perhaps an EZ-uphaul will reduce your backstrain
downhaul tool, lighter masts, booms and even smaller sails until proficient
i use a North Zeta 4.2 to teach - so light for me :-)
for women and children it is still heavy - depending on the person
use your thighs and not your back !!

i am over 50 and so is our buddy Ken who writes in
age is not the stopper - your back is !!!

Romas 21st September 2010 01:30 AM

Mast weight ~ 2kg
Boom weight ~4kg
Sail weight ~6kg
Overcome wind 10…30kg
Overcome water on sail 10…30kg.
Feel difference with mast 0.5kg lighter are impossible.
Sorry for my English.

Roger 21st September 2010 06:55 AM

Hi Romas,
Not sure I understand where your figures came from?
Masts weigh as little as 1.7 Kg. (430 75% mast) to over 4 Kg. (Most 30% and 15% masts plus the
aluminum and epoxy fiberglass masts do not even specify how much they weigh.
Booms weigh (carbon- 1.08 Kg - > 3.0 Kg.
Sails weigh 4.0-> 6.6 KG.
Remember, you don't uphaul from the top of the mast, and shorter people get even further on the
"wrong end of the lever" so 0.5 Kg can make a huge difference.
When I last raced in Thailand, at a Formula Experience event, all masts had to be <75% carbon content.
I could hardly get a 75% carbon 490 cm mast out of the water. I've been doing this a long time and have
grown used to 100% carbon content in masts > 460 cm.
The FE technical guy from Belguim was weighing competitors > 75% masts and putting LEAD
foil sheets in the top of the mast. Now that was heavy.
Every ounce of lead was multiplied by 17-18 feet with the uphaul being in the 4-6 foot level.
So, you may not notice the 0.5 kg. difference, but I can assure you that smaller sailors (women, kids
especially) simply cannot deal with a mast that's 0.5 Kg. heavier and will give up the sport before they injure their back and leg muscles.
Having taught a couple of 1000 (i.e. 2000 +) newby beginner sailors I can tell you that light weight is absolutely the right way to go for beginners and advancing sailors.
The Retro Ripper rigs I use weigh less than half what an equivalent size (2.5/3.3/4.2/5.0) adult rig weighs and this is super important to the student success rates. The Retro Rippers also have more power sixe for size than equivalent size wave and freeride rigs.
Roger


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