Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Santa Croce Lake, Italy (46°06'23.4"N, 12°20'09.5"E)
Following you can read a detailed reply about X9 530 issues when, some years ago, this questions was highlighted at Neil Pryde Forum (now closed).
Many people contacted me about; now I think it could be a good idea to re-post this reply because I see, after more than two years, that X9 masts breackages (even Ultra model) are yet a concrete nightmare.
Note: this reply IS DATED december 2005
PREAMBLE: I'm not connected in ANY WAY with any of commercial brands mentioned in this message; following considerations have to intend as expression of a personal thought and in the same way they relieve me from responsibilities of any kind.
date: december, 2005
as written in NP Forum some weeks ago, I've just bought a second-hand Neil Pryde RS5 10.7.
Resolute in resolving the well-known X9 mast issue and, after I have highlighted this question in NP Forum with no circumlocutions, same days later I was contacted by an italian windsurfer.
This guy had the fortune to compare NP X9 530 with other two masts of different brands, REPTILE Race 550 and another one, always 550 long, for the present I want to call "The Other".
Only REPTILE mast, as I've discovered later, is made by TRIANA, a weel-known italian manufacturer specialized in working carbon parts; "The Other", instead, is produced by REGLASS, another italian manufacturer.
Well, this italian windsurfer tells me he has made both a VISUAL comparation on these masts (physical comparation on type of materials, surface finishing, rings and caps, and on how these masts fit in his RS5), both in THE FIELD, that is in how they have reacted in terms of performances.
This guy, I think a very meticulous guy, is come to a close: REPTILE mast is a good mast but there is something that makes it a merely COMPATIBLE mast, as X6, and NOT a full replacement of X9.
"The Other" mast, instead, has JUST SAME physical characteristics and performances of X9, or rather IS RIGHT the X9, with absolutely no dubts (or better, with a very low-error margin).
Anyway I have found other further confirmations to his assessments, in the end my opinion, too: I've rigged my RS5 with this mast and, even if I haven't tested it in the water, this sail seems to be rigged with just right mast.
The mast in question, as many have already guessed, WAS CHALLENGER Performance 550, IMCS 35 - kg. 2,2 as visible at link:
http://www.challengersails.com/performance.htm (now not working link)
However, what led me to buy CHALLENGER mast, is another question.
I've called CHALLENGER SAILS factory based in Senigalia, Italy, and I've spoken with Mr. CLAUDIO, I think the head sailmaker, and this gentleman tells me the HIS "real" story of these blessed X9...
In practice, as other persons have empirically verified (persons that, as me, are not connected in ANY WAY with CHALLENGER), masts made with this brand (PERFORMANCE models) are SAME masts produced
by REGLASS for NEIL PRYDE (in 2003 and 2004), this because they are manufactured on JUST SAME spindle used to make X9, using SAME material, rings, etc., following JUST SAME technical production processes obtaining a product with JUST SAME reflex and bend characteristics.
The difference, apart from lenght of 20 cm, is JUST in that additional layer of carbon fiber that CHALLENGER has specifically requested and that makes its masts a little bit heavier than X9... apart from strength issue, this has allowed REGLASS to fully warrant its products while, for X9, this was not possible.
The think might seem incredible but he tell me this manufacturer didn't give any warranty for X9 because REGLASS engineers said to NP gentlemen clearly: "This mast of 2 kgs is at limit of its structural specifications and so, probably, it will broke... if you want we'll build it anyway but we can't give you any warranty on this product; if it'll broke it'll be only a problem of your..."
And so it's clear recent NP policy in returning broken X9 and refunding it with a X6 and 300 euros bonus... evidently the manufacturer has a clear conscience because, when a similar thing happens, the producer is responsible for himself and is forced to replace a defective product with another one but just alike.
Anyway, even if it might sound a little bit strange CHALLENGER tell me a such incredible story without thinking they want to sell their masts, I think to have too many confirmations about and that we are not so far from reality.
That's all; end of incredible (but plausible) story.
At this point, if you want, you can contact CHALLENGER at following address:
VELERIA CHALLENGER SAILS S.N.C.
Via Fattori, 12
60019 Senigallia (Ancona) - ITALY
Phone 39 071 6609558
Fax 39 071 6609557
and tell them you want to speak directly with Mr. CLAUDIO (he speaks english) regarding CHALLENGER masts availability and X9 issues.
As you can see at Performance 550 web page, its price was very competitive (about 500 euros) till november 2005; I don't know if prices for this product will be different for 2006.
Furthermore, I've seen a list of international CHALLENGER dealers at following link:
http://www.challengersails.com/dealers.htm (now not working link)
I hope all this may be useful for you and it will resolve all your RS5 and X9 issues.
-- end of reply
As said above, about two years are passed but it seems that X9 / X9 Ultra problems are always there, unresolved.
At present day I don't know if Challenger Sails sells Formula mast and if current "Performance" mast (if yet in production) has same mechanical characteristics of old 2005 model...
But I think it might be a starting point for everyone has misfortune of breaking a X9 and wants a cheaper and reliable solution.
Anyway I suggest to check a recent post about MaverX masts made by REGLASS, same manufacturer of NP masts till 2006:
I hope all this could be of some usefulness.