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.
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
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,
Last edited by Roger; 16th September 2010 at 09:28 AM.