The Benefits Of Carbon Fibre Masts

Pictures of Americas Cup-class boat hulls breaking in half and their masts, supported by a plethora of rigging and spreaders, collapsing in relatively benign conditions, have given structures built of carbon fibre an undeserved reputation for fragility. But it should be remembered that Americas Cup boats are designed on the ragged edge of structural engineering where the motto is “if it does not break occasionally, we built it too heavy”.

Tuning the new rig

The facts are that a cruising mast properly engineered and built in carbon is stronger, stiffer and less susceptible to fatigue than a mast built in aluminum could ever be. And all this at about half the tube weight of an aluminum mast.

John was born and brought up in Bermuda and started sailing as a child, racing locally and offshore before turning to cruising. He has sailed over 100,000 miles, most of it on his McCurdy & Rhodes 56, Morgan's Cloud, including eight ocean races to Bermuda, culminating in winning his class twice in the Newport Bermuda Race. He has skippered a series of voyages in the North Atlantic, the majority of which have been to the high latitudes. John has been helping others go voyaging by sharing his experience for 25 years, first in yachting magazines and, for the last 20 years, as co-editor/publisher of AAC.

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