Online Book:

Carbon Fibre Mast

If you are considering buying a boat with a carbon fibre mast or replacing your existing aluminum mast with carbon, this is the Online Book for you. John provides in-depth information on the benefits and drawbacks of carbon fibre for voyaging boat masts. And none of this is theory. John and Phyllis went through the build and installation of not just one but two carbon fibre masts.

Table of Contents:

The New Mast, Why?

Tim and Charlie, of Billings Diesel and Marine, look perplexed at the latest insanity dreamed up by one of their more eccentric customers.

Without doubt the biggest, most expensive and most stressful part of our recent refit to Morgan’s Cloud was the replacement of her mast. First off, why were we replacing the mast at all? Simply put, to buy peace of mind. We had seen several signs that all was not well aloft including, most ominously, cracks [...]

The New Mast, The Benefits Of Carbon

Tuning the new rig.

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 [...]

The New Mast, Amateur Boat Design

A Hall Spars technician wraps plastic on a carbon fibre mast prior to sending it to the autoclave machine.

We had an interesting to-and-fro with a reader who thinks that the benefits of carbon fibre for cruising yacht masts are trivial and that the same benefits could be realized in easier and cheaper ways. To understand why this is not so, and why carbon fibre as a mast material delivers such astounding increases in [...]

The New Mast, The Bottom Line

Fast is fun: Our friend Flax who, with many miles as the owner/skipper of a Swan 41, knows what fast sailing feels like, is in the zone while steering Morgan’s Cloud.

All the above is great, but this post gets to the real meat: How much did carbon fibre cost? And what did we get for that money? The new mast, excluding some new rigging, cost about US$55,000, as against an aluminum replacement mast, which would have cost about $30,000; a lot of money to us, [...]

The New Mast, Lightning: Myths, Assurances And Risks

An Halls Spars engineer inspects a carbon fibre mast using an ultrasound machine.

Let’s start with the myths: If a carbon fibre mast gets struck by lightning it is toast, end of story. If a carbon fibre mast gets struck by lightning, there is no way to tell if it has been damaged or not, so it must be junked. These two statements are right up there with [...]