Monday, September 04, 2006

Folkboat Aluminum Mast Controversy

I had the opportunity to mess around with the class legal aluminum mast of Arne Olson's boat Stratavarious. I had heard a lot about them, but the this was the first one I'd seen. I had to see how stiff they really were. This is a picture with no rake. After stepping this mast one thing stuck out... it's as heavy as a wood mast. It's been over engineered to be equal in weight and performance with the traditional wood, but with one awesome redeeming feature... no varnish. You can bang this thing around without fear of hurting it.

This a picture with as much backstay as I could put on.
My thoughts are this; if your sails are cut right, this is plenty enough back stay to deal with the wind we have here in SF.

I'm trying to come up with a reason not to get one now.

Another benefit is no mast organizer is needed, everything bolts to the mast.

At Marstrand, half the boats had aluminum masts, even more had at least just the aluminum boom. Arne has kept records of wood vs. aluminum performance results for all regattas in which aluminum masts have been used. The data indicates there is no advantage in having an aluminum mast. So, having one doesn't create an arms race as long as they are all made the same way. I have the contact information for the Swedish manufacturer:

Per Skoglund

19,393 kr complete mast
3,716 kr boom
3,290 kr standing rigging
886 kr running rigging (main/jib)
delivery time 2-3 weeks. They have made over 50 masts at this point. The Danes think they are too stiff, but they will always complane about something.


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