» Superior carbon fibre masts for racing and cruising » Aluminum masts for crafts of all sizes
CARBON MASTS, the simple truth
There are few upgrades capable of producing as noticeable an improvement in overall sailing performance as changing to a carbon mast. However, for the interested yachtsman trying to make an informed choice, the information offered by most manufacturers may be more confusing than helpful. Female mold versus mandrel, filament wound versus cloth, vacuum bag versus autoclave... every manufacturer seems to have a different method, together with a convincing explanation as to why that method is superior to all the rest.
Yet the simple truth is, most of these methods, when properly executed, are capable of producing high quality carbon spars that are significantly lighter and stronger than their aluminum counterparts. The bad news is that they all share another similarity: a very high price tag.
PATENTED FEMALE MOULDING PROCESS
At U-Spar, we use our own patented female molding process, which supersedes other female methods in that the section is formed as a single piece, with only one bonded joint on the aft face of the mast, instead of the two lateral or fore and aft joints associated with other female methods. Furthermore, since the sail-track is fastened along this face, no additional fasteners are needed to complete the joint, making it stronger, faster to assemble, and without the extra "joint weight" of two piece masts.
Our multi-layered laminates are carefully laid up using uni-directional pre-preg carbon fibre, with approximately two thirds of the fibres applied in the longitudinal axis and one third at plus & minus 30°. Additional layers and local reinforcing patches are then added to areas of high load, after which the laminate is vacuum bagged and cured, using a controlled temperature cycle, lasting a total of 6 hours, and terminating at 120°C (248°F). Our unique vacuum distribution method ensures equal pressure over the entire surface of the mold, and a constant vacuum in excess of 95 %. The result is a section with a carbon-to-resin ratio in excess of 65%, and exceptional qualities in terms of structural integrity, longitudinal and torsional strength, and last but not least, weight. Our masts are typically 50%-60% lighter than the aluminum masts they replace!
HIGHEST QUALITY CARBON FIBRE MASTS at an affordable price
Although the many advantages of carbon fibre masts have long been known, their high cost compared to an aluminum mast, continues to put them out of reach of all but a few. Yet in fairness to those in the industry, when you take into consideration the high cost of carbon fibre and the highly skilled, labor intensive nature of the molding process, the price of a carbon mast is necessarily going to be substantially higher than an aluminum one.
For this reason, we at U-Spar have concentrated on developing and refining our unique manufacturing process, which reduces production time, and makes it possible for us to produce high quality carbon fibre masts at prices that make them an affordable alternative to aluminum.
Currently we have sections available for monohulls from 35' - 65', and multihulls from 30 - 50', including two rotating sections. (Yacht sizes are given as an approximate guide only, depending on specifications.) We also offer a choice of finishes, including “faux-wood” for classic or wooden yachts. Most of our masts include a molded in taper, which improves appearance as well as reducing weight and windage at the masthead.
As standard, all our masts feature a carbon masthead and spreaders, aluminum/Delrin ball-bearing sheaves, and Tides Marine ® sail-track and sliders.
So at this point, we could tell you that because of our unique manufacturing process, our masts are far superior to all the others... but we won't. What we will tell you is that in terms of weight, strength and quality, our masts are second to none... they just cost far less!
for pricing and other inquiries,
U-Spar (Canada) Inc.