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Thread: Wing Mast Experiences, Especially On Cruising Boats - Help!

  1. #1

    Default Wing Mast Experiences, Especially On Cruising Boats - Help!

    I'm quite curious as to what wing masts are like, particularly in the cruising context. And they've always intrigued me. Thus I'm curious to hear about folks experiences with them, both at sea, as well as when anchored. Including during less than pleasant weather in both circumstances. Plus any real world experiences with living with one when shorthanded or singlehanded. Given that they can make some boats a bit more high strung.

    What are you guys experiences with such spars in a storm? Is the sail area of the spar something which makes dealing with the boat a lot more difficut in high winds, in that it can't be reefed nor taken down. But perhaps only over rotated so that it's windage or lift effects are minimized. And is this too the case when at anchor, especially in winds of 40-50kts or more? Have you tried locking them in place, so as to try & mimic a standard spar? Straight ahead, at 90 degrees, or??? Or perhaps you use some other technique entirely, & if so, what?

    Also, if you're kind enough to respond to this thread, please include as much information about the boat & mast as you can. Especially what the boat had/has in terms of foils, her displacement, the sail area of the mast, mast aspect ratio (thickness vs. chord depth), etc. And how much attention/TLC the mast required trimming wise, underway, & when on the hook. Plus any pointers towards sources of information on other people's experiences with them would be helpful. Whether it's towards designers who advocate them, or the logs of boats which have written about their time living with such a spar.


    PS: When it comes to how they affect boats at anchor, please state what kind of rode was being used, scope, & whether or not the boat was using a bridle.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    new plymouth nz

    Default Re: Wing Mast Experiences, Especially On Cruising Boats - Help!

    We had a 32ft cat with a 50 ft mast with 300m depth wing, no problems at all and in a storm the mast would act as 50 sq ft storm sail that would never flap. Anchored we would use a bridle and lock the mast in straight ahead . The only reservation is that the whole rig relies on 1 point to allow rotation. So not a lot of redundancy offshore.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Millbrook Cornwall UK

    Default Re: Wing Mast Experiences, Especially On Cruising Boats - Help!

    I sail an Azuli F40, designed by Erik Lerouge, she is 11.88m long, 6.5m wide and weighs 4606 kg in race trim, sailing weight just under 5t, Erik specifies most if not all his boats with rotators. The mast is 14.9m long with a chord of 300mm x 138mm ( the old Francespar F590C section) so its a rotating mast rather than a rotating wing mast. When rotated it increases the lift of the main by cleaning up the air flow over the back of the sail by eliminating the drag caused by a fixed mast. This effect is not available to us when pointing high as the spreaders foul on the genoa when sheeted in hard. Modern wing mast are often built without the support of spreaders for this reason but they tend to be carbon and very expensive. I anchor frequently, always using Spade anchor with 20m of chain on a rope rode and on a bridle, I've never had a problem with the mast which I lock on the centre line. In heavy weather the mast is an asset as it represents 5sq m of sailable area, we do not need to carry a trisail for racing as its consider a replacement. I have on a couple of occasions reached into an anchorage, on flat water in a F6 under rotated mast. On of the biggest benefits of a rotating mast is the ability to reef the main when sailing deep downwind as the battens are normal to cars rather than loading across the mast track. Rotating masts demand more maintenance and inspection than a fixed one, I replace my standing rigging and high tensile shackles on a 10 year basis. I cant help with their performance in 40/50 knot winds, sailing out of Cornwall in the UK we have no shelter once clear of the land so I avoid those conditions. My guess in 50 knots I would be running downwind and towing a small drogue. I would also avoid large racing wingmasts as offshore they would be to exciting for me!

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