Groved Mast ????


Ok I was surfing and seen a picture of a groved mast on a rc sailboat. Cross section of the mast would look like the letter “C” The sails attahed to the mast by small “T” 's or rollers
(Wish I could remeber where the site was.)
Now the questions

  1. Does anyone know where you get these masts?
  2. Has anyone every built a simular type of mast?
  3. Has anyone seen these masts in use and what did you think of them?



Yeah that is the one I was thinking of. If my plans go right I was thinking of using them on a IOM but was wanting to see what others use first. After looking at the web site you listed the price is one deterent.

thanks Again

Medicine HAt

i dont use the groovy tube. like greg says it is very flexible. if you are sailing in high wind. that is a bonus. there are sometimes , when you want to depower your rig. and that is one way or doing it. i personaly. just tie the mainsail onto the mast. although i have found the jackline method very relaible. you just need to think. “this is my first boat, what do i need to get into the water” then you can improve from there. my first boat was an old IOM hull that i built form plans in a mag. my friend and i built the hull. then we use 3 foot dowels for mast and cut up and old pup tent for sails. we used wool for rigging line. after we were in the water. then we improved on it. going to 6 foot dowel. and ripstop nylon for sails. all the time learnign to sail and have fun. this can get complicated. but you are just starting off. build a boat to have fun, dont get too complex with it
if you have to get metal for a mast. go to a metal supermarket. and get 1/2 inch think wall alumminum. you can only get it in 18 foot lenght. but they will cut it for you. so you get 3 6 foot masts. and it should come in at less than $40 cdn
good luck and keep up the work

I just bought some 12.7mm alloy tube today with a 0.9mm wall… A 5 metre length is about $6 US.
Not as light as the imported stuff but the best bang for the buck by far.


Those Aluminum masts are made by SailsEtc in the UK. They sell them is several sizes from 9.7mm up to 14.5mm diameter. They also make carbon fiber “groovy” mast sections from 10.5mm up to 15.4mm diameter.

Here is a list of their spar products:

I think Great Basin sells most of these (they do not carry the 9.7mm aluminum section, but i think they have most others).

My class (Fairwind) requires the mast section to have a 10mm maximum diameter. I wanted to replace the 2 piece mast that came in the kit so I purchased the 9.7mm mast from the UK. Shipping is expensive so if you plan to do this, find some buddies that want some masts from over there as well and then order them together so you can split the shipping.

I found this mast to be quite flexible (about the same as the stock mast) and have to be careful with my rigging tensions to get the sail shape I want.

The biggest reason I went with the groovy mast was that the stock mast had a sail track groove in it. Thus, the kit sails as well as the sails I bought to replace the kit sails were rigged for a boltrope attachment. While this seemed like a good idea at the time, it turned out to be a bad idea. Model boat sails are significantly stiffer than ther full sized counterparts on a scale basis. So the boltrope tended to put pressure on the luff of the sail which caused it to stick straight aft out of the groove. It took quite a bit of wind pressure to get the sail to take on a nice cambered incidence angle. In light to even moderate wind, my sails would have what looked to be a backwinding bubble in the sail that was cuased by the sail stiffness.

I have since switched to attaching my sail to the mast with hanks. This allows the luff to fall of quite nicely, yet still prodices a nice clean attachment to the mast.

Here is what the SailsEtc 9.7mm groovy mast and my sail with the hank attachement look like:

Download Attachment: P40s.jpg

Hope that helps answer some of your questions…

  • Will

Will Gorgen

Great info guys

High winds hmmmmm yesterday we had winds gust up to 70kph (38knots,45mph) and it isn’t summer yet. Southern Alberta will get winds up to 90kph (48knots,55mph)or higher. So from what I have read the “groovy” is out!!. Also as there is only 8 sailing here and I am the only one looking at a IOM the cost would be way out of line. {cool the wife agrees with me LOL}

Thanks again

Although I don’t use the groovy mast on my IOM I have seen people obtain remarkable results with these tubes. Yes they are more flexible then the conventional masts and that is both their biggest positive and negative.

Craig Smith builder of the TS2 uses groovy masts with his sails and is able to tweek the rig to obtain sail shapes that you can’t get with a more rigid spar. On the other side if you don’t tune the groovy mast right, it will bend off in some very bad ways.

One final thought. There is aluminum and there is aluminum. The alloy of the tube you buy is critical to how stiff and light the mast can be. I think the typical IOM mast is T-6 alloy (but I could be wrong), the higher price for these tubes is a reflection of this better material.