Mast Making

What is the best way to make your own mast? I was thinking either fiberglass or carbon, does not nec. have to be light, but obviously strong, its going to be approx. 65 or so inches. Thank you for your time.

heres one way:

and before I forget…ski poles…specially the one for Cross Country


_/ if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it! _

Clearly if its a racing boat you’re better off buying a carbon stick, but you can make a nearly as good one with a piece of sitka spruce, or almost any hard wood. I went to the hardware store and bought a piece of pine molding about the right lenght and shape, and planed it to a nice taper with a block plane. Its kindof a pleasurable thing to do. You just sit and relax in your easy chair with the mast across your Knee and slowly make passes with your plane till she’s nice and rounded and talered. You can do this by eye, Then of course refine it with sand paper. Much more aesthetic than one of those expensive black ones, but those are okay too. My VM mast is about sixty five inches, and its never let me down. I think its about a half inch at the base, and like three eighths at the top.

Good luck

i built my own mast out of wood for my Open class boat. Its a flat stick, so its more aerodynamic than masts usuallly are. its 75" long, and quite strong. Its also not as heavy as you would expect for a wood mast. Wouldnt a fiberglass mast be heavier than a wooden one of the same height and strength…?

Lightest and strongest mast is carbon fiber. Sails etc. in the UK stocks a number of round carbon fiber spars. Walicki Boats (manufacturer of the Skapel) sells a rotating, aero carbon spar with a luff channel.

The difference between carbon and wood is that carbon is much stiffer and much lighter. The T6 round aluminum masts are pretty good for their price and stiffer and lighther than wood spars. Ski poles or fishing rod blanks although carbon are usually a poor choice since they are not optimized for weight and stiffness for an r/c sailboat mast. Also remember that you will generally need more rig hardware to control the shape of a wooden mast than either carbon or t6 aluminum.

Carbon Masts are made in a pressure mold over a steel mandril. When custom built you can specify wall thickness and carbon modulus and spar taper. All in all not a job for a home builder. As to what mast material is better, well you might take a look at big boats and see the breakdown between wood, carbon and aluminum in high performance boats. As to cost, build your own wood is clearly the least expensive.

On the F100 I used a carbon section (marblehead B rig I think) tapered 15 od x 12.5 id to 10 od x 12.5 id them glued a straight carbon tube 5 od x 4 id onto the aft edge, fulled in the hollow between the 2 sections with fuller resin,microballons and graphite powdwer (black finish).
When dried I used a slotting disc in the gremmell to make the luff groove.

For the hounds I used a sail eyelet with 1mm cord, the cord was unravelled to make a fan and when glue to the mast. I found in the past just hooking the stays into a hole, that the hole starts to split after awhile.

Hounds Attachment.

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Bottom mast section at top of photo showing luff groove.

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<blockquote id=“quote”><font size=“1” face=“Verdana, Arial, Helvetica” id=“quote”>quote:<hr height=“1” noshade id=“quote”>Originally posted by Roy Langbord

Ski poles or fishing rod blanks although carbon are usually a poor choice since they are not optimized for weight and stiffness for an r/c sailboat mast.
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Roy - I would disagree relative to cross-country ski poles.

Look at how they are used - the skier “pushes” backwards on them to move forward. Pushing back is a force that tries to bend the ski pole out of column, and any large bends lead to loss of skiers energy and also possible breakage. Thus cross country ski pole suppliers are always working to get as much stiffness as possible, yet as light as possible. If a pole bends too much, the skier wastes energy. Add in that they mandrel wrap them as well as taper.

Fishing poles on the other hand seem (to me) to be designed to bend a lot - before breaking to allow the energy of a fighting fish to be dissapated and to tire the fish before landing.

A stiff ski pole would require a straight luff (or very little) sail luff curve. The fishing pole variety would seem to require a luff with significantly more curve.

Finally, one needs to consider the length of the mast to see if the bend characteristics are too much for the length. Obviously what is an acceptable bend over 24 inches of mast certainly might be unacceptable over a mast length of 65 - 75 inches or more.

I do retain a soft spot in my heart for wood masts - mainly because with diamonds they are easily tuneable for a variety of wind conditions or sail cuts. This “adjustment” ability also seems to be less in the newer sails made of mylar or similar products compared to those of dacron or nylon fabrics - just like with very stiff masts of carbon fiber.
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