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S&S Swan General - Carbon masts
08 February 2015 - 23:17
#1
Join Date: 20 January 2015
Posts: 3

Carbon masts
I bought a wonderful S&S Swan 44 last year, with a replacement double spreader mast, c 1994 vintage. When we took the mast out we found a substantial crack. Now considering options which include, repairing the crack, replacing the aluminium mast and replacing with a carbon mast. Anyone have any thoughts on pros and cons of putting a double spreader carbon mast in this boat?

09 February 2015 - 18:00
#2
Join Date: 24 April 2009
Posts: 36

Sorry to hear about the crack in your mast. I generally am hesitant to deviate from the original design of these classics. I have great confidence in my original aluminum mast, which is now nearly forty years old. I consider carbon fiber masts as a weight-saving, racing-driven choice, and do not feel that they would be nearly as durable as the standard aluminum mast. But I would be interested in hearing from others.

10 February 2015 - 14:24
#3
Join Date: 02 January 2008
Posts: 1547

Dear Pomeroy
Would be interested to hear where the crack is in the mast.
Installing a double spreader spar on the 44 means that the load distribution in the shrouds changes, and the chainplates and their holes may not fit the new shroud sizes properly. Have you noticed something like that?
Kind regards
Lars

15 February 2015 - 21:45
#4
Join Date: 01 March 2007
Posts: 147

Hi Pomeroy,

I put a carbon mast on my 47' 3 years ago. It was an opportunity I could not resist, I wanted to feel the difference of a lighter rig, mostly because I wanted to do some coastal and offshore racing. We took the opportunity to change the design slightly so we can fly asymmetric sails infront of the forestay with the aid of a small bowsprit. So far so good, and I am pleased with it. The old alloy Nautor mast sits at home and could be brought back into life if needed but with a fair bit of expense. I wonder what sort of sailing you are planning - this might influence your decision?
Rob
Sarabande 47/029

24 February 2015 - 23:03
#5
Join Date: 20 January 2015
Posts: 3

There are two cracks, one just below the cabin roof extends almost around the circumference, the second is about 400mm higher and is on the rear elevation only. Just had someone look at it more closely and the diagnosis is that they are the sites of original welds when the mast was manufactured. There seems to be insufficient weld penetration. I have not seen anything to suggest that the shrouds don't fit the chain plates.

24 February 2015 - 23:07
#6
Join Date: 20 January 2015
Posts: 3

Well interestingly enough I want to do some offshore cruising and racing. I am based on the South Coast of England and have a speculative entry in this year's Fastnet race. Also plans for cross Atlantic over next few tears. In the meantime local cruising when possible.

25 February 2015 - 18:19
#7
Join Date: 30 March 2011
Posts: 3

Hi Pomeroy,

I too have a Swan 44 ( Rosy Pelican). She is presently undergoing a complete 40 year refit at HYS on the Hamble and- among other things - I have specified a new, double spreader, carbon mast. The old mast was serviceable but required a lot of work and I was interested in how much difference a much lighter rig would make ( someone commented; " with my carbon rig I can endure 2 more increments on the Beaufort scale before I become sea sick!"). I have ( at some weight penalty) specified that the mast should have the same moment of inertia fore and aft as the old Nautor one. This is because I had benefited from the strength of the old mast several times in 22 years of ownership and wanted the same confidence. If you would like any information please do not hesitate to ask me ( happy to speak over the phone if that would be easier). It sounds as though we use our boats in the same sort of ways.

Best wishes, Nick

26 February 2015 - 21:04
#8
Join Date: 02 January 2008
Posts: 1547

Dear Pomeroy
Welds almost around the mast circumference below deck would suggest that the manufacturer has not had sufficiently long mast sections available when building the mast.
Cracked welds can be re-welded, but this would need a skilled aluminium welder.
Kind regards
Lars

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