Used Carbon Mast availability

16/12/2013 17:00:57
Piers Barrow
Hi There

I'm in the process of renovating Del Boy and I plan to deck step her. When? I've yet to decide, I'm at a point where I could happily re-deck her, which seems to be the most obvious time to make the conversion to deck stepped. Thankfully some of the work has already been made with the inclusion of lowers to my hog stepped mast, though there are clearly a few other mods I'd need to make such as the puller. It would also save me a real b**l ache of stripping epoxy from the underside of the deck.

However, I've been scanning the equipment for sale board and I'm noticing that there really isn't a lot of choice available. I found this thread and from that I can see that a Superspars is probably the best option for my rather lardy frame.

How often do carbon rigs become available (even individually would be good) on the second hand market? I have noticed one available on the second hand list, but it has been broken before and it is available for sale almost 1 year later.

Do the front runners tend to use Super spars or do they go for the whippy chipstows or the seldens? Also is common for the front runners to change their masts as often?



16/12/2013 17:48:12
Gareth Griffiths Notting Hill Rigging Co
Piers there are some great people on here that have been a huge help to me so far, doing a similar project to yourself. I have just managed to find a second hand rig and will be collecting it soon, a whippy Chipstow number.

Have faith, there will surely be something soon.

18/12/2013 17:07:58
Piers Barrow
Just a thought to go out there and gauge some feedback from the experienced members of the forum.

What are peoples thoughts on going down the route of an aluminium mast like the Super Spars M7 when deck stepping Del Boy (NSM2)

My thoughts are around trying to make the boat competitive without spending a stinking fortune to begin with. Do the sails for the modern carbon rigs fit/work on the M7 rigs? As I would look to picking up some used sails rather than brand new ones.

I know there is a slight stigmatism to ali rigs and understandably... firstly that they look horrible and secondly they are not as light.... but moving aside from that, can they still be considered competitive at club level?


18/12/2013 18:44:16
Chris M
The problem with a deck step conversion is that often the woodwork does not quite lend itself to doing what you want. There are usually ways around this, but I've seen many formerly very good hog/case stepped boats that end up very compromised by a deck step conversion.

Personally I don't see any point in deckstepping if you don't intend to use a soft mast ie M1, C, Kappa or carbon section. If you use an M7 all you will be doing is making your rig stiffer (as the mast is shorter) and although you can use rake more effectively you almost totally defeat the object of the exercise. A deck stepped M1 rig should be an improvement, this was "the" fast rig until decent carbons appeared. There must be dozens of M1 masts in hedges around boats parks at various merlin clubs so finding one shouldn't be a challenge.

Sails. I believe that modern cut sails on an old rig will be better than knackered old sails cut for an old rig! They might not be quite as good as new sails cut to an old shape, but you can usually get close by moving the spreaders back slightly.

There's no stigmatism to ally rigs - it's just things have moved on.

18/12/2013 22:49:11
Ah I see, I mistook the M7 for the M1 in One of the deck stepping articles on the library.

So it sounds like I need the M1 if I were to go down an initial Ali route. I'd ultimately like carbon, but it all depends on availability vs cost. Ultimately I think a carbon rig would be the preferred route, but I'm thinking that is something I can advance onto or make the decision to spend the £££ I would on adding a carbon rig to Del Boy to put into buying a newer boat.

I completely understand a old suit of sails won't be as good as a brand new set of sails cut specifically for a rig, but it comes down to £££ and how competitive I'm truly going to be in these early stages or ever. Do modern sails cut for the carbon rigs work on the M1? Part of the reason for choosing to go down deck stepped is to access the decent second hand sails.

Out of interest would you care to explain some examples of approaches to a deck step conversion that would compromise the wood work? I'd be truly interested as I'd like to avoid these pitfalls if possible.

Thanks for the help

19/12/2013 07:58:15
Chris M
It's not the woodwork to do the job, it's whether the woodwork on the boat is conjusive to routing the control lines so that everything works properly. Properly is the key you can have it so that it works fine in a static set up, but again this defeats the object as the point of deck stepping is to use more mast rake more effectively - if you can't change it you may as well have left it.

The best thing to do is look at some boats and see how things are routed. The purchases work best up and down the king posts which is where many boats run into trouble as there is often insufficient travel. You can route the purchases up and down the bow tank but it's then more difficult to calibrate the lowers which are crucially important. Attention to the most minor details when fitting up will ensure that everything works smoothly.

I'd have though a set of modern cut sails could be made to work on an M1, but you really need to talk to the sailmaker.

19/12/2013 12:01:15
Andrew M
I remember going from a deck stepped M1 to a carbon mast and I didn't change the sails - the bend characteristics are pretty similar if things are set up right, but what you get with the carbon is less weight where you least want it as well as better gust response, the topmast bending to blade off the head of the main in the gusts much more automatically needing less fiddling with the mainsheet.
Chris and I share an opinion about deck-stepping older boats, which is that if you have a good well-sorted hog stepped rig on a good well-sorted older boat (3339 for example) you will be better off getting good sails to fit what you have. If you want to go deck-stepped buy a newer boat where it was either done from the off or someone else has taken the time and spent the money to do the job properly. The cost in blocks and string alone is pretty significant and any structural work has to be done properly.

19/12/2013 15:08:57
Piers Barrow
Thanks for the advice everyone, certainly good to hear and I can understand the view on deck stepping or not. However, I have Del Boy and am not intending to trade her in just yet. Part of the reason of getting her was so I have a boat that is a project for me to restore and renovate so I have no worries or misconceptions about the amount of work required to do the job right. However, the expense is something I can review as something that can be planned and budgeted for rather than just thrown at the boat willy nilly.

I think part and parcel of me looking at deck stepping is I don't believe the rig I currently have is that great or well sorted to be honest. The sails are not too bad - but I will have some expense on just this rig to get it sorted, there is some serious prebend off to port on the mast. I've spent time re-adjusting the spreaders and it does effect it to a certain extent, however it's not eliminated - which makes me suspect the spreaders, which have had some repairs done to them in the past and are possibly no longer accurate, and/or the mast has a bend in it. So I will be spending one this rig just to get it straight.

As for the blocks, cleats and string they are all needing updating which I'm already starting to acquire from P&B as I go along with the stripping down of the hull- So I'm already going to have the expense of all of that so that's neither here or there in the equation for me.

One big element is that I do need to re-deck the boat at some point in the near future - there have been several repairs to it in the pas and the top layer of veneer has already been sanded through in lots of places.

So I'm in the mind set of I already have to do a lot of the work already towards the deck stepping, why not go the extra mile and finish it off properly.


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