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The King of Carbon

by Susannah Hart 25 Apr 2017 13:08 BST 25 April 2017
Swan 54 in the Caribbean sun © Ross Mason

If you want to go sailing, whether in a dinghy, keelboat or yacht, whether racing or cruising, you are going to need a mast!

The weight and stiffness of a mast can greatly affect the sailing experience, whether in a competitive situation or more leisurely scenario, so reducing this weight and increasing stiffness will benefit cruising and racing sailors alike. If you want to decrease the weight but not compromise on the stiffness and strength of your mast – go carbon!

Carbon masts are lighter; lessening the weight in the rig increases the righting moment and reduces pitching for more performance and more comfortable sailing.

Carbon masts are stiffer for the same weight; improving control of mast bend enhances sail shape and diminishes forestay sag, leading to better performance and higher pointing.

Seldén produce over 400 carbon masts per years as well as booms, poles and bow sprits for boats including high performance skiffs, racing keel boats, IRC race boats and some of the world's most prestigious cruising yachts. And there is a good reason why they have all chosen Seldén for their carbon requirements.

Seldén carbon spars are designed using the latest finite element analysis, underpinned by many years of solid engineering experience, using the best materials and most innovative and automated equipment ensuring consistent, high quality.

All Seldén spars are made from pre-preg carbon, meaning that the fibre is coated in the precise amount of epoxy resin for optimum lamination. This ensures a lighter stronger spar because for a given weight there is a higher ratio of carbon to resin. No wet lay-up is used anywhere on the spars.

The unique Mandrel Filament Moulding (MFM) production process uses carbon tow, a ribbon of carbon fibres held together by the uncured resin. The resin content of carbon tow is lower than carbon cloth or the uni-directional tape used in other manufacturers' production systems.

The MFM process is fully automated and computer controlled for ultimate accuracy, consistency and repeatability ensuring that each mast produced continually meets the exacting requirements of its owner or class. A happy by-product is the stunning 'Viper' pattern.

The secret to making a strong laminate is to use precisely the correct balance of heat and pressure to squeeze and cure the spar. All Seldén carbon spars are cured in an autoclave pressurized oven that is computer controlled and runs a complex cure cycle to ensure optimum consolidation of the laminate.

The coming together of materials, technology and know-how are key to the production of carbon masts. But it is the coming together of the best materials, cutting edge technology and expert know-how that are key to the production of an outstanding carbon mast.

If you want a lighter, better performing mast – go Carbon. If you want to win – go Seldén.