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Cruise Village 2020 - LEADERBOARD

Super Spars Aluminium Technology: Don't just listen to us, listen to sailors and look at the results

by Simon Bevan, Super Spars 15 May 2018 12:00 BST

Making masts can be compared to cooking a fine meal. It needs an optimised mix of ingredients in the aluminium alloy, careful processing, clever tube section design and precise manufacturing to make the ultimate mast tube which will offer the greatest potential performance, regardless of crew weight and weather conditions.

It is not just about focussing on esoteric and sometimes quite theoretical mechanical testing measurements but also the careful optimising of and bringing together various factors, for example:

  • The aluminium alloy used and extrusion processing.
  • The weight of the extruded tube and its consistency across and between each batch.
  • Mast tube section design, shape and wall thickness.
  • The design and straightness of the mast taper.
  • Accurate and effective taper welding.
  • Precise temperature and time control during the "cooking" of the tubes to optimise the crystalline structure of the metal for optimum stiffness, flexibilty and strength.
  • Accurate and repeatable mast manufacturing processes.
  • Top class, durable and professional mast fittings.

If there were any "magic ingredient", that would be increased magnesium content in the alloy. This is included in all Super Spars mast, boom and spinnaker pole tubes, permitting more controlled mast bend and recovery responses for differing weights of crew, wind strengths or shifty, gusting conditions.

Our very successful range of alloy sections, as demonstrated by year after year of regatta results, has built-in increased spar spring recovery rates, allowing greater performance from the sails, particularly in gusty wind conditions, by allowing the leech of the sail to be more positive.

The rig can de-power, quickly returning to its correct position and retaining maximum boat speed. We call this process 'dynamic gust response'.

The tensile strength, spring recovery rate and gust response is also enhanced by the special way we process the aluminium extrusions from alloy to mast tube.

The process used to taper the mast means that we produce an accurate, consistent taper which is lighter due to using a special manufacturing and fuse welding processes. The result is a stiff, lightweight tip, resulting in a lower centre of gravity which is much desired.

This shape memory alloy, resilience and tensile strength then are enhanced by the consistent heat treatment which is carried out after the tapering process.

Our alloy is not only strong but also resistant to chemical corrosion which is then anodised to put a protective film on the surface of the mast tube to protect it against salt and metallic corrosion.

This has been a significant factor in success for crews in both the International 505 and the 470 Olympic class. This is what some sailors have to say:

Nathan Batchelor – Ovington Boats and Top 505 Sailor:

    "I'm now sailing my third 505 – all have been rigged with the Super Spars M2 mast – all have been great. Excellent build quality, repeatability and performance.

    It is essential that you use this alloy as it ensures that the mast or boom tube has the tensile resilience and hardness to ensure that the tube bends and flexes to achieve fast spring recovery rate that proven dynamic gust responsiveness.

    The M7-Plus section has quickly become the 'mast to have' in the International 470 Class.

    Whilst visiting some 470 dinghy parks at the last few years international events your view is drawn the mass of red and yellow Super Spars mast stickers covering just about every mast. The M7-Plus section is ideal for other national and international sailing classes where you have to control the sail power."

Dave Hughes – 470 Olympic Sailor:

    "I've used Super Spars for as long as I've raced sailboats. The first time I clipped into a trapeze I did so off a Super Spars mast. Olympic Games... Super Spars 30 knot westerly in Mallorca last week.

    Super Spars. Continent after continent, regatta after regatta consistency, the spars do what it says on the tin, WIN. Thank you to the entire Super Spars team for supporting me for decades!"

In summary, coupling the finest aluminium alloy with the use of the most advanced design techniques, materials and sophisticated manufacturing methods have resulted in a range of mast tubes with very low linear weight and low centre of gravity to reduce pitching.

This optimises the bend characteristics for your dinghy class, increases boat speed and maximise manageable performance in all wind conditions.

At Super Spars we strive to give sailors what they need. The right mast for you.