Carbon fiber thoughts for a 122 year old cargo boat

Discussion in 'Boat Design' started by HVVega, Jan 19, 2014.

  1. HVVega
    Joined: Jan 2014
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    Location: South East Asia

    HVVega New Member

    Vega is a 122 year old Hardanger built sailing cargo vessel ( if you are interested) Every year Vega sails around 8,000 sea miles delivering roughly 25 tons of donated educational and medical supplies to some of South East Asia's most remote island communities.

    Our main mast ( Norwegian Pine) is reputed to be older than the boat and is still just fine bar the odd check. Our mizen mast (Red maranti - the only wood we could find at the time) is suffering from serious rot and must be replaced. I have been toying with the thought of using a large diameter carbon fiber pipe with wooden plugs at each end to form the base and extending to form the mast head - we have top masts. I have extensive boat building experience, but have never worked with carbon fiber so have no idea of what this might entail.

    Anyone have any idea if this would work and what wall thickness I should look for? Existing mast is 10 meters tall and 26 cm diameter. It is well stayed in the traditional manner with 3 shrouds a side and back stays . Any help would be appreciated. We simply cannot get mast wood here so I must invent something to keep us going.
  2. Tad
    Joined: Mar 2002
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    Tad Boat Designer

    Steel pipe will be a lot easier to come by than carbon, and far less money.
  3. SukiSolo
    Joined: Dec 2012
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    SukiSolo Senior Member

    If you can get stuff from Oz, it might be worth seeing if you can get some Quandong (silver) timber as it looks like a suitable replacement material.
  4. bpw
    Joined: May 2012
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    bpw Senior Member

    It will work, but it will be crazy expensive. I have seen masts that size quoted in the $20,000 range.
  5. HVVega
    Joined: Jan 2014
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    Location: South East Asia

    HVVega New Member

    Actually, by getting the pipe out of China (same Lloyds approved factory supplying all the big oil companies) it is not at all expensive. I am always amazed at how much difference there is between prices at the factories who make these things and the same items once in Europe and N. America.
  6. HVVega
    Joined: Jan 2014
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    Location: South East Asia

    HVVega New Member

    Thanks Sukisolo I am looking into that now. Might make sense. Have to do something for sure have our yearly deliveries coming up soon.
  7. Petros
    Joined: Oct 2007
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    Petros Senior Member

    why not just build-up a hollow mast from laminating smaller peices of lumber, and than warping the thing with fiberglass? A lot less cost then carbon, and more damage resistant, yet still much lighter than a solid spar.

    If you use some rot resistant wood for your core, it should hold up well. That is what I would if I needed a large wooden mast. you can use what ever fairly clear grain wood is available locally, and epoxy and fiberglass (which should be available in almost any boat yard). you might want it professionally designed so you know it is strong enough, but you can find someone here to do that for you through the internet. Eric Spongburg is a member of this forum, he has a lot of Spencerian designing hollow composite masts.
  8. Waterwitch
    Joined: Oct 2012
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    Waterwitch Senior Member

    How would you inspect a wooden mast for rot if it is wrapped in glass?

  9. Ilan Voyager
    Joined: May 2004
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    Ilan Voyager Senior Member

    When glued with epoxy, all surfaces coated with epoxy and wrapped with fiberglass and epoxy it's extremely unlikely that the mast (or a hull) will rot, as the wood is completely sealed. No oxygen, nor water so no fungus.
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