Painted or anodized? Three questions to dispel doubts about the mast

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boat mastIn our last installment on the world of the mast , we told you about in-line and quartered spreaders, in deck or through, carbon or aluminum options. Instead, in this article we are going to explore three other topics: the position of the mast more or less on the bow, the rollaranda in the mast or boom, and the painted or anodized mast. Three other useful topics to best guide us in choosing a mast for our sailboat.

Mast: the position more or less at the bow

The position of the mast more or less forward is also related to the configuration of the sail plan. Until the early 1990s, with large, high-overlap bow sails such as genoas, the mast was positioned quite far forward. The genoa was large and the mainsail small, so the turns were quite difficult.

In contrast, modern sail plans have redistributed the sail plan more evenly. The mast has moved quite far aft, but on average for the same boat length the vertical development of the sail plan is greater. Moving the mast aft results in a more rearward sail center, and a boat that will have a propensity to be bolinier. At the same time it increases J, which is the measurement between the base of the forestay and the base of the mast, the so-called bow triangle. The larger the J, the more the sail plan can have a jib with low overlap but still with an effective surface area to provide power to the sail plan. By doing so, with a headsail that does not overtake the shrouds toward the stern, tacking will be easier.

Ultimately, if we have to choose between a boat with the mast further forward, as used to be the case in the past, and a more modern boat with the mast moved aft, from the point of view of sail plan efficiency and its ease of gestome the latter should always be preferred.

Painted or anodized aluminum shaft

When it comes to the aluminum shaft, a very fundamental aspect is the protection of the material from corrosive agents so that it will last. There are usually two solutions: the anodizing process, an electrochemical process that creates an oxide layer on the surface that will act as a protective patina against weathering and corrosion.

Alternatively, there is classic painting, which involves applying a protective primer to the tree and then spray painting. While this process is definitely more aesthetically pleasing because it returns a shiny tree rather than a dull one, over time it tends to degrade and require periodic maintenance. Of the two options, anodizing provides greater long-term assurance and less labor.

Mast with roll mainsail, or furler on boom?

In this case, as in the bow-stern position, we enter into a choice that will affect the sail plan. In fact, the mainsail furler on the mast offers only the possibility of installing small leech battens on the mainsail: for this reason, the mainsail will have little luff and will be small in size, penalizing the efficiency of the boat when sailing.

In contrast, the mainsail furler on the boom gives the possibility of making a fullbatten mainsail, of more generous size and better shape. The furling system, however, compared to the one on the boom, is a bit more complex to perform. If we have experience, however, it is definitely preferable to the classical system.

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