Wharram Builders and Friends

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Hi all
This is my first post on this site despite the fact I have been building my Tiki 38 for the last three years, but felt I had nothing to add until now. I am now at the stage were I need to sort out the mast and would be interested to here your views on carbon fibre. Other than cost can anyone see a downside. I've had rough estimate from a company in New Zeland called C Tech Ltd for four tubes at 4.9m plus two spigots for jointing for 5194 NZD which due to good exchange rate at the moment works out at £2300 GBP. They have worked the stress calculations out to match aluminum tube with dimensions of 133.6 OD 127 ID wall thickness 3.3mm. They manufacture masts for Dow racing boats in UAE and seem very knowledgable on what's needed to manufacture tubes suitable for masts. I know its a hefty price but I thought it would worth it for weight saving and robustness of carbon fibre, the weight works out at 2.09 kg/m. I would be greatful for any thoughts on this, and wonder why it doesn't seem to have been tried on a wharram before.

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As far as I can see the only downside with carbon fibre masts is the cost.  They save about half the weight of the bare tube when compared to aluminium, but are several times the price.  I'm doing a full update of my Tiki 26, and have not yet decided whether to have a new mast, but will probably go for carbon if I do.  I believe there are a few Tiki 30's around with carbon masts from C Tech.

I investigated various options for replacing my main crossbeams, and in the end chose carbon fibre.  C Tech were extremely helpful in coming up with an appropriate spec, and the tubes should be ready for shipping later this month.  They're coming by sea, so it will be September before I get them.  I'll do a full post about them later, when I can include some pictures.

With carbon you do have to be a bit careful about electrolytic corrosion of metals like aluminium, so things like winch pads must be designed to insulate properly.  I'm advised that things like stainless steel screws just need a coat of duralac to prevent cosmetic rust staining.

If you're ordering from New Zealand, do research the shipping costs door to door.  I found if the shipping was arranged in New Zealand it would cost more to get the package through the port here and half an hour down the road to my place than it does to get it half way around the world...  I found the cheapest way was to arrange the whole delivery from factory to my house using a shipping agent in Southampton.  Total shipping cost for my two 4.5m beams plus various smaller items is about £440 (GBP).

Don't forget you'll have to pay VAT as well...

in comparison to other cats the Tiki 38 is kind of a sluggish sailor in low winds, I would not bother with carbon masts if you can get hold of aluminium. alu is good because of the low maintenance and because it is so easy to carry them around.
Thanks Robert and Bjorne for your thoughts. I'm still undecided but probably I'll go for aluminum due to cost, there's still a lot of other equipment to buy. I'm struggling to find info on costs, grade of alu and where to buy even on this site. I'm sure it's here somewhere I'll keep looking and keep you posted, thanks again

In Aluminum, you are looking for  5" ID (Inside Diameter) Schedule 10 Aluminum pipe (or tube) in 6061 T6.

Many irrigation pipes and other industrial pipes are made from this, as well as non-tapered flag poles.

Thinking of replacing my wooden mast with carbon fibre or aluminium to keep the weight down.  Has anyone used a carbon mast and any idea of the weight?

If you really want to save weight on the T38, perhaps look at alternatives for the beams... Those things are heavy! You'll save many multiples of the mast weight by going to CF there. There was a member here who had some made for a smaller Tiki, perhaps a 30 at what seemed like a pretty reasonable cost. 

The T30 Mahiya has a carbon fiber mast. See https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZCMR0ojWa-E

lighter mast would be easier to rise... but as Wharrams are cruisers in their core not racers, it would not make so great difference in performance by having lighter mast, is suppose. Im pretty sure that using some modern aluminum cat rig, with fully battened sails with big roach on the sailhead and added keel strip will make more difference than using carbon mast with Wharram's sloppy wings sails, which are primarily designed for easy handling not for adding few extra knots to your pace...

but Im just curious is there someone who had tried to make carbon mast to Wharram back in home garage? like in this video? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A6Jz4_PpHLY

Rob Denny seems to be the new "authority" on carbon fiber masts, especially freestanding ones.

Here is a link showing a low cost way he developed to utilize carbon tow in the consctuction.


I actually have a homebuilt carbon mast that came with a tiki 21 that I am working on. It used carbon tow laminated around an aluminum? core. The aluminum, or some sort of alloy, has the mast head and foot cast into it then the whole thing covered with several layers of carbon tow.  I am not at home right now, but will try and get some photos posted soon. *full disclosure, I have not used the mast, as it was de-laminating in an area when I got it, and the tiki 21 hasn't been relaunched yet..

Just added several photos of the carbon tow reinforced mast. Not sure how to add them to the thread, but check out the photos on my profile..

My tiki 30 had keel stepped freestanding carbon fiber, wood composite mast. They were constructed by laminating strips of fur to a pvc core that had wood plugs in it at the pipe joints. Then wrapped up with carbon. They are really stiff and nearly indestructible. They are not exactly light weight. The only problem I have had is rot at the mast head where water got into the wood part. I posted a couple of pics a while back.

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