The mast is considered to be the back bone of the sail. How well do you try to keep your own back bone? As healthy as possible. Therefore, it’s the same care which is needed for the mast for your sail.
A windsurfing mast is not a pole. It’s one piece of technology with important materials and precise manufacturing procedures. When you buy a first-class mast, whether it’s a 60 or 100%, it needs to be treated as a technical tool, and not as a toy.
Therefore, it’s being sold in a nice compact padded single bag. This is where it should be always stored when not in use. It protects the mast during transport, which is one of the main causes, which could damage your mast. Insert the mast in the bag, only when it’s dry from rinsing.
Mast break from two main causes:
- The first being a defective product due to imperfection in the manufacturing or material. A high-level carbon mast is a handcrafted, almost as a custom product.
- The second being from improper use.
If the mast breaks from being defective, due to point one, it will break in less than five times on the water, and often just by rigging the sail the first time. If this does not happen, then the breakage is normally caused by improper use, otherwise it would have been broken before.
This improper use maybe from not inserting the cams correctly. It’s always good to check if the cams are sitting straight on the mast before use. A double check is not taking long.
Tightening too much the boom head: There is no need to apply to much power on the boom head to keep it in the right position. If you have to exaggerate with the tension, than something is not developed properly on the boom head, and its better to start wondering on the boom head functionality. When this has too much tension, if you catapult, the overtighten front head stresses too much the mast in that area, and it could bring the breakage in the boom area.
Catapults are one of the main causes, as well as dropping the mast on the ground. The mast might not break on the time of the accident, but maybe while rigging the next time. If the carbon gets damaged on the side, the time you rig the mast, where the damaged part goes into compression, the mast could collapse. You might think that it broke from rigging, but it could have been caused from an earlier session accident.
Too many hours of sun in really hot days with no wind, is not the healthies for your mast. The mast if made with good carbon and resins, it will hold, but the mast does wear with time. The stress given to it for years will bring a wear, and a loss of performance. Just like any other product. You might have the mast for over 5 years, and still rig good, but of course the performance of the reflex, could have tired out with over hours and hours of work. So, keeping it out of the sun, de-rigged or at least kept a straight as possible when not in use, it’s all health for keeping longer the performance of the product.
Shorebreakes, sand banks. If the top part of the mast breaks in the area from the ferrule, it is often from not inserting the base properly to the top. If the top breaks at the tip, it is probably from the top getting stuck into reefs or sand banks, even in smaller waves. Actually, it’s sometimes easier that it breaks in smaller waves, especially if the water is shallow, than in bigger waves.
Always clean properly the ferrule from dirt or sand. Rinse before forcing to be inserted. Don’t think ok it took power to insert the top and bottom, and it worked. The dirt trap in, while sailing, will send off more of the material of the mast, and create even more dirt, and the mast could get stuck. If you feel there is dirt in between, don’t just rinse the ferrule, but the entire inside of the top as well. The dirt could be blown in from the wind, and when sailing it could come down between the parts and get your top stuck to the ferrule. Sometimes you will not see the dirt which covers the ferrule due to thin earth particles that are not visible. Dirt is the only reason why masts get stuck, so just take care that all is clean.
The sail, can be left rigged for more days, if you are too lazy to de-rig, but the mast will bend if left lots of days with tension. This bending is normal, and most of the time is not the mast bending, but the ferrule. The mast ferrule will slowly with time go back straight and will not break. For long life of the mast, it is recommended to de-rig the sail when not in use. Alternatively, to take out completely the downhaul so that the mast stays in the sail at a perfect straight position. Otherwise in long term, the mast will lose its reflex in a faster period of time, than in the normal use.
If you use the dedicated mast for the advised sail, and not ‘compatible masts’, the rig will have less stress, and the performance of all it’s components will last longer.