600 hoops and 600 feet

Forget about losing weight – we just spent two full days adding about 50 pounds to the boat mast. Yesterday’s work took four people five hours to spiral wrap the 2″ wide carbon fiber twice down the full mast length. Today was another six hour session to add four layers of longitudinal fiber over yesterday’s perpendicular wraps. Both days needed numerous morning setup hours to get ready.

We needed to protect the bolt holes and diamond wire terminals from epoxy and fabric. Charlie made wood inserts covered in plastic tape and we bought nylon bolts to protect the bolt hole threads.

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I was very worried about dropping any backing nuts / plates inside the sealed mast, so we were careful to replace hardware one bolt at a time.

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The Tides Marine sail track however had over 100 small threaded holes and it seemed unrealistic to protect those. So we templated with heavy masking tape and will be sure to re tap those clips an inch or more away from the original holes.

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With the prep done, Charlie, Griffin and Colin gloved up and took positions. In the video we have Colin and Charlie on epoxy brushing, Greg laying down carbon, and Griff rotating the mast.
hoop spiral wrap time lapse
All of it was intense work – getting the epoxy density right, keeping the proper spiral and controlling the awkward mast roll while the other three yelled “slow down, dammit” or worse. The shop looks like a battlefield but with victory:

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And the result looked great – 300 wraps done in one direction, then 300 more offset crossing the other way.

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Today I started out solo in the shop and struggled to figure out applying the 50′ long carbon pieces straight and pulled tight. Then it dawned that the roll needed to shuttle up and down the mast for its 12 trips (4 layers X 3 ten inch wide strips for the 30″ circumference). Here’s the Workmate tool on a movers dolly and some risers clamped on.

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When 2 of 12 passes took a couple of hours, it was time for pleading text messages to the wife and children. By 2pm we had a complete family operation going full swing.

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Everyone made plenty of trips to the pumps.

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We did not pre-measure allotments of epoxy but I was watching our usage all afternoon and was happy to record 2+ gallons used (20 lbs) for 600′ of carbon weighing 23 pounds. Yesterday used a bit under 20lbs of materials, so Keith’s calculations of adding 55-60lbs total of mass look to have been spot on. Yea!

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Despite the slog, it was pretty great to have all four Carters pulling in the same direction :)

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The finished product is wrapped up in peel ply tonight, with braces to keep the mast in column – no sagging or bending side to side.

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Next up will be some spot reinforcements around metal connection areas, and reattaching the spreaders. Then we’ll finally have the custom carbon mast built just for this boat’s specifications. That’ll feel good at sea.

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