pros and cons in changing to a Bermudan mast

  • David Hinks
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31 Jul 2008 09:50 #20328 by David Hinks
Hi everybody,
Thinking of changing to Bermudan mast, because of perceived ability to beat closer to wind with a Bermudan mast but i have a wood boat with a flat cover, an old trailer with no mast support, and no winter storage facility. So I believe I need a 2 -piece Bermudan mast if I want to keep my existing trailer /cover setup, with everythng kept in the boat. So can anyone tell me how the mast-track works on a 2-piece mast? And how does the mast work generally ?
Changing to a one-piece mast, the other option, would be VERY expensive.I would need a new boom, trailer, and probably cover as well. Has anyone made these changes recently and would be prepared to let us have the benefit of their experience?

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  • LevanteIRL67592
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31 Jul 2008 10:02 #16178 by LevanteIRL67592
Replied by LevanteIRL67592 on topic pros and cons in changing to a Bermudan mast
We have an old combi trailer, and have trailer the superspars one-piece bermudan rig succesfully by lying it along the centreline of the boat, then tying it down to the trailer at the bow, and the rudder fittings at the stern, well padded, obviously! The other option would have been to run a rope through the hole in the skeg if we were worried about the strength of our rudder fittings.

It is quite normal for people to sail with a wooden boom and a bermudan mast, with no great loss in speed, although an alloy boom is definitely stiffer (In my opinion an oversight by the Association- some sort of deflection test should have been put into the rules).

I couldn't tell you about the cover, not having seen yours, but as the mast is aluminium, I think you would be able to put it on top of the cover, without having to change.

I think the single-piece bermudan rig is far superior to the two piece, better bending profile, and less hassle to rig, so it would be my choice.

Hope this helps!

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31 Jul 2008 10:47 #16179 by Nigel Thomas
Regarding a two-piece alloy bermudan mast, i recently sold my Trident mast on ebay - there are many pictures of it - search for item # 260240539995. The mast track is a hard plastic, glued on aft face. The top section bend is a bit differnet to lower section. The Trident mast is quite a good solution if you definitely want a two-piece alloy rig to fit in the boat - however there are likely not many about. You could buy new from www.trident-uk.com , but the price is comparable to a one-piece bermudan.

Regarding flat cover and Trident mast, simply take the pin out of the boom assembly to remove the boom.

Regarding trailer mast support, i bought a support which attaches using u-bolts to the trailer draw bar (my draw bar is a box section - don't recommend it on a circular cross section). Works real well - purchased £25 at Rooster Sailing http://www.roostersailing.com/merchant2 ... e=trolspar

Hope that helps.

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  • David Hinks
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31 Jul 2008 11:39 #16180 by David Hinks
Replied by David Hinks on topic pros and cons in changing to a Bermudan mast
Thankyou Levante and Nigel Thomas. Would you agree with me that Bermudan boats always sail closer to the wind than gaff-rigged boats ? I was pushed down to leeward by about 30 yards over about 150 yards recently by a plastic Bermudan boat(almost new ) I am trying to work out how much of this is due to Bermudan rig and how much to improved foils and more generally slippery shape underwater.
Thanks again for your help.

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  • Sinker
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31 Jul 2008 12:09 #16181 by Sinker
David,
Although the Burmudan will offer some advantage in some conditions, remember that you also need to consider are you sailing the boat to its full potential.
You mention a loss of 30m in 150m. Are you sure that you sailed the boat bolt upright ALL the time, was the kicker being constantly and correctly adjusted, was the main plulled into the optimum position at all times, was the jib set correctly. Was the board all the way down, was your centreboard as stiff and as smooth as the other boat? etc, etc
If you are sure you have these elements (and a number of others) in control, then think about a new mast.

Even if you did spend the money on a new rig (you will probably have to have new sails to match the mast bend as well for optimum performance!) it may not be a quick route to doing well.
A well sailed & set up gaff boat will always beat a badly sailed one piece burmudan boat.

This is written as a parent who has funded their kids boat over the last 5 years of amazingly fast development in the Mirror class. But please don't get me wrong. I am certainly supportive of all the changes made, and believe there are still a few more that are required.

Good sailing.
Sinker


Edited by - sinker on 31 July 2008 13:14:31

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  • LevanteIRL67592
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31 Jul 2008 14:42 #16182 by LevanteIRL67592
Replied by LevanteIRL67592 on topic pros and cons in changing to a Bermudan mast
I agree with Sinker, a well-sailed gaff boat will go better than a poorly sailed bermudan, but I switched over rigs without buying new sails, and didn't notice a difference. Apparently the old Trident cut sails work very well with the new rig, Qmarks and Goodwins less well. I don't know enough about any other sailmakers to make a call on that one. I definitely felt the boat went better after I switched, although it was more a power issue than a pointing one for me.

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  • David Hinks
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31 Jul 2008 15:16 #16183 by David Hinks
Replied by David Hinks on topic pros and cons in changing to a Bermudan mast
Its complicated. Not only considering sailing qualities and cost of change of switch to Bermudan, but also storage. I store my boat at the sailing club with a mast-down flat cover. Nose-up. I'm successful in getting all the rain to run off and its bone-dry inside apart from a little condensation on the gunnels, If I go for a 1-piece Bermudan I shall get water-staining or worse in the cock-pit with a mast-up cover. If I take the (one-piece) mast down every time I sail I wont have room to store it at the club. So I am coming to the conclusion that Bermudan masts are only practical if you have a plastic boat and /or you keep your whole rig at home.

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  • Roger Clark
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31 Jul 2008 16:27 #16184 by Roger Clark
Replied by Roger Clark on topic pros and cons in changing to a Bermudan mast
I think if you want a bermudian rig then the two piece mast would certainly be your best bet for your circumstances.

If your boat is very competitive then the mast change should help you stay at the front of the fleet. However from your own comments and reply by Sinker, the loss of distance you recently experienced is far more likely to be sailing errors rather than the different mast. Why not go to a group training session to improve your skills before you start spending lots of money on a new mast.

The other alternative is to change your boat to one already in full racing trim (either new or secondhand).

One further comment that has been made in earlier threads is that when a bermudian rigged Mirror capsizes it is more likely to turn turtle rather than sit on its side. Would this make a difference to your decision based upon your normal sailing, i.e. do you capsize regularly or infrequently (especially in heavy airs).

Roger Clark
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  • David Hinks
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31 Jul 2008 20:44 #16185 by David Hinks
Replied by David Hinks on topic pros and cons in changing to a Bermudan mast
Has anybody tried up-grading an existing aluminium (gaff rig) mast by adding a TV support aerial tube or similiar ? Its not prohibited by the class rules is it ? As long as you stay within the
dimensions. Just a thought

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  • huxley
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31 Jul 2008 21:05 #16186 by huxley
I've got a selden one piece & boom on a 66k mirror I brought last year. It was key deciding factor for buying the boat cause somebody had put a new rig on it.

It went quite well last year (9th at Abersoch Mirror Week) but I am struggling to get it to perform this year. Was left for dust in a light wind unfavourable tide race at the weekend by a 70k plastic gaff rig.

So you need to know what you are doing with the boat irrespective of the rig.

For what its worth the key benefits for me are - easier rigging, a bit of safety (no chance of the gaff coming down unplanned).

I leave it tilted up with the mast up and a boom over cover. Some water gets in but I get most to drain out by leaving the bailer open. To help it drain I leave a short length of rope on the cockpit floor leading with an end leading out of the bailer. (Ensures the bailer flap is left open and helps eek water out of the boat.

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  • David Hinks
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31 Jul 2008 22:25 #16187 by David Hinks
Replied by David Hinks on topic pros and cons in changing to a Bermudan mast
Thanks Huxley and Roger Clark for your input. I've only used the boat since March, been out in it some 20 times including some F 4's ---- Not capsized yet, so still got a lot to learn.

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  • Roger Clark
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01 Aug 2008 08:33 #16188 by Roger Clark
Replied by Roger Clark on topic pros and cons in changing to a Bermudan mast
David

I think you have answered your own question and as has been suggested, improve your techniques before spending any money on changing your mast.

You will always find the best sailors are always at the top of the score board, irrespective of which boat they sail.

Is there anyone who can go out with you, either in your boat or from another, to tell you where you can improve. Sometimes the comments made can be very enlightening and helpful.

If not ask someone to video you whilst sailing so you can see how you perform. This can be a wonderful record that you can view repeatedly or show others for comment.

Have a look on YouTube and search Mirror Armada and see other Mirrors sailing. This is a great way to while away a few hours and gain some tips on how to improve your sailing.

Roger Clark
59725

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