Failure of carbon fiber yacht mast in heavy weather
Author(s)Meilhan, Nicolas, 1981-
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Civil and Environmental Engineering.
Jerome J. Connor.
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For many years Round the World racers and leading yacht owners have appreciated the benefit of carbon. Carbon fiber spars are around 50% lighter and considerably stronger than traditional aluminum masts. The result is increased speed, and the lighter mast also gives the boat a lower centre of gravity and so heeling and pitching is reduced. The recent spate of carbon mast failures has left concerns amongst the general yachting public about the reliability of the concept and ultimately the material itself. The lack of knowledge about loads acting on the mast prevents designers from coming with an optimum design. But a new program, the "Smart Mast" program, developed by two of Britain's leading marine companies, has been able to monitor loads acting on a mast in real-time with an optical fiber system. This improvement could possibly be a revolution in the design of racing yachts carbon masts and fill the design data shortage. Some other evolutions in the rigging design also appeared to be of interest, like for example the free-standing mast or a video system helping the helmsman to use its sails at their maximum.
Thesis (M.Eng.)--Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dept. of Civil and Environmental Engineering, 2003.Includes bibliographical references (p. 81-84).
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Civil and Environmental Engineering.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Civil and Environmental Engineering.