Here’s a letter recently received from the builder of one of the new carbon fiber Waters Wing masts, for which a detailed and full illustrated 75+ page Build Manual is now available. Write for details.
Just to say that I really enjoyed building my carbon fiber wing mast and looking back on it, I would even enjoy doing it again, especially with the new knowledge and skills I gained during the process.
One of the key things I learned is that while you can get the concepts and methods from books and videos, there is still the development of the skills that work for yourself – and these will not always be the same for all people. One of the things I’ve enjoyed about your plans and website have been all the tips and methods you've developed over the years and passed on to us, so I've greatly added to my knowledge and techniques as a result of this project. In building the mast, I choose to take a slightly different path than you for building the core, using a couple of the options (also detailed in the manual), because that was what I personally felt most comfortable with, to get the results I imagined. By pre-molding sections of the nose and trailing sections, this improved my comfort level for accuracy, even if it no doubt added to my construction time.
So overall, I am very happy with my results and the skills I developed during the building and I now use carbon fiber far more than I used to. I think the cosmetics of my mast came out acceptably well as I've received many compliments from friends, along with quite a few "WOW!... you built what???"). My mainsail also fits the sail groove perfectly so I am really looking forward to getting it out on the water. Mind you, until I have tested it under sail, my mind will still be spinning with, 'how good are my laminations?'. That's because I personally found it difficult to impregnate the relatively thick UNI - so perhaps, if I was to build another one, I’d be tempted to use a lighter weight uni with more layers for the ease of laminating.
[Ed: such an option could well lead to the use of more resin and add undesirable weight – so I personally think 12oz Uni is optimum.]
For me, the carbon fiber mast was one of the highlights of building the W17 because of the experience gained, and the satisfaction of building something that very few people are even able to buy! With its sweepback and taper, the final product can look quite professional.
Pleased to announce that finally, after completion of lab tests and 2 seasons of successful testing on a W17R ......
Full details for making both latches (and hinges) for the W17 in Fiberglass, are now available.
This is a 7 page PDF file (with 20 photos and sketches) including all dimensions and full construction details and with a section on the strength achieved, and design confirmed by lab tests. At the cost of US$27, you can now save a little weight and cost over the now standard and sturdy stainless steel units; but be warned that the construction is inevitably more labor intensive ... about 10 hours per set of 4 latches with approx. $50 for all materials. But at least, there is now an option. Development costs require that I charge a little for this but one easy payment of US$27 via PayPal gets you full, well-tested details.
Update June, 2018
The Fiberglass Latch design has proven very successful and is now the preferred design as it's lighter and bonds even better to the wood beam. The design has also been extended to include the upper hinges and now both are covered in the small Manual referred to above, with no change in cost. Successful experience with the fiberglass option has now reached 5 years with no indication of weakness ... provided of course that the manual instructions are strictly followed. (Core tubes need to be of adequate thickness and any space around them, closed with filled epoxy). A few S/S hinges may still be available for those who do not wish to put in the extra labor, and DXF files for CNC cutting are included on the W17 Build CD. Search "W17 Fittings" for details, with more on the Fiberglass units available here.
Gary (C54) from Virginia USA, is the latest to complete his W17 and get out sailing. Gary also built his own wing mast from the free plans he earned after building the boat and reports that ‘this is the first time I’ve ever been able to sail in such a light winds yet still make 3-4knots. I was the only one moving out there under sail and that was very satisfying!”. Gary is presently keeping his boat on a mooring not far from home but work has kept him pretty busy. But he hopes to sail more as vacation time arrives and has 3 teenage daughters clambering to crew. He also found the boat handled well in 20k winds with just a reefed main. Here’s a pic of ‘Flyer’ on launch day and then on the mooring.
Although the wing mast is of wood, Gary painted it black to pass as carbon fiber ;) Right now, he probably has too much rake, but he’s still experimenting.
Another W17 builder (C25) expecting to be in the water this summer, is Ron out in Portland, Oregon. The amas and beams were finished last year so the winter became ‘mast building time’. Ron’s W17 build is particularly interesting as he lives on a house-boat on which he converted a spare bedroom into a fine workshop! (Ron has sailed all sorts of boats and was also into aeronautics as a pilot. His last boat was a Farrier F24 trimaran but he figures he’ll probably get to use the smaller W17 more often). As I was out west this spring (2015), I got to visit Ron to see his progress for myself. He’s certainly doing a fine job and apparently much enjoying the project.
Here is Ron’s workshop with the beams finished and mounted with the rugged custom S/S latches designed specifically for the W17 and available on special order.
And here’s the rear of Rons’ neat floating home, with the completed amas fresh with Awlgrip paint. Ron is a big man at 6’-5” so he intentionally raised the boom about 70mm for more clearance - lengthening the mast that much. Here’s Ron with his carbon sheathed rudder blade.
As his boat will sport the racing rig, Ron has also built the same 8m carbon fiber wing-mast as the designer and although fairly labor intensive, he’s very pleased with the end result and its relatively low cost (below $1000 in materials). With the carbon left over, Ron is also making many of his own fittings, so here is his gooseneck for the rotating boom – and the standard mast plate with some CF reinforcing for the race rig. As Ron already has his sails and most rigging, he only has to finish the main hull to get afloat.
Meanwhile, out in a country barn in Belgium, Daniel is putting the final touches to his W22. Although designed to be built economically with plywood and some cedar strips, Daniel chose to build with the more expensive foam-core option as he was looking for light weight and minimal maintenance. The 3 hulls are all finished, as are the cross-beam akas home built in carbon fiber. Daniel also liked ‘the home-buildable Waters Wing Mast design of carbon fiber’ so he built the 10m version for his W22 and that also is now complete.
Final rigging and mounting of fittings will take place during an initial period of testing, after the boat is transported to its sailing home in southern Portugal.
Here are some mast pics taken during the build process. This is all detailed in a 75 page manual now available from designer mike waters.
Here’s the 33ft mast being faired while outside, and then the finished product with its first coat of paint. (It’s not recommended to leave carbon fiber and epoxy uncoated for too long, as epoxy suffers from ultra-violet rays).
Below, main hull and amas ready to go. (for more pictures under construction, see W22 Main Page for articles on ‘Building the W22’)
And FINALLY, ‘hot off the press’ is the completed boat, with mast, boom and beams – all loaded on the trailer and off to Portugal for her first launch and set up. Be patient ;)
Sorry to have to report some bad news. Mike’s W17R met with an accident yesterday. Mike had to go out-of-town for a couple of days and during the night, a storm blew up (with gusts to 40 kts) and the rapidly rising waves lifted his W17R “Magic”, totally off his custom hoist! The boat was found in the morning, about quarter of mile away, scrubbing and pounding against a metal dock that had fortunately stopped the boat from running fully ashore on the rocky beach. The result was a couple of small holes in the ama side where protruding metal bolts had punched through – and much abraided fiberglass along one ama gunwale. The main hull only sustained light scratching as it left the hoist, as otherwise, it’s well protected by the amas. Here’s a look at part of the sorry sight.
But as commented by more than one local boat builder of experience, it was really not as bad as it might have been.
"Sorry your boat sustained some damage, but the good thing to realize is that you’ve clearly designed and built a very tough boat! For a lightweight boat to grind and bang against a metal structure in high winds and waves for several hours and only have this degree of damage, is rather exceptional in our experience. Good luck with the repairs."
I guess they are right ;-) The 1” Kevlar tape along the keel of each ama, took the brunt of the beach grinding, but it’s still there to serve again. The mostly cosmetic repairs will start tomorrow and other than for final painting, its hoped to be able to get back sailing in a few days.
Here’s what this 500 sq mile lake can look like in such conditions, with some waves over 5ft high and barely 25ft apart!
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