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Building the Victoria - Mast and Spars

Mast and Spars

by Scott Spacie (from the 2000 Region 3 Regatta Report)

It seemed to me that the biggest difference between boats was the masts. In the high winds, the boats with the aluminum masts just couldn't compete. I guess the difference would be less in more moderate conditions. The number of spreaders, 1, 2 or 3! didn't seem to matter although the top boats had one set. But with graphite (mine) or glass (Danny's) so cheap now, it is definitely the way to go. Jumpers and masthead vs 7/8 rig didn't seem to matter. My vote is graphite -masthead - no jumpers - one set of spreaders- on the basis of simplicity.

Danny and I agreed that it was important to be able to move the mast and jib forward in the heavy air. I hope the measurements show that my mast was about an inch forward and the forestay was right up to the bow. I watched someone try to balance a stock rigged boat, and tipping the mast forward just wasn't enough to get the boat balanced upwind.

I also felt that it was important to have a jib topping lift to set jib twist to match the main (along with a good vang l to reduce death-rolling). If the wind were lighter, it would have become even more important.

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from VRC Forum

Dick Thomas

What is the purpose of the spreaders? What advantage do they have over straight from deck to mast with the rigging?


A.J. Moritz:

You have a good question. If your rig is of carbon/graphite you probably can get away without spreaders but that means that you would need to cut a hole into the deck for a keel-stepped mast.
I have witnessed in several other classes where folks do not include spreaders thinking that it's less windage and weight aloft. There is a valid point to this thinking but when you are dealing with the scale of the Victoria to the scale of wind, I personally do not believe it's worth it. I believe spreaders is an essential part of mast and sail shape control . The only class that I would consider going spreaderless in is the experimental open-class of the 36/600.
The key to going spreaderless is having very stiff mast stock, which can be achieved with a carbon spar. But most importantly, is having a precision deck cut and keel-step anchoring with a multi position mast base control.
A carbon spar with a multi position deck step and spreaders with one set each uppers and lowers is the best way to go if one truly prefers carbon spars. I personally prefer a good hardwood (spruce) mast with the standard Victoria deck step and the aforementioned spreader/shrouds. Again, I believe it all comes down to scale, I preferred having mast bend control to accommodate a desired sail shape in a given wind and wave condition.


Rick Martin:

I agree completely with AJ here but it should be added that until rule 5.4 is changed, the mast must be stepped on the deck. Should rule 5.4 be changed??


A.J. Moritz:

Rick, you are right! Rule 5.4 doesn't allow a through deck mast step to the keel.
Steve's question was spreaderless only no mention of shroudless. I was a blind sided with my comments, for some reason, my thought process was a rig without shrouds. I guess my mind set was with the 36/600 Class where many folks run with out spreaders or shrouds, just a jib and back stay.
Yes, a carbon spar doesn't need spreaders but again, I personally would still have them due to loading forces that the Victoria rig can be subject to.


Mike Duggan:

The purpose of spreaders (this is a good question) is twofold. The short answer is that they provide a method for keeping the mast straight across the beam. They also are responsible for mast pre-bend. (Only if they are swept back which, they are not in the VIC)

Physically speaking the outer shrouds (masthead to turnbuckle; place the spreader in compression. The lowers (spreader at the mast to turnbuckle) place the spreader in expansion. A balance of compression and expansion (done by tuning the turnbuckles) will make the mast straight.

Are they necessary on the VIC? I believe they are if you wish to tune for competitive racing. As the fleet begins to tune its sail shape to pre designed luff curve there will be more and more boats wishing to control mast bend.

With no spreaders there is no way to ensure the bend deflection is true to the stern. But if you sail with a straight luff mainsail and you have a fairly hard rig, Spruce, or aircraft aluminum then spreaders are just added weight, but ultimately your boat will not be as fast as those who become proficient with sail tuning their mast. (Even straight luff Mains benefit from a little mast bend in heavier winds. It allows more leech curvature which spills power off the top half of the sail and makes the boat less tender) (Although light wind sailing will be hampered by this.) With a tunable rig you can tune the mast back straight. Keep in mind only one set is needed. The kit uses two which is overkill and silly since the mast material might as well be bar stock.


George Emmert:

Very well-stated reply on the use of Spreaders. I don't use any!. Just use a carbon-fiber mast and that does the trick. Backstay tension is critical on the Vicky. I would recommend that the back stay be initially set to have NO tension...just THERE to be felt for the downwind runs. This allows the club to lift easily and set up the slot for windward work. Also, too much tension on the shroud turnbuckles will cause your deck to "Saddle" so, again, tighten to Just Snug...NOT tight...finally, even with the use of a carbon mast, I can still bow it slightly with backstay tension...and this results in depowering as you I just don't do
that anymore...I would rather use the sails radio controlled servo and fine tuning adjuster when the wind is up, easing off just a tad!


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Victoria Jib Boom Counterweight

by Tom Causin

One problem with the Victoria is that the Jib Boom needs to be as far forward as allowed by the class rules. Most Counter weights are attached to the front end of the Jib boom allowing them to protrude out over the forward end of the boom. The benefit of that is the ability to use a very light counterweight.

The way the Victoria sets up, that is not too easy to accomplish... enter the sliding counterweight. Here is how it works. I found a lead fishing weight kit at Wal-Mart. The center of the weight is filled with a rubber strap. This allows the lead weight to be slid along the fishing line.

I took a length of music wire, ran it into the rubber strip, all the way out the other end and left about an inch on the forward end and a little more on the aft end. I sent it up through the hole in the jib boom used by the jib stay and tack and wrapped it over to stay secure. I bent the wire 90 degrees, moved to the aft end, bent that up 90 degrees again and wrapped the music wire around the jib boom tightly. To adjust the counter weight move it fore or aft until the jib boom settles amidships while the Victoria is on its side.

Here is a picture of the finished set up.

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