Roger Gravatt reports on his recent visit

Monday, September 21, 2015

I recently had reason to visit Selden Masts Ltd at Gosport and took the opportunity to obtain an update on the Company's current and likely future activities relative to the National Solo with David Hayes. It is worth bearing in mind that "old" design extrusions are designated with a letter or number whilst "new" design extrusions have a name.
Selden are now only supplying booms using their Olympus extrusion and that no further 2628 extrusion booms will be available (dealers may have some old stock). The weight of the Olympus is the same as the 2628 but the newer design is 17% stiffer.Currently 4 different extrusions are available:

  • C,
  • Zeta,
  • D+
  • Cumulus.

C

This is now only available with a long internal sleeve which provides support from below deck level to well above the gooseneck fitting. This flexible section mast remains popular with lighter sailors but Selden are hopeful that it's usage will be superseded by the Zeta section mast so that production of the C can be brought to an end.

Zeta

This flexible section is becoming more popular and is supplied with a 850mm sleeve to provide support at deck and gooseneck level. I have been told that ideally the sail requires a little extra cloth in the luff area, perhaps 2mm-5mm but that a sail cut for. a D+ works pretty well.

D+.

This is by a long way the National Solo Class' favourite. The unique position of the extrusion's internal web may particularly work well with our wide boom angle sheeting position. Selden make around 200 D+ masts per year (with 4 or 5 being for the Enterprise Class - the only other Class using this mast section). Currently the mast is supplied with a 850mm internal sleeve to provide support at deck and gooseneck level. Next year Selden may make an alternative version with a short (300/350 mm ?) sleeve which would only provide support at deck level but no final decision has been made on this. Selden would prefer to stop production of D+ masts in favour of a "new" section but will obviously not risk losing such a valuable market.

Cumulus

This section with dual side taper has been available for many years and works well on open waters but it's lack of athwartship tip movement does not seem to suit inland venues. Selden has a supply of side taper masts ready for fitting out but are unlikely to make any more in the future. Currently it has the usual 850mm internal sleeve. A front taper (as per the D+) version has been experimented with but has not been liked as much as the D+. The taper length is not the maximum allowed by our Rules nor is the tip diameter the minimum allowed so a "max taper" version has recently been produced. 2 are at Hayling Island SC and a third is going to Charlie Cumbley. It is hoped (by Selden) that this mast could eventually replace the D+. Although this version is being referred to as "max taper" it is still not at the limits of our Rules but as it must also serve the Enterprise Class it is as far as Selden will go.

So, there you have it, the current position of our 2015 National Championship sponsors. Note: if you want to see what a real maximum allowable taper looks like, check out a SuperSpar M7+

Roger Gravatt
S4528

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