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J/105 Sparcraft mast replacing Hall


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Recently replaced the original Hall mast with Sparcraft (original damaged in transit to regatta).   Hearing that I might need to recut my new (used twice!) North mainsail to fit the different Sparcraft bend profile.   Any other J/105 owners or sailmakers have any experience with this?  Thanks

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Not sure if any of the San Francisco based J/105s have switched over yet, but I know Ballenger is working on new rigs for the fleet. I heard Blackhawk is getting the first rig off the line. Might be worth reaching out to the SF Fleet?

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Connect with Paul D @ Doyle, they just came announced a new sail design for the Sparcraft.  http://j105sails.com/  He just sent this email earlier this week...

"New" Sparcraft Mainsail

Many boats sailing with the newer Sparcraft masts have been struggling to be competitive. This summer I spent a lot of time physically measuring and analyzing the spar to built a mainsail that fits the full potential of this mast. The Sparcraft mast is stiffer laterally and can bend through a greater range than the hall spar. The mast tuning is a polar opposite to the Hall Spar requiring the mainsail to be very different to work properly. This new design fits the luff curve perfectly and by having the depth to handle the increased bend range make this main powerful in light air.
The first sail went to Max Kalehoff's Laura Bee in fleet 6. Their first race, in a paltry 5 knots of wind, they sailed to leeward and through fleet champ loulou to lead at the weather mark. They showed great speed through out the regatta in both light and heavy air. The boat went from struggling to be competitive and certainly one of the fastest boats in the fleet. 

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On 1/7/2022 at 4:03 PM, bollocks said:

Recently replaced the original Hall mast with Sparcraft (original damaged in transit to regatta).   Hearing that I might need to recut my new (used twice!) North mainsail to fit the different Sparcraft bend profile.   Any other J/105 owners or sailmakers have any experience with this?  Thanks

The local sailmakers have a lot of experience with the Sparcraft mast at this point and know what to do. You will need your main re-cut for the Sparcraft, or sell it to someone with a Hall mast and get a new one cut specifically for the new spar. That's not such a crazy idea because the NAs are in SF in late September and most out of town boats use AP sails. They will probably need access to HA sails if they want to be competitive. You will have to discount your sail, but perhaps not substantially more than the cost of the recutting work, so it may end up a wash.

What was the damage to your original Hall mast? 

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On 1/8/2022 at 3:36 PM, GroupW said:

Connect with Paul D @ Doyle, they just came announced a new sail design for the Sparcraft.  http://j105sails.com/  He just sent this email earlier this week...

"New" Sparcraft Mainsail

Many boats sailing with the newer Sparcraft masts have been struggling to be competitive. This summer I spent a lot of time physically measuring and analyzing the spar to built a mainsail that fits the full potential of this mast. The Sparcraft mast is stiffer laterally and can bend through a greater range than the hall spar. The mast tuning is a polar opposite to the Hall Spar requiring the mainsail to be very different to work properly. This new design fits the luff curve perfectly and by having the depth to handle the increased bend range make this main powerful in light air.
The first sail went to Max Kalehoff's Laura Bee in fleet 6. Their first race, in a paltry 5 knots of wind, they sailed to leeward and through fleet champ loulou to lead at the weather mark. They showed great speed through out the regatta in both light and heavy air. The boat went from struggling to be competitive and certainly one of the fastest boats in the fleet. 

Thanks yes I received same email.   Having just spent 12K on new North Sails I didn't fancy chucking the main away and buying a new Doyle main.   I'm waiting for North Sails to tell me whether it's just a $200 luff curve as Frogman56 suggests.....!!

 

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On 1/8/2022 at 8:56 PM, Wet Spreaders said:

The local sailmakers have a lot of experience with the Sparcraft mast at this point and know what to do. You will need your main re-cut for the Sparcraft, or sell it to someone with a Hall mast and get a new one cut specifically for the new spar. That's not such a crazy idea because the NAs are in SF in late September and most out of town boats use AP sails. They will probably need access to HA sails if they want to be competitive. You will have to discount your sail, but perhaps not substantially more than the cost of the recutting work, so it may end up a wash.

What was the damage to your original Hall mast? 

Thanks for the thought.  Mast damage - while being trucked to Nationals, the mast base hit an I-95 overpass that was being worked on - (so under the posted height).   Took a chunk out of the mast base and stressed the spreaders.   Probably repairable if anyone's interested in it. 

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On 1/9/2022 at 3:10 PM, Frogman56 said:

Surely the recut is just the luff curve? $200 or thereabouts?

Likely a bit more with slides than a volt rope. Also, if the rig is that much softer fore and aft, there may not be enough tabling to add luff curve, then you get into girth issues. Best move is to shorten the foot a little and start over from there...

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2 hours ago, notallthere said:

Likely a bit more with slides than a volt rope. Also, if the rig is that much softer fore and aft, there may not be enough tabling to add luff curve, then you get into girth issues. Best move is to shorten the foot a little and start over from there...

Volt rope - that's when you hit overhead wires right? :-) 

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20 minutes ago, Controversial_posts said:

This is why I love racing “one design”.

Not much choice when you have close to 700 boats made over 30 years and the spar supplier goes tits up. 

What I can tell you from 18 years of racing J105s in a big fleet (seldom fewer than 20 boats on the line) is that it's the crew that makes the difference. I've seen owners come and go, boats come and go - winning is correlated with the people, not the platform. Preparation matters, practice matters, but the position of the sink, tiller or wheel, Hall or Sparcraft, Scrimp or chopper - it's the guys who can race who win races. Which is why I love racing "one design".

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13 hours ago, Wet Spreaders said:

Not much choice when you have close to 700 boats made over 30 years and the spar supplier goes tits up. 

What I can tell you from 18 years of racing J105s in a big fleet (seldom fewer than 20 boats on the line) is that it's the crew that makes the difference. I've seen owners come and go, boats come and go - winning is correlated with the people, not the platform. Preparation matters, practice matters, but the position of the sink, tiller or wheel, Hall or Sparcraft, Scrimp or chopper - it's the guys who can race who win races. Which is why I love racing "one design".

But it's soooo much easier to  blame or ascribe it to a boat config, than it is to go out and get really good at that racing thing.  Its the OD version of "My rating it too harsh"

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On 1/8/2022 at 4:36 PM, GroupW said:

Connect with Paul D @ Doyle, they just came announced a new sail design for the Sparcraft.  http://j105sails.com/  He just sent this email earlier this week...

"New" Sparcraft Mainsail

Many boats sailing with the newer Sparcraft masts have been struggling to be competitive. This summer I spent a lot of time physically measuring and analyzing the spar to built a mainsail that fits the full potential of this mast. The Sparcraft mast is stiffer laterally and can bend through a greater range than the hall spar. The mast tuning is a polar opposite to the Hall Spar requiring the mainsail to be very different to work properly. This new design fits the luff curve perfectly and by having the depth to handle the increased bend range make this main powerful in light air.
The first sail went to Max Kalehoff's Laura Bee in fleet 6. Their first race, in a paltry 5 knots of wind, they sailed to leeward and through fleet champ loulou to lead at the weather mark. They showed great speed through out the regatta in both light and heavy air. The boat went from struggling to be competitive and certainly one of the fastest boats in the fleet. 

I’m the guy mentioned in the Doyle promo email. My new original Doyle AP main was designed for the Hall spar, which bends primarily at the upper quarter when backstay is applied. That is a universal defect in the original Hall spar, and why you commonly see permanent bend and stress cracks at the hounds, and increasingly breaks. That happened to me a few years ago and that is why I replaced with a Sparcraft. With my new mast, I became suspicious when my three-year old main (originally from the Hall mast) would put me on the podium while the new main landed me consistently at the back of the fleet. It was because the stretch of the old main created extra mid-luff curve, which the Sparcraft needs because it bends more evenly throughout its length. The Sparcraft is also completely straight with little/no backstay. That is why my new standard “Hall” main was too flat through every backstay range, and could never power up. Paul D worked with over last summer on recuts, measurements and eventually a total redesign of the Doyle main for the latest Sparcraft model (which may be different than the old Sparcraft masts from 20 years ago on the French-built J105s).

The new Sparcraft main performance is promising. I got to use it one regatta, our last of the season, at American Yacht Club Fall Series. We could’ve placed second, but some boat handling issues put us in third. Regardless, we were happy with the instant improvement. The Doyle promo above is accurate. Additionally, we got our tuning matrix better dialed in. The backstay range is less on Sparcraft, and the sail will invert sooner than with the Hall. So it becomes more important to be proactive and early on adjusting the caps for headstay tension.

After nearly giving up and selling the boat out of frustration, we fixed the problem and are competitive again. We are excited for the upcoming season!!! I thank Bruce Stone for his advice, along with several of the SF owners who converted to Sparcraft, for sharing their knowledge. (With SF Bay conditions, we’ll see a lot more necessary Hall replacements if the J105 fleet stays strong.) I also thank Paul D at Doyle for working with me to do the right thing and develop a competitive sail. Undoubtedly, there is more fine-tuning ahead. 

One last important point, Quantum and Doyle outright address the latest Sparcraft replacement mast with a special cut main. My inquiries to other leading sailmaker reps resulted in no acknowledgment of need for a different cut for Sparcraft. All sailmaker reps are generally knowledgeable, honest and well intentioned in my experience. So I was a bit surprised that some outright told me there is no option but their standard cuts. Sometimes they don’t know what they don’t know. You have to become your own expert, and be selective with theirs!!!

I’m happy to share my knowledge with any fellow J105 owners facing a Sparcraft replacement. It can work, and potentially better, but often counters the the logic and convention developed over thirty years with the aging Hall masts.

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Maybe I missed it but I have not seen any references to backstay tension in any tuning guides.  Would anyone with a hall mast be willing to share your experience?  I believe max on hall should by 3k lbs.  Is anyone going to 3k in heavy air?  If not what have you found to be max backstay tension? 

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5 hours ago, GroupW said:

Maybe I missed it but I have not seen any references to backstay tension in any tuning guides.  Would anyone with a hall mast be willing to share your experience?  I believe max on hall should by 3k lbs.  Is anyone going to 3k in heavy air?  If not what have you found to be max backstay tension? 

We don't go by "tension" - we look for over-bend wrinkles in the main and just assume that it's OK to crank it until we see wrinkles show up. Probably if we kept increasing shroud tension that would eventually banjax the mast, but we find that we can limit the forestay sag without extreme tension, so it all seems to work out.

By the way, by rule you're not allowed a load cell in the rig anyway. Most folks tape an old batten to the backstay adjuster with a scale crayoned on it in Sharpie.

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I would like to know if the more developed programs with the Sparcraft masts have adjusted the rig tension settings from those posted in most tuning guides?  Tuning guides all seem to be in reference to the Hall Spar.  Personally I find the tuning guide numbers too tight for my Sparcraft mast but would love to hear what others are doing??

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On 2/1/2022 at 6:02 AM, quicksail said:

I would like to know if the more developed programs with the Sparcraft masts have adjusted the rig tension settings from those posted in most tuning guides?  Tuning guides all seem to be in reference to the Hall Spar.  Personally I find the tuning guide numbers too tight for my Sparcraft mast but would love to hear what others are doing??

Yeah - I suspect that the tuning for Sparcraft is very different because the bend is different. Here's what we do:

1. Sail around when the wind is blocked by the city somewhat - allows us to find multiple wind strengths on the same day

2. Set the cap shroud to give the forestay sag that we want (about a foot) and guestimate the mid and lower

3. Crank on backstay until the boat sails upwind with the right heel angle and rudder angle

4. If the main looks funky or we get overbend wrinkles, adjust the mids and lowers. You crank the shroud that the wrinkle points to, or uncrank the other one, or a bit of both.

5. Re-check the sag - this is important because the mid/lowers also affect sag so if your guestimation was wildly out, this may change

6. Write down the setting

7. Move to a new windspeed location and do it again.

Thinking about it, this probably only works for wind speeds where the boat is powered up. For light breezes we usually just slack everything off using turns ratios - 3:5:1 for upper:mid:lower until the sail looks "right".

 

 

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Etchells have different main designs for stiff vs. soft masts. In fact Doyle gave directions on how to measure the static deflection of the mast (bend of mast sitting on two sawhorses) for a custom luff curve fit. These concepts have been around for years. 
 

Any sailmaker that says mast stiffness and luff curve doesn’t matter does not understand how sails are made and interact with the mast. 
 

I would agree with other posters that tensions should go down as the mast itself is stiffer so it needs less tension to keep it in column. 
 

Given that the 105 main is on slugs a luff curve adjustment will be several hours of work to remove slugs, bolt rope tape, recut and then put it all back together. IMHO the recut cost will be closer to $1000 than $200. 
 

Your mileage may vary. 

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On 2/1/2022 at 9:02 AM, quicksail said:

I would like to know if the more developed programs with the Sparcraft masts have adjusted the rig tension settings from those posted in most tuning guides?  Tuning guides all seem to be in reference to the Hall Spar.  Personally I find the tuning guide numbers too tight for my Sparcraft mast but would love to hear what others are doing??

Yes, you need to throw away the conventional Hall tuning guides the sailmakers promote. I will share mine if you dm me. I’m not an “pro” sailmaker expert but I know what is working for me. Hint: two turnbuckle turns on a Hall turn into one turn on Sparcraft, especially if your Sparcraft conversion included new rigging (which it should have).

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Does anyone know exactly when the Sparcraft mast was changed? I am told it was roughly 8 years ago. Also doe the old Sparcraft mast act more like the Hall mast?

 

 

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14 minutes ago, Myouri said:

Does anyone know exactly when the Sparcraft mast was changed? I am told it was roughly 8 years ago. Also doe the old Sparcraft mast act more like the Hall mast?

 

 

AFAIK, the Sparcraft has always been different from the Hall. I'm not aware of any changes.

The first boat with the newly homologated Ballenger mast is going to be racing in March on one of the top boats in our fleet. It's supposed to be a faithful copy of the Hall - we'll see how it looks after racing on Sunday 13th.

 

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4 hours ago, Wet Spreaders said:

AFAIK, the Sparcraft has always been different from the Hall. I'm not aware of any changes.

The first boat with the newly homologated Ballenger mast is going to be racing in March on one of the top boats in our fleet. It's supposed to be a faithful copy of the Hall - we'll see how it looks after racing on Sunday 13th.

 

Would be great if they can replicate the Hall and prevent the defective mast cracks at the hounds. If an exact copy, they should reinforce that area, which some SF boats are doing to keep their existing Hall going. Maybe it doesn’t matter if you have the funds and get a few years out of a better performing mast. I think the Sparcraft can perform equally as well, it just needs some top owners and care from the sailmakers to figure it out. Aside, two top riggers I know suggest there is piece of mind with having a mast that won’t fail, especially if your use case is offshore and heavy air, and especially if short/double-handed. That’s probably why some of the French-built boats went straight to the Sparcraft, plus the spin halyard leads to the top of the mast.

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FYI I have hull number 677 built by US watercraft in 2009 and the mast is the Sparcraft. Belief is that Sparcraft changed the designs around 2014 trying to get this verified.

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Quicksail I would agree with faster in heavy air slower in light. I did kick the base forward about 3/4 of an inch last year which did help. What year is your Sparcraft mast?

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