A common question we get is: “what mast should I use with this sail?”
The answer is relatively simple and depends on a few items:
- The Sail size
- The Sailors wight
- The type of sailing the primarily does
- The aggressiveness the sailor exercises when sailing
Most important: Any mast of the proper length, curve characteristics and stiffness for the sail will work just fine.
For a sailor whose primary focus is wave sailing, a wave mast, because of it’s greater strength, is the appropriate choice. Similarly, an aggressive bump and jump sailor would also be well served with a wave mast. Other sailors could use either a wave or freeride mast.
All Northwave sails use what is called a constant curve mast with a stiffness (MCS) of 25. The MCS rating is based on a 460cm mast. The IMCS ratings indicate the actual stiffness of a particular length mast, which may be stiffer or more flexible depending on whether the mast is longer or shorter then 460cm. Minor variations in MCS or IMCS (e.g.: 26 vs 25) are not significant.
Each sail has a recommended mast length and we strongly suggest this size be used unless the sailor weighs more then 180lbs or less than 140lbs.
Mast length may be used to tailor the mast stiffness for these sailors. A great analogy to use is the shock on a mountain bike. A heavier rider (sailor) might want a stiffer shock (mast) then lighter riders. Also an aggressive rider (sailor) might also want a stiffer shock (mast).
So how does one vary mast stiffness? By changing the length of mast used. For example, a heavier sailor may want to go to the next longer mast than that recommended. Either a headstrap and/or less base extension would be used. The mast would feel much stiffer and likely be more appropriate for the heavier sailor. Conversely, using a shorter mast and/or more base extension than recommended will give the lighter sailor a softer mast which would likely be more appropriate. We do not recommend using a mast more than one size (30cm) longer than listed for the sail, nor when a significant amount (12in) of mast already sticks out of the top. At this configuration the sail would be far too stiff and degrade the sail’s performance.
By adjusting the mast length, the mast/ sail performance can be optimized for a particular sailor.