Mast Types topic

Brian Molyneux posted this 13 December 2017

End of my first season helming anything and specifically a Solo so I still have a lot to learn and make horrible mistakes. But when things do go well I feel slower than I should be.

I have a Wavelength mast and weigh around 80kg, there seems to be differing opinions on the weight range of this mast, some suggesting suitable for lightweights only and others suggesting a wide range of weight. Boat is Winder Mk2 composite and everything works as it should.

I spend a lot of time in the boat and in bed for that matter (It does keep me awake at night!) agonising over whether to bite the bullet and buy a d plus with new sail. I have a new sail for the Wavelength but this seems to have made matters worse (perhaps a case of mis-managing expectations).

So cut to the chase - am I too heavy for the wavelength ?and would an expensive new rig make a quantifiable difference? All opinions welcome

Many thanks Brian


Last Edited 13 December 2017

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Ian McDonald posted this 13 December 2017

If you are just starting, helming skill is going to affect your finishing position far more than mast type. Approach your local Superstar and book a coaching day. This will give you a huge speed advantage without spending anything like the cost of a new rig.

Chris Brown posted this 16 December 2017

if you want more speed then use a stronger mast and sail will help you could borrow one to try , i have a spare d plus if you want to try , then make sure mast set up is correct

Will Loy posted this 17 December 2017

I would not be so quick to rule out the Wavelength rig. In the right hands it can be just as powerful a set up as the D+/M7+ but requires more input from the helm and a good understanding of how to trim it. I have seen sailors such as Tony Thresher, who, in his prime was a good 90kg, Mike Ball, who won two races at the 2008 Nationals and Harvey Hilllary, who, in the nineties used the Wavelength mast with North laminate sail to finish 2nd overall in the Nationals.

Traveller position is vital as the sail generally has more roach (depth) and it is all too easy to hook the leach. Downwind the rig is very responsive and sailing by the lee can provide some devastating speed.

The man you need to talk too is Graham Scott at Wavelength Designs. Alternatively, start playing with traveller position and pay special note to the tell tales to achieve correct trim.

Will Loy

Brian Molyneux posted this 17 December 2017

Thank you for the replys.

Ian - 100% get it. A coaching session would help enormously and is very much on the agenda for the new year, trying to get something organised for our club. I do think I should be considering the rig also; reason being that general wisdom/advice for a newbie is to copy the equipment that the guys in front are using!

Chris - That is a very kind offer, my reservation would be my ability to evaluate the difference over a given time period. But it certaily sounds logical that a stronger mast would go quicker and you're the guy at the front :-)

Will - Thank you for the alternative viewpoint. I have read Graham's tuning guide back to front and inside out! And do try to use the traveller properly but am sure I need a lot more practice/skill/coaching/natural talent. The rig has not been promoted for any years also. Certainly not ruling the rig out yet as I know throwing money about is not the answer and of course it would take away my excuses!

I wonder if anyone could offer their experience of moving from a Wavelength to a stronger mast or vice versa? Many thanks


Last Edited 17 December 2017

Richard Willetts posted this 29 December 2017

A few years back I bought a new boat with D+ rig. It went ok but I was never really happy with the speed/performance. I bought a used Wavelength rig including sail from the "For Sale" page on his site and it transformed that boat, and also my performance! I then bought a new Wavelength sail and the boat went slower, it just did not perform even though in dimensional terms it was exactly the same as the old one. The proof came at an open where I was getting 5th and 6ths in the races, then swopped to my older sail and instantly won the last race. To give him his due, Graham Scott took back the new sail. I now have a new 2017 boat and use the old Needlespar black top mast, this is basically the same as the Wavelength and the boat goes ok. However I have also tried a M7/North rig this season and can't get on with it and have reverted back to the flexible rig. One thing with the flexy rig is that you do need to be adjusting all the time, it is not as easy to set up and use as a stiff rig and I am still experimenting with shroud/forestay positions and chocks - most tuning guides are for stiff rigs and only serve as a starting point. I am around 75kg when sailing. As has been mentioned, if this is your first season helming a Solo, stick with what you've got and get to understand how to sail and set up the boat. As with all dinghies, they're easy to sail but very difficult to get that extra performance to get to the top. Richard Willetts 5726

Brian Molyneux posted this 09 January 2018

Richard, thank you for posting that's great information although you have now taken away my excuses :-(

Your comments about the new sail are interesting, I wonder if the rig is particularly sensitive? I feel as though my performance has dropped off significantly with a new sail (cut for but not made by Wavelength). Unfortunately I don't have the racing results to confirm or deny and so I am waiting for the new season to compare old v's new pretty much as you have done.

When you say continuously adjusting are you talking principally about traveller position as also suggested by Will? So does this mean that in gusty conditions (Always gusty at Banbury!)you would be playing the traveller as opposed to playing the mainsheet as one might do with a stiff rig? The Wavelength tuning guide is quite brief, written some time ago and I don't believe Graham is promoting the Solo product anymore and so up to date specific advice is not readily available. So I would love to know what you are doing with the rigging and chocks.

Thank you once again to all who have responded, this is really helpful....Brian

Last Edited 09 January 2018

Richard Willetts posted this 12 January 2018


I tend not to adjust the traveller position. I sail at Burghfield, also a shifty inland pond and set the traveller position approx 250mm from the centreline and rarely adjust it.

The mainsheet , kicker and cunningham are adjusted quite frequently, the flexible mast is quite sensitive to tension changes and it's very easy to oversheet or over tension and loose performance.

It terms of set up I currently have the front of the mast foot at 3050 ( standard measurement) with the shrouds coming into tension with the mast approx 20mm from the front of the gate at deck level. Chocks are used behind the mast and also in front - this will depend on the length of the mast gate. However I still don't feel I'm getting maximum performance so still adjusting.

One last thing I would suggest - if you feel you were faster with the old sail, go back to it.

Brian Molyneux posted this 15 January 2018

Thank you Richard.

I read on the old website about shortening the length of the mast gate due to the smaller diameter of the Wavelength and so was thinking about a chock at the back of the mast also. Think I will try this.

The sail is a bit of a dilemma though. I will try some form of back to back comparison at the start of the season. But my "old"sail is really quite old so if it does prove quicker then I have a problem obtaining a replacement - we'll see!

Thanks once again Brian

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