For most Americans, “nano” entered their lexicon when Apple first introduced its tiny iPod. Now “nano” has entered the sailing vocabulary, as in “nano-tube-enhanced carbon-fiber spars.” It’s a technology that could eventually be used to build better hulls, rudders, and keels.
Conventional carbon-fiber masts are constructed by laying up individual layers of carbon fiber with epoxy resin and curing them in an autoclave. The strength and stiffness of the resulting mast comes from the carbon fibers, which are held together by the epoxy matrix. But as sailplans have become more aggressive, and as designers seek to make boats simpler (with no running backstays and, in some cases, no backstays at all), there is a greater need for stiffer masts. MORE >>