Our fabulous World Champions, Graham Vials and Chris Turner, won their first World Title in 2011 using an “experimental” mast section (for FFs) called the Alto. We’ve written about it before and if I recall correctly has also won the fireball worlds in recent times. Graham and Chris won the 2011 worlds with a race to spare.
In 2013, they won again. And again with a day to spare. And again with the alto rig. Doesn’t sound too much of an experiment now does it??
The Epsilon has been with us for a long time and been dominant in our class. However, as many people know, it has changed over time. The die became well used, so the mast walls thickened then the die was replaced and the walls got thinner again. I also think the weld process may have changed, shifting the characteristics yet again. An alto section is like a cumulus section with thicker walls apparently – same fore and aft bend as an epsilon but we more give sideways. I wonder for the moment if that’s pretty close to the Epsilon as it used to be??
I understand from Charles that the bend characteristics of the topmast have much improved relative to the epsilon. It’s to do with a more constant mast wall thickness in the top and the way the taper is welded in. The gust response by may well be much improved as a result. Do you remember the new mainsail cut that we saw at the Dinghy Show last March? I wonder if that is relevant to the Alto?