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South Coast Group: Visit to Seldon Masts
South Group members visited Selden Masts UK facility in Fareham. Originally planned for 14th February, it proved so popular that a further visit was arranged for the following day. Selden subsumed Kemp Masts who fitted out many Westerlys.
Selden Masts is a worldwide company, with factories in Sweden (mainly spares), USA, France, Denmark, the Netherlands, Asia and the UK. They account for 70% of the global market for new masts and spars, covering custom yachts up to 75 feet long, to dinghies. The UK facility is the company’s global centre for the fabrication of carbon masts. They also cover a large after market for existing yachts.
We had a presentation, followed by a factory tour. We started in the carbon spar fabrication facility where the masts (and spars) are woven using several wide strands of resin impregnated tape using a specialised weaving machine. This produces a single piece seamless tube. The type of weave varies in order to maximise the resistant to stresses. For instance, the base has a particular weave to resist compression, whereas the gooseneck attachment weave reflects the torsion and twisting loads. The mast is then baked in an autoclave to set the resin. Various fittings are then glued on, before painting.
They had a separate shop for fabricating metal masts, using bought in blanks, specialising in CNC cut tapers to reduce top weight for dinghies.
We were well entertained and informed by a willing and expert team. All of us were impressed with this modern and efficient facility.