Reply To: Mast Track
Cutting the track does reduce the shearing action a bit. The main objective was to soften the bend fore and aft. It did actually make quite a difference. In the period when Needlespars became the norm after the wood era, sailmakers were not making sails to fit masts very well (with wood rigs you bought a good sail from someone and made your mast fit it).
If you got a sail for a Needlespar, the luff curve was not alway bang on for your mast so you did a bit of fine tuning and the only option you had was cutting the track (which could be replaced). In the late 70’s and 80’s, we got used to measuring the bend and the sailmakers like Musto and then Ullman would make to a curve – in theory.
The track makes a lot of difference – John Hulmes made a wooden mast and fastened a Needlespar track on it. It was impossibly bendy f/a until he put the track on.