Opti Spar Sets
An Opti Spar Set is a complete, ready to go set including a mast, boom, sprit pole, and necessary rigging. We have multiple spar set options including the entry/club level Upgraded Club Spar Set, the intermediate level Silver Regatta Spar Set, and three BlackGold spar sets including the BlackGold Medium Spar Set (includes 40mm boom), BlackGold Power Spar Set (includes 45mm boom), and BlackMax Spar Set (includes 55mm boom and 29mm sprit).
Replacement or upgraded optimist masts are available in a variety of configurations, from the race-ready BlackGold range, to the intermediate Silver Regatta range, to the entry level Club mast.
The standard Opti boom is 40mm in diameter. Both the Silver Regatta Boom and Upgraded Club Boom are 40mm and designed to work as part of either the Silver Regatta Spar Set or the Club Spar Set, respectively. In the BlackGold series, there are multiple boom diameters geared towards sailor weight. These include the BlackGold Medium (40mm), BlackGold Power (45mm) and BlackGold Max (55mm). While the BlackGold Medium is the standard, the Power and Max versions are available for heavier sailors at the top weight range of the class.
Opti Spirt Poles
The sprit pole attaches to the top of the sail and the sprit halyard to help tension the sail. Like the various Opti masts and booms, there are several sprit pole options designed to work with the various spar set ranges. The Club Sprit and Silver Regatta Sprit poles are very similar, except for the wear strip found on the Silver sprit that helps prevent wear. There are two sprit poles in the BlackGold collection, with the standard BlackGold Sprit 27mm used by most sailors and the BlackMax Sprit 29mm designed to be used in conjunction with the BlackMax boom for heavier sailors.
Opti Spar Fittings
In addition to the full range of spar sets and individual spars, West Coast Sailing carries a full range of Optimist spar fittings, from boom end caps and boom jaws, to mast heel plugs and halyard cleats, to eyestraps, blocks, sprit halyard assemblies, and sprit pole ends. Many of these fittings can be used accross multiple spar types, with some designed specifically for BlackGold spars and others for the Silver and Club spars.
Guide to Selecting Opti Spars & Spar Sets - PDF
Selecting the right individual spar or spar set can be confusing, but does not have to be! Major factors to consider are sailor ambition (sailing well and desire to race vs more entry level), sailor weight, and cost. Generally speaking, 'Club' spars are designed for entry level sailors while 'BlackGold' spars are best for active racers who have developed sound skills sailing the Opti. The 'Silver Regatta' spars attempt to offer similar characteristics to the racing spars while priced more like a club set.
Racing Spars vs Club Spars
The most common question is what the difference is between racing and club spars. The defining characteristic of a Upgraded Club Spar Set is the permanently attached sprit halyard block on the front of the mast and the permanent lacing eyes at the head of the mast. These permanently attached fittings mean that the sail cannot be removed from the mast without untying all the sail ties along the luff of the sail. It also means the club spar set has no parts that can be misplaced or dropped in the water because it is self-contained. With the club spar set the sail is typically left on the spars during storage. Although this is a fast, easy way to store your spars and sail, it is hard on the sail. Club sails are constructed to hold up to this kind of abuse and can still be expected to last many seasons.
Racing sails, however, are very delicate and are generally rolled on the boom or separately from the spars to avoid creases, wrinkles and damaged. Racing spars are fitted with a hook-in-block and a wind pennant plug masthead system. These two features allow all the fittings to be removed. The sail is now free to slide on and off of the mast. It should be noted that the Silver Regatta Spar Set has been design to achieve all the features of the racing spar set with a price more comparable to the club spar set. The silver spar set comes with the stiffer 40 mm boom as a standard feature.
Choosing A Racing Spar Set (BlackGold)
When considering racing spars, such as the various BlackGold spar sets, the difference resides mainly in the quality, diameter and manufacturing method of the aluminum tubing used in the spars. Quality is a function of the series number of the aluminum. 7,000 series is an aviation grade, higher in tensile strength than 6,000 series. Coincidentally as the series number goes up, so does the cost. The diameter of the aluminum tubing also affects both the performance and cost. Larger diameter tubing is stiffer and more expensive. The manufacturing process also impacts the cost and quality of the spar. A rolled tube with welded seam is cheaper to produce than an extruded one. (Extruded means that it is formed in one continuous piece) Theoretically, an extrudeds par is both stronger and stiffer.
Booms are available in different diameters as mentioned above. There are 55mm, 45mm, 40mm, and 32mm diameter racing booms. These can be used by different skipper weight ranges or specific sailing conditions. Another unique feature is found in the Black Max boom. It does not have a bridle, just a single attachment point. This benefits a tall sailor in that there is more room under the boom making it easier to tack. Sprits are available in 27mm and 29mm.
Most coaches have preferences and will usually recommend a specific boom orsprit if they feel it will complement your skippers sailing style. The 40 mm boom is considered standard and sail makers test their sails with this boom. With all the confusion and so many choices if you have any doubts get the standard 40 mm boom.