Here's one example of when length doesn't matter—or at least can't be the only description. These two masts come from two very different boats, and are obviously from different eras of sailing. Yet they're almost exactly the same length from tip to butt (approximately 33 feet).
One is anodized black aluminum, with stainless tangs where the rigging and double spreaders attach. The other is varnished spruce, and its spliced wires wrap around the entire section. A single set of spruce varnished spreaders sits against a bronze collar, which is just visible halfway up the rig.
Any guesses about what kind of boat goes with each? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with your thoughts, and we'll let you in on the answers tomorrow.