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Old 09-09-2013
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Lubricating Sail Slugs?

Sailing this weekend I noticed that the sail took a bit of mucle to raise while on the water. Back in the slip I deduced that the slugs were not sliding efficiently up the mast. An old timer told me to use dish soap to lubricate the slugs rather than buying expensive sail lubricant. He told me that the soap would clean the groove as well as lubricate it. The slugs appear to be in decent shape so I don't believe it to be a case of replacing them. Any thoughts?
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Old 09-09-2013
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Re: Lubricating Sail Slugs?

I believe there was a thread here on how to make a lube machine with a piece of plywood, wire, and some spare sail slugs. Basically it held the can with the spray tube pointing into the track. There was a line that you pulled down on to spray and the whole thing was hoisted by a halyard, but don't see it here. I did find a link to a similar set up.

Track Lube


I believe Mclube is recommended lube. I think soap would work till the first rainfall. I don't think dish soap would work, but I have rubbed bar soap on a sticking zipper and it did free it up.
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Old 09-09-2013
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Re: Lubricating Sail Slugs?

I used ordinary spray silicone lubricant and it seemed to work fine. I have used dish detergent to slide hoses over bib fittings and it has also worked well.
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Old 09-09-2013
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Re: Lubricating Sail Slugs?

I just spray a bit of SailKote on the first 2 or 3 slugs and raise the mainsail. it doesn't take much to lube the track on my 40' track. If a little lube doesn't help much, you may have some dirt and rime cakes on the inside of the track. Periodically (every few years) I was down the track with a mild detergent and clean it out while the mast is down for the winter. Same with the masthead sheaves and lines. Probably the only advantage to living in a cold climate when the boat gets put away for the winter.......
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Old 09-09-2013
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Re: Lubricating Sail Slugs?

I use soap, but bars.

Cut several small "slugs" of soap and put them periodically amoung the slugs as you raise. Over the next few raises and drops, along with some rain, the soap will lube and clean the track.
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Re: Lubricating Sail Slugs?

When mud daubers get in the track, the best solution probably involves climbing.

+1 Sailkote.
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Old 09-09-2013
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Re: Lubricating Sail Slugs?

consolidated from an old post of mine;

I had some old track slides. I took 2 of them, and connected them with a 1" bar of aluminum. I then fit a piece of the really coarse (red) scotch-brite pad between them. Then, I taped an old hinge to the top of a can of McLube Sailcoat, so that when I pushed the hinge, it activates the sprayer. Finally, I taped the can of McLube to the 1" aluminum bar.



From the side, you can see the inventive use of Duct tape.

I attach a halyard to the top track slide, and a line to the bottom and feed the whole contraption into the track. I also have another line attached to the hinge, so that I can use the spray can remotely.

I connect a halyard and downhaul onto that loop of string, and a piece of fishing line onto the hinge.

I pull the thing up and down the track a few times, so that the scotch brite can do it's thing, then, starting at the top, I pull the whole mess down the track while activating the sprayer.

From the top;


The Scotchbrite - trimmed to fit the width of the track, goes in between the two sail track slides. The pad that I use is actually from a floor sander.

Works like a champ!
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Re: Lubricating Sail Slugs?

I'm honored to announce this year's winner of the Red Green Award (sailboat division) for creating the most innovative useful device from a spare parts bucket and duct tape is:
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Re: Lubricating Sail Slugs?

I have purchased some liquid wax from a bike shop.
I believe it is essentially wax that is suspended in solvent as liquid.
when you apply, the solvent evaporates and you are left with wax.

normally used as*non grease bike chain lube

I havent tried it yet though, but am eager to do so
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Re: Lubricating Sail Slugs?

Thanks for all the tips. Being new to my boat, and having no idea how dirty the track is, I decided to try vtsailguy's suggestion. I cut slug sized chunks out of a bar of Yeardley's Lavendar soap that I found onboard (don't tell the Commodore!) and placed them between each slug with the sail down. I then hoisted and dropped the sail a dozen times or so. Then I used a pseudo pressure washer attachment on the hose to squirt water up the track. The black sludge that came leaking out on to the deck was pretty nasty, indeed. My geuss is that this has rarely, if ever, been done in 44 years. And living in SoCal it's not like we get massive amounts of annual rain to do the job on it's own. I only had time to do this once, but based on the amount of sludge that came out, I'm geussing that it will take a few more applications to thouroughly clean the track out. Thanks for all your advice!
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