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BrianConley 05-19-2001 07:24 PM

Lubricating mast track
Mainsail is very difficult to haul up on my 26'' Hinterhoeller. What tips can anyone give me to lube the track effectively all the way up. And what lube do you suggest? Silicone? What do you think of the suggestion to insert a candle between the top two slides?

shevlinj 05-20-2001 04:03 PM

Lubricating mast track
I used something called Fastrac. There are 2 parts, a little metal slide that you put a cloth sleeve on to clean the track, and the lube. It works amazingly well after application. I can haul the main on my Tartan 37 without the winch. You have to run the slide up and down the track to clean it,, then change the cloth sleeve and apply the lube. Make sure you have a good downhaul on the cleaner!

rbh1515 05-20-2001 04:59 PM

Lubricating mast track
I hear that McLube is excellent. Have not used it, but a number of people I know use it. I think its a Harken product.

Denr 05-21-2001 05:40 AM

Lubricating mast track
Lubricating the mast track is a very bad idea. If you decide to do this you will eventually accumulate more dirt and debris in the slot than you can possibly imagine. The lubricant catches more airborne contaminants than you can shake a stick at. The correct way to proceed is to clean the track all of the way up with mineral spirits or denatured alcohol on a rag, be sure to stuff the rag into the slot and change the rag often as it becomes dirty. After the mast track is clean lubricate the sail slugs with McLube or silicon but, make sure the slugs have dried before putting the back into the mast track. As an analogy, when you have dried and chaffed hands at the end of the day when doing the spring pre-launch work, do you put hand lotion on your dirty hands or do you wash them first before applying the lube? Now you get the picture, clean then lube, just don''t use the hand lotion on the sail slugs.

jack_patricia 05-22-2001 06:39 AM

Lubricating mast track
Brian & the group:

I''d advise as follows. Clean the track as recommended, by hand, while on a bos''n chair. You''ll get more thorough cleaning, especially the farther up the mast you go, than using a ''slug-cleaning device''.

Respectfully, I''d suggest ignoring the advice on lubing the slugs but not the track. Instead, use a non-residue lube product when coming back down the mast. I''ve used MacLube repeatedly and find its performance exceptional (on hatch slides, YKK zippers on the dodger, the sail luff being fed up the foil of our roller furler, and a hundred other things). It does not last long but then, it doesn''t leave ANY residue, period.

If you want to maximize the period of time this maintenance will last, also remove the slugs, clean and then lube them, as well. But you''ll notice a sharp improvement even without this last step.

Jack Tyler
Aboard WHOOSH, lying Port of Spain, Trinidad

Vitamin 06-08-2001 11:38 PM

Lubricating mast track
Good points and some of the advice have made me think...
I have used vaseline/petrolium-jelly and it worked really well, actually. It certaily have no adverse effect on the track components etc, but it may help collect dust and salt and then, -back to "square one" or WORSE. I think it can be cleaned as long as you use a petro-based jelly. But, what would be best both long term and instant short term?
I would think a non-petro product based on GRAPHITE could do the magic trick. Graphite provide low friction, is "inert" to all materials and does cause stickiness and dust "clogging".

Anyone out there that know of a suitable GRAPHITE-BASED low-friction product? Let is know, please!

jack_patricia 06-09-2001 02:27 AM

Lubricating mast track

Graphite-based grease (e.g. the kind you can buy at the auto parts store to lube a speedometer cable) will be a terrible choice, IMO. It''ll end up on your sails and will collect dust/dirt/salt. It''s truly amazing how much dirt accummulates on a boat anywhere near land.

Practical Sailor has done this topic several times, and they have opinions about what non-accumulating lube works best. But I''m so pleased with MacLube, I''m sticking (no pun...) with what works well for us.


JeffH 06-09-2001 07:52 AM

Lubricating mast track
I agree with Jack here. Vaciline and graphite are probaly not the best idea here. McLube has a good product for this application. I have also used Bloeshield quite successfully for a quite a few years now. If you never plan to paint your mast then silicone is also good choice as well.

The key to reducing the friction on a track is to make sure the track is clean first. Some years back I stitched heavy canvas and terricloth on to some sail slugs. I soak a fabric covered sail slug in mineral spirits or alcohol and pull it up and down the mast a few times, (tie the down haul to the halyard and the slug) change slugs and do it again until the track feels clean. Then I do the lube thing by putting lube on one of the fabric covered slugs and pulling the slugs up the mast. I also put lube on the individual sail slugs. It''s a good idea to have paper towels handy when you do this and to be careful not to get lube on the sails as it leaves oily stains.


WBMAustinTX 05-29-2013 10:44 PM

Re: Lubricating mast track
Has anyone considered a "dry lube" used on bicycle chains, like Rock 'n Roll or Pedro's dry lube? They tend to be really good at not picking up dirt, dust, etc.

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