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fireman181 01-19-2007 07:23 PM

New Sail, bolt rope or loosefoot
Hi, I have contacted North sail about a new main sail for a C & C 25' Mk2. the existing sail has slugs that connect to the boom. North recomends a Loose Foot sail, one slug at the Mast/boom, and the second at the sail outhaul, they say this is a more efficient sail and easier to adjust.........any input???

camaraderie 01-19-2007 10:48 PM

They are correct about efficiency and adjustment but you also put a lot of stress on just 2 points at the foot of the sail. For cruising I would prefer more "overkill" at the foot but for bay/daysailing/racing I would be inclined to take their advice.

hellosailor 01-19-2007 11:32 PM

Cam, I'm not totally sold on either religion (loose foot or boltrope) but if you design a sail with a bolt rope, and you put a pocket in the bottom of the sail so it can belly out to take a good deep draft...then the bolt rope is supporting nothing but slack cloth except at the very ends. And, when you flatten the sail, again, the bolt rope is holding nothing but now that pocket is just a couple of fold of loose cloth.
So I'm not at all sure that the bolt rope buys anything at all, except a nice pocket you can sleep in atop the boom. At least, not if you're using just one main over a wide range of wind conditions. For a main that was dedicated to higher wind with a narrower draft range, I'd be inclined to agree with you. But how many casual sailors carry more than one main? Or even, a main plus stormsail?
(Slam tack a J/24 while there's someone sleeping in that pocket on the main, and they get launched overboard just like they were going out a stern torpedo tube!<G>)

camaraderie 01-19-2007 11:46 PM

HS...I was thinking more of multiple slugs (redundancy) rather than a boltrope which I don't like anyway...kinda like taking a sextant along with multiple GPS's.... <g>

hellosailor 01-19-2007 11:51 PM

Dunno, Cam. I'm still thinking "more stuff" just means more slop to ruin the laminar flow at the foot of the sail. A good slug, adequately sized and sewn, ought to hold well enough, and then there's always the tack/clew rings themselves as the real stress holders.

Not that I'm a wizard on sails and sailcloth. And I note that the alleged wizards often seem to change their ideas every few years.<G> But North generally seem to hit the mark, or at least come closer to it than a lot of other folks. (And at those prices, they darn well should!)

Besides, less slugs means a lighter faster boat.<G>

camaraderie 01-20-2007 12:00 AM're probably right. I just like everything heavy for cruising and I know that millions of boats don't have loosefooted mains so I figure there must be a reason for that and resist change...even when new materials and technology probably make this a better option! I wonder if North would recommend this same configuration for bluewater cruising? Fireman...ask them that pls. whatever you decide to do! Thanks...

hellosailor 01-20-2007 12:12 AM

Well, for bluewater cruising you'd need a closed-foot main so you could use it to collect rainwater for the tanks, right?<G>

RichH 01-20-2007 12:28 AM

Definitely go with the loose footed ....
MUCH MUCH better control for flattening and draft control with a loose foot configuration.

Too much friction with a bolt-roped foot + slugs ... which also adds a 'shelf-foot' of extra cloth at the lowest panel section; and, that shelf-foot will not allow as drastic a flattening (when needed) as in comparison to a loose foot. The shelf foot configuration is virtually obsolete for todays sails as you need a special 'flattening reef' system installed at the bottom of the sail to accomplish the same effect that is already possible with a loosefoot .... out of the box. There is no difference in strength requirements at the clew or tack between a loose footed sail or a boltroped shelf foot sail. Go with a loose foot ...

With a loose footed sail you can accomplish MORE flattening when needed and definitely MORE draft in the lower sections when needed than with a boltroped shelf foot. Hands down ... select the loose foot.

RichH 01-20-2007 12:35 AM


Originally Posted by camaraderie're probably right. I just like everything heavy for cruising and I know that millions of boats don't have loosefooted mains so I figure there must be a reason for that and resist change....

You're probably right in your observation ... and the probable reason is these sails are sooooooooo old (probably 15-20+ years), that they simply didnt know the advantages of a loose footed sail back in those ancient times. Besides, probably 90% of most cruisers dont *really* know how to shape/set a sail properly ... especially since the advent of roller furling that makes it *very* hard to correctly shape/set a sail. <g>

svsirius 01-20-2007 12:22 PM

We cruise full time and have a loose footed main. No reason to have slugs from a load perspective. The foot is not a highly loaded area. In fact you design draft in to the bottom of the sail to account for the attached foot. Been sailing/cruising with loose footed mains for 10+ yrs now.. but I also buy laminate sails which love sail control flexibility to optimize performance.. after all 'fast is fun' even when cruising.

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