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Northeaster 10-24-2007 12:30 PM

Mainsail questions on 1978 Seafarer 30
Although my mainsail is original, it really doesn't seem too "bellied out", I assume because it is not large, to start with, and therefore may not stretch as much as larger ones?
If I decide to replace it in the next couple of years, I have a couple of questions on getting a new one made:

1. The original mainsail has a boltrope, that attaches the bottom 5 or 6 slugs to the sail's luff. All higher slugs are sewn onto the luff. I can put a single reef in, without undtying the boltrope, or taking any slugs out of the mast. I may be doing something wrong, but when I need to put a 2nd reef in, I untie the boltrope, to allow some slack to through the bottom slugs, as otherwise, I the tack would not be able to come low enough - ie. close to the boom. I could take out the mast bolt, which prevents the slugs from falling out, and allow the bottom ones to come out, so the tack can fall low enough.
If I had a new mainsail made, would they use this same arrangement, or can they use shorter slugs, or something, so that they will all fit into the mast track, and therefore don't require the boltrope. My 1982 Seafarer 23 did NOT have a boltrope - all slugs were attached directly to the luff.
Is there a benefit, or other purpose for the boltrope, like for sail-trim, that I don't know about. I have only been sailing for 2 seasons, mostly self-taught, so it's highly possible that I have missed something!!

2. My mainsail has an outhaul block and track, that i used to keep the clew back, when reefed. However, the real clew is permanently attached to the end of the boom via a clevis pin attached to a connector lashed to the clew.
Is this normal? My Seafarer 23's mainsail was a little shorter than the boom, so there was room at the end to connect a line, through a block, for a change of direction, and then to the outhaul track. As the real mainsail clew is only a couple of inches from the end of the boom, and is farther aft than the outhaul block and track, I don't see how it could be hooked up / adjusted otherwise.

3. If I did splurge for a new main, any suggestions on brands and types (ie loose footed). Would I see much of a performance gain, given that most of the power comes from the headsail, with this type of smaller mainsail? Boom is only 9.8ft (I=37.3, J=12.6, P=31.8, E=9.8)

Any input or other considerations would be appreciated!

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