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Old 06-20-2012
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Bolt Rope, flaking sails, and shape.

Brand OLD Catalina Capri 25 boat owner here. This new to me boat came with boltrope main(s)... they are ragged out for sure, but budget requires me to stick with the best of the two. Neither here or there... but

First the simple question. I've always had sail slugs... I've flaked my main onto the boom, then put the mainsail cover on. That is a PITA on this as the boltrope slides right out, and it's nearly impossible to flake right. I am told "rolling" the main is what I am supposed to do... OK... does that mean, roll it from the head down, into a large roll parallel to the boom? I know stupid, but I've never had to deal with it.

Second question is... With either of my 2 mainsails up (again they are ragged out), tight as it'd go, vang off, into the wind, mainsheet off, and no topping lift, the "natural" shape of the main leaves the boom high at the mast, and the boom aft end sagging lots (probably a 15-20 inch drop)... I messed with outhaul, and flattening reef trying to bring it up, NO go. I physically pulled down on the boom and put vang on, and only changed the drop to about 10 inches. What puzzles me, is I'd just pull the boom bow end more with a line and a block, but there is a block preventing the boom from going lower (as in this is as low as it should be)... Are both my mainsails REALLY bagged out that bad?
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Old 06-20-2012
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Re: Bolt Rope, flaking sails, and shape.

I have rolled the main on some smaller boats after disconnecting the vang. But on bigger we still flaked, usually one person at the leech and one at the luff. Get the sail ties on AS you flake.
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Old 06-20-2012
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Re: Bolt Rope, flaking sails, and shape.

It is not entirely intuitive but apparently an old bolt rope can shrink. It can shrink a lot 6" or more. This makes the sail look baggy and and the boom sets with the outboard end low.
The solution is to lengthen the bolt rope.
Open up the seam and spice in another piece.
The sail may be shot too but at least this way it will be the right size.

Sail bolt rope shrinking

Last edited by davidpm; 06-20-2012 at 07:16 PM.
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Old 06-20-2012
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Re: Bolt Rope, flaking sails, and shape.

Try folding the main in half. Then roll it from the seam you created. It goes much easier that way. Rolling is best for sails. Actually, never using them is the best, but its hard to do.

Cut the threads that are at the base of the luff in the bolt rope. Apply some tension to the luff and watch the bolt rope get sucked up into the sleeve. This should help with some of the shape.

Another thing you can do is take pictures with the sail trimmed hard on the wind and post them. A picture would help us help you.
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Re: Bolt Rope, flaking sails, and shape.

We roll racing sails all the time, and once you get the hang of it it is no big deal. It is best done with 2 people. Start by stapping the boom on centerline. Stand on the opposite side of the boom from where the sail came down, that way you can use the boom to support and guide the sail as you roll. Start with one fold to the second batten, and start rolling keeping the luff justified. Be careful not to twist the battens. Once you get the hang of it rolling is quick and easy. It is better for the sail too! (not that it matters with beater dacron!)

As for the sails themselves, I would take them all in to your local sail maker and have them checked. He can tell you which ones are worth keeping, as well as what need to be done. He can easily take care of things like shrunken luff ropes. People don't realize that sails need maintenance and tuneups just like an engine does.
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Re: Bolt Rope, flaking sails, and shape.

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Originally Posted by zz4gta View Post
Cut the threads that are at the base of the luff in the bolt rope. Apply some tension to the luff and watch the bolt rope get sucked up into the sleeve. This should help with some of the shape.
Waiting for a new turnbuckle (lost before my purchase), before I can sail it, but will take pictures once I get it together.

But cut the boltrope, now that sounds wrong, maybe splice a new one to it, but then again, I am no sailmaker.

Wife "approved" a new set of sails come winter... so already shopping... just need a stop gap.
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Re: Bolt Rope, flaking sails, and shape.

Rolling from the middle works best, as described above.

The boom drop you describe sounds excessive... Suspect there's an issue with how you're hoisting. Pics will help a lot.
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Re: Bolt Rope, flaking sails, and shape.

Are you getting a full hoist on the main? 20" on a Capri 25 is pretty massive. If so, then you may want to see if you can get a one design tuning guide for the boat, they should be easy to find with a google search, and follow that. Bolt ropes shrink over time, but that would be a huge amount. However if the rig is set up wrong, you may not be using as much of the luff as you should, leading to the deep pocket on really baggy leach.

It is however hard to get a really bagged out sail to look right, particularly on small boats where the amount of stretch is much greater. The other option is to put in a flattening reef. It will make the bottom of the sail really ugly, but it will work well enough until you can get a new crispy toy.
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Re: Bolt Rope, flaking sails, and shape.

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Originally Posted by SHNOOL View Post
But cut the boltrope, now that sounds wrong, maybe splice a new one to it, but then again, I am no sailmaker.
.
Don't cut the bolt rope. Cut the lock stitching that holds the bolt rope in place. Then apply a load (pull the tack and head away from each other), then re-stitch. This does wonders for an old dacron sail.
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