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JackandJude 10-10-2012 08:22 PM

Advice wanted: Tides Marine Track and Slide system
A sail maker has recommended we use the Tides Marine Track and Slide system for full length batten Main sail.

Has anyone used their system?

We've always had short batten mains on our mono-hull and wonder whether going to full length battens is beneficial or just an added expense.


Thanks in advance.

Gene T 10-10-2012 08:54 PM

Re: Advice wanted: Tides Marine Track and Slide system
I have full batten main and the Tides track. I like it. The track does make it easier to raise and lower the main. I still need to go forward and pull some of it down however but that is mainly due to the thickness of my main sail.

You will get a lot of differing opinions on Full, mixed or partial full battens. I like full battens. I had my new main built with an interfering roach and a flattening reef about 2 feet up. The flattening reef stays in almost all the time and only gets removed for light winds. I have a reef-able 140 composite jenny that can be reduced to ~100 with very good results. This combo means I never need to change sails. I have 2 more reefs in the main and haven't needed the second reef yet. Above 30 knots I would probably want it, but my boat sails well on just the main so if it gets nasty the jib just gets rolled in all the way.

I believe it depends on the design of the boat a bit. Either way the track system is well worth it to me.


JackandJude 10-10-2012 09:13 PM

Re: Advice wanted: Tides Marine Track and Slide system
Thank you Gene, Santosha looks a similar rig.
We've been doing a lot of heavy weather sailing of late, and can reef/unreef while on the run as long as I kept our track silicon-ed. Wonder if that will be possible with full length battens??

Our mainsail:
luff > 41.535'
leech > 42.979'
foot > 11.647'

Sailmaker recommending 10.6oz bainbridge 1055 cloth, seems a tad heavy, especially in light airs...

PBzeer 10-10-2012 10:02 PM

Re: Advice wanted: Tides Marine Track and Slide system
Got it, love it. What else can I say?

Gene T 10-10-2012 10:13 PM

Re: Advice wanted: Tides Marine Track and Slide system
You can get away with heavy material on a full batten main because the battens hold the shape in light winds. And it won't lose shape in a blow. The large roach gives extra sail where you need it in light winds. The track is almost frictionless, but not as good as a ball bearing system. I have swept back spreaders so I don't reef on a run.


chef2sail 10-11-2012 08:04 AM

Re: Advice wanted: Tides Marine Track and Slide system
We installed a Tides Strong Track Main Sail System when we bought our new full batten main loose footed 8.3 oz from Quantum. The main goes up easily and The main comes down so fast we have learned to lower it it a little more slowly, especially in the beginng when our new sail had no memeory folds in it when dropping it.

I would suggest the EZ-jack system also. We found it far superior to the Harken Lazy Jack system we previously had. It can actually be deployed from the cockpit. When the sail is finally tied up they pull away to the mast and under the sail so when raising the main there is no conflict with the batten ends getting caught.


Jiminri 10-11-2012 03:26 PM

Re: Advice wanted: Tides Marine Track and Slide system
I installed Tide Marine Strong Track on my prior Nonsuch 26 and it's on the Nonsuch 30 I just bought. I like it a lot. I release the halyard, there's an instant "whoosh" and the sail is lying neatly in the cradle lines. Faster than the blink of an eye. Raising the 540 sq foot main sail is pretty easy too with a manual winch.

MedSailor 10-12-2012 12:09 AM

Re: Advice wanted: Tides Marine Track and Slide system
I've never hoisted or dropped one myself but I've seen it up close and personal on another boat and it was enviable. It was a day-charter catamaran and the captain just casually walked forward and released the halyard at the mast. The thing dropped like a $hit tonne of bricks into the lazyjacks and it was a roachy fully battened main. He then sailed up to his mooring and furled his jib as he got close and grabbed the ball with residual speed as he got close. It was an awesome sight to behold.

I plan to install it on my boat under the budgeting of safety gear. I want a scared, tired, wife to be able to lower, reef AND raise the main and mizzen easily in all conditions.

On the topic of full, partial or no battens I have gone around several times in my mind about that. I'd say that the advantages of each system are really dependent on the type of sailing you do, much more than most boat trade offs even.

No battens means less cost at the beginning, less time and cost maintaining the sail. Perfect sail shape can be attained, and some purists would say that better sail shape can be attained without the battens trying to dictate shape for you, but it WILL require a lot more pulling of strings. If you're sailing on the cheap and you like adjusting your sail frequently this is the sail for you. See also: Lyn and Larry Pardey.

Full battens give you more roach, which gives you small but measurable aerodynamic advantages that I still don't understand. These advantages are real though and are demonstrated by the fact that EVERY open class racing boat with an unlimited budget and no design limitations has a huge roachy main with full battens. As I said, I don't get the exact argument about what the aerodynamic advantage is, but I trust that it's there (see the racers) but I gather that it's small. For us cruisers the main advantage is that the fully battened main has a shape that is "darn near close enough to perfect" most all the time without as much pulling of strings. It also falls into lazyjacks more easily, and flogs less while reefing.

The disadvantages of full battens are: cost at the beginning, cost and time maintaining the sail because of batten pocket chafe and chafe where the battens meet the stays. Also they're harder to raise because of the compression loads the battens cause which turn into friction. This is partially mitigated by the Tides track, but not nearly as much as batten cars. Batten cars = more expense and more to maintain and more to go wrong. See also Steve Dashew

Partial battens are a bit of both in the advantage and disadvantage category. This is what I think I'll get with my next main. I like pulling strings constantly but I don't expect my wife to on a night watch. This means I would be happy with a battenless main but my wife might go crazy trying to get rid of leech flutter or worse yet might leave it along to flutter it's leech to death. I want the sail to fall nicely into lazyjacks but don't want to make it harder to raise with battens compressing on slides and I'm not willing to spend the coin on batten cars. I want the sail to flog minimally during reefing, but again I'm not willing to get full battens, so partial battens will help a little here too. See also: most sailboats.

Everything in boating is a compromise. The Tides track is one of those few things where the compromise is only one of expense vs performance. I don't think you'd find a sailor in the world that has seen, or used the Tides system that wouldn't take it as a gift, which is not something you could say for nearly any other trade-off decision we have to make.

If you've got the coin, get the track for sure. I seriously doubt you'd regret having it aboard. As for the battens, partial, full, or none, that really depends on how you sail.

Cheers mate!


PS Where on that island are you from? I lived in Melbourne for 5 years and did 2 months of hard time in "The Isa."

sck5 10-14-2012 12:32 AM

Re: Advice wanted: Tides Marine Track and Slide system
I have full battens and the strong track. It is absolutely the greatest. Get it. You wont regret it. Release the halyard and it comes right down. Some above have recommended lazy jack systems which are fine. Another option is a dutchman which is what I have. The sail flakes itself right on the boom. Easy as can be.

chef2sail 10-14-2012 03:51 AM

Re: Advice wanted: Tides Marine Track and Slide system
EZ Jack not Lazy Jack is what I recommend. Can be deployed from the cockpit and is pulled away to the mast and under the boom when raising the sail


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