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  #1  
Old 01-13-2014
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Can a mainsail w/ a bolt rope foot be sailed loose footed?

Just wonderin'!
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Old 01-13-2014
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Re: Can a mainsail w/ a bolt rope foot be sailed loose footed?

I don't know why not. But a loose footed main needs to built to be loose footed. You can't just take a regular main and fly it loose footed. The shape in the foot would be wrong. My own loose footed main had roach in the foot and it dropped below the boom. Often times there is a short, vertcal batten in the foot to support this roach.
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Old 01-13-2014
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Re: Can a mainsail w/ a bolt rope foot be sailed loose footed?

That is how I sail my dinghy. Seems like it gives sail a better shape.
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Old 01-13-2014
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Re: Can a mainsail w/ a bolt rope foot be sailed loose footed?

For best results I think at least the old bolt rope foot (and any 'shelf') should be cut off, but as BP indicated you won't have that wee bit of roach in the foot unless the sailmaker adds it.
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Re: Can a mainsail w/ a bolt rope foot be sailed loose footed?

I agree with Bob. The basic shape of a sail is sewn into it by the sailmaker. My general practice is to use something in the way it was designed to be used, unless I'm sure that using it differently will work better. A sail with an attached foot is designed to be attached to the boom along the foot. The end plate effect captures the air that flows across that part of the sail and keeps it from spilling off the foot. I'm not sure, because I'm not a sailmaker, but I think the foot of a loose footed mainsail might be a few inches longer, and that the few inches of extra length might help keep the air from spilling off the foot of the sail. In any case, unless you know, or have good reason to believe that it will work better by flying it loose, I'd fly it attached.

The advantage, in terms of sail shape, that you get from a loose footed mainsail is that you can create a much deeper draft in the foot by easing the outhaul. Attaching the sail to the boom limits the depth that you can create in the foot. Before the advent of the loose footed mainsail, the only way you could get a really deep foot was if you had a shelf-footed mainsail, and you usually only saw those on racing yachts. The loose footed mainsail lets you create a similarly deep foot as the old shelf footed racing sails, but, as discussed above, I'm not sure you gain anything by flying an attached footed sail loose at the foot.

If you gain any advantage at all, I'm reasonably sure that the sail will only work better, if at all, in light air, where a deeper foot might help. So, I'd suggest that you normally fly your sail with the foot attached in moderate or stronger winds. In light air, you might experiment by flying the sail loose footed, and see if it helps.
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Old 01-13-2014
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Re: Can a mainsail w/ a bolt rope foot be sailed loose footed?

My boat was 26' LOA so a loose footed mainn was fine but on a bigger boat not having the foot attached to the boom makes the sail hartder to furl on the boom.

I remember those old zipper shelf foot mains. It was a good idea.
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Last edited by bobperry; 01-13-2014 at 10:20 AM.
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Old 01-13-2014
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Re: Can a mainsail w/ a bolt rope foot be sailed loose footed?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Faster View Post
For best results I think at least the old bolt rope foot (and any 'shelf') should be cut off, but as BP indicated you won't have that wee bit of roach in the foot unless the sailmaker adds it.
..... and woven (dacron) TAPE added to the edge of the foot section, to replace the 'strength' function of the boltrope.

With the typical height of a boom from 'the deck', a large added foot roach isnt going to amount to much improvement.

Id do this in 'steps' and leave the original 'shelf foot' and just remove the boltrope but add edge 'tape' to return the foot back the original strength. Then, if the shelf foot causes shape problems when the sail is used loose footed, then recut the foot and replace/add a new lower panel. A shelf foot usually is cut substantially as a long 'curve' into the first bottom panel of a cross-cut sail and removing the shelf foot would create a 'hollow'/concave shape to the foot.

As a first step simply leave all alone, simply dont insert the slugs/boltrope and fly it loose footed "as-is".

Do add a 'clew slug' when flying any sail loose footed: http://www.sailrite.com/Slug-Coated-...2#.UtQHRnm3uHM

Last edited by RichH; 01-13-2014 at 10:34 AM.
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Old 01-13-2014
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Re: Can a mainsail w/ a bolt rope foot be sailed loose footed?

Sailed mine loosefooted after replacing the aluminum boom with wood.It worked fine on an Ericson 27
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Old 01-13-2014
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Re: Can a mainsail w/ a bolt rope foot be sailed loose footed?

One thing to keep in mind if you make this change:
The attachment of the foot of the main to the boom spreads the loads of the main out along the boom. With a loose footed main the loads are all at the tack and the clew. This means that if you have mid boom sheeting you can be putting a big bending moment on the middle of the boom (picture a bow and arrtow) Ideally for a loose footed main the mainsheet would come from the clew. Ideally.
heinzir and Brent Swain like this.
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Re: Can a mainsail w/ a bolt rope foot be sailed loose footed?

Lot's of great info already!

I was contemplating this as I find the slot for the foot on the boom is tight and makes adjusting the outhaul difficult. I don't have any mechanical advantage with the current OEM setup and was hoping to gain some flexibility without re-cutting the sail.

ETA:
Bob, it is mid-boom sheeting in my case.
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