main sail lugs breaking, why? - SailNet Community

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  #1  
Old 06-30-2008
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main sail lugs breaking, why?

Here is the history of my sail so anyone who answers can know the background. My boat is a Catalina 30 TRBS. I purchased it in 1996. That same year, I bought a new UK Tape Drive main and genoa. 96 through 03, I raced on Wednesday nights, first in JAM, later in SPIN. I did so so, got a couple 2nd and 3rd place flags and one 1st. Racing was done near shore on Lake Michigan, where the winds are usually light. Aside from racing, my boat is used for very light day sail cruising and mostly sits at the dock collecting bird poo.

The main was always covered when docked. In 2003, downsizing and associated financial issues put me on the hard until this year. All the sails were flaked, in bags and hung in dry storage.

First time out this year, top 5 main lugs broke. Took it to the same sailmaker who sold it to me and he replaced them. After two races (light wind), a couple evening social cruising and yesterday was out in a little heavier wind. Bringing it down, I noticed 3-4 more lugs broken. These are the next down below those which were replaced.

I asked my sailmaker why and he said "it happens". Does it really "happen" like George Carlin used to say? The original main which came with the boat in 1985 still has the original lugs and none are cracked.

Anybody care to comment on why, how, etc?
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Old 06-30-2008
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Do you find it difficult to raise the main? It could be - all you need to do is lubricate the guide track... usually, they will break from the force of getting them up (winching), and not usually during sailing. However, if they are during sailing then it could be that the boom is over-tensioned for the wind conditions...

Just some random thoughts on that...
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Old 06-30-2008
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If..

If they are plastic slugs than yes this is and can be common as the plastic ages and absorbs UV rays. I've broken a fair number too and they usually start at the top. One way to prevent and minimize them beginning to break is to use a solid SS or Bronze slug at the headboard. Using plastic for the head board slug can lead to multiple slug breaks once the top one lets go. The top headboard slug sees the most load so when it goes it usually takes others with it.

With performance sails and weight concerns many sail makers use plastic all the way up including the head board..??? If you do replace the top slug with metal be sure to keep it lubed with SailKote..

Once one slug breaks you should replace them all. Plastic gets brittle and looses strength with age & UV and these things are under some serious load!!
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Old 06-30-2008
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The top slugs also get the most UV exposure, since they are generally in use the most, even when reefed.

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Originally Posted by halekai36 View Post
If they are plastic slugs than yes this is and can be common as the plastic ages and absorbs UV rays. I've broken a fair number too and they usually start at the top. One way to prevent and minimize them beginning to break is to use a solid SS or Bronze slug at the headboard. Using plastic for the head board slug can lead to multiple slug breaks once the top one lets go. The top headboard slug sees the most load so when it goes it usually takes others with it.

With performance sails and weight concerns many sail makers use plastic all the way up including the head board..??? If you do replace the top slug with metal be sure to keep it lubed with SailKote..

Once one slug breaks you should replace them all. Plastic gets brittle and looses strength with age & UV and these things are under some serious load!!
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Old 07-01-2008
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Lubing the track

On an older sailboat, the track had round lugs. To lube this I tied a knot in a rag, sprayed it with T-9 and ran it up and down the track a few times. Yes, I had a pull down on the halyard just in case the rag ripped, plus another light line pinned to the rag.

My Catalina has a tee slot and I'm not sure if rag with a knot would work. Any suggestions other than going up to the top?
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Old 07-01-2008
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Don't recommend using Boeshield T9 as it can stain the sails and can get gummy and collect dirt. The best and only stuff to use on a mainsail track IMHO is McLUbe Sailcote.
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Old 07-01-2008
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I would not use Boeshield T9 on a sail track. It's a good lubricant and protectant for metal, but for plastic and nylon, I think you're better-off with a wax-based lubricant such as Armor All. Or what SD suggests.

Jim
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Old 07-01-2008
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You really don't want to use any type of wax on the slugs, since that will encourage them to pickup dirt as they move. If you really want to protect the slugs, coat them once a month or so with 303 Aerospace Protectant. Keep the track lubed with sailcote... you'll be having much less in the way of problems.

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I would not use Boeshield T9 on a sail track. It's a good lubricant and protectant for metal, but for plastic and nylon, I think you're better-off with a wax-based lubricant such as Armor All. Or what SD suggests.

Jim
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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