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  #1  
Old 10-20-2010
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Sail attachments to Mast

What is the advantage/disadvantage of how the sail is attached to the mast. The sail that came with my boat has a bolt rope that could slip into the mast, however it has loops every couple of feet. In these loops are plastic slides that slip into the mast slot, rather than slipping the bolt rope into the mast slot. What is the reason for this choice? Is one way better than the other?

Same with the boom. I see some sails with the bolt rope slipped in the boom slot while others are only attached at either end. Which way is better or for what purpose?
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Old 10-20-2010
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Plastic slides are good because the break rather then the sail tearing and ripping in heavy or bad winds. Bolt rope is hard to bring the sail down with any kind of wind on it and I think mostly smaller boats use that method. Bolt rope in the boom isn't much danger to the sail ripping either.
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The slides on the bolt rope up the mast allow the mainsail to be lowered and flaked without removing the sail from the mast. Then it can be stowed tied to the boom. If the bolt rope goes in the mast slot the sail must be removed from the slot as it is lowered as there is no way to flake(fold) the sail on the boom.
As to attachment to the boom goes that depends on the sail design and is the subject of considerable debate.
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Old 10-20-2010
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Using slugs on the sail luff means the sail stays attached to the mast when you bring it down. A bolt rope main (primarily a small boat or race boat feature) means the sail is only attached at the tack and head. It's a much less manageable package esp in a serious breeze. If you're primarily cruising, go with the slugs/slides.

The loose-footed vs bolt rope/slugs in boom argument has been done over and again... there are sail shape advantages in either case... a uniform camber with a loose foot, the so-called 'shelf/endplate' with attached. Most newer sails nowadays are set up loose footed. I think the primary advantage is the much easier outhaul adjustment without the drag of the foot in the slot on the boom.
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The slugs were probably added after the fact. I don't think you can use the rope luff if the slugs are there. Take some solvent attach it to a loose slug and rag, run it up and down the mast with a halyard and improvised downhaul to clean out the track and then add some Mclube sailkote the same way. Clean the slugs as well and you will find a much smoother operating mainsail when it comes to raising and lowering the main. Also get a mast track stop or put a pin across the mast opening to be able to keep the slugs in place to be able to flake the sail on the boom.
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Old 10-20-2010
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The other advantage of not using a bolt rope is that with a fully battened mainsail, you can use batten cars to help keep the pressure from the battens from causing the sail to jam when hoisting or dropping the sail. On larger boats, going with batten cars with ball bearing slides or a UHMW mainsail track, like the Tides Strong Track, can further reduce friction in lowering/raising the mainsail.

Most cruising sailboats don't use a bolt rope for the mainsail luff and few still use them for the foot.
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Old 10-21-2010
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Thanks, My Hobie, just uses the bolt rope, which I've been using the Hobie sail on the AFC. Yes, it is more difficult to raise, especially since the Hobie is full batton.

Seem like the main issue is ergonomic. I didn't know if there was any performance difference. Seems like that extra ripple and gap would cause more turbulence and reduce efficiency.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daveinet View Post
Seem like the main issue is ergonomic. I didn't know if there was any performance difference. Seems like that extra ripple and gap would cause more turbulence and reduce efficiency.
The gap/slot between the main and mast can affect overall performance, and this is one reason that most racing boats use boltrope mains.. but think the difference is negligible if you're not racing - and maybe even then unless you're at a very high level.

For cruising the difficulty of containing a dropping boltrope main outweighs any percieved advantage, IMO.
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