Loose Foot Main sail vs Foot Bolt Rope in boom Track
I have the choice for my new main. Have always had the traditional bolt rope foot on my main going into the boom track,
What do you have?
My little SC 22 had a bolt rope main when I first got it and it sailed okay. At that time my only method of reefing the main was the original roller reefing boom. This always felt very cumbersome to me and is definitely not recommended when the wind is way ahead of you reefing, especially if you're singlehanding.
When I purchased my new main I had double reef points put in and I went "loose footed". I also installed a boom vang and a topping lift. The boat seems to point better (not that this is any kind of a high performance ride) and I can obtain superior sail shape on any point of sail.
I much prefer the loose footed sail over the bolt rope but I don't really think there is too much difference that can be realized on a small boat. On your boat it may make a large difference though. I used to crew on several high performance race boats and we always used loose footed mains.
I am in the same situation as you. I've always had the foot attached. I am ordering a new main within the next few weeks and narrowing my choice to manufacturers and cut (cross-cut vs. North Radian or Quantum Fusion). But one choice is clear. I will definitely go with loose footed. To put it in perspective, the vast majority of jibs are loose footed. The reason why we still use a boom is because it is impractical to sheet a main without it.
1. Better sail shape control because there is no foot
2. No flattening reef needed
3. Easier construction because a shelf does not have to be made & slides do not have to be fitted = reduced cost.
4. Easier control because you don't have to fight sail slugs on the boom
5. Easier furling and reefing because the foot is free.
1. A tendency for foot flutter. Corrected with a foot line.
What he says
We've gone with a loose foot for the last two mains, though originally we did have a boltroped foot that was attached to the boom. The pros mentioned above are all true. We've had no trouble with "foot flutter".
There have been a few discussions prior.
What does a loose foot main sail look like on the boom? Does the boom even come into play any more?
Every boat I've ever been on has had the bolt rope in it; I'm envisioning the old-style wooden ships setup where the sail is attached to rings that slide along the boom. Does anyone have a good photo showing the differences?
I've got a C&C 26.
Originally the boat had a bolt rope on the foot.
I bought a new set of sails 3 seasons ago with a loose footed main.
I much prefer the loose foot.
- seems to set better.
- easier to see the results when trimming, or maybe it's psychological.
- I don't get any foot flutter!
The foot shelf is supposed to help prevent boundary layer crossover under the boom, thus improving lift, but the increase in effectiveness of the new sails, makes this loss (if there truly is one at 6 knots) unnoticeable!
The foot has one large (long) slug at the clew.
(Some racers replace this with a webbing loop velcroed in place)
The boom provides both an attachment for the mainsheet and a means to flatten the sail (by pulling on the outhaul) and/or the vang.
A loose-footed sail usually droops below the boom (like this one does) to provide better air-flow across the lower part of the sail... but it doesn't have to:
Note: The boat the pic is taken from in the top pic has a slug to hold the clew on - the one in the bottom pic uses a webbing strap. The blue line is the reefing line.
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