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post #1 of 18 Old 03-08-2012 Thread Starter
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Broken sail slides

Tell us what we did wrong yesterday.

Over the weekend the NWS was forecasting a warm day for yesterday with 10-15 kt S/SE wind and temps in the low 70's F. Sounded too tempting, so a buddy and I planned for an afternoon off to go out sailing. The night before we were going, the NWS upped the wind forecast to 15-20 kts with gusts up to 27 kts and a Lake Wind Advisory.

We met at the lake as planned to assess the situation. Definitely gusty, but there were no whitecaps, so we decided to head out and hoist the main only. We discussed reefing, but decided against it. Maybe we should have.

Initially, it was a pretty calm sail. A few gusts came up, but we just let the main out to spill some air and kept a pretty good pace in the 4-6 kt range. The lake is pretty much an east to west run, so the southerly wind put us on a starboard beam reach the whole time heading east. After a couple of miles out, we decided to come about 180 degrees and head west. That's where things went wrong.

In preparation, I centered the traveller and pulled the boom in to about 10 degrees off center. We came about by heading off the wind and as we were coming around the wind died. When we were just about 180 degrees from our initial heading a big gust came over the beam, swung the boom 20 degrees and immediately filled the sail fast and we were rained on by pieces of plastic in the cockpit. WTH? We looked up to see that about 5 sail slides had broken and the lower third of the main was billowing out to leeward. I went up on deck and tied the sail to the mast through a reefing grommet (see photo) and we made it back to the harbor fine, but sail shape was a bit compromised :roll eyes:

What should we have done differently? Should you always head into the wind for a 180 degree turn? Should we have reefed? Or did we just have old sail slides that were past the time to replace?

Edit: And does anyone know a good place to get a deal on sail slides and shackles?
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Last edited by itsaboat; 03-08-2012 at 10:58 AM.
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post #2 of 18 Old 03-08-2012
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Re: Broken sail slides

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Edit: And does anyone know a good place to get a deal on sail slides and shackles?
SailRite should have them them.

Never forget them. Do something to prevent it from happening again.
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post #3 of 18 Old 03-08-2012
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Broken sail slides

Sound like you gybed rather than coming about. Nothing wrong w that if done properly. In heavy air it is safer to round up and tack. Old slides do break. Try defender or sailrite.com. How big is the boat and how old are the slides?

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post #4 of 18 Old 03-08-2012
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Re: Broken sail slides

Yeah, old slides do break. I had one break off up top and it jammed in the slide. Had to hoist a friends kid up the mast with a flat tip to break it loose.

I bought all new slides...they were cheap, like $1 each, so I also bought a few extra. As I was replacing them, I was VERY surprised just how worn out the old slides were compared to new ones. Also, the new slides were super slick! I can hoist my main all the way to the top without the winch. I can drop it by simply turning the halyard loose.

Before, on the old slides, I'd get the main about 3/4 of the way up and have to use the winch to get it to the top and tensioned properly.

This spring I'll hit the slides and channel with Sailkote.


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post #5 of 18 Old 03-08-2012
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Re: Broken sail slides

I just replaced all mine, got them off e-bay,

New ones were, well "new" and softer even a little flexible where the old ones were yellowed, hard and "brittle"...

Shackels just shattered as I changed them out (several were rope tied to the slides) and two or three slides themselves were partially broken on the loop and due for change out..

"Might as well take 'er out...If anything is gonna happen...It's gonna happen out there..."
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post #6 of 18 Old 03-08-2012 Thread Starter
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Re: Broken sail slides

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Originally Posted by jsaronson View Post
Sound like you gybed rather than coming about. Nothing wrong w that if done properly. In heavy air it is safer to round up and tack. Old slides do break. Try defender or sailrite.com. How big is the boat and how old are the slides?
Rounding up would have been the prudent choice in retrospect. Put one more learning experience in the bag.

I have an order in the works with Sailrite now, thanks. The boat is a Pearson 27 and the slides came with the boat, so I am not sure. From the looks of the checkering and UV damage of the surviving ones, I would say pretty old.

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post #7 of 18 Old 03-08-2012
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Re: Broken sail slides

The jibe doesn't sound all that drastic from your description.. I suspect the slides failed due to UV exposure, as mentioned already.

Obvioulsy it will be prudent to replace them all at this point. Are they sewn in or shacked on? If they are sewn on with webbing you may need to go to shackles to do it yourself unless you have the tools.

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Re: Broken sail slides

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The jibe doesn't sound all that drastic from your description.. I suspect the slides failed due to UV exposure, as mentioned already.

Obvioulsy it will be prudent to replace them all at this point. Are they sewn in or shacked on? If they are sewn on with webbing you may need to go to shackles to do it yourself unless you have the tools.
You're right, it really wasn't that violent of a jibe, which is what confused us. I am glad to hear that these things just wear out. They were shackled with the plastic screw-on shackles. All new slides and shackles (plus spares) on order from Sailrite this morning. If I knew they were that old and only $0.75 each I would have replaced them sooner.

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post #9 of 18 Old 03-08-2012
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Re: Broken sail slides

I could be wrong as it's hard to tell.. but is your topping lift tight? you would not be able to flatten sail with the topping lift pulling the boom up.

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post #10 of 18 Old 03-08-2012 Thread Starter
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Re: Broken sail slides

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I could be wrong as it's hard to tell.. but is your topping lift tight? you would not be able to flatten sail with the topping lift pulling the boom up.
It is hard to tell from the picture, Denise, but the topping lift is loose. I was pulling on the boom vang, but between the strong winds and the old lines in the vang I could not get the sail to flatten well.

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