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Go Back   SailNet Community > General Interest Forums > Learning to Sail
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  #1  
Old 07-09-2007
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Trimming the main

Yesterday didn't present much opportunity for sailing, but when we finally got 5-10 kts out of the SW I hoisted the main under wind for the first time since acquiring this boat. I immediately discovered two things. Well, three really...

First - two of the hanks (are they called hanks on a main?) that sit in the track on the mainmast are broken. How do I replace them? Does the entire sail need to be removed?

Second - the clew doesn't move very well in the track on the boom, and I can't get it to move further than within 8" of the end. This isn't normal is it?

Third - I suspect #1 and #2 are to varying degrees at fault for this, but try as I might, I could not get the roach to fill with air. No matter where I positioned the boom (or the boat), the roach would luff and the main was pretty much useless.

We ended up dropping the main and just sailing with our jib.

Is it because I'm having trouble with the foot of the sail that I'm having this problem, or is there another element to trimming that I am overlooking. This will no doubt sound naive, but would 8" of travel on the boom really make THAT much difference?
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Old 07-09-2007
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Those are sail track slugs... and you can replace them yourself, if you're handy with an awl and don't mind taking a bit of time to do it. Otherwise, you'll probably have to take the sail down to a sail loft and have them do it.

Does your main have a bolt rope or is it a loose-footed main? I am going to guess that it has a bolt rope and that the boom sail track is in need of cleaning. If dirt and debris build up inside the groove the bolt rope slides along, it can bind up the bolt rope.

If the sail is made of heavier cloth, like some of the off-shore specification sails are, it may not fill out in very light winds.... however in 10 knots of wind, it should have filled out. The fact that you can't tension the foot of the sail properly is going to contribute to the problem a bit, but probably isn't the sole source of the difficulties.

Do you have a boom vang or kicker? Also, did you ease the topping lift? Not easing the topping lift will prevent the leech of the main from taking proper shape. If you have a rigid boom vang or kicker it can also do the same thing, if not adjusted properly.
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Old 07-09-2007
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Your outhaul could also be snagged and/or sail battens not placed in their pockets. I think SD's topping lift solution worthy of note though.
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Old 07-09-2007
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Hyperion-

I'm going out for a week this afternoon, but next week if you like I'll join you for an afternoon or evening and see if we can get you sorted out.

PM me after Monday if you like.
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Old 07-09-2007
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If the roach is "luffing" on all points of sail/trim, then I suspect you're missing some, or all, of your battens.

The suggestions above about topping lift are good ones. When you've really cranked the mainsheet in for close-hauled, the topping lift should still be a couple of inches slack. It really serves only to keep the boom from cracking someone's head, or your cockpit seats/sole, when you drop the main.

Try these two things, and let us know. A couple of missing slugs shouldn't make much difference short term. And if the foot of the sail doesn't have a lot of vertical "I'm too slack" wrinkles, then the tension is probably all right, regardless of how far from boom-end the clew is.
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TB's made some very good points.. hadn't thought of the outhaul being fouled.
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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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Old 07-09-2007
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I suspect based on all your helpful input that it is an issue with the topping lift. All the battens are in place. SD - there is a bolt rope on the main.

Faster - thanks for the offer. I'm sure that in 5 minutes you'll have me sorted. PM sent.
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Old 07-09-2007
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Hyperion-

Let us know how you make out... Glad to help. Spraying the sail track with McLube SailKote or Boeshield T9 really does help quite a bit.
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Telstar 28
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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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