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Discussion Starter #1
I was reading the december sail mag. and in the ask sail section, Win Fowler stated that he thought the boat performance of a loose foot was better than an attached foot.
I did a search on sn but didn't find much on the performance issue. I would appreciate your input.

Thanks. Jim.
 

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99.99% of all race boats use loose footed sails. that should give you an idea if they work better
 

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Switched to a loose footed full battened main from bolt rope in foot a few years ago.
We went from being the back of the pack to actually winning a few races.

Of course our old sail was, well, old and blown out.
The loose footed main allows much better adjustment of the main sail. The draft can easily be lessened by tightening the out haul for high winds or increased for lower wind speeds.
 

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This is a confusing fact . A dock mate talked me on to her race boat a while back for a race , I was interested to see the main was loose footed . The boat was a Olsen 911 . I was talking to a friend about loose footing my main because I want to make a wood boom and it would be a lot easier if I didn't have to put in a foot track . He told me my boat was already slow enough . Ouch !
 

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Both wing foot and loose foot sails allow a better shape in the lower portion of the sail as compared old style mainsails. But the reality is that there is no real performance difference between loose or shelf foot mainsails. The advantage to high performance boats of loose foot mainsails has more to do with the convenience of removing the mainsail from the boom which racers tend to do with greater frequency th an cruisers and the elimination for the need for flattening reefs.
 

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This is a confusing fact . .....
Not confusing fact... contradictory information maybe..

I don't think there's any valid reason to do anything other than loose footed mains unless one of your primary needs is collecting rainwater...
 

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If there is no reason for track foot mains then why do almost all sail boats come with track footed mains?
 

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If there is no reason for track foot mains then why do almost all sail boats come with track footed mains?
Good question... I've no idea why the practice persists.. Outhaul friction is higher, the foot doesn't really support any loads anyhow, removal of the sail more difficult...
 
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Hmmm, I'm really startin to get talked into that wood boom thanks Faster.
What boat? and why do you want to make a wood boom??
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thanks for all the posts. A lot of good information. Part of my dislike for in-mast furling comes from the loose foot. It always seemed to me that it would mess with sail shape.
Well, lots to think about. What a great resource SN is. Thanks.

Jim.
 

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Not a fan of in-mast either, but it's the loss of roach that's the issue rather than the foot..
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Thanks faster. I was starting to go soft on in-mast furling.

So, are loose footed mains a pain to reef? More stuff floppping around? And do they work ok with lazy jacks and all?
How much extra load do they put on your outhaul? Is the outhaul unusable when sailing?

Jim.
 

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No different reefing, they work fine with lazy jacks, no extra load...no worries
 

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Our out haul has something like a 3:1 mechanical advantage inside the boom. An out haul with 1:1 will not work well at all.
 

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Regarding comment #7, even with a loose foot the mainsail will still have a slug at the clew. The slug is passed sft in the groove to keep the clew at the boom.
Regarding comment #9, I had a boat with a spruce boom and an aluminum boom; when the breeze freshened the spruce boom would bend so you couldn't flatten the mainsail. God would not have allowed man to discover aluminum if he wanted us to use wooden booms.
 

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Regarding comment #7, even with a loose foot the mainsail will still have a slug at the clew. The slug is passed sft in the groove to keep the clew at the boom.
Actually, today a clew strap makes more sense, and is becoming more common all the time.

Regarding comment #9, I had a boat with a spruce boom and an aluminum boom; when the breeze freshened the spruce boom would bend so you couldn't flatten the mainsail. God would not have allowed man to discover aluminum if he wanted us to use wooden booms.
Yes, agree and wonder why wood??
 

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I found with a loose foot that I can see the lower sail shape much easier and it inspires me to adjust the outhaul more often thereby I get better performance out of the sail.
 
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