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Maine Member
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185 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Greetings all:

Found some relatively old threads on this topic, but I'm curious if anyone can add some recent experience to the mix?

Presently, I have to go to the mast and literally haul the main down, due to the high-friction old plastic lug-type luff attachment (OEM circa 1965).

After having considered the Harken Slide system A, I ran across the plastic track system by Dutchman, which makes a great deal of sense to me (none of the small track fasteners all the way up the mast as in the Harken system). In addition, I like the price-per-foot of luff concept (LOTS cheaper than Harken). Trouble is, I am not getting ANY response from Dutchman to the e-mail inquiry that I sent them two weeks ago . . . !!

So, now I find the Tides Marine STRONG track system - similar to the Dutchman, except the track is female vs. male, and apparently the STRONG sail slides are straight metal, instead of the lined slides in the Dutchman system.

Any insight on the STRONG system would be much appreciated!
Happy Sailing!
 

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Wandering Aimlessly
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22,036 Posts
I installed the Strong Track with my new full-batten mainsail and it works like a charm. Sail goes up and down easily, and no moving parts, ala battcars. I highly recommend it, especially for full-batten mains.
 

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phallo 1, Gustav 0
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141 Posts
Ditto what Pbeezer said. I got the system along with a full-batten mainsail and it goes up smooth (almost entirely by hand from the cockpit) and drops like a rock.

Things to consider:
1) Added thickness to your mast, so if the mainsail cover is already snug when buttoning up around the mast, it might need modified.
2) I had some reefing line fairleads on the mast that had to be removed because the track wouldn't fit between them - I still need to remount them. Take a look at the back of the mast and see if anything will get in the way. IIRC the track is about 2" wide.
3) Hardware will probably stack higher than your plastics slugs (mine do), another thing to consider with regard to the mainsail cover.

Some pictures in the album link below if you're interested:
 

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Baybilly
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74 Posts
Ditto, ditto -- I make all my sailor buddies jealous by demonstrating how fast I can get it up! The main comes down as fast as you can feed the halyard. It needs no maintenance, but I give it a shot of McLube whenever I go up and it works like butta'! I'm also able to reef while under some load -- which I could never do before (metal slides on external track).
 

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Wandering Aimlessly
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22,036 Posts
Remind me to show you mine this summer cam. It's as about as KISS as you can think of for an add-on.
 

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Telstar 28
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992 Posts
I think that would be correct... the Strong sail track, from what I've seen of it, is pretty simple to install and works well. IIRC, it installs by attaching to the existing sail slug track on the mast.
 

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phallo 1, Gustav 0
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141 Posts
I think that would be correct... the Strong sail track, from what I've seen of it, is pretty simple to install and works well. IIRC, it installs by attaching to the existing sail slug track on the mast.
Correct. Tides Marine will send you a set of gauges to measure the width and depth of the existing track and slot on the mast. The track is then milled to those specifications.

In most cases, modifications to the mast gate will have to be made - in the picture below, my mast gast was extended from 1.5" to about 3", both sides of the slot. It is imperative that the opening by filed very smooth - the smallest burr will gauge the track and eventually cause it to bind. A little dish soap and it slides right in. Below the mast gate the back of the track is flat, with several screws and backing plates that fit into the mast track and are then tightened to keep the track in place.


 

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Registered
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9 Posts
I added a Tides Marine Strong Track from Sail-Care to my boat early this year. The documentation was easy to understand and a breeze to install. The track system was up and ready to use in an hour and a half to complete. The guys at Tides and Sailcare have my vote as the system changed "Dove" VD# 606209 instanly into a great pleasure to sail. I also added Sail-cares MarkIV Cradle to the boat in order to tame the 4 batten main. My wife even loves the addition which makes hoisting and doucing the main extremely fast. Love it!
 
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