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Old 01-07-2013, 12:20   #1
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Hanks, slides and bolt ropes

My first boat had a hanked on foresail or rather 3 which seemed to be the usual complement for cruisers at that time, none of this new fangled window blind nonsense. The mainsail had a boltrope to feed in to the luff groove, lots of friction and jamming if hoisted too quickly.

Now, the default is for slides on the mainsail, and a boltrope on the foresail to feed into the luff groove of the roller extrusion.

As I see it, there is no real difference between slides and hanks - they both attach the luff of the sail at regular points, unlike a bolt rope which provides continuous attachment.

So, to the point. I am in the process of buying a boat with a full wardrobe of hanked on sails, all in pretty good condition. I want to fit roller reefing/furling, and the recommendation is to take the sails to the sailmaker, and have him cut off the existing luff including the eyelets for the hanks, and sew on a new luff with a smaller diameter bolt rope to fit in the roller's groove.

I am left wondering why. Wouldn't it be easier to get some slides made up to fit in the groove? I realize there may be a issue about wrapping a sail tightly around the extrusion with potentially damaging pointy attachment fittings protruding from the groove, but I have a couple of ideas about managing that. I will still have to visit the sailmaker to get a sacrificial UV strip sewn on,, at least on the genny.

Can anyone see a problem with this? something I've not thought of?

Has anyone tried it?

Over to the experts...
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Old 01-07-2013, 13:29   #2
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Re: Hanks, slides and bolt ropes

The luff tape slides would have to be of such a length to prevent tripping and jamming, and be numerous enough to keep the luff supported, that you would probably find that you were approaching luff tape continuity.

Also, most extrusions have 2 grooves, which allow you to hoist a second sail while the first is still in place.
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Old 01-07-2013, 13:33   #3
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Re: Hanks, slides and bolt ropes

Not an expert.

when I got my boat it had a decent size genoa on a roller furler and a couple of jibs with hanks. So I fitted a second forestay with a quick release a foot behind the furler. I havent seen anyone come up with a satisfactory way of combining hanks, runners, whatever, with furlers. But having both is pretty good. in short - harbour sailing = furler, ocean sailing = hanks unless I get a very calm reach or run and then i can use two headsails if I want to.
The other thing is - it was a lot cheaper to fit the 2nd forestay (cos I did it myself) than have even one sail modified...
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Old 01-07-2013, 13:35   #4
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Re: Hanks, slides and bolt ropes

Never tried it and i'm no expert but here are my musings! Interesting idea but i think i'd go with the luff tape replacement - it's a pretty quick and easy job for a sailmaker (might even be able to do it yourself?).

The groove in a roller-furling foil tends to be very small, so much so that i think it would be hard to find slides to fit it, and then the slides themselves would be so small that they would likely bend sideways under the side-load that they would doubtless experience. Slides tend to be either all-plastic, plastic with steel loops or all-aluminium. Either way not ideal; all plastic would be too weak, all aluminium would likely corrode into the aluminium foil (since roller-furled jibs tend to be left up for extended periods) and the ones with the steel loops would bend i think. I used to have that type on my mainsail and they didn't last long at all.

Also, the loads on the foils can be quite large. I've seen bolt-ropes pop out of the foil before. All that load would be concentrated on the slides rather than being spread out over the entire length of the luff, which could potentially damage the foil itself, bending it outwards. Slides going into a big chunky bit of aluminium mast are one thing, but a flimsy, skinny foil with a track not designed for point-loading? I don't think i'd risk it.
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Old 01-07-2013, 13:38   #5
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Re: Hanks, slides and bolt ropes

A Kiwi company, Reef-Rite, has done exactly that for years. They call their system "Kiwi slides" (how ethnocentric) and we had such a system some years ago. Worked very well... the slides had dacron fabric "tails" attached, ond you simply stitched them onto the sail. I did some by hand, but much easier with a machine.

Cheers,

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Old 01-07-2013, 13:42   #6
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Re: Hanks, slides and bolt ropes

The big problem that I see is all those slides would be a big PITA to feed and probably more expensive than having the cord sewn in.
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Old 01-07-2013, 14:06   #7
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Re: Hanks, slides and bolt ropes

The only advantage I see to the Kiwi slides is that if you already have a foil, you don't need to replace it with wire. Am I missing something?
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Old 01-07-2013, 14:09   #8
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Re: Hanks, slides and bolt ropes

I might be misunderstanding your process, but...

Unless you plan to make a lot of sail changes, it seems to me you are going to spend about the same amount of time/money either way. The first way doesn't require re-engineering, the second does with pretty much the same result with unknown/unexpected consequences.

On the other hand, I like to do a bit of re-engineering, occasionally with positive results.
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Old 01-07-2013, 14:20   #9
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Re: Hanks, slides and bolt ropes

Quote:
Originally Posted by tamicatana View Post
The only advantage I see to the Kiwi slides is that if you already have a foil, you don't need to replace it with wire. Am I missing something?
Well, one advantage is that when you lower the sail it is still captive in the foil, just like a hanked on sail. This makes sail changes at sea (should they become necessary) much easier and safer. Also makes removing and flaking/folding a sail on deck easier, as in stripping a boat in preparation for a cyclone. We've had to do this and it is a bitch if there is much of a breeze blowing and the sail has only a bolt rope.

Cheers,

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Old 01-07-2013, 14:23   #10
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Re: Hanks, slides and bolt ropes

Quote:
Originally Posted by Blue Stocking View Post
The luff tape slides would have to be of such a length to prevent tripping and jamming, and be numerous enough to keep the luff supported, that you would probably find that you were approaching luff tape continuity.
You are right that the slide would be long, that would be essential to spread the load along a groove that was not designed for point loads, but I would be replicating the support provided by hanks, so 1 slide per current hank.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Cate View Post
A Kiwi company, Reef-Rite, has done exactly that for years. They call their system "Kiwi slides" ....
Excellent - just found the website Reef-Rite Headsail Furlers and Accessories I will have to check luff groove diameters, and count the number of hanks. It does seem to be what I am looking for, and surprisingly cheaper than I expected.
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Old 01-07-2013, 14:26   #11
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Re: Hanks, slides and bolt ropes

Coming from a sailmaker, I'd hoist the sails on hanks and see what they look like under load. Then, if you'd like them a little fuller or flatter up front have a sailmaker recut the luff roach and replace with a slit tape and bolt rope.

At least then you'll be getting what you want and what you should have.
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Old 01-07-2013, 14:28   #12
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Re: Hanks, slides and bolt ropes

One advantage of a bolt rope is that you can use a pre-feeder to load the bolt into the foil. This eliminates someone having to remain on the bow while each slide is loaded.

If a sail change is happening because it got too windy, less time on the bow is a good thing.
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Old 01-07-2013, 14:45   #13
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Re: Hanks, slides and bolt ropes

My reasoning behind this is I will already have the sails, none of which were designed with rolling in mind. I could convert the 130% genoa, but if the wind is too much for that, and likely to remain so, why not use the working jib that I already have, rather than a reefed genoa, which would not be flat enough, unless I modify the sail with a foam filled luff or get an overly complicated furling system that rolls the center first.

If the wind picks up to the point where I feel that a storm jib is required, should I have converted that to luff tape also?

I could rig an additional forestay, but if the weather was too much for the storm jib, I would much rather stay in the cockpit to furl it.

This is not a course of action that I am committed to, merely a thought process (with CF input)
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Old 01-07-2013, 15:36   #14
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Re: Hanks, slides and bolt ropes

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Cate View Post
Well, one advantage is that when you lower the sail it is still captive in the foil(snip)
Jim

That's the advantage of HANKS. I'm trying to understand why, if you were going to bother with the Kiwi slides, wouldn't you just go to a hank-on sail.
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Old 01-07-2013, 16:35   #15
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Re: Hanks, slides and bolt ropes

Quote:
Originally Posted by tamicatana View Post
That's the advantage of HANKS. I'm trying to understand why, if you were going to bother with the Kiwi slides, wouldn't you just go to a hank-on sail.
Why, that's simple: the sail is on a roller, and thus one has all the advantages of such a device... using extant sails with inexpensive modifications.

The OP has the sails, has the roller, only needs to find a way to mate them, and the Kiwi slides will do the job... they did for me anyhow!

Cheers,

Jim
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