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Old 01-06-2011, 04:29   #1
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Mainsail Slide Systems Choices

My mainsail is just a bear to hoist, and even more important a bit*h to drop! This is a "full batten" sail (really only 2 battens are full) and I have to go and put all my weight into pulling it down.

So I'm looking to upgrade to some type of slide/battcar system. I did various searches that were semi-sucessful. Seems that most responses memtioned the Tides Marine system which I now know was on my last boat so I know the performance of this system. But I found hardly anything on roller bearing systems.

In the end I would prefer to spend more for a system (within reason) than a little less (none I expect to be inexpensive) for a system that I'm only semi happy with.

So looking for opinions for various slide and battcar systems.

Thanks
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Old 01-06-2011, 04:44   #2
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Re: Mainsail slide systems choices

What track and slide assembly do you have presently? I have a 2+2 main with surface mounted bronze track and wrap-around slides.
If I have too much tension on the 2 full batten pocket ends they tend to side-load the slides, and create more resistance to dropping. I, every few sails, give the stacked sail slides a good spray of non-oily food grade teflon spray. I use Cyclo.
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Old 01-06-2011, 05:13   #3
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Re: Mainsail slide systems choices

Don, this is my next purchase for Gypsy Hawk and I have recently researched a range of options and looked at a few of them at the Sanctuary Cove Boat Show (Gold Coast, Australia) only last week. Also if you search CF you will find a number of informative posts.

I have decided to replace all of my slides with Rutgerson gear - 5 batten cars, 6 intermediate slides and one headboard car will cost about $700. Money is a factor for me but it must also work and my sail maker thinks that this will. See their website, Rutgerson.se

I looked at the Tides Marine Strong Track system - fantastic and not one negative review or comment found amongst plenty of praise. With my 18m mast and the need to replace batten recepticles as well this would cost me over $2000 before installation.

Another option that works with an existing mast track is the Ronstan Ballslide T Batten System. This has revolving ballbearing cars. Also very well reviewed, probably one of the best that can be retrofitted. A down side for me with this system is the increased hight of the sail stack which places the headboard out of reach. I have lazy jacks and sail bag. Also the cost is much more than all of the other systems.

The Harken system also uses revolving encapsulated ball bearing cars, is very good, expensive and I believe requires its own track which would also have to be fitted. So that would mean removing your mast.

I also came across a system called Luffshuttle which I haven't seen. Look at Luffshuttle.com

There are more mainsail luff systems around. I found interesting discussion of this topic on the Hanse boat owners site. Was amazed at the number of owners of new Hanse's having problems raising and lowering sails.
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Old 01-06-2011, 05:14   #4
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Re: Mainsail slide systems choices

Quote:
Originally Posted by Don Lucas View Post
My mainsail is just a bear to hoist, and even more important a bit*h to drop! This is a "full batten" sail (really only 2 battens are full) and I have to go and put all my weight into pulling it down.
These were the exact symptoms on my last boat. I tried lubricating the track etc, but eventually found the problem was a sheave jamming at the top of the mast. I'm presuming you've checked that out???

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Old 01-06-2011, 05:32   #5
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Re: Mainsail slide systems choices

I have already checked the system and lubed the stock slides. I think the stock plastic slides are just worn and rough. I could probably clean them, sand them etc., but in the long run I'm not getting any younger and just what a better system that I can count on.
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Old 01-06-2011, 05:51   #6
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Re: Mainsail slide systems choices

Don,
I'm looking at the same issue. I've figured out how to get the sail up, but dropping it into the StackPack is a PITA. I am leaning towards the Tides Marine system. Did you decide that it isn't what you need or are you just looking at options and the Tides Marine system happens to be one you already know about? If it's not up to snuff, what are its shortcomings? Thanks!
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Old 01-06-2011, 05:51   #7
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Re: Mainsail slide systems choices

Hi Don,

Been researching track and slide systems myself and plan to go with the Tides Strongtrack. Have corresponded with a few users and read a number of online reviews and comments and find nothing negative. Also the local sailmaker that I've used for thirty years recommends it.

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Old 01-06-2011, 06:22   #8
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Re: Mainsail slide systems choices

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Originally Posted by tartansail View Post
Don,
I'm looking at the same issue. I've figured out how to get the sail up, but dropping it into the StackPack is a PITA. I am leaning towards the Tides Marine system. Did you decide that it isn't what you need or are you just looking at options and the Tides Marine system happens to be one you already know about? If it's not up to snuff, what are its shortcomings? Thanks!
Just looking for options.

I had the Tides system on my last boat (or one that was just like it), which also had a Doyle Stackpak. It worked OK. Especially after spraying some dry lube on the slides once in a while; then it dropped like a rocket! Hoisting it I could get it about 3/4 up my hand, the only trick was to watch the sail as it went up to not catch the battens on the lazy jack lines.

If you are having problems with it coming down into the bag the jack lines are probably too loose (assuming it is dropping OK to start with). I found my last would drop into the bag well enough that all I had to do after was grab the sides of the cover and give it a shake and lift and it the sail would just fold up.
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Old 01-06-2011, 07:50   #9
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Re: Mainsail slide systems choices

Thanks, Don. My problem is needing to pull the sail down. It goes into the bag fine once I get it down. That's why I'm focused on the slide mechanism. That said, I'm 6'3". If I was any shorter, I don't think I could manage the sail and stackpack without adding a step on the mast.
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Old 02-05-2018, 12:59   #10
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Re: Mainsail Slide Systems Choices

Hi
this post is a few years old,looking at installing an easier way to work with the main,Tides system still remains a viable option?
thank you
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Old 02-05-2018, 13:26   #11
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Re: Mainsail Slide Systems Choices

Just ask them:

https://www.tidesmarine.com/sailtrac...t_overview.php
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Old 02-05-2018, 14:01   #12
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Re: Mainsail Slide Systems Choices

Tides Strong Track is great. No doubt about it.In my case it left my main a bit high when lowered (all the cars stacked together). Bear in mind boom angle does affect performance (specially lowering), so being smart about your topping lift will give you better results even.
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Old 02-05-2018, 14:19   #13
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Re: Mainsail Slide Systems Choices

great
thank you
after reading all past posts wanted to know it remains a "runner up",looked at Harken but like to avoid spending on extra, as eventually somebody has to go up,many years ago I will have no second thoughts but now do not want to be in the News describing a geriatric guy splashing all over the deck!!
Will make sure it works on my Mack Stack system,excellent suggestion.
thanks
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Old 04-05-2018, 19:35   #14
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Re: Mainsail Slide Systems Choices

Quote:
Originally Posted by gaucho View Post
Tides Strong Track is great. No doubt about it.In my case it left my main a bit high when lowered (all the cars stacked together). Bear in mind boom angle does affect performance (specially lowering), so being smart about your topping lift will give you better results even.
The tides track system is great. I've seen a couple where they had to replace the plastic track after 10 years, but it wasn't a problem to get another one without sliders. Better than having bearings flying everywhere after 10 years

The track can be a bitch to get up but once its done its done.

The reason it can end up high is their slide spacing guidelines are a bit conservative. I think somewhere they recommend 3 slides between battens which isn't actually needed (only 2) and for a bigger boat 2 reef slides between battens. And for a even bigger boat head sliders on the full battens
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Old 04-05-2018, 22:18   #15
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Re: Mainsail Slide Systems Choices

Tides Strongtrack is great. Even better when used in conjunction with a Dutchman system. The Dutchman keeps the full battens horizontal and thus do not bind on the cars. When set up correctly, ease the halyard and it flakes right on the boom. It keeps the sail on the boom when reefed too.
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