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Old 23-07-2014, 21:11   #16
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Re: Mainsail Track and car recommendations?

I have a lot of experience with the Harken system. Specifically on two different race boats, an Andrews 70, and a Santa Cruize 52.

On both boats the systems worked incredibly well, allowed reefing at all points of sail, and other than needing to be replaced every time we broke a mast never needed any servicing other than annual maintenance. Both of these boats used massive big roach mains, and full batons, and neither had an issue with binding.

Honestly I am a huge fan of the Harken systems. I hunk of them as being the premier system in the field, likely overkill on smaller boats, but on a 50+ I would certainly have one.
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Old 23-07-2014, 21:19   #17
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Re: Mainsail Track and car recommendations?

Just got back from 3 weeks in S. Pacific on a HR 46 with the Antal system mentioned and it worked flawlessly. Put a small bit of Lube on the track early on and we anchored every day, reefed often, and it was as easier in medium air then the Cat 22 I sail in the lee of a building in the harbor!
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Old 23-07-2014, 21:19   #18
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Re: Mainsail Track and car recommendations?

Quote:
Originally Posted by neelie View Post
Sue.. I read good things about the Tides system but I'm gun shy with depending on two slippery pieces of plastic to be slippery when you need them to be.

Ball bearings are the go. Old school but they seem to always work.

Dan... Was yours a standard Valiant fit out? I'm wondering why they chose the system that we have. Painless, it's not!
Two things:

One, the Tides system has only one plastic surface: the track which is inserted into your extant mast groove. The slides are highly polished stainless steel.

Two, while ball bearings can provide very low friction, they are for sure not fail safe... IE, they don't "always work". VArious things go wrong, but the killer with the Ronstan system we had on our previous boat was failure of the balls (Torlon) themselves. Seems like every time they got whacked (and accidental gybes and other mess-ups do occur in real life) a few would split in half and fall out of the cars. When enough did so, the car would hang up worse than any slug. The Torlon also ages, the little balls are expensive to replace, and some of the systems can be very tricky to introduce new balls into.

And, sheesh, those systems are sure pricey ! I do wish that I had gone ahead and used the Tides track when we had the stick out, followed all too soon by a new mainsail.

Cheers,

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Old 23-07-2014, 21:28   #19
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Re: Mainsail Track and car recommendations?

I like the antal system, though Ive only used it on smaller boats around 34 foot it worked superbly. I'll second Jims comments about roller balls failing. I have had it happen on a few of the cars on the bigger 60+ footers I've worked on. Admittedly on older systems so I would personally take a good look at the simpler non RCB systems.
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Old 24-07-2014, 06:14   #20
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Re: Mainsail Track and car recommendations?

Quote:
Originally Posted by neelie View Post
Sue.. I read good things about the Tides system but I'm gun shy with depending on two slippery pieces of plastic to be slippery when you need them to be.

Ball bearings are the go. Old school but they seem to always work.

Dan... Was yours a standard Valiant fit out? I'm wondering why they chose the system that we have. Painless, it's not!
Valiant was a semi custom builder. Whatever equipment the buyer wanted they would do except in a few instances. Our main track system was installed by the PO. I really like it because it is rugged, runs smooth and a ball bearing will never fall out of it.
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Old 24-07-2014, 09:13   #21
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Re: Mainsail Track and car recommendations?

I have the Tides track on our G50. Works great with full battens and even with the oversize roach sails I have.
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Old 24-07-2014, 10:11   #22
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Re: Mainsail Track and car recommendations?

Gentlemen .. Thanks for taking the time to respond.

Glen.. I think you've got me sold on the Harken.. will investigate when I get to Grenada in a few weeks time.

Jim..I do hear good things about the Tides system. But I am just so disgruntled with my present plastic on plastic system and the way the cars are attached to the main that I wish to avoid any "miracle" products... Nevertheless, I will go online and research the Tides system properly.

Dan... Yes, I know Valiant is semi custom.. I had assumed that semi part referred to interior fit out.. Am surprised that it extends to sail handling systems.. I will write to Fred and enquire. Again Antal, like Tides depends on "miracle" low friction plastics. But I will spend some time reviewing them in conjunction with the Tides system.

I will try and review the 3 suggestions with an open mind despite my current prejudices.

Thanks again Everyone!.

Niels
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Old 24-07-2014, 10:34   #23
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Re: Mainsail Track and car recommendations?

I had the Harken on my 42' catamaran. It was still bit sticky at times and the "stack up" when reefed or when the sail was put away was huge. With a full batten main it still had resistance and the sail was heavy as hell to crank up. I had a few ball problems too.. the forces on the cat main were huge. once I had torlon balls allover the deck (and side!).
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Old 24-07-2014, 10:41   #24
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Re: Mainsail Track and car recommendations?

Hi everybody,

Wen have an ANTAL system on our full batten 74m² (740 square feet ?...) since 2004 and are very happy with it. This use pads instead of ball bearing, we are sailing all condition, up to F9 and nver had any trouble.
Easy to hail and put the sail down.
Just make sur the backstay is release to have your mast track straight before moving the sail (for a full up or down movment, reefing does not need it), and it goes very smoothly.
After such period we can see some wearing signs on the pads but not enough to consider to replace them yet (or change the pads themselves?).
May be not a fast down than ball bearing, but trouble free and good enough for us.
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Old 24-07-2014, 12:04   #25
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Re: Mainsail Track and car recommendations?

Cheech and Eric.... Just when I thought I knew what I wanted along come your posts.

As far as stack height goes, it looks like Harken have a solution with their Switch Track to halve the height.

What I don't know is.. will the sail easily drop straight into them every time or will they get hung up on the switch ?
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Old 24-07-2014, 12:15   #26
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Re: Mainsail Track and car recommendations?

Quote:
Originally Posted by neelie View Post
Cheech and Eric.... Just when I thought I knew what I wanted along come your posts.

As far as stack height goes, it looks like Harken have a solution with their Switch Track to halve the height.

What I don't know is.. will the sail easily drop straight into them every time or will they get hung up on the switch ?
You'll get to tell US the answer after you spend a bunch of boat bucks. However, the KISS notion comes to mind..!
I think the harken system was pretty good, but really disliked the stackup of the big cars. The sail was a two handed haul up on a two speed winch with all the weight of the battens, cars and heavy sailcloth. Personally I've never had an issue with normal track glides coming down well and doubt I would spend the money for more than that myself... but 50 ft is getting to be pretty big boat.
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Old 24-07-2014, 12:24   #27
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Re: Mainsail Track and car recommendations?

"...You'll get to tell US the answer after you spend a bunch of boat bucks. However, the KISS notion comes to mind..!"

Indeed!..you could be right... I am not sure whether the switch system is solution in search of a problem or not.

But my present system is supposedly simple and relies on two allegedly frictionless plastics and isn't really satisfactory.

Our previous boat (a cat) had Fredricksen (now Ronstan) with torlon balls - it worked a treat. Hence my tendency to return to happier times.

But still no decision until we get to Grenada in a few weeks.
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Old 24-07-2014, 13:44   #28
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Re: Mainsail Track and car recommendations?

On the Andrews with a 115' mast the height of the mast stack was a problem when the sail was down. I have no experience with the switch since it came out after I left the program, but other than that the system was flawless. We never had an issue with bearing popping out, and never had it hang up. Other than it wanting to drop too fast if the halyard was simply released.
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Old 25-07-2014, 18:27   #29
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Re: Mainsail Track and car recommendations?

We’ve been happy with our Tides Marine system. It’s no “miracle” product though. Harken is a sweat system, if you can afford it. I’m no fan of ball bearing systems for cruising where fresh water rinsing is hard to come by. Salt being a mineral with plenty of sharp edges, isn’t so kind to the “miracle” plastic balls meant to reduce friction.
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