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Old 14-12-2019, 16:10   #1
umu
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Replacing parted boltrope

After a pretty rough sail to an Out-Island here in the Bahamas I saw that the Boltrope on our mainsail has parted and the strip that sits over the boltrope forming a tunnel has also opened up around the rope in about 10 locations. The sail itself is intact, no rips or cracks.
The mainsail is held to the mast with sliders, the boltrope is not going into the groove.
Boat is a 37 footer, sail about 32sqm.

As the next Sailmaker is about 350nm away, in the wrong direction and on top would be closed until second week of January until the sail could possibly even get there I am scratching my head and wondering what to do.

1. Keeping to sail with it „as is“ seems like a bad idea to me, but maybe I am over-interpreting the importance of the boltrope in this setting (where both sliders and boltrope are fitted)?
2. Is there a chance to get the old rope pulled out and replace it by some other rope, pulling that in (currently there is a 5mm 3 strand rope in the tunnel at the luff)? Anybody done that??
3. As there is no chandlery for about the same distance I would have to work with what I have on board. All I have at hand is
- 4mm generic braided rope with core, not even sure what it is made of, probably some polyester/polypropylen mix, also no idea about the break load or stretch.
- Liros Lazy - 4mm Lazyjackline, hollow braid, according to their website Polyester, breakload 500daN. It looks ok, but it had been exposed to the sun since installation on the sailbag 15 months ago, so not sure to what extent this breakload is still applicable.

We want to continue to Cuba, so repair-wise or material-wise things will not improve for the next months.

Any thoughts very much appreciated!
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Old 14-12-2019, 20:17   #2
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Re: Replacing parted boltrope

A picture is worth 1000 words. Without cloth to repair the “tunnel”,(you don’t mention having any) what will hold a replacement boltrope in place? Do you have enough sail twine to sew the entire luff or foot (again, your post is not clear what’s involved) to ensure it all stays put? The best course of action might be to Email your sailmaker. They would know how the sail was built, what it needs to have in order to stay together, and what the best quick fix might be.
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Old 14-12-2019, 20:22   #3
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Re: Replacing parted boltrope

Is this in the foot of the sail? Any reason you couldn’t just run it loose footed ?
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Old 14-12-2019, 21:17   #4
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Re: Replacing parted boltrope

You're sayin' the bolt rope and luff tape failed?


First, is the luff exposed to the sun when furled? That is, is the luff not cover by the sail cover? I've seem luff tapes rot for that reason. Fix the cover.


If the tape and rope have failed in 10 places, the luff tape and bolt rope are shot. You can order a per-assembled luff tape from most sail supply houses (like Sailrite) and hand sew it on. If you are any good with a palm you should be able to knock it out in a long day, but more likely 2-3 with rest stops. I would not waste my time patching it, since most likely the cloth is shot. The sail cloth is likely damaged for a few inches as well, but the new tape will add support.


If you have not sewn with a palm, you will learn. Just copy the existing work. If you can lay it out flat and mark match points that will be a big help.


Yes, you could probably fish a new rope, but it's not easy. The usual material is polyester. It needs to be a little shorter than the luff, perhaps 3 inches.
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Old 15-12-2019, 03:35   #5
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Re: Replacing parted boltrope

Thanks so much for your thoughts on this!

In regards to the questions you raised:
a) It is the boltrope in the luff of the mainsail that has parted (in one location). The boltrope does not go into the groove on the mast, the sail has sliders.
b) It was always covered by sailbag and collar when not hoisted. They are both in good condition.
c) The luff tape is intact for the length of the luff, apart from about 10 spots where it split after the boltrope parted and in consequence the sail stretched (see picture). These splits do not extend into the sail itself.
As the boltrope is not fixed in the tunnel formed by the luff tape and apparantly it can slide in this tunnel my thought was that the boltrope takes the major load from the halyard and the luff tape not any signifcant load in the hoisting direction but mainly perpendicular to the boltrope into the sail area, so thought these cracks are not a drama - which might be mistaken. And no, I would not have enough dacron to fix the whole length of the luff tape.
c) ordering a new premade luff tape with rope and sew it on would be good but is unfortunately not a great option - this would take more than a month to even get here (as would almost any other stuff ordered) and also require additional tools to get the rivets for the sliders off and replaced.
That is why I try to find a working solution with the things at hand (4mm rope).
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Old 15-12-2019, 07:22   #6
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Re: Replacing parted boltrope

^^ I'm guessing that is an unusual failure. Not what I was expecting to see.


Yeah, I'd try to fish a new rope through. I've actually done that before, for other reasons. Fiddly, but not that hard. Much depends on the fit of the rope.


Good luck!
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