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Old 11-01-2009, 01:39   #1
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Sticky Strong Track

My boat has Strong Track on the mast for raising the mainsail. I've owned the boat for the past year and it has been a bear to get the main up to the top of the mast since day one. It's not real bad till I get it about 8-10 feet from the top and then it binds up and is a lot harder to get up(yeah I know its heavy). Even with me at the mast pulling down on the halyard and my wife at a winch, it is still everything we can do to get it up to the top. I just had all the standing rigging replaced and it is still tough getting it to the top.

The mast is nice and straight so that's not the problem.

Any suggestions?
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Old 11-01-2009, 04:12   #2
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I can suggest you investigate the following:

Are you getting friction from the reefing lines (slab reefing) if you have any? If you have two or more dets of reefing line make sure that they are not pulling or even running through the grommets as you raise the sail. Thhis can impart a LOT of resistance at the end of the hoist since the reef line are at the bottom of the sail and they would have no effect at first.

Is the vang loose and is the topping lift lift the boom so IT carries the weight of the boom and not the sail?

Are you head to wind so that the sail is luffing as it is hoisted? If not you may be putting latteral or rotational forces on the slides.

Are the slides free to rotate? This is both important and can be a problem if they bind?

Do you have a dutchmen system which is not properly installed? This too imparts lots of friction increasing as you raise the sail.

Try this:

Without the sail, tie a down all to the halyard and make sure that the friction is not in the halyard "system". it should have no resistance all the way up.

Next, aemove ALL control lines from the main. Leave the halyard of course. Set the topping lift to hoist the end of the boom pretty high. Slack the vang and the main sheet. Give it a try and see if this solves the problem. If it does, your friction is from the control lines.

Now with the same set up, liberally spray all the slides with Boeshield or silicone and see if this IMPROVES the ease of hoist. If it does, you have a problem with friction of the slides on the track. If it doesn't you have a problem of the wrong slides, or not properly installed ones or perhaps a defect at the top of the track too.
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Old 11-01-2009, 15:46   #3
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Here's what we do.

The topping lift is engaged to bring the boom up quite high to avoid the downward pull it exerts.
She is put into the wind.
The reefing lines are slackened--no cleating anywhere. Once we installed the main after the rigging got changed, we installed three sets of reefing lines and made sure they were slack at the first raising so they would be loose in the future.
The masthead was changed at the refit--previous one was found to be cracked.
Boom vang was let slack.
Main sheet was let loose.
It is still a tough job getting the sail up. Even with me at the mast pulling down on the halyard it's just a tough time getting it to the top. One of the riggers(short wirey guy) tried it by himself and he couldn't get it up to the top.
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Old 11-01-2009, 15:56   #4
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I think that you have a halyard wraped in the mast.
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Old 11-01-2009, 16:20   #5
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I have that system on my 38 footer. Works great. I can usually get all but the last couple of feet up without the winch but that's sail weight. Coming down its like something bigger was chasing it. I flip the line clutch and 2 seconds later the dutchman has it flaked.

The suggestion that you have something messed up with your halyard seems like a good one. Not common but I've seen it before.
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Old 11-01-2009, 16:26   #6
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track possible damage

I'm wondering if the track was damaged when the masthead was fixed. Go up in a chair and carefully inspect the track for a small cut or nick where the car will bear. It would help if you can remove the main cars from the track and take a spare car inside the track up with you to feel the friction.

If there is a nick it should be easy to fix with a sharp knife if you are careful and good at paring easily and slowly the plastic that gets raised from the main form caused by a cut or nick.

Before going aloft look at the track from the deck with binnoculars to make sure that the track is straight and true up near the top.
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Old 11-01-2009, 18:06   #7
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Track is fine.

When the masthead was replaced, the Strong Track was moved down the mast. Easy to do since it was on the ground on saw horses.
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Old 11-01-2009, 18:21   #8
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Does your halyard go to the top of the mast without the weight of the sail? Tie a line on the mainsail head end of the halyard and hoist away. Does it go up freely? DefJef suggested this but I don't know if you've tried it. The other problem could be the lead at the head of the mainsail not being straight to the mast crane. If it is off by a few degrees it can cause a bind in the last few feet of hoist. Lubricant can help but if you don't use the right kind it can stain.
If you are getting resistance without the sail on the halyard then there is something binding inside the mast. Check all the leads for resistance.
Good luck. This is a hard one.
I'm still having the same problem on one of our club Folkboats inspite of a few efforts.
Kind regards,
JohnL
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Old 12-01-2009, 18:03   #9
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Hi: We had the exact same problem on a trimaran with strong track and it turned out to be that the halyard was fouled inside the mast. It would move easily when unloaded but as the load got bigger it would start to drag and you couldn't get the last couple feet even with the winch. We prove this by tying a full jerry can to the halyard and it would jam as soon as the halyard lifted the jerry can off the deck. We solved it short term by hoisting a block to the masthead for another halyard until we could lower the mast and re-string the halyards. Dino
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Old 13-01-2009, 18:02   #10
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Update

I ran a set of three new slides up the track to the top of the mast this afternoon. About 10 feet short of the top, it bound up in the track. Not a lot but that binding would cause it to be much harder as each slide tried to get up to the top.

Any one have any suggestions or has anyone ever run into this problem? The track appears to be clean.
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Old 14-01-2009, 06:45   #11
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In a way I'm glad to learn that my earlier guesses were likely erronious and that, as unusual as it is, you seem to have a track problem. While it's somewhat of a pain in the neck, you can actually slide the entire track out of the slot in the mast for inspection and repairs, if necessary, by pulling the retaining screw at the base of the track, near the goose neck. (Of course, you could also climb the mast which might be the simplest to start with.) In either case I suggest you contant Tides Maine as they have been very responsive to other inquiries. If the track cannot be repaired I believe you can cut the damaged section off and add a replacement length on the bottom of the track.

N'any case, good luck.

s/v HyLyte
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Old 01-02-2009, 23:58   #12
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Followup

I contacted Tides Marine and they sent out a special slide to clean out the track. Apparently, as it goes up and down the track, it shaves off just a really small section of the track and assures that it is spotlessly clean and smooth. Unfortunately, it wouldn't fit in our track. Either the slide was too big or the track was too small. They were also concerned that the temperatures I have been using the track in is colder than normal--40-50 degrees. It is set to work at the optimum temperature of 70.
They checked other cleaning slides and have mailed me another to use. I'll see how it works when it gets here.
Nice company--takes care of people that own their product.
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Old 02-02-2009, 01:50   #13
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I ran into a problem similar to this on a boat, and on investigation, we discovered that the block at the top of the mast (having a senior moment here and cant remember the correct term) was severely damaged and was jamming the halyard.
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Old 28-05-2010, 18:50   #14
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mestrezat, did you ever get this problem resolved?
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Old 29-05-2010, 10:03   #15
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yes and no.

I still have a problem getting the main up to the top of the mast.

I contacted Strong Track and they sent me an bit that slides up the track, cutting off any burrs that may be in the way. It took three times to get the right size bit(I had to file it down so it would fit). I attached my halyard to it and a down haul to bring it back down. Up and down any number of times. I still could only raise the main to the second spreader before we had to use the biggest winch we had and with me pulling down on the halyard at the mast.

I had the sheaves at the top of the mast replaced with ball bearing sheaves and replaced the sail slides that mate up with the batten cars(found they were galled in a locked position. Still to no avail.

I still have to use the winch and pull down on the halyard to get it up there. Still don't know why but sometimes you have to do what you have to do to get the job done. As far as I know, the Strong Track is fine. The company could not have been more helpful. They even offered me the option of returning it for inspection and replacement if that was necessary.

Any suggestions as to a solution would be appreciated.
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