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Old 27-03-2019, 16:58   #1
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Attached foot main - bolt rope vs barrel slug

I ordered a new mainsail a while back, and it is finally here. I explicitly ordered barrel slides instead of bolt rope / foot tape. New mainsail just arrived. The foot has the tape on, instead of the barrel slides. How much am I missing out?

On the sailmaker rep's recommendation, I went with barrel slides on the foot instead of bolt rope / foot tape. Made sense. I wanted to be able to adjust bottom part of the sail shape, whilst still minimizing stress on the boom (hence why I didn't go loose footed).

I e-mailed the rep but I'm sure I'm going to have to decide between sending the sail back and waiting forever, or taking some sort of compensation and living with the tape. Will the 'foot tape' (looks like a jib luff tape, same diameter as my old sail's bolt rope) bind much more than this tape, when I'm adjusting the outhaul?

PS: I've done so much reading on loose foot vs attached foot so I'm not trying to start a discussion between those two.

Thanks
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Old 27-03-2019, 19:01   #2
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Re: Attached foot main - bolt rope vs barrel slug

It will make no difference.

Neither bolt rope nor slugs will "minimize stress on the boom."

To adjust the outhaul you might need to luff the sail a bit to reduce tension, but you really should do that anyway. It is rare to sail with the outhaul pulled really, really tight. It is more about the location of the clew than the amount of tension in the foot of the sail
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Old 27-03-2019, 19:08   #3
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Re: Attached foot main - bolt rope vs barrel slug

Thanks. I'm more concerned with easing the outhaul and the sail not taking the new shape due to friction at the foot
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Old 27-03-2019, 19:09   #4
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Re: Attached foot main - bolt rope vs barrel slug

Can't see how there would be much, if any, difference in adjusting sail shape between sails with barrel slides or a bolt rope foot. Neither is optimal for sail shape according to sailmakers around here. We went loose-footed about 20 years ago and haven't looked back. If it makes you happy, the sailmaker (or another sailmaker) can easily add barrel slides to the foot of the sail. You'll perhaps have to hoist it an inch or so higher, or take up on the Cunningham a touch sooner than if you used the foot tape in the boom. No big deal. If your sail is bunching along the foot or if the slugs get hung up, perhaps some spray lubricant would solve that problem.
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Old 28-03-2019, 08:47   #5
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Re: Attached foot main - bolt rope vs barrel slug

If you want to go with slugs it is a fairly simple job to fit them. Can be hand stitched with a needle and palm using a short piece of tape. Much faster than shipping the sail back.
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Old 28-03-2019, 11:59   #6
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Re: Attached foot main - bolt rope vs barrel slug

With bolt ropes there is no way to properly tie in the bunt of the sail with the reef ties. Those lines should not go around the boom but around the sail only. Also the only way to use a bowline to secure the end of the clew reef points is to put a hole in the sail to pass the line through.

A bolt rope will be quieter in slatting situations but that's something that few will have the pleasure of living with. Most would drop the sail and turn the motor on

Adding cringles is no small job. Sewing them in will take 15 minutes to 1/2 hour each to do it properly. It will also need a cutting tool for the holes and a former for the cringe fitting. Believe me, have done it. Send the sail back and have them properly add the slugs.
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Old 28-03-2019, 13:52   #7
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Re: Attached foot main - bolt rope vs barrel slug

IMHO, if your purpose is to adjust the lower area of the sail by the outhaul, neither option is optimal. To allow the outhaul to work you need a loose footed sail.
As this is now not possible, you may live with the boltrope. It will live longer than slugs as the tension will be spread all allong the foot instead of pulling at number of points.
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Old 28-03-2019, 14:10   #8
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Re: Attached foot main - bolt rope vs barrel slug

Quote:
Originally Posted by roland stockham View Post
If you want to go with slugs it is a fairly simple job to fit them. Can be hand stitched with a needle and palm using a short piece of tape. Much faster than shipping the sail back.
Good advice... easy job, little skill needed, inexpensive materials... what's not to like!

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Old 28-03-2019, 16:46   #9
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Re: Attached foot main - bolt rope vs barrel slug

I think there is a misunderstanding of loose vs bolt rope for the mainsail foot. Most of the stress on the foot is at the tack and clew. In between the sail usually is loose along the foot. A bolt rope or shelf foot is an old style to help give an "end plate effect" to increase the apparent sail area. Today mainsails are cut with a curved foot to add area while the sail itself is loose footed. A sail slug should be located at the clew to transmit tension from the mainsheet to the leech. BTW there also should be a slug at the top of the luff, especially if a bolt rope luff is used. Otherwise mainsheet tension can pull the luff out of the mast groove.
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Old 28-03-2019, 17:28   #10
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Re: Attached foot main - bolt rope vs barrel slug

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Originally Posted by roverhi View Post
With bolt ropes there is no way to properly tie in the bunt of the sail with the reef ties. Those lines should not go around the boom but around the sail only. Also the only way to use a bowline to secure the end of the clew reef points is to put a hole in the sail to pass the line through.

A bolt rope will be quieter in slatting situations but that's something that few will have the pleasure of living with. Most would drop the sail and turn the motor on

Adding cringles is no small job. Sewing them in will take 15 minutes to 1/2 hour each to do it properly. It will also need a cutting tool for the holes and a former for the cringe fitting. Believe me, have done it. Send the sail back and have them properly add the slugs.
A bowline securing the end of the clew reefing line can be tied to a padeye or other suitable fitting on the boom, without having to put a hole in the foot of the sail to pass the line through.

With slab reefing we've not found it particularly necessary to tie off the bunt of a reefed sail. The tight foot of the reefed sail keeps the wind from filling the bunt, and it mostly lies bunched up alongside the boom, even in winds up to 40 knots. Do people still have sails with a dozen or so reef points to tie off only around the sail? If we do think the bunt needs snugging up, perhaps because the flapping is keeping the off watch awake, we'll run a sail tie through one of the reefing cringles and (yes, horrors!) around the boom to bunch it up. Foot tension is taken up by the reefing line; there's no need for multiple reefing points to hold the sail down along the foot. It is no longer cotton or flax. Tying and untying one sail-tie is a lot quicker, easier and safer than putting in or undoing a dozen square (reef!) knots in the small stuff that reef points are made of.

The OP does not need to cut holes or add cringles to his sail in order to add slugs along the foot. As mentioned elsewhere, it is an easy job that any sailmaker could do. Whether it is worth doing is another question.
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Old 29-03-2019, 01:30   #11
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Re: Attached foot main - bolt rope vs barrel slug

Sailed on many boats with bolt rope footed mains. Never had issue when releasing the outhaul and not having the sail ease, even in light winds. I wouldn’t worry about the slugs and just stick with the bolt.
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Old 20-04-2019, 21:23   #12
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Re: Attached foot main - bolt rope vs barrel slug

I've had both and seen no difference. Of course I got away from it completely and have used loose footed mains for the last 20 years, even now on my 47 foot performance cruiser. I've found the biggest difference for sail shape was going to a loose footed main. Except when it's reefed. But most of my previous boats we're racer/cruisers so even now when cruising I still fuss over sail shape. Must be my ADD kicking in. Keeps me occupied on long passages. Now if I just moved that mainsheet half an inch.........
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Old 20-04-2019, 22:39   #13
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Re: Attached foot main - bolt rope vs barrel slug

Just to update. I'm pretty happy with my mainsail. It came with a real shelf foot and that gave me a lot of flexibility with sail shape. i dont tgink I can let it bag up as much as a loose footed one, but my outhaul certainly makes a huge difference now. With it fullytensioned, it's like the shelf foot isnt there.
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Old 20-04-2019, 23:31   #14
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Re: Attached foot main - bolt rope vs barrel slug

Quote:
Originally Posted by svsonora View Post
Just to update. I'm pretty happy with my mainsail. It came with a real shelf foot and that gave me a lot of flexibility with sail shape. i dont tgink I can let it bag up as much as a loose footed one, but my outhaul certainly makes a huge difference now. With it fullytensioned, it's like the shelf foot isnt there.
Another cool thing you can do with a shelf foot main: up near the gooseneck, put a plastic skin fitting in the shelf, pointing down. You can attach a hose to that and in a bit of rain, collect a huge amount of water, even if the wind is up a bit. Less chance of salt contamination than deck fill collection. You will be amazed at how much water is collected by the mainsail, so use a biggish diameter fitting and hose... like at least 16 mm or 5/8 inch.

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