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Old 05-03-2021, 09:01   #1
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Experience with trackless sail slides?

My Beneteau 423 has plastic slides and they are fine when hoisting or lowering the main when into the wind but bind up when trying to reef while underway. I am thinking of changing to sail slides that have bearings but that do not require an external track. So far I see that Ronstan, Rutgerson, and Dutchmar offer these.

Anyone with experience using these sorts of slides? If you previously had generic plastic slugs was the upgrade was worth it?

My other issue to get practical use of any reduced friction is sorting though the problems with one or two battens hanging up on the stack pack supporting lines, but that will be for later.

Thanks,
Harry
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Old 05-03-2021, 13:54   #2
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Re: Experience with trackless sail slides?

My sailmaker is also suggesting "Strong Track” system made by Tides marine or an offering from Antal. So interested in experience with these or others not mentioned
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Old 05-03-2021, 14:49   #3
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Re: Experience with trackless sail slides?

We love the strong track. Smooth up, down and reefing.

They are indeed strong and tough, but are plastic and degrade with UV. We just replaced the track after 9 years. Eventually the rim weakens and the slugs will pull chunks out of it.
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Old 05-03-2021, 15:28   #4
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Re: Experience with trackless sail slides?

Firstly, I'm not sure where, how much, or how serious your cruising is, because moving to a full track and car system as I will describe is not insignificant in terms of cost.

But, whilst not trackless, we had a large heavy fully battened cruising mainsail and full Antal track and car system on a 50ft monohull and it proved to be bullet proof over multiple years, cruising and racing (swapped out to the racing main), and thousands and thousands of miles, including offshore trans ocean passages with heavy air sailing (3rd reef or more).

We had the system with the slides (not the balls) and didn't have one single problem with it. This range: full batten-antal

The cars with sliders offer a much lower stack height, and also make removing the mainsail much easier. I realise that's not often necessary but it's a worthwhile for when it is required.

We were very happy with the Antal system and it enabled a reef to be put in singlehanded in any conditions.

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Old 05-03-2021, 16:40   #5
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Re: Experience with trackless sail slides?

Converted to Rutgerson cars from a bolt rope setup.

Cost was 6 x $75.00 AUD.

Using slugs as intermediates..
With the batten tension and tape length on the slugs is sorted can take or shake a reef on any point of sail.

My Lazy Jacks hang off a strop around the mast at the first spreader.
this accentuates the problem of the top battens hanging on hoist.

I slack the leeward Lazy Jack and clip shock cord from the jack line to the shroud.
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Old 05-03-2021, 16:51   #6
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Re: Experience with trackless sail slides?

I had Harken ball bearing slides on my cat, but it wouldn't allow reefing on a reach. So keep that in mind. Luffing up a bit isn't hard.
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Old 06-03-2021, 06:32   #7
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Re: Experience with trackless sail slides?

Quote:
Originally Posted by hlev00 View Post
My Beneteau 423 has plastic slides and they are fine when hoisting or lowering the main when into the wind but bind up when trying to reef while underway. I am thinking of changing to sail slides that have bearings but that do not require an external track. So far I see that Ronstan, Rutgerson, and Dutchmar offer these.

Anyone with experience using these sorts of slides? If you previously had generic plastic slugs was the upgrade was worth it?

My other issue to get practical use of any reduced friction is sorting though the problems with one or two battens hanging up on the stack pack supporting lines, but that will be for later.

Thanks,
Harry
I had the sailmaker add the largest (strongest) Rutgerson wheeled slugs when making our last mainsail. The sail was easy to raise, dropped instantly, and I could reef at just about any point when new, but they quickly degraded and got to the point that I had to use the winch to raise the sail 50% of the way while pointed into the wind - I've never had to do this on a under 40' boat. My advice is get a Strong Track or an external.

Matt
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Old 06-03-2021, 10:35   #8
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Re: Experience with trackless sail slides?

Another vote for Strong Track.
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Old 06-03-2021, 11:38   #9
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Re: Experience with trackless sail slides?

+3 for Strong Track. 4 years now and "going Strong".
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Old 06-03-2021, 11:43   #10
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Re: Experience with trackless sail slides?

We have the Rutgerson trackless wheel slides since about 2014 and are very happy with them.
But we also have a double halyard anyway, so that makes it obviously much easier too.

We always luff up when hoisting or lowering the main anyway.

Our boat is a 35ft cruising cat with full battened sail.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt Johnson View Post
I had the sailmaker add the largest (strongest) Rutgerson wheeled slugs when making our last mainsail. The sail was easy to raise, dropped instantly, and I could reef at just about any point when new, but they quickly degraded and got to the point that I had to use the winch to raise the sail 50% of the way while pointed into the wind - I've never had to do this on a under 40' boat. My advice is get a Strong Track or an external.

Matt
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Old 06-03-2021, 13:23   #11
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Re: Experience with trackless sail slides?

I did high latitude sailing north and south with my catamaran with Harken battcars and really liked them.
My present catamaran has the Tides system.
The Harken system was better for easier making sail and for reefing.
I heave-to to reef, with jib backed and the mainsail partially blanketed with my fractional rigged boat.
I had to go to the mast. to hook in the reef cringle and also had a light line there to tie the cringle to the hook so it would no shake out before the mainsail was again tensioned
While hove-to, slack the mainsheet until the sail luffs and it is much easier than trying to reef while still sailing: you can take your time, more stable platform, safer all round.
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Old 06-03-2021, 14:27   #12
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Re: Experience with trackless sail slides?

Our 34’ O’Day with a fully battened main has the Tide track and car system. After ~5 years it works flawlessly.
Before hoisting the main I release the lazy jacks and pull them close to the mast with a bungee cord to prevent any problems with the batts. Before dropping the main, I simply pull them tight to their original positions.
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Old 06-03-2021, 16:06   #13
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Re: Experience with trackless sail slides?

The Tides Strong Track needs and periodic replacement. 8 years is about average.

When replacing all you replace is the track, not the whole system. They sell the track at a discount, 10% when I changed mine out.

The replacement took me about an hour and I did it myself. Went far easier than ai had anticipated. 57’ mast height.
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Old 06-03-2021, 16:54   #14
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Re: Experience with trackless sail slides?

Before you switch systems did you clean up the current slide and replace the old slugs.
For my little boat that was a huge difference and Iím pretty sure my sail weighs a lot less so it is harder to simply drop.
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Old 06-03-2021, 22:06   #15
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Re: Experience with trackless sail slides?

Hi Rucksta


Thanks for sharing, I'm very interested in changing the batten car system. Is it possible for you to send a close up photo of Rutgerson car in your slide setup. Also, thanks for a simple and nice solution with the lazy jacks. Kryg SV Skoiern IV



Quote:
Originally Posted by Rucksta View Post
Converted to Rutgerson cars from a bolt rope setup.

Cost was 6 x $75.00 AUD.

Using slugs as intermediates..
With the batten tension and tape length on the slugs is sorted can take or shake a reef on any point of sail.

My Lazy Jacks hang off a strop around the mast at the first spreader.
this accentuates the problem of the top battens hanging on hoist.

I slack the leeward Lazy Jack and clip shock cord from the jack line to the shroud.
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