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Old 29-06-2020, 10:36   #1
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Main won't drop on it's own

On my Tashiba-31, the main doesn't drop more than 1/4 of the way - after that is takes some good pulling to get it all the way down. This is even in no wind conditions.

I just finished cleaning the track and used McLube Sailkote dry lubricant. This made raising the sail a mite easier, but had no effect on lower it.

Is this a common problem with my size boat or these type of car, or is it telling me there is a problem.

BTW - 3 years ago I had a rigging company inspect the mast and I had the mainsail cleaned and inspected. Either of them indicated any issues with the track or cars.
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Old 29-06-2020, 11:00   #2
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Re: Main won't drop on it's own

Well, the masthead sheaves can become a problem, many are plastic some aluminum, debate rages which is better. No corrosion on plastic, no UV and breakdown on Al. If you know who made your mast and masthead you can look up a diagram at rigrite. I've attached one for an Isomat NG1 masthead.
https://www.rigrite.com/Spars/Isomat...1_Masthead.php
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Old 29-06-2020, 11:04   #3
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Re: Main won't drop on it's own

Sheaves were replace 4 years ago.
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Old 29-06-2020, 13:29   #4
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Re: Main won't drop on it's own

So your slides don’t slide and is the inside of the track smooth? Really smooth? I mean really smooth? Rough spots on the track will snag the slides and I’d look at the place where they stop sliding first. Just adding a bunch of lube won’t fix that. At least in my limited experience
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Old 29-06-2020, 15:13   #5
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Re: Main won't drop on it's own

Hi, dmk, I'm thinking AKA-None is on the right track (pun not intended) here. In particular, check where there are joins in the track. We had one one time that needed some work with the file.

If the halyard is free to run, and the sail still doesn't come down easily after you've checked for smoothness of track, think about making a downhaul to help it down.

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Old 29-06-2020, 16:37   #6
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Re: Main won't drop on it's own

Have you tried to check the friction in the halyard by hoisting a weight (not the sail with all its friction)? Are the plastic slugs worn enough to let them cock a bit in the groove? Are they even the correct size? Does the halyard run through a rope clutch... and is it the correct size for the halyard diameter?

This is a pretty simple system, so locating the source of the friction shouldn't be all that hard. Keep at it, one thing at a time!

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Old 29-06-2020, 17:11   #7
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Re: Main won't drop on it's own

Make sure the mainsheet is eased and the vang is not pulling down on the boom. I've found that keeping the boom up so that it is less than a 90-degree angle using the topping lift helps keep the clew from pulling back on the slides and adding tension on them because of the boom dropping. Not having the outhaul super tight also helps at first too.

Apply McLube on the slides regularly after making sure they are not filthy or worn. Those slides look a little of both. They are not expensive or particularly hard to replace but make sure you get the right ones. When we bought our new mainsail a couple of years back the sail maker came to the boat and checked our slide with his "ring of dozens of sizes of sail slugs" and found that the current slugs on our old sail were not a perfect fit and specified a better size and shape. The wrong size and profile will result in more friction and jamming as they tend to twist and hang up.

Be sure there are no burrs inside the track. If the slugs hang up in the same spot each time that is a warning flag for burrsnor seams that don't line up properly..

Failing all that you can always put on a new composite slippery add-on sail track. Expensive, but they work really slick.
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Old 29-06-2020, 18:00   #8
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Re: Main won't drop on it's own

I'll put my money on the halyard sheave. The full main is heavy enough to overcome friction, but as it drops less and less weigh is on the halyard until finally it is unable to overcome the friction. Dissimilar metals can weld the sheave tight. Get out the bosun's chair and go aloft to check it out. If you have a masthead rig you're in luck--you can use the genoa or spinnaker halyard. If the sheave is frozen, sticky, or even just reluctant you probably have found the source of the problem. If the sheave runs freely you can cross it off the list of Suspected Offenders. Then the next thing to do is inspect the track.
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Old 29-06-2020, 19:09   #9
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Re: Main won't drop on it's own

On your way down give each screw on the track a gentle twist clockwise to see if any have backed out a bit. Also inspect the screw heads visually. Look to see if one appears polished or has an edge slightly filed down. The poster who mentioned misaligned track sections was spot on. Inspect them carefully running your finger over the butt joint. If you detect something amiss, take out the sandpaper and file you brought aloft. (All tools brought aloft should be tied to your belt. We don't want to drop something on your halyard tender who should be looking up at you. Don't want him to catch the file dart-like in the eyeball. Very bad. For the same reason, there should be nothing in your pockets. No coins, keys, knife, et. cetera.)

If the track and screws are innocent, we turn our attention to the slides. Apparently you have plastic slides mated with plastic shackles. Perhaps you are content with that rig, but I wouldn't sail a dinghy around the harbor rigged like that. As long as you're in Port Washington, why not take the mainsail over to Carol Hasse and ask her what she thinks. And if none of this solves the problem and you're not inadvertently standing on the halyard tail as you hand the sail, ask her to recommend a rigger. Good luck.

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Old 29-06-2020, 19:45   #10
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Re: Main won't drop on it's own

Quote:
Originally Posted by dmksails View Post
On my Tashiba-31, the main doesn't drop more than 1/4 of the way - after that is takes some good pulling to get it all the way down. This is even in no wind conditions.
[...]

Is this a common problem with my size boat or these type of car[....?]

On both my Morgan 24 and my Hunter 26 this sort of thing has been a nuisance, so I guess in my experience it's common.


The Hunter had the wrong size (too small) slides when I got it which certainly made matters worse. With that corrected, I still have problems with the leech end of the battens (it has a fully battened main) getting stuck on something, often the lazyjacks.



With both boats I learned to douse the main first as it was the more uncertain procedure.


If it's just friction and nothing's getting stuck you can rig a downhaul.
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Old 30-06-2020, 06:15   #11
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Re: Main won't drop on it's own

I have a stack pack on my main which makes it hard to reach the sail to pull it down as it's quite high. I tied the tail of the halyard to the bottom slide on the head board and use that as a downhaul. Sail goes up, the halyard tail goes with it. I can then pull it back down. And I don't have 50 feet of halyard to coil up either. After cleating off the halyard there's only a couple feet of slack that I just wrap around the winch. Halyard winches and cleats are on the mast, not run back to the cockpit. I don't think this system would work with that.
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Old 30-06-2020, 10:41   #12
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Re: Main won't drop on it's own

I had the same problem on my 30 foot boat. Since I’m alone more often then not... I needed something to alleviate that dangerous situation of not being able to get the main down in a hurry.

So, I bought a Tidesmarine.com track. It is a plastic extrusion that is inserted into the existing slot of the mast. Then you cut off all of your old slugs and use highly polished stainless slugs. Took me an afternoon to cut and sew on the new slugs. My goodness what a change. I can hoist the fully battened main with hands until about the last 6 feet. Than a minute or so on the winch drum. When I blow the halyard the main drops like a rock. I couldn’t be more pleased.

I don’t know who told me this. Maybe I’m out to lunch. But someone said that putting any lubricants into the slot causes more problems down the line. Dirt in the air will stick to the lubricants inside the track slot and make it gummier. Go to tidesmarine and check it out. YouTube has some good presentations on their product also. It ain’t that expensive. Not being able to get your main down in a blow is some very scary stuff. Well for me it is.
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Old 30-06-2020, 15:28   #13
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Re: Main won't drop on it's own

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Originally Posted by Paul J. Nolan View Post
Get out the bosun's chair and go aloft to check it out.
That's the answer (unfortunately).

Anything else is going to be speculation/trial-and-error.

Good luck!
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Old 30-06-2020, 16:21   #14
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Re: Main won't drop on it's own

Quote:
But someone said that putting any lubricants into the slot causes more problems down the line. Dirt in the air will stick to the lubricants inside the track slot and make it gummier.
True for greasy lubes, but not true for McLube Sailcote, which dries instantly to a hard film. Works very well (for a while).

Jim
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Old 30-06-2020, 16:50   #15
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Re: Main won't drop on it's own

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Originally Posted by BlackHeron View Post
Make sure the mainsheet is eased and the vang is not pulling down on the boom. I've found that keeping the boom up so that it is less than a 90-degree angle using the topping lift helps keep the clew from pulling back on the slides and adding tension on them because of the boom dropping. Not having the outhaul super tight also helps at first too.

Apply McLube on the slides regularly after making sure they are not filthy or worn.
...

Be sure there are no burrs inside the track. If the slugs hang up in the same spot each time that is a warning flag for burrsnor seams that don't line up properly.

^^^ These are all things that I've done as well.

We had our mainsail converted from bolt-rope to slugs several years ago. The slugs are plastic "torpedos" and stainless steel loops. As part of that process I made a steel gauge, and ran that up and down the mast slot while the mast was down. Any binding or tightness I fixed by using tools to widen the slot slightly. Then I used a thin flat file to gently run along the track to get any burrs or roughness.

This year I was looking to improve the raising and lowering of the main. Because I'm too cheap to buy McLube I grabbed some old paste car polish with teflon, wiped it on every slug, and pulled an oversize slug dipped in polish up and down the track. The raising and lowering has improved noticeably.
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