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Old 25-01-2021, 13:15   #1
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Main Sail Down Haul

Ahoy,
Please provide me with suggestions regarding installing a down haul type system on my mainsail. When lowering the sail main from the cockpit, I have to go to the mast and give the halyard a pull downward. This I'm trying to avoid. I have sprayed Mcsail" lubricant spray which doesn't resolve the problem.
I have been told to install a down haul, what are your thoughts?
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Old 25-01-2021, 13:40   #2
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Re: Main Sail Down Haul

Our main sail has slugs that ride in a groove on the aft side of the mast. Jim carefully sprays them with Mc Lube, about 4 times a year. [It's tricky, you want to lubricate where the slide bears on the groove.] We have a downhaul for the top 3rd of the sail. And, we drop it from the mast, and it's only the top part of the sail that tends to hang up. You've at least one turning block more friction than we do. If you want a downhaul for the main to go all the way back to the cockpit, you'll be adding to the "spaghetti" on deck, and also, it may be tricky to keep it from getting fouled. Our downhaul is tensioned with a bungee, which keeps it forward, next to the slides.

You wrote that you have to go to the mast and "haul down on the halyard" to get the sail to start coming down. Is it possible that you meant that you haul down on the luff of the sail, instead? I would think hauling down on the halyard would raise the sail.. Maybe the problem is really with your mainsail halyard sheave???? Perhaps needs servicing or replacing?

We have some friends who've gone to a "Strong Track", and have no difficulties dropping their 40 footer's mainsail.

If you are already having to go forward, maybe you have some slugs that are not sewn on properly, and twist in the groove?

Good luck with it, the sail should really just slide down effortlessly with very little help. Have you tried going forward to lower it, and helping it flake down, lowering it under control?

Ann
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Old 25-01-2021, 13:49   #3
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Re: Main Sail Down Haul

Hi, I am in Oyster Bay on mooring CB-3, I have a Jeanneau SO 44i, I have had the same issue with both my new and old Dacron mains. I have been told by several sail makers ( Doyle, North, Quantum) this is common with their competitions product but that there sails would never do that.
I have used acetone to clean the slug track and sprayed McLube and that worked temporarily but ultimately the condition is caused by the full baton sails longest battens fall vertically and form a triangle that keeps the upper portions from bedding with the momentum of the falling material.
In my case loosening the sail bag does not make a difference. I actually climb up the mast 5 feet and assist the sail to fold correctly and this ends up aiding in deployment. When I go off shore I tie a 8 mm static line to the top of the headboard on the same shackle the main halyard is on, I have had the sail walk up the mast while I was trying to strike sail after my 3rd reef was still to much wind age, so now I do not go off shore without a main down haul
.
I sewed new slugs on, the new slugs are longer in the track and that did help a good bit. There is a right and wrong way to put the slugs in when mounting/installing the sail on the mast track.
I clean and fold my sails at the end of each season exactly like they should fall (accordion style) into the sail bag/stack pack and that helps as well. I clap the folds for the entire off season.
I have to zip the sailbag up after each use so I end up going on deck and up the mast anyway but it would be nice to see it drop all the way un assisted.
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Old 25-01-2021, 13:51   #4
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Re: Main Sail Down Haul

So, to be clear, this is happening when you are headed into the wind and the sail is luffing (flapping) freely?
Having to go up and pull on the luff is not all that unusual but if it is truly sticking then I'd say you'll also need to go up and get a good look at the track for any screws, rivets or divots in the track that are hanging up the slides too. It may help to lower the main at the dock and watch with binoculars the whole track as the sail is trying to come down to see where it hangs up.
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Old 25-01-2021, 13:57   #5
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Re: Main Sail Down Haul

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kd9truck View Post
Hi, I am in Oyster Bay on mooring CB-3, I have a Jeanneau SO 44i, I have had the same issue with both my new and old Dacron mains. I have been told by several sail makers ( Doyle, North, Quantum) this is common with their competitions product but that there sails would never do that.
I have used acetone to clean the slug track and sprayed McLube and that worked temporarily but ultimately the condition is caused by the full baton sails longest battens fall vertically and form a triangle that keeps the upper portions from bedding with the momentum of the falling material.
In my case loosening the sail bag does not make a difference. I actually climb up the mast 5 feet and assist the sail to fold correctly and this ends up aiding in deployment. When I go off shore I tie a 8 mm static line to the top of the headboard on the same shackle the main halyard is on, I have had the sail walk up the mast while I was trying to strike sail after my 3rd reef was still to much wind age, so now I do not go off shore without a main down haul
.
I sewed new slugs on ones that were longer in the track and that did help a good bit
I clean and fold my sails at the end of each season exactly like they should fall (accordion style) into the sail bag/stack pack and that helps as well.
I have to zip the sailbag up after each use so I end up going on deck and up the mast anyway but it would be nice to see it drop all the way un assisted.
Need I say Following
When I had a main with slugs I had more trouble occasionally. Combine that with full battens and I can understand the problem. Still though it should be better than that. The batten length and tension may need to be checked by a sailmaker. You might also try lowering the sail more slowly as you remain pointed directly into the wind, so that the slugs near the battens have a chance to slide before they get hung up by the triangle you mention.
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Old 25-01-2021, 17:05   #6
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Re: Main Sail Down Haul

I have a Columbia 45 and a downhaul was mandatory with my old mainsail. I had the arrangement mentioned above with a 1/4" line attached to the headboard and halyard shackle.

I replaced my sails and added the Tide Marine track system. I don't need a downhaul any more. When i release the halyard, the sail comes down, even if i am not quite into the wind. I cannot say the Tides Marine track system will work on all boats but it works like a dream on mine. It is easy to install too.
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Old 25-01-2021, 17:53   #7
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Re: Main Sail Down Haul

I had similar problems on my some what smaller main and I do have four full battens which are the the major issue.
Last spring I cleaned the track very well using 3M sanding pads jammed in and slide along the track. I then washed it out and put my liquid hull wax in the track.

It helped a lot actually, before I did this I could not raise the main from the cockpit with out a winch. It was much better after cleaning and waxing but as the season progressed it became harder to use.


Have used the Tides track on friends boat and that really is the answer, up and down no issues, will be getting their system this year.
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Old 25-01-2021, 19:05   #8
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Re: Main Sail Down Haul

I'm sure glad to hear 3 positive comments about Tides Track! I just ordered it to upgrade the finicky/often sticking external 7/8 track system on my main an mizzen along new full batten sails. Cost is very reasonable compared to any of the other bat-car or track systems I looked into, and certainly cheaper than new spars!
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Old 26-01-2021, 09:39   #9
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Re: Main Sail Down Haul

Before making too many changes, try running the first reefing line along the luff. Many times a smart jerk in that will get the sail started down. In any case it's an inexpensive test of how well the proposed downhaul will perform.
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Old 26-01-2021, 09:46   #10
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Re: Main Sail Down Haul

If you want to handle your mainsail from the cockpit then logically you should be able to reef from there too. If you fit 3 luff reefing pennants led back to the cockpit, your 3rd reef pennant could also act as a downhaul for most of the mainsail. Having said that, we do still raise & lower the main by hand at the mast. We have a traditionally battened sail & sail slides & we do have to pull the luff down - I just thought that was normal & was so shocked on a chartered catamaran in the Whitsundays when the fully battened sail dropped at speed that I involuntarily grabbed the halyard to stop it. What a mistake that was...Ouch. I always wear gloves now.
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Old 26-01-2021, 09:55   #11
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Re: Main Sail Down Haul

I think it is a good idea especially for boats with large sails. We ran the downhaul back to the bridgedeck and it has been a lifesaver for getting the main down. No reason to go † the mast and pull the sail down. No matter how well we lubricated the cars they would sometimes hang. If we just release the main halyard the main would easily fly down without hanging but that kind of thing can damage the cars. With the downhaul we can control the speed of main coming down. I would not have a boat without a main downhaul.
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Old 26-01-2021, 10:15   #12
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Re: Main Sail Down Haul

Tides marine track on my 42 foot boat with 4 full battens. Very pleased.
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Old 26-01-2021, 10:28   #13
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Re: Main Sail Down Haul

I think you need to make sure your track and sail slugs work well at the mast so it comes down easy. I'm not sure how well a mainsail downhaul can work in many applications... because when you tug on the top of the sail, the slugs can bind up further down etc etc.
But I do see some above say it works well for them. ..... so...
My Cat had Harken ball bearing glides and battens, I still had to go to the mast.

Slugs want to cock in a mast groove often, binding. I guess if you lower and downhaul precisely together that's the key?
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Old 26-01-2021, 11:10   #14
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Re: Main Sail Down Haul

I wanted to be able to drop my main from the cockpit. I did not want to invest in the various "car" systems that apparently make for easy drops even with fully battened sails. So I ran a light line, less than 1/4", from the headboard to the base of the mast, through a turning block and straight on to the cockpit. Works perfectly. Sail apparently didn't need much help so this brings it all the way down to the boom.
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Old 26-01-2021, 13:47   #15
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Re: Main Sail Down Haul

I have three reefs in the main, all operable from the cockpit. However it was time consuming as the reef line is doubled. I fastened a 1/4 inch line about 3/4 way up the main, and ran it back to the cockpit. I don't have battens in the main so I can haul it down on any point of sail. Best $15 improvement I ever did
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