Posted by: Dan Sprague | July 30, 2012

Sail Slugs

Sail Slugs for the old sail

My British Sailboat came with a mainsail that had the bolt rope of the luff side of the sail slide into the mast track.  Over the last few years it got harder and harder to hoist the sail. Maybe it is because as I have gotten older I am weaker 8-).

Each year I would clean the mast track, and tried wax, soap, silicon lubricant and other suggestions on the sail and track to make it easier to hoist. However,  nothing I did made any major improvement. Our little schooner has mast hoops, and our 40’er has sail slugs. The sail slugs worked the best.

I do not like modifying the equipment that comes on a boat most of the time. I figure the designer had a reason for doing it the way he did. But when hoisting the sail became an almost two person job, I needed to do something.

Mast hoops were out of the question…they would not let the sail up past the spreaders and they would not look right on the boat.

I ordered sail slugs. I found that they were much harder to find then I thought they would be. Of course they were back-ordered so it took a few weeks to get them. Just as well, all the bright work now has new varnish, a pair of stanchions got re-bedded, I rewired a few things, and cleaned and greased the winches, and thus all was not lost.

Putting the slugs in the sail was the next project.  I figured there were two options. They could be stitched to the bolt rope or I could put grommets in, just inside the bolt rope and stitch them to the grommet.  I did the grommet method. If the sail slugs did not work out, I would not mess up the bolt rope, and grommets were much easier to stitch to than stitching through the bolt rope.

The slugs worked very well. The sail hoists with much less effort, BUT…There is always a BUT.  With the sail slugs, the sail cannot be brought down as low as it would come with the bolt rope coming out of the track or all the slugs come out of the track.

My sail cover will not fit. 8-(. Well the sail cover needs to be re-stitched or a new one anyway.  Such is the case when one modifies something on a boat. At least it is an easy fix (I hope).


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