Replace Slugs on Main Sail

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June 2003 -
Well, essentially, I screwed up.

The track was originally designed for a bolt rope. When it came time to put slugs on my new main I picked 1/2 inch slugs with this little guard that would ride outside the track and help keep the slug from jamming.

I really should have thought about how wide the slot was!

Jocelyn at Quantum was really cool about it, and dropped a
'care package' off at my boat, with everything needed
to implement Plan B myself:

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The slot was only about 1/16" wider than the external "guard". As you can see, the slug just flat-out didn't fit!

Each time I raised the main, it jammed -- and by jamming it wore more and more of the slug away, so that the next time it jammed worse.
After a season, I'm not sure I would have had any slug left at all, just a big jam!

The killer moment was when I was trying to tighten the main halyard while heaved-to in 25 knots,
after pulling in the first reef. I couldn't get the main back up, and
ripped a muscle in my shoulder trying to grind the slugs up the track.
Now it's a safety issue!

I wasn't going to blame this on Quantum. After all -- I picked out the slugs,
and distinctly remember saying 'That's what I want.'
I also didn't want to send the sail back to be redone.
It's June on the San Francisco Bay, and this is 'sail repair' season. A lot of racers
with very expensive sails are clamoring for priority repair work right now.
I don't want to risk having the sail off the boat and out of my control.

* Slugs
(outhaul slugs, actually)
* 20 feet of 1" Spectra (?)
* 2 spools of Waxed thread (stronger looking that the stuff I have. I wonder what it is.)
* A Sail Needle
(well, thanks, but
I'm not *that* helpless!)

After sectioning the tape
with my hot knife, I attached the tape to the slugs by wrapping the tape around the slug, pinching it with fingers, and running the hot knife down the middle. That melts the tape just enough to make it stick together and hold the slug in place long enough to make it easier to sew onto the sail.

I started at the top. This is the second slug from the top, behind the little full batten at the top of the sail.

By the time I was into the meat of the sail I had it down: Three stitches in the center and two on each side, loop it around and tie it off.
A professional would do a prettier job, but I think this will work just fine. By the time I got to the bottom of the sail they looked as good as a loft would do.

I tied the threads off against each other and melted the ends off with the hot knife (not shown.)
Then I trimmed the end of the spectra tape neatly by slipping a piece of wood under it
and using the hot knife.

No pics of that part. It was past beer-thirty.

So, bottom line:

I really like using outhaul slugs on the main. They're long enough to avoid binding, and I can hand-haul the main about 90 per cent of the way, and easily grind it into shape. That was at the dock in a 5 knot breeze.
So, I think that when heaved-to in a 25-30 knot breeze, with the main laid out perpendicular to the track,
I should be able to fight it into shape after reefing without hurting myself.
When I release the halyard, the sail drops fast and all the way, and I like that.

The downside is that you have to be 6 feet tall to attach the main halyard,
since the slugs make the sail stack much higher.
Fortunately, I made the Main Cover oversized, and it can handle the change (actually looks better.)
And -- I'm 6 feet tall, so it works for me!
But I might think about adding a step on the mast so other folks can reach the headboard on the main.

BTW, these slugs are Bainbridge Part A033, from Bainbridge International.