Loose Foot V Fixed Foot Mainsails

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Tezza
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Loose Foot V Fixed Foot Mainsails

Post by Tezza » Oct 29th, '18, 16:34

Since getting back into sailing last year I have noticed a lot of boat with a loose foot mainsail.
Being old school ( very) I ordered and took delivery of a new main with a bolt rope foot which I am beginning to regret somewhat as a loose foot main would be far easier to handle solo . Could I use the main as loose foot?
What are the pros and cons of a loose foot main .
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Peter Yates
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Re: Loose Foot V Fixed Foot Mainsails

Post by Peter Yates » Oct 29th, '18, 17:31

I'm no expert but I have had both and they both seem to work well if you get the sail shape right. Tricksy has a bolt rope and being lazy, I leave the sail on the boom and put it in the cabin. Can't see why why a loose footer would be far easier to handle solo but others may differ.
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Re: Loose Foot V Fixed Foot Mainsails

Post by rseydler » Oct 29th, '18, 17:36

Loose footers seem to live longer as the cloth stretches, plus you can hang more over the boom in the gap.

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Re: Loose Foot V Fixed Foot Mainsails

Post by sailboatmike » Oct 29th, '18, 18:29

Lose foot mains were brought about to enable better sail shape, the original idea had a flap near the foot of a bolt roped foot sail that could be let out to give the sail better shape and a bigger belly. This developed into the lose foot over time and with rule changes to allow them.

You would need to put slugs on the foot of your main to achieve the same result and I seriously doubt that doing this would achieve the same results as the bolt rope would hinder getting the sail shape, also bolt rope have a tendency to shrink over time further adding to the problem of getting the best sail shape
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Tezza
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Re: Loose Foot V Fixed Foot Mainsails

Post by Tezza » Oct 29th, '18, 20:02

Thanks, So I should just forget about till next time.
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Re: Loose Foot V Fixed Foot Mainsails

Post by capt_nemo » Oct 29th, '18, 20:53

My Noelex 25 has a fixed foot sail however since my boom bag now takes up the bolt rope slot I run it as a loose foot sail.

Am I still class compliant ?

I would hate to hand back first place at Marlay Point next year on a technicality. It would probably be enough that I needed to use a motor !

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Re: Loose Foot V Fixed Foot Mainsails

Post by MoodyBlue » Oct 29th, '18, 20:58

I have an article I can load later on the benefits of loose footed sails.
I think you can run your sail loose footed by using a strop around the boom to anchor the outer end, then attach the out haul like normal
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Re: Loose Foot V Fixed Foot Mainsails

Post by impulse » Oct 29th, '18, 21:18

The loose foot doesn't hold water when it rains and tip it down your neck when you tack. :shock:
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Re: Loose Foot V Fixed Foot Mainsails

Post by zebedee » Oct 30th, '18, 01:59

The original Castle main has a bolt rope (or slugs) attached to the boom; recent changes to the class rules now allow a fully battened main and(/or) a loose foot, as had been common practice in NSW for some time.

When Jim (Baccus) bought a new mainsail a year or so ago he gave me his old fully battened loose footed mainsail to try out. (his boat came from NSW)

I'm finding the full length battens simplify the use of lazy jacks, but I'm also finding rigging/unrigging is much quicker when I can mount/dismount the boom to/from the gooseneck without the sail and get the sail slugs into the mast before I deal with the clew. Packing the sail and boom away seperately inside the boat is also much easier.

Jim's worn out main appears (to my non-racing eyes anyway) to be significantly easier to get a decent shape and speed too; my old main is now gathering dust in the dinghy suspended from the ceiling of the garage! Perhaps soon I will lash out and buy a new main; it would certainly be fully battened and loose footed.
sailboatmike wrote:
Oct 29th, '18, 18:29
Loose foot mains were brought about to enable better sail shape, the original idea had a flap near the foot of a bolt roped foot sail that could be let out to give the sail better shape and a bigger belly. This developed into the lose foot over time and with rule changes to allow them.
The original Castle main featured a "flattening reef"; the aft end of the boom usually hangs fairly low, but by pulling in the "flattening reef" which is about 6" up the leech from the clew, the sail behaves more like a loose footed sail with a 6" shorter leech and a sensible boom height. But loose foots are hardly new, when the Mirror Dinghy had a loose foot way back in 1962!

With Jim's sail "jury rigged" on my boom, the flattening reef line serves to pull the clew down to the boom while the outhaul simply pulls outwards. I need to have a look at some boats with loose foot mains to see how better to do this; my past experience of loose footed sails is entirely dinghies like the Mirror and Sabre, which use the infamous "towel rail" fitting.

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Re: Loose Foot V Fixed Foot Mainsails

Post by Peter Yates » Oct 30th, '18, 07:16

zebedee wrote:
Oct 30th, '18, 01:59


I'm finding the full length battens simplify the use of lazy jacks, but I'm also finding rigging/unrigging is much quicker when I can mount/dismount the boom to/from the gooseneck without the sail and get the sail slugs into the mast before I deal with the clew. Packing the sail and boom away seperately inside the boat is also much easier.

Off topic but Tricksy has a short, spring-loaded opening "doorway" on the rear edge of the mast just above the gooseneck area. This allows slugs to be inserted into the mast slot simply by pushing against the spring-loading. Removing the slugs as the sail comes down is just a matter of pushing the door inwards with a finger to slip each slug out easily. So I find it very easy to get the boom with sail attached out of the cabin, attach it to the mast and then feed the slugs in as I raise the sail a bit with the halyard. Removing it is similarly easy.

I didn't design this arrangement and I don't know that a picture would show how it works, but it is a great modification in my opinion.
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Re: Loose Foot V Fixed Foot Mainsails

Post by Peter Yates » Oct 30th, '18, 07:19

Forgot to mention that the opening door arrangement also means the slugs don't fall out of the mast slot when lowering the sail or reefing.
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Re: Loose Foot V Fixed Foot Mainsails

Post by sailboatmike » Oct 30th, '18, 07:34

My new main has "Jack Lines" on the bottom 2 or 3 slugs, that is the slugs are not mounted directly onto the sail as such but are free to slide up and down a line attached to the tack a few feet up the luff, this allows the sail to lay flatter on the boom when you pull it down or reefing without having to drop slugs out of the gate or remove the stop. I find it really handy
3902-1V0-1.jpg
3902-1V0-1.jpg (20.35 KiB) Viewed 508 times
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Re: Loose Foot V Fixed Foot Mainsails

Post by Tezza » Oct 30th, '18, 09:09

The mast gate is primarily so that when reefing or flaking the mainsail on the boom the bottom slugs don’t fall out . Am currently in the process of making one as no one sells them in Aus. What I find an annoyance is sometimes after loosening the outhaul on a downwind run the bolt rope lifts out at the luff end and you can’t pull on the outhaul without feeding it in. That is as well as the tedium of feeding the bolt rope on the boom single handed.
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Re: Loose Foot V Fixed Foot Mainsails

Post by Peter Yates » Oct 30th, '18, 09:56

Tezza wrote:
Oct 30th, '18, 09:09
The mast gate is primarily so that when reefing or flaking the mainsail on the boom the bottom slugs don’t fall out . Am currently in the process of making one as no one sells them in Aus. What I find an annoyance is sometimes after loosening the outhaul on a downwind run the bolt rope lifts out at the luff end and you can’t pull on the outhaul without feeding it in. That is as well as the tedium of feeding the bolt rope on the boom single handed.
Could you just fit slugs onto the bolt rope?
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Re: Loose Foot V Fixed Foot Mainsails

Post by Tezza » Oct 30th, '18, 14:29

Peter Yates wrote:
Oct 30th, '18, 09:56
Tezza wrote:
Oct 30th, '18, 09:09
The mast gate is primarily so that when reefing or flaking the mainsail on the boom the bottom slugs don’t fall out . Am currently in the process of making one as no one sells them in Aus. What I find an annoyance is sometimes after loosening the outhaul on a downwind run the bolt rope lifts out at the luff end and you can’t pull on the outhaul without feeding it in. That is as well as the tedium of feeding the bolt rope on the boom single handed.
Could you just fit slugs onto the bolt rope?
If I can’t come up with a better solution that may be the answer . Perhaps a boom gate or insert a pin so bolt rope can’t slide in to far.
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Re: Loose Foot V Fixed Foot Mainsails

Post by Peter Yates » Oct 30th, '18, 15:56

"boom-gate", "mast-gate" - the scandals keep coming! It all comes down to "watergate" though.
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Re: Loose Foot V Fixed Foot Mainsails

Post by bachus » Oct 31st, '18, 17:39

My new (well now newish) main has slugs, is not fully battened but it is loose footed. Much easier to pack away. I drop the main - with the slugs still in the track. From the clew end of the sail I flake the main neatly then tie with sail ties but I tie the main only - I do not tie the main to the boom. With the main mostly tied up I drop the slugs from the slot and tie that end up. Then I disengage the sail from the mast and the boom, slide the sail bag over the sail starting from the clew end and all done. The boom is now separate to the main so much easier to handle and stow. The sail ties end up in the bag as well. Rigging is the reverse. ps battens loosened off once the main is flaked.
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Re: Loose Foot V Fixed Foot Mainsails

Post by MoodyBlue » Oct 31st, '18, 21:58

Loose footed Mainsails.doc
(19.5 KiB) Downloaded 30 times
Found the article
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Re: Loose Foot V Fixed Foot Mainsails

Post by INMA » Oct 31st, '18, 22:25

If your sail is near new, discuss converting it to a loose foot.

The sail maker should be able to do the changes very economically.
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Re: Loose Foot V Fixed Foot Mainsails

Post by impulse » Oct 31st, '18, 22:51

Loose foot mains allow greater control of shape in the lower third of the main. They are also quicker to rig, unless you leave the main attached to the boom.
My view of full battens if they make proper control of mainsail shape more difficult, they force the main into a shape that is either inefficient or artificial and undesirable. At times it is very difficult to determine whether the sail is set properly or not. Ideally one needs to adjust the batten tensions depending of the wind strength, sea state and/or power required. There are systems that allow this but they are expensive ( more expensive) and complex. They are heavy and take up more room and tend to get knackered around the stays when off the breeze but have valid cruising applications and multihull sailers seem to love them.
Cheers Robin.

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Re: Loose Foot V Fixed Foot Mainsails

Post by zebedee » Dec 13th, '18, 19:21

zebedee wrote:
Oct 30th, '18, 01:59
The original Castle main has a bolt rope (or slugs) attached to the boom; recent changes to the class rules now allow a fully battened main and(/or) a loose foot, as had been common practice in NSW for some time.

When Jim (Baccus) bought a new mainsail a year or so ago he gave me his old fully battened loose footed mainsail to try out. (his boat came from NSW)
...
With Jim's sail "jury rigged" on my boom, the flattening reef line serves to pull the clew down to the boom while the outhaul simply pulls outwards. I need to have a look at some boats with loose foot mains to see how better to do this; my past experience of loose footed sails is entirely dinghies like the Mirror and Sabre, which use the infamous "towel rail" fitting.
Jim apparently has a short track and car at the aft end of his boom to retain the clew, but the modern answer seems to be an extremely simple device called a clew strap.

I found a video online at the US DIY site Sailrite showing the construction of a clew strap for a Laser. The lengths are obviously too short, but the basic design is ideal. The circumference of the Castle boom via the clew eye is 12" (305mm), whereas the Laser clew strap shown is suited for about 8" (7" strap plus the D ring).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r7oM-IPx_kw
Displaying youtube videos here seems to be broken...

So off I went to Bunnings to buy a metre or so of 25mm webbing, only to find that they only sell sealed packs of 10m, of what I suspect (without opening a pack) to be thin and nasty webbing I don't want on my boat.

But on a hook nearby I found a ready made clew strap for the princely sum of $4!

I figured for $4 I can give it a go before I make anything more sophisticated. It's basically a hanging strap for tools like shovels, etc. The length looks just right; the top has a large eye which my outhaul hook will go through along with the clew. It's only a single layer of velcro, unlike the Sailrite double layer, which may prove to be a weakness.

Image

So I mentioned my find to Ray(OntheBay) a few hours later and he produced another clew strap from the murkier depths of his garage!

This afternoon I climbed aboard my boat clutching my haul of goodies and a tape measure to see whether either strap fitted right before I go back to making one. The Bunnings strap looks ideal for my clew and the strap Ray gave me, which is slightly longer, will suit strapping the tack forward to the mast just above the gooseneck. I felt vaguely lost with the afternoon's job done in about 2 minutes!
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