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Keeping mast-track slides from sticking

dancrane

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Joined
29 Dec 2010
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9,084
I'm still gradually sewing my track-sliders on to my luff. If anyone is wondering why it has taken almost a year, I actually finished in August then decided I'd made a mistake, and took them all off. Now I realise that was the mistake, and I'm sewing them back on again.

I worry that the simple plastic sliders aren't exactly the same gauge as the mast-track, so if I tug on the halyard (or on the luff as I haul down the sail) the thrust may come more at an angle, and the slider will defy its name and stick in the track.

Is it enough, to slosh a lot of McLube or other silicone lubricant on the sliders before inserting them into the track? Is it effective to squirt silicone into the track itself, or does it lube its way down the track under gravity and disperse?
 

dancrane

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29 Dec 2010
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9,084
Looks good, thanks...and cheaper than chandlery equivalents. (y)
 
Joined
6 May 2020
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1,324
In a year you could have saved up enough to buy some batten cars, got a perfect job and made all your effort worthwhile.

Rutgerson Battcars

My philosophy has always been "long after you would have forgotten what you'd paid for it, you'll still be cursing yourself because you didn't and it's cr@p and p15535 you off every time you use it".

36 foot boat, fully battened main, 9 oz cloth, old geezer and I can haul the main to the top without the winch.
 
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dancrane

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29 Dec 2010
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9,084
In a year you could have saved up enough to buy some batten cars, got a perfect job and made all your effort worthwhile.
I agree with you in principle, but the price of those proper batten cars might have taken longer than a year.

Besides, one step at a time...even if my sliders aren't perfect, I'm confident they'll be easier to live with than the boltrope.
 

Egbod

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Joined
7 Apr 2004
Messages
217
Location
Essex
Hi, Are you using the correct slides?
There are several designs. Some just have the slug with its blade with a hole: these can push into the mast too far, touch the front of the slot,fall over and stick.
Others have an additional vertical plastic strip on both sides of the blade so that the slide is kept most of the way aft, the slug cannot move too far forward, and is less prone to sticking.
 

dansaskip

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12 Nov 2004
Messages
214
Location
Various
Have tried lots of silicone type sprays including Mclube they are all expensive and don’t last long. Nowadays I use Vaseline, can be messy if not used with care but works the best and lasts longest.
 

fredrussell

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24 Mar 2015
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1,510
McLube, and definitely spray it in the track as well as on the sliders. Great stuff.
 

dancrane

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29 Dec 2010
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9,084
Thank you, gentlemen.

Actually I bought a £20 can of McLube a couple of years ago. I was discouraged from buying another, when I found recently that it was empty despite very limited use. I've bought a can of the Holt equivalent at a third the price. If candlewax and Mr Sheen are seriously recommended here, I doubt I go far wrong by using the less-than-premium high-tech version!

On the question of the sliders themselves, mine are just about the smallest and simplest, and their short length is doubtless contributory to potential jamming in the track, as any hoisting/lowering may drag the plastic cylinder diagonally. I'll try it and see.



It occurred to me to attach a mast-length of cord to the main halyard shackle, and also to a small piece of some sort of firm sponge or microfibre cloth which won't fall apart if it encounters a rough spot or lump of dirt in the track...then saturate the cloth with silicone, wedge it into the mast track and run it up and down a few times. If the track is properly clean and covered with a sheen of silicone, I hope there won't be any sticking.
.
 

Slowboat35

Active member
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4 Apr 2020
Messages
297
Whatever you do don't 'slosh' silicone lube anywhere, it spreads like a disease and is hard to remove. You do not want that stuff on your deck!

I solved sticking slides by fabricating a long T shaped plywood slide and glueing a scotchbrite pad atound it. Attached an uphaul (haliyard) and a downhaul, wetted it with (sloshed on) soapy water and scrubbed the track thoroughly on the inside. Tha mount of crud that came out was a surprise.
When it was clean enough I replaced the scotchbrite with a layer of old bath towel, liberally sprayed silicone lube over it and ran that up and down a couple of times.
Never had a sticky slider after that.
 

dancrane

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29 Dec 2010
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9,084
Brilliant advice Slowboat, thanks for that. I had an idea cleaning the track would work.
 

DJE

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Joined
21 Jun 2004
Messages
7,008
Location
Fareham
When the sailmaker was measuring up for my new mainsail he gave me a little demonstration. Put a slider in the track pull it straight back and slide it up and down. Then pull it to one side and see how much more difficult it is to slide up and down.

Moral: getting the boat head to wind matters!
 

dancrane

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Joined
29 Dec 2010
Messages
9,084
Moral: getting the boat head to wind matters!
Very good point. I read somewhere, of somebody who had used those expensive mast-track cars, and of them being damaged by the user's keenness to drop the sail while off the wind. Much easier, working with the physics than striving to defy them.
 

Mercury Rising

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16 May 2015
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12,925
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Brexitshire, England
BTW . I have a yellow can of Halfords silicone lubricant (lasts for years).
It seems the newer blue can product destroys rubber. (if that is relevant to the use you put it too)


 

Stemar

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Joined
12 Sep 2001
Messages
13,935
Location
Home - Southampton, Boat - Gosport
Thank you, gentlemen.

Actually I bought a £20 can of McLube a couple of years ago. I was discouraged from buying another, when I found recently that it was empty despite very limited use. I've bought a can of the Holt equivalent at a third the price. If candlewax and Mr Sheen are seriously recommended here, I doubt I go far wrong by using the less-than-premium high-tech version!

On the question of the sliders themselves, mine are just about the smallest and simplest, and their short length is doubtless contributory to potential jamming in the track, as any hoisting/lowering may drag the plastic cylinder diagonally. I'll try it and see.



It occurred to me to attach a mast-length of cord to the main halyard shackle, and also to a small piece of some sort of firm sponge or microfibre cloth which won't fall apart if it encounters a rough spot or lump of dirt in the track...then saturate the cloth with silicone, wedge it into the mast track and run it up and down a few times. If the track is properly clean and covered with a sheen of silicone, I hope there won't be any sticking.
.
That slider has little to stop it going astray if the tracks a bit deep. Are these

less likely to jam?
 

dancrane

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Joined
29 Dec 2010
Messages
9,084
I think as far as possible, the slider's form should fill (without actually being in abrasive contact with) the wall of the track. My track is cylindrical, so my sliders are, too. I don't thing that using a semi-circular section in a fully-round track would reduce the issue.

Actually I haven't given mine a fair test yet, so I'll report back whether it's a success or failure.
 
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