Mainsail doesn't come down easily

wvansl

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Hi!
I have a Dufour 36 classic and every time I bring the main sail down I find that I have to pull the halyard down myself. When I let go of the hallyard completely and the mainsail is fully up it drops about 1/3 and then I have to pull the rest down.
It's my first boat and I can't compare it with other ones except for my RYA Skipper boat, there the mainsail went down directly if you let go of the halyard.

The tracks and the connections all look good (plastic), should I try to make it more smooth? I have the feeling it is easier to put down the sail if I don't have to pull so hard myself...
 
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Is this an iinternal mast groove with T shaped slides on the sail or an external track with cars?

The former can be cleaned by making up a strip 8-10 inches or so long of sailcloth or other suitable material with a suitable sized bolt-rope sewn into it. Around that sew a strip of Scotchbrite pad, tie loops in the bolt rope top and bottom and attach to halyard and a downhaul. You'll need to get bolt-rope size correct to ensure a tightish fit in the track. This can then be wetted with water and some washing up liquid and run up and down the groove a few times to remove any grime and oxidised aluminium deposits. Following that up with the tool liberally dosed with WD 40 or a silicone lube should ensure smooth running from then on.

I'd also attach a downhaul to the halyard and run it up and down to prove that the halyard itself in runnng free - keep some tension on it so if it has been rigged with a turn(s) around anything else inside the mast you'll fell it binding.

I'm sure with a bit of ingenuity a device working on similar principles could be created for an external track.

I've also found in the past that two or three roller-cars interspersed among the T slides keeps the sail lying true as it is raised and lowered
 

Tranona

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A perennial problem with that setup which can be improved by cleaning and spraying, but the solution is to change to batten cars or fit a Tides Marine track. shaft-seals.co.uk/product/sail-track-system/ Tghis uses the same sail but with new slugs and a new track fitted inside the existing. Generally cheaper than the better batten car systems. i have fitted one and it works well.
 

wonkywinch

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Hi!
I have a Dufour 36 classic and every time I bring the main sail down I find that I have to pull the halyard down myself. When I let go of the hallyard completely and the mainsail is fully up it drops about 1/3 and then I have to pull the rest down.
It's my first boat and I can't compare it with other ones except for my RYA Skipper boat, there the mainsail went down directly if you let go of the halyard.

The tracks and the connections all look good (plastic), should I try to make it more smooth? I have the feeling it is easier to put down the sail if I don't have to pull so hard myself...
If the halyard doesn't drop on it's own, you may need to lubricate the sheave at the top of the mast also. Another thing to look for it to make sure the halyard hasn't been crossed over the top of the topping lift, easily done.
 

SvenH

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Mclube sailcote is the stuff to use. If I understand it correctly, it is teflon particles in a some kind of matrix.

I made a system once to hoist the can in the groove and push the nozzle via a string operated lever.

Pull it to the top of the mast, give a squirt, lower the contraption, another squirt, etc.

So, pull it up with a halyard, pull a string to spray, pull down with another line connected to the contraption.
 

johnalison

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Mclube is excellent stuff, and works much better than cheap teflon spray for some reason, but it is expensive and I reserve it for particular jobs and use cheap spray on things such as zips. I reckon that a 36' boat's main should come down on its own without the need for lubrication of this kind and I think that full attention should be given to removing possible snags, which basically means either the halyard run or the mast track/sliders. The halyard means chiefly the clutch if fitted and the blocks top and bottom, and the mast track needs to be free from dirt or obstructions, and the sail slides need to be a loose fit without tending to twist and lock. If fully battened, then these cars may need servicing. Mine were found to have lost some ball-bearings when removed to fit a new sail.
 

DownWest

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Just throwing this in, but same trouble with a 27ft er. The top slug slide was very stiffly sewn onto the sail. Tried cutting it off and fitting a plastic shackle to allow it flex more. Sorted.
 

diverd

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I have a new mainsail, amd despite lubricating everything it does not come down smoothly. Its as if the sail is stiff and kinks the slugs, as it flakes down. Local opinion is it will ease off. As my wife is slightly disabled and we sail together leaving the cockpit to mess about with the mainsail is not ideal, so i have rigged a basic downhaul, run back to the cockpit. We are finding gentle tension on the halyard, whilst pulling down on the downhaul makes it come down super easily. I am hoping its a short term solution to the issue, but for now its working very well and is just another tool in the box!
 

Stemar

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A downhaul may help. The main on my old boat didn't come down all the way, so a thin downhaul, lead back to the cockpit with the other lines sorted it out. The big advantage is that once made off, the downhaul keeps the sail under control until you're anchored or moored, and it doesn't need to be heavy stuff, even on a 36, 4 or 5mm should be plenty
 

Sandy

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I have a new mainsail, amd despite lubricating everything it does not come down smoothly. Its as if the sail is stiff and kinks the slugs, as it flakes down. Local opinion is it will ease off. As my wife is slightly disabled and we sail together leaving the cockpit to mess about with the mainsail is not ideal, so i have rigged a basic downhaul, run back to the cockpit. We are finding gentle tension on the halyard, whilst pulling down on the downhaul makes it come down super easily. I am hoping its a short term solution to the issue, but for now its working very well and is just another tool in the box!
When did you last clean the track?

Might be worth going up the mast with some hot soapy water, some cleaning instruments (I use a tooth brush and a rag) and give the track a good clean.

Then give all the slugs a good clean before lubricating again.

I found that with a new sail I let go the clutch and the sail ran down the mast neatly flaking itself in the stack pack. A few tugs to sort it out and I sauntered up to the mast to pull the zip back to the end of the boom.
 

ashtead

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The OP doesn’t mention the condition/type of the mainsail halyard which if cleaning and lubricating doesn’t help and car /slug changes don’t help maybe the halyard or the blocks over which it travels might need attention? We can drop ours at 12.8 so a rad larger main into stack pack but tend to have about a 3ft piece on mast sometimes. Clearly it’s not so good if a new mainsail for stacking. We changed the main halyard to dyneema a couple of years ago-much stiffer than the low quality stuff it had. Hauling up is the hassle but that’s why electric winches exist which are a real joy if running the cockpit on one’s own while crew are below etc. if the oOP is changing mainsail no doubt the sailmaker can help with choice of new cars- I recall HR owners. Of smaller HR often changed the cars when replacing the tired old main wher not in mast variety of course
 

johnalison

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I have intermediate roller cars as well as roller cars on the battens and my main comes down faster than a fast thing.
On my HR 34 I have the original cars, whose brand I can never remember, but sliders between, and that drops almost the whole way reliably, which is why I think there must be something more than just lack of lubrication.
 

Zing

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Some tracks drop much better than others. An oversized track gives you a better chance. I am impressed with the Harken switch track system if you are minded for an upgrade. Works loaded up even.
 

oldbloke

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The other part of the equation which has not been mentioned is all the stuff on the deck, pulleys, organisers and clutch. There is often a lot of friction there. Try pulling the halyard through to the mast and see if that makes a difference.
 

Never Grumble

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The other part of the equation which has not been mentioned is all the stuff on the deck, pulleys, organisers and clutch. There is often a lot of friction there. Try pulling the halyard through to the mast and see if that makes a difference.
Indeed another thing to check. That said with my roller cars I can also pull the main to almost the top of the mast by hand. Could never do that with the old main with sliders.
 
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