Bolt rope or slug

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Bolt rope or slug

Postby Shagbark » Thu Mar 30, 2017 9:49 pm

As we're waiting for the season to start, I'd thought I start a discussion on a topic I think everyone should have an opinion on. I have a bolt rope on th DS II but think fondly of the days when I had a luff with slugs on my larger boat that made flaking a breeze. I have to motor through a marina to get out to the Great Lake and a sail flaked on the boom would be nice. Anyone prefer a bolt rope over a slug? Let's hear it!
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Re: Bolt rope or slug

Postby GreenLake » Fri Mar 31, 2017 12:05 am

I "flake" my main perhaps once or twice a season. Never saw the need to make any changes to the way the sails came (bolt rope).

I take the boom off the mast after each trip, so I would have to feed slugs up the mast each time. Doesn't strike me as labor saving. Now, on a swinging mooring, that might be a different story.

Also, I will motor for short stretches with sails up.
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Re: Bolt rope or slug

Postby TIM WEBB » Fri Mar 31, 2017 2:32 am

TOTALLY depends on your situation and preferences. Oh, now there's a broad statement Tim! But seriously, if you are thinking of adding slugs, do so only after you have sailed with only the boltrope for a while, and believe that slugs will improve your overall ease/enjoyment. From a performance standpoint, one could argue that the boltrope is better, but that would be splitting hairs. Nice thing is that if you put slugs on a boltrope sail and don't like them, just take them off. For slugs you will need either a mast gate or a slug stop - the latter seems to have a knack for falling out of your grasp and bouncing overboard, so carry extra(s). For single handing, I found the slugs to be very useful in being able to rig the main ready to raise before launching, so once underway raising can be done easily from the cockpit with one hand while the other is doing something else. Your mileage may vary ... ;-P

(Caveat Emptor: I now sail a Rebel Spindrift 22, and w/o slugs on that boat, I really doubt I'd be able to raise the main at all by myself.)
Tim Webb
1979 DS2 10099 The Red Witch
(I used to be Her "staff", in the way dogs have owners and cats have staff, but alas no longer ... <pout>)
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Re: Bolt rope or slug

Postby K.C. Walker » Fri Mar 31, 2017 11:18 am

+1 for what Tim said. Not absolutely essential… but adding a topping lift is very handy, as well.

I often sail alone and need to motor out and return through a narrow rocky channel. Once out in open water with any kind of breeze and enough headway to manage steerage, I want to get the main up in as few seconds as possible.… And the slugs help for that. And… also in reverse order for the return trip to the dock. There are definitely times when I want to drop the main in a hurry and having slugs really makes it almost drop by itself.

I really like having the main on the boom with a topping lift and out of the way when I'm motoring, especially in tricky situations. I often need to come into my dock "hot" to be able to maintain steerage… fighting a crosswind. I get a split second between the time that I kill the motor, cross the boat, grab the bow & stern lines and jump on the dock to wrap the stern line around a post. I really don't want any extra windage nor any clutter.
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Re: Bolt rope or slug

Postby Shagbark » Fri Mar 31, 2017 7:28 pm

I didn't know you could add slugs to a sail designed for a bolt rope. Learning something new every day. May need to look into that option...
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Re: Bolt rope or slug

Postby FloridaTom » Sat Apr 01, 2017 7:42 am

Shagbark wrote:I didn't know you could add slugs to a sail designed for a bolt rope. Learning something new every day. May need to look into that option...


There's a couple ways to do it - Most involve setting a row of spur grommets behind the bolt rope,
and webbing the slugs on, or using special little plastic shackles.
Sometimes you need to mess around with the head of the sail, if it has a headboard, to get everything to line up nice - It depends :~)
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Re: Bolt rope or slug

Postby TIM WEBB » Sat Apr 01, 2017 8:40 pm

FloridaTom wrote:
Shagbark wrote:I didn't know you could add slugs to a sail designed for a bolt rope. Learning something new every day. May need to look into that option...


There's a couple ways to do it - Most involve setting a row of spur grommets behind the bolt rope,
and webbing the slugs on, or using special little plastic shackles.
Sometimes you need to mess around with the head of the sail, if it has a headboard, to get everything to line up nice - It depends :~)

Yep, lots of ways to skin that cat. I just sewed mine directly to the sail, using 9/16" Type 1 looped through the slugs' wire "U", then sewn behind the boltrope, "pinching" the sail. FloridaTom's way of setting grommets would make removing the slugs even easier. You'd be left with grommets in the sail, but so what? A "feature" that would make putting them on again that much easier.

And KC is correct: many of the items one might add to their boat, such as slugs, topping lift, etc., all work in combination to allow one to sail in the safest, most enjoyable way possible for that particular sailor's "big picture".
Tim Webb
1979 DS2 10099 The Red Witch
(I used to be Her "staff", in the way dogs have owners and cats have staff, but alas no longer ... <pout>)
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Re: Bolt rope or slug

Postby GreenLake » Sat Apr 01, 2017 9:14 pm

I generally encourage a "go slow" approach when it comes to upgrading or modifying a DS. By that I mean the recommendation to not let your improvement schemes outrun your experience with the boat. If it's not on the critical path to restoring or maintaining basic sailing ability, then put it off, and first sail your boat some more, until you are sure that taking care of that one item will actually improve things for your style of sailing.
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Re: Bolt rope or slug

Postby spoefish » Tue Jun 13, 2017 1:30 pm

On my previous DS-1 3550 on the main I had both slugs and a single reef with reef points. Since I sailed a lot by myself I found this to be very handy, in particular when it came to either dousing the main or putting in the reef . My current 1983 Spindrift DS-1 has a bolt rope with no reef points and that is definitely something that I plan to change this summer. As I get older (now 77) I find the easier things are, and the more I can do from the cockpit the happier (and safer I am). I think if you are getting every bit out of your boat when racing the bolt rope is most likely better, but for a non-racer there is a lot to be said for putting on slugs. And, BTW does anyone have any thoughts on the best spacing for slugs. I have forgotten what I used last time. Thanks and cheers
"When you are playin' the banjo, everything is OK"

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Re: Bolt rope or slug

Postby K.C. Walker » Tue Jun 13, 2017 1:41 pm

+1 for what Spoefish said!… And, I like the Steve Martin tagline. :-)
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Re: Bolt rope or slug

Postby Tipster1 » Mon Aug 28, 2017 8:08 am

Does anyone have any suggestions regarding number or spacing of main sail slugs? I am considering sewing on a set. It seems to me it would sure make storing sail on boom easier while boat is on mooring. I've already installed topping lift and lines to keep boom centered.

Thank you.
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Re: Bolt rope or slug

Postby K.C. Walker » Mon Aug 28, 2017 11:22 am

I just went out and measured mine. It looks like 20 inches on center for most of them. I have a top full batten which has a double slug one on each side of the car that kind of messes up the measurements up there and they get closer together on either side of that.
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