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Looking to install sail slugs. Questions?

A forum for discussing topics relating to MacGregor Powersailor Sailboats

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Looking to install sail slugs. Questions?

Postby Hardcrab » Fri Oct 13, 2006 8:03 pm

I am going to install slugs on my 26M. I've seen the methods used, and I like the screw-on type shackles with no grommets. I've read that you start at the head and place the shackles/slugs at 26"-30" apart. I almost understand how you use a jack-line for the slugs under the reef point.
What I don't understand is the correct size slugs and shackles to buy. SailRite has a large selection of the nylon slugs and shackels. A pretty good site, if you haven't seen it yet.
My questions are
1.) How does the 26-30" distance sound?
2.) Does anyone have a suggestion for the sizes needed?
3.) What is the usual quanity needed?
4.) Can someone explain the jackline thing for the reef points?
5.) Anything else I need to know?
Thanks to all for your help.
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Postby aya16 » Sat Oct 14, 2006 1:10 am

from my own invoice
25 1/2 round nylon slugs

25 shackle plastic screw on 5/8

1 sail track stop round

I used about 19 of each to do the job so I have 6 extra.


about 24-28 inches apart make sure you dont put one at the reef point


you will need a topping lift easy to do
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Postby Frank C » Sat Oct 14, 2006 4:33 am

1. Look in the Modifications forum around May 2006 for a thread titled "Sail Slugs."
2. Look in the Performance forum around May 2006 for "Reefing with Sail Slugs."

My dealer's option for mainsail slugs included jacklines on my sail, but wish it didn't. Dealer Bill (of Boats4Sail) posted his suggestion of slug spacing that obviates jacklines. It is possible ... but you can't assume anyone's advice will address your individual situation. Especially if your sail has two reefing points, each sail could be spaced differently. But everyone can make sure that their slug spacing is mapped to match their own reef points.

Reef points on a 26X might be at 42" and 84" from the tack grommet. Draw only the bottom half of your mainsail on legal paper, scaling the drawing at one inch per foot ... probably 14" for your 26M (or 12.5" tall for the 25' sail luff of a 26X). Ignore the upper mainsail where slugs can be equally spaced. Mark your reef points to scale, mark your slug-stopper at ~8 inches above the boom, and plot how the sail will fold. For the 26X (42" and 84") fold it like a paper doll so the bottom 3.5 inches of paper can place first reef "at the boom" and so the last 7 inches will place the deep reef at the boom.

It's pretty simple to see how slugs can be mapped for slab reefing to match YOUR reefing points. There isn't necessarily a measurement that will work for every sail. However, every mainsail can be mapped for slugs that permit reefing without jacklines, while the slugs remain in the track. You can prove it to yourself by plotting Bill's measurements on a drawing of the 26X mainsail.

For example .... in order to bring the 42" reef cringle down to the boom (slug-stopper at ~8 inches), the first slug can be at 9" next at 30" followed by next slug at ~10 inches above above that reef point, say at ~52 inches. So for a slug-stopper at 8 inches, slugs must be at least 10 inches above and below the first reef cringle. The gap must be larger, say ~15 inches above/below the second reef cringle. (Calculations should assume that the stopper is two inches higher than its actual position.)
Anyhow, just one opinion ... read Bill's advice closely, ADAPT to your own sail, & avoid jacklines. :wink:

I've pondered making a simple scale drawing in easyCAD that depicts the reef points, the slug stopper and sail slugs - but never found time. Someday, somebody will probably do that and post the drawing under MacMods.
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Postby normo » Sat Oct 14, 2006 8:12 am

I tend to make things more difficult than necessary but can't help it.

The main problem with the Mac setup is that the mast has the large opening in the slot to accomodate a rope luff. The position of this opening complicates reefing. In addition, if you leave the main on the boom the bulk of the sail material at the luff sits several inches higher than necessary due to the position of the slot. It is ok for the factory sail but it may require sail cover modification if you replace the main with a quality sail.

I don't ever plan to use a main that doesn't have slugs so my approach isn't suited for those that may use the rope luff:

I took a rubber mallet and closed up the slot for the rope luff so slugs could slide past and not fall out. Then I cut a slot in the track just above the boom fitting which is now used to insert the sail slugs. To keep the slugs from falling out drill a through hole just forward of the lip of slot and just above the new cutout in the mast sized for a fast pin. Insert the pin after the slugs are inserted.

With this arrangement you feed your slugs in, insert the fast pin just below your lowest slug and the slugs cannot fall out when you lower the sail. When you reef, the wad of unused sail will lay closer to the boom so it is easier to loosely secure it so it doesn't flog. The sail will lay better on the boom and fit better in the sail cover as noted above.
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Postby AWKIII » Sat Oct 14, 2006 8:36 am

Although I have heard that some Mac owners have used this method to attach sail slugs, I do not reccommend it at all.

This method is generally reserved for small dinghy sails. It is not appropriate for a main sail the size of the X or M.

Use the same slugs but go with shackels and grommets. It isn't hard at all. Sailrite sells the slugs, appropriate schackel and grommets plus a couple of small hand tools to get the job done.

Call their store in Indianapolis and tell them the type of boat you have and what you want to do. They will tell you the part numbers, quantities and even explain how to do it. They are real good people to deal with.

Best of luck
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Postby Richard O'Brien » Sat Oct 14, 2006 10:36 am

I seem to remeber a strong recommendation from Todd at Blue water yachts for grommets also. these are much easier to replace also than the sewn in type. mine are 18" apart, 1/2' diam. : however, Todd also suggested 3/8" would slide more easily?
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Postby AWKIII » Sat Oct 14, 2006 10:55 am

Most of the aftermarket sails I have seen for the X and M have 1/2" slugs. But there definitely wouldn't be a problem with 3/8". No chance they will pop out.

I just couldn't conceive of using the screw-in jobs unless I was sailing in an area like San Diego where the winds are relatively light. But Buzzards Bay, San Francisco, etc. No way. The sail will start looking like swiss cheese in no time.

If it is a relatively new sail I think I would just pay a loft $100.00 to do it. If its over two years old and one of the Doyle factory sails, I would do it myself. Its on its way out anyways. I have done plenty of them and it is kinda fun.
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Postby aya16 » Sun Oct 15, 2006 12:24 pm

Putting sail slugs in or haveing it done, grommet or screw on?

My recomeandation above is axactly what I have and others have installed on their boats around here. 1/2 inch slugs fit perfect in the slide
the larger slugs might fit but I never tried them. Nylon slides are prefered because they last longer and will slide better in the channel. any slop created by the slides is taken up by the out haul and the boom. My sail shape is exactly the same as before slugs.

Screw on shackles work just fine the pressure is on the bolt rope not the
screw. two years with this set up and no problems at all.
although some say stay away from screw on shakles I cant seem to find a reason they say this. a grommet placed behind the bolt rope puts strain on the sail and not the bolt rope like it should. sewn on shakels can be done by the owner and they put the stress on the bolt rope also like it should.
The screw on shakles are slick all the screw does is clamp the shakle to the outside of the bolt rope. although you pierce the sail with a tiny screw its not much bigger than a needle hole from sewn on. And its only pierced once.

If someone wants sail slugs, if they want to do it them selves, if they want it to work then the parts and method I stated above is by far the way to go.

Sorry if it seems that Im putting down other methods but I really think
screw on shakles are just fine and since they have been in use on my boat and others for two years with no problems they seem ok to me.

I think grommets are ok to use

I think sewn on is ok

I think screw on shakles are ok.

plastic sugs no

nylon slugs yes.
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Postby AWKIII » Sun Oct 15, 2006 1:22 pm

Find one sailmaker out there who would reccommend putting screw-on shackles on a sail and boat of this size.

They will tell you to do one of two things: Just use the bolt rope or use grommets. Grommets are used for a reason and it shouldn't be to difficult to understand why.

Better yet. Ask the manager at the Sailrite store in Indy and see what he says about screw-on schackles on a Mac.

Are you a sailmaker?
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Postby DLT » Sun Oct 15, 2006 2:04 pm

I am not a sailmaker, but my screw on shackles work fine for me...

I have not noticed any strain on the sail cloth.

I highly recommend simple user installed screw in shackles for MOST mac owners.

If you are the sort of person who needs the absolute best of everything, for whatever reason, and don't mind paying someone to do everything for you, then I guess grommets might be better and therefore you might prefer them...

But, I think most mac owners don't fit into that catagory. Installing your own sail slugs, with screw on shackles, is a pretty easy/cheap mod that will greatly ease hoisting and dousing the mainsail. This is well within the limits of anyone who can turn a screw driver...
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Postby AWKIII » Sun Oct 15, 2006 2:37 pm

It has nothing to do with wanting or having the best of anything.

If you can put a screw-on shackle on, you can put on a grommet. Pretty simple stuff. Cost? Probably $10 to $15 more than you would spend on just the screw-ons.

You note that you haven't seen any strain on the cloth? If those things have been on for any length of time then the sail has already stretched and lost shape. The factory sail is a throw away anyways. Two years of moderate use and it should already have a nice beer belly. The light cloth weight along with the rig of the X or M will guaranty it.

Hardcrab. I worked in a sail loft for five years while in high school and college. Before you go out and prematurely ruin a sail I would suggest either calling Sailrite or a loft near you and get another opinion

There is a big difference in being pennywise and pound foolish.

Slugs with screw-ons will probably cost you around $30.00. Slugs with grommets and schakles, $60.00 plus a couple of hand tools. A loft will do it for $100.00.
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Postby Frank C » Sun Oct 15, 2006 4:47 pm

I think the lofts in California charge a bit more, probably $135 or so.

Meanwhile, whichever style of sail slugs you choose, I did finally create a drawing that illustrates one example of slug spacing for the mainsail, as explained in this Sail Slug Spacing thread, in the Modifications forum. IMO, it's easier to eliminate the jackline than to explain it~! :D

Image

After this thread runs course, it can move it to the Modifications forum too.
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Postby delevi » Mon Oct 16, 2006 4:13 am

My slugs are 18" apart. When I ordered my new sails from Quantum, the sales rep recommended jack lines vs spacing the lower slugs further apart. He didn't even hesitate. This is a particuarly better setup if you use singe line reefing and don't want to drop the lower slugs from the track. Even with more spacing on the lower slugs, they will still bunch up at the stop and the reef tack won't be able to be pulled down far enough. With jack lines, the reef tack will come free of the slugs and get pulled down to its appropriate position. I believe BWY uses jackline on the lower 4 slugs with their single line reefing setup. My new sails will have this same slug setup.
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Postby DLT » Mon Oct 16, 2006 8:44 am

delevi wrote:Even with more spacing on the lower slugs, they will still bunch up at the stop and the reef tack won't be able to be pulled down far enough.


This has been argued before.

I have no jack line and my slug spacing allows me to secure the reef tack without dropping any slugs...
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Postby Billy » Mon Oct 16, 2006 9:34 am

delevi wrote:
Even with more spacing on the lower slugs, they will still bunch up at the stop and the reef tack won't be able to be pulled down far enough.


This has been argued before.

I have no jack line and my slug spacing allows me to secure the reef tack without dropping any slugs...


Me too!
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