Mainsail raising issues

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apauwels
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Sailboat: MacGregor 26M

Mainsail raising issues

Post by apauwels » Tue Feb 12, 2013 6:52 am

Dear all,

I recently bought a MacGregor 26M, new from the factory.

I'm having a lot of difficulties raising and lowering the main sail. It seems to get stuck up the mast. I'm pointing the boat directly in the wind, to prevent any load on the sail. It takes 4 men and a lot of strength and effort to pull the main up, and even with that it doesn't go up all the way (about 1 inch left). Lowering the sail gives the same problems, a lot of mussel work involved to pull it down. Yesterday we where caught in 25 knots gusts, imagine a MacGregor in that water and wind, with the sail stuck up there.

I checked the mast and there doesn't seem to be anything wrong with it. I've thought about lubricating, but that seems to not be good for the sheet...

Did anybody have a similar experience, or does anybody know how I could solve this? Please note that I live in Dubai, and there is not one sail shop in this country (as far as I know), everybody here has motorboats only.

Thanks for the help.

Warm regards,
Ahmed

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Tomfoolery
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Re: Mainsail raising issues

Post by Tomfoolery » Tue Feb 12, 2013 7:36 am

All I could suggest would be to drop the mast, leave it supported by the gin pole if using one (the roller otherwise), and run a single sail slug through the slot to see where the resistance is, assuming of course your main sail has slugs (or slides).

You should be able to raise that sail by yourself, without the winch. Even easier coming back down. And that's not Mac :macm: specific advice - the sail should raise and lower smoothly, without resistance to speak of, at least without a lot of wind blowing.

DrV
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Re: Mainsail raising issues

Post by DrV » Tue Feb 12, 2013 9:29 am

Hi, Ahmet!
Wanted to welcome you to community. I am in a similar situation - I am sailing in Turkey, and in that area it isn't easy to get advice from other sailors. ;) Anyway, this Fora is the best knowledge base that I know of.

I know Dubai a bit, been there. Yes, almost 100% of people do motor-boating only! ;) And I've never heard of a sailing shop in Dubai. Gas is cheap, around 1 dollar, right? Ehhh... Anyway, glad to know that there are still some people who like to sail there.

You guys always have nice winds in Dubai, and wind always comes from sea, am I right? So, as long as you want to sail along the shoreline, the wind will be either from left or right, never from back. It is just nice for learning.

If I were you, I wouldn't try to raise your mainsail fully, as the Gulf winds are a bit too strong for :macm: , and I would reef the mainsail. 2/3 of the mainsail is more than enough for learning to sail, and you'll avoid too much heeling.

Hey, four men have trouble with getting the sail hoisted? Something is VERY wrong! I got my :macm: new from factory, and never had THAT issue (there were many others though!!! - all due to lack of experience). It is easy for a man to raise the mainsail. Sorry to ask, but are you sure that you feed the rope (9 mm diameter) which is part of the forward side of the mainsail to the slot on the mast, the right way?

My advice is to get up early in the morning, 5-6 am, when there's no wind, and try to hoist the main sail, carefully. If you do everything right, then it is easy to take it up with just one hand.

Later, you need to do the "Trucker's hitch", as described in the :macm: manual, or there is some other trick, which I have learned here, and I am ready to let you know.

Good luck!

kurz
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Re: Mainsail raising issues

Post by kurz » Tue Feb 12, 2013 9:37 am

one more question: Do you use sail slides?
If no I would change as soon as possible to sail slides. Well... who will change your sail to that in Dubai? Don'nt know...

Hardcrab
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Re: Mainsail raising issues

Post by Hardcrab » Tue Feb 12, 2013 9:50 am

Adding the weight of raising the boom along with the sail will make for a very hefty pull.

Perhaps you might try having crew manually raise the aft of the boom up a few feet while you haul away on the haylard.
If that seems to work, then look into adding a topping lift of the active or passive design.

Also, make very sure that the main sheet is not cleated in the traveller thereby limiting the efforts.
That little oversight is a big DUH moment once and awhile.

1st Sail
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Re: Mainsail raising issues

Post by 1st Sail » Tue Feb 12, 2013 9:57 am

I would follow the advise above. Check the mast groove and make sure it is smooth on the inside. Polish with fine grade sand paper (320 grit) or higher. Also spray the main bolt rope edge with silicon lubricant.
The best solution is to add sail slugs to your main. below is a link to SailRite for slugs.
http://search.sailrite.com/?position=1& ... Esail+slug
With slugs installed the main will literally fall down the mast when you release the halyard. Raising the main is a one person one arm task with slugs. I never use the winch. I would also recommend you add blocks to your mast base and lead all lines aft for safety and convenience.

Welcome aboard.

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Don T
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Re: Mainsail raising issues

Post by Don T » Tue Feb 12, 2013 12:38 pm

Hello,
I have found the best lubricant to be dry teflon spray (Sail Coat at West Marine). Wet type lubes will collect dirt very quickly.
Before you "polish" the mast grove make sure you need to. Sanding will remove the anodizing and cause it to corrode.

Don

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Ormonddude
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Re: Mainsail raising issues

Post by Ormonddude » Tue Feb 12, 2013 1:25 pm

Also Check your Halyard Make sure no twists and that the rope fits well Over sized halyard rope will bind like the begeesus in other words it may not be the sail at all simply the raising mechanism you can also run the halyard to a winch in some cases that will make your life easier. Run the Halyard thru the forward jib track pulley then to the winch you can also use candle wax for the track it lasts very long as a lubricant.

THE CUSCUS
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Re: Mainsail raising issues

Post by THE CUSCUS » Tue Feb 12, 2013 10:13 pm

Make sure your boom vang(if equipped ) is released and also the mainsheet. Topping lift too tight or boom raised too high will also give you trouble.

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pmmcderm
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Re: Mainsail raising issues

Post by pmmcderm » Tue Feb 12, 2013 11:13 pm

I've since put sail slugs and lines led aft on my :macm: , but I didn't have anything like the problems you're describing, so something ain't right. Some mentioned already, but here are the usual suspects that have caught me:
- Halyard not routed straight, caught on spreader bolt or something else that there's no possible way it could catch on, but did anyway.
- Main sheet not released.
- Boom Vang not released.

There's not much else "normal" that can cause those symptoms, so I'd say, as others have described, something is wrong with the track. Either pinched near top, or some new construction residue in there. Even if you don't have slugs installed, I'd get my hands on one and run it the length of the mast.

1st Sail
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Re: Mainsail raising issues

Post by 1st Sail » Tue Feb 12, 2013 11:32 pm

Ahmed,
I forgot to welcome you aboard. Enjoy your new M. One simple thing is if you have the main halyard looped behind itself at the mast raising block at the mast head. Been there done that. As you raise the mainsail the halyard is progressively pinched between the mast and the sail bolt rope.
With the mast lowered check the block and make sure the wheel turns freely. Pass a line thru the block and load the wheel then check that it turn freely.
Keep us posted so we can help.

apauwels
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Re: Mainsail raising issues

Post by apauwels » Wed Feb 13, 2013 6:19 am

Dear all,

Thank you very much for the very warm welcome! I did not realize by buying a Macgregor, I would join in such a warm community.

Some of the advises, I already tried after my first sail. The halyard indeed seems to look for that bolt in the top to get stuck. I had the mast down and visually check if there is anything stuck in the groove, I point her straight in the wind to prevent any load, etc... However, I did not try to run one slug up and down. Maybe that could solve or show something. I got one major sailing tip which was to use soap as a lubricant. No stains, and theoretically washes out with rain (it never rains in Dubai ;) ), but still after each sail the boat gets hosed down, so that's wet enough. I will try that over the weekend

Maybe I rigged her wrong. When under full sail, the Genoa seems to be fighting and rubbing the bow rail. Does it look the same on any of your :macm: ? Maybe that is causing extra tension on the mast and thus giving the problems?

Below picture is the Mona Lisa under sail, after pulling at the main for about half an hour with the full crew. As you can see the Genoa is rubbing the bow rail and if you look closely, you can see that the main still had about an inch or so to go up.

Image

Direct image link: https://www.dropbox.com/s/ciz6o73gjx12n3u/IMG_4144.JPG

Any opinions on this one?

Thanks very much to everybody once again for the tips and warm welcome.

Warm regards,
Ahmed
Last edited by kmclemore on Wed Feb 13, 2013 2:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Fixed image so it would display. Dropbox does not allow direct display of images.

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RussMT
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Re: Mainsail raising issues

Post by RussMT » Wed Feb 13, 2013 2:07 pm

Welcome Amed,

Nice looking boat. Dubai has some beautiful water. The genoa looks like mine. It rubs on the bow pulpit. I think this is somewhat normal because it can't be raised any higher.

It should not take 4 men to raise the main. Something is wrong. I would check EVERY sail slug to ensure they all slide freely. It only takes one to slow the whole process down. I have also had my halyard get caught on the spreader bolts causing friction. Make sure it is a straight run up to the top without any bend, kinks or twists.

There is a Macgregor group on Facebook with a Mac owner (Kambiz) who sails his Mac from Dubai. You should see if he is close to you.

--Russ

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Re: Mainsail raising issues

Post by kmclemore » Wed Feb 13, 2013 2:16 pm

+1 to using Teflon lubricant. I use it on ALL my boats' moving parts except the winches and motor... slugs, sheaves, bearings, etc. all get a dose each season. Soap can be good initially, but it can also get sticky if it accumulates.

This is the stuff to use:

DuPont™ Teflon™ Non-Stick Dry-Film Lubricant
A unique dry-film lubricant that leaves a micro-thin, pure Teflon® fluoropolymer coating. This clean, long-lasting coating repels abrasive contaminants, resists corrosion, and reduces friction and squeaks. Excellent for high temperatures.
  • * Goes on wet to penetrate, then sets up with a clean, dry, white micro-thin coating
    * Non-staining film bonds to most surfaces
    * Lubricates parts to reduce sticking and squeaking
    * Thin coating is excellent for tight tolerances and sliding tracks
    * Helps materials resist chemical contaminants or water
    * Acts as a protective coating for metal, plastic and rubber
Link: http://www2.dupont.com/Consumer_Lubrica ... cants.html

Also agree with running a slug up and down the track when the mast is lowered so you can see if there are issues. Finally, agree again with checking for damaged or misshapen slugs - could be one is simply too large or has something wrong with it.
apauwels wrote:Dear all,

Thank you very much for the very warm welcome! I did not realize by buying a Macgregor, I would join in such a warm community.
Happy to welcome you, Ahmed! Yes, this is probably one of the most friendly and helpful sailing sites on the Web, even if I do say so as one of the moderators here. We try our best to keep it that way!

Cheers and fair winds,
Kevin

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BOAT
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Re: Mainsail raising issues

Post by BOAT » Wed Feb 13, 2013 2:37 pm

Hey guys,

This brings up a point I have wondered about: when you haul the main all the way up there is still a little bit of it hanging out of the mast track because the wide slot in the mast track is up higher than the tack. I pull the foot out of the boom about 3 feet and tuck the tack back down into the bottom part of the mast track below that wide slot and then outhaul the foot back into the boom at the clew.

Is that a waste of time? (I just hate seeing the luff part of the tack hanging there outside the mast slot). It just seems messy to me. I guess being raised on a sailboat made me really anal about the sails.

Am I crazy? Do you guys tuck the tack into the bottom of the mast slot or just “let it all hang out”.

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