Sail Slides & Slugs – How to choose correctly.

Yacht mast with sail and sail slides

Sail slides and slugs may not be the most exciting piece of equipment found on a sailboat. However, they are a very useful bit of kit and can make your life on board a vessel much easier. Sail slugs and slides are most commonly found on the luff or foot of a sail, yet they are also a popular choice for catamaran trampoline attachment points.

Why use a sail slide or slug?

So, you may be wondering why you would even bother with a sail slide or slug, especially when your mainsail has a perfectly good bolt rope. Well, there are a few reasons. Firstly, the slides and slugs offer a reduction of friction over a sail boltrope, this is because there is less material being inserted inside the mast track. This reduction in friction can make hoisting and lowering a sail much easier. Secondly, with a track stop installed the sail slides cannot exit the mast meaning it is possible to lower a sail single-handed and not have the sail fly away in the wind, it will also fold itself over the boom as it’s lowered. 

What is the difference between sail slide and slug?

Slug – Sail slugs feature a round or semicircle shape that is inserted into the track. This design allows for more articulation.

Internal Slide – A small “T” shape that is inserted inside the track. Slides are one of the more commonly used versions. The “T” offers an ability to suit a wider range of tracks as well as take a higher load.

External Slide – A wrap-around design and suitable for mounting on the outside of a track which is more commonly seen on older wooden masts.

A.358 Sail slug attached to sail with A.449 sail shackle

A.358 sail slug attached to sail with A.449 screw shackle.

Which should you use?

It all comes down to what mast track you have. If your boat currently has a sail with slides or slugs then it is recommended that you take the measurements from your existing hardware and compare it to what is available.

When selecting new slides or slugs you want to ensure there will be some wiggle room so that the slides cannot stick or create extra friction in the mast track. However, it is also important that there isn’t too much space, otherwise, the slide could escape from the track. You should measure the track of your mast with a ruler or measurement calliper to find out the distance between either side of the track opening and how much space there is inside the track.

A.558DW sail slide attached with A.749 snap on shackle.

A.558DW sail slide attached with A.749 snap on shackle.

Installation of sail slides and slugs.

Once you have chosen the slide or slug and have checked it against your mast track to see if it fits correctly, you will then need to consider how to attach it to the sail.

Sail Shackle – The nylon sail shackle is the cheapest and easiest option for attaching the slide to the sail. Sail shackles are available in a variety of sizes, so it’s important to check they will fit around both the slide and the eyelet in the sail. Offered with either a screw together or snap-on attachment.  

Metal Shackle – The strongest option which also has the most choice. However, a metal shackle can bash against the mast when a sail is flogging, which can damage the mast.

Webbing – The recommended option from sailmakers as it gives the nicest finish as well as proving the most forgiving for the sail. This choice is the most labour intensive and will require a sailmaker or experienced seamstress to install the slide or slug.

A..90 sail slide attached with webbing.

A..90 sail slide attached with webbing.

Should you require any further details on any of the pieces of hardware mentioned above, then please look at the individual product pages where you can find a detailed product drawing, just click the PDF logo below the main product image. The Allen sales team is also happy to help and answer any further question.

Once you have chosen and installed the correct sail slide or slug, it’s time to get on the water and reap the rewards of hoisting and lowering the sail with ease.

Happy sailing!

View sail slides.

View sail shackles. 

View other sailmakers hardware.

Product Feature – Pad-Tii

Soft attachment pad-Tii with XHL block

The Pad-Tii range was launched in 2019 following feedback from the marine industry for the need for soft attachment deck fittings. 

Pad-Tii’s are a great choice if you are looking to add an attachment point to a surface. They offer minimal protrusion yet are easy to thread rope around and give a strong, solid fixing point for any fitting. 

The Allen design team came up with two solutions after continuing their development on the already tried and tested aluminium through deck bush range.  

Pad-Tii with Fixed Tii-Bar

The fixed Tii-Bar version is our simplest option. Installation is easy as there are only two pieces. 

Push the threaded through deck piece into the required fitting surface. The washer piece is then screwed on from the underside of the mounting surface, both pieces can then be tightened using a pair of circlip tools. For complete water tightness, it is recommended a small amount of sealant is used. 

Once the product is installed it leaves a smooth attachment point with minimal protrusion. The inside of the Pad-Tii features a domed shape to make feeding rope around the Tii-Bar extremely easy.

 

Pad-Tii with removable Tii-BarPad-Tii with removable Tii-Bar

This design incorporates an ingenious removable attachment pin to give a wider range of fitting options. 

The removable Tii-Bar range comes in 3 pieces. A male and female through deck fitting and the removable Tii-bar. 

To install the fitting, you simply insert the female through deck part to the underside of the mounting surface. 

Make a loop with your rope and insert through the male part, then slide the Tii-Bar through the loop of the rope and pull the rope tight, this will hold the Tii-Bar in place. The male part is then screwed into the female part. 

A set of circlip tools can be used to tighten the through deck fittings. It is also recommended a small amount of sealant is used to ensure full water tightness. 

It is also possible to bond the female part into the mounting surface so that the male part and Tii-bar can be removed easily without the female part falling away.

 

The Pad-Tii range is available in a variety of sizes and Blue and Black as standard. If you require a custom size please get in touch with the Allen sales team – sales@allenbrothers.co.uk 

 

 

Team Allen – Billy Vennis-Ozanne Update

Billy Vennis-Ozanne sailing his rocket international moth

What a year 2020 has been.

It started at the RYA Dinghy Show for which I had to prepare my new International Moth – an Aardvark Rocket – to be displayed on the Zest Boatworks stand, completely bare, to highlight the fantastic paint job they did. Once the show had finished it was a quick pack down to get the boat back to the shed and fully fitted out with its new Allen hardware. Some of the hardware includes the anodised XHL blocks and through deck bushes, which I feel really make the paintwork pop, and adds another layer of personalisation that i really relish. I take a lot of pride in how my boats look, a good looking boat is a fast boat!

Once she was ready and rigged in the workshop, well, we all know what happened, so she was parked in my front garden for a while teasing me to go sailing.

Being released onto the water after such a wait made it all worth it. I managed 2 weeks of training prior to the UK Moth Nationals, which as a class we were very fortunate to be able to run. What a week!! Finished on a little high by leading to the top mark in the last race. An awesome 3 weeks of intense racing and training with some top guys and girls. 

Billy VO and Jack Lewis - Feva Days

I’ve been actively looking for a new team-mate in the 49er after going sperate ways from Nick, with whom I had a successful 4-year sailing partnership. Fortunately, while talking to fellow Team Allen sailor, Dan Budden, it came to light that Jack Lewis was looking to start 49er sailing. Jack and I have sailed together in the past, right at the beginning of my journey with Allen – Back when the maybe unknown custom ‘Alien’ stickers donned our RSFeva in 2013 for a couple of events.

Fast forward a month, a couple of sails and a new old team was formed. We’ve been extremely fortunate to be able to sail over winter getting in as many hours as possible, We look forward to the summer events once we are all allowed to travel a bit more. – Billy Vennis-Ozanne

 

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