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 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.
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.
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.
The 2021 Finn World Masters is scheduled to take place in Medemblik over the 21-28th May with support from Allen, the UK based sailing hardware manufacturer.
Allen has had a long-lasting relationship with the class. In the past, the company has worked closely with some of the leading class manufacturers to design and produce many of the custom hull fittings, booms, tillers and other specific components you will find on the Finn dinghy.
Liz Adams, Managing Director of Allen, commented “The Finn really complements our range of hardware and to see Allen products on boats that will come from across the globe to take part is excellent. It’s great to be able to support such a healthy class and one that is full of the sport’s most well-known sailors.”
The British company has made a Finn fittings guide available on its website, all of the products in the list are manufactured at the Allen Factory in Essex. The company ensures all products are vigorously tested by its elite team of sponsored sailors and develops race leading equipment from their feedback.
Choosing the correct Cam Cleat.
Cam Cleats are available in different materials, sizes and have a wide range of accessories to suit many different applications, so it can be daunting to know which type or accessory is needed to suit specific cleating needs. Here you will find all the information required to make the right choice – all from the designers of the original aluminium cam cleat!
First, a bit of history behind the Allen Cam Cleat – The Allen Brothers, Tony and Glenn, were the inventors of the original aluminium cam cleat. They developed the idea whilst building a Hornet “JACK-O-LEAN” number 205. The brothers had started off using Tufnell cam cleats but decided they were not good enough. The Tufnell cam cleat gripped well when they were new but would make releasing the rope difficult. Once they had worn-in, just a few sailing sessions later, they would slip and be useless.
After many months of researching, designing and prototyping Tony Allen had built a machine in which he could pressure die-cast what is now known as the A..76 – Aluminium Ball Bearing Cam Cleat – although the first design did not include ball bearings. Tony and Glenn then went onto sell their version of the cam cleat for 5 shillings each.
Today Allen has two main styles of cam cleats available; Aluminium Ball Bearing or Allenite Plain Bearing. Allen cam cleats are suitable for any rope up to 10 mm diameter and have a maximum working load of 150kg. This makes them suitable for both small dinghies and yachts.
Performance sailboat hardware manufacturer, Allen, is pleased to release the 2021 – 2024 racing rules of sailing poster.
The marketing team at Allen has been working closely with Henk Plaatje for many years to develop the racing rules of sailing poster. Once each edition is ready, Allen kindly makes it available to the public to hang in sailing clubs around the World. This year is no different, the poster can easily be downloaded via the Allen website or a hardcopy can be ordered directly to your sailing club.
Just visit the Allen website in the following link to get your free copy.
Also available to download via the Allen website is the Allen catalogue which shows the extensive range of marine hardware products, all of which are manufactured in Essex in the UK from the Allen factory. If you would like to find out more about Allen get in touch with their friendly sales team – Sales@allenbrothers.co.uk – +441621 774689
What’s the preferred spinnaker ratchet block on a 49er?
Find out in this interview with Team Allen sailors Rhos Hawes who talks us through what he’s been up to in 2020, the last couple of days at the Moth Nationals and his preferred 49er spinnaker ratchet block.
29er Fitout Guide
Designed by Julian Bethwaite and first produced in 1998 the 29er is a high performance 2 person skiff that takes its pedigree from the Olympic 49er skiff. With high levels of competition around the World, the 29er is a boat that complements sailors who spend time on their boat work, preparation and skill.
Many Team Allen sailors have gone through the 29er class on their journey to become Olympic medalists and as such we are able to offer their extensive knowledge on how they fit their boats to make them go quickly.
Below you will find a list of the Team Allen approved fittings for a 29er. All parts listed below are available from Ovington Boats in the UK. Many of the standard stock items are also available from your local Allen stockist or to order online directly from us.
Summer’s in full swing in the UK with some parts of the country hitting a whopping 36C recently. So, it’s no surprise then that many are leaping at the chance to get on the water! The team at Allen has a couple of top tips to consider when heading out in the heat!
UV Damages – Not only your skin but also rope, hardware and foils. It is vitally important to lather on the sun cream before heading out on the water, but it’s just as important to perform regular checks on hardware and rope that may be left out in the elements all year round. UV deteriorates most materials, including nylon, which is utilised in many Allen products. The plastic parts of the blocks and cleats may start to appear faded and they will start to become brittle if left to succumb to UV over long periods. The same goes for rope, it may start to appear faded and will lose strength as the fibre’s breakdown in the UV. It’s important to keep an eye on these fittings to avoid failures when on the water. You may also want to consider keeping your centreboard and rudder out of direct sunlight for long periods, as heat can cause some materials to warp and twist out of shape.
New products and what to see at the 2019 Dinghy Show
On the 2nd of March the doors will open to the public for the 2019 RYA Dinghy Show and Allen Brothers will once again be displaying a range of new hardware and fully fitted boats on stand C82 in the Great Hall.
Allen will be showcasing new ranges, such as; The pivoting mast step, Pad-Tii range, blue carbon tiller extensions, 20 & 30mm double cheek blocks and much, much more. On stand C82 you will also be able to take a closer look at the recently restored International 14. Restored by Phoenix Marine and put together by Allen designer Tom Clayton and Zhik’s UK sales manager Tristan Hutt, the International 14 boasts a top spec fit out which also includes the Allen Keyball trapeze system. On display will also be a brand new Streaker, built by The Boatyard at Beer, belonging to Team Allen sailor Tom Gillard. The Streaker will feature the Slingshot mainsheet jammer (A5266) which is self-aligning.
Also taking place on the Allen stand will be the official launch for the 2019 Allen Endurance Series, Allen Performance Challenge and the Allen Blogging Award. To find out more, visit www.allenenduranceseries.com for launch times and details.
The pivoting mast step is designed for dinghies or small keelboats that have easily adjustable rigging whilst sailing. By allowing the mast heel to pivot it reduces loading points in the deck of the boat and spreads the forces more evenly. Having a pivoting mast step and heel also allows for a consistent mast bend profile resulting in more accurate rig setup.
The mast step is CNC machined from 6082 aluminium and anodised black.
Mast heels are made from Nylon and currently available in 3 diameters; 37.5mm, 41mm & 45mm.
The Allen range of aluminium through deck bushes have been well received by the marine industry so Allen have decided to continue with the development. The logical product progression being, fixing Tii blocks to the deck or bulkhead. There are several companies producing products that provide this, so Allen decided to think a little more laterally and have come up with a range of Pad-Tii that have some additional design features. A number of current products require the integral pad and associated tie on rope to be permanently bonded to a surface, which doesn’t readily allow replacement of worn rope. Allen have incorporated an ingenious removable attachment pin to allow the user to replace the rope as it wears. Simply unscrew the upper insert and push down on the stainless-steel crossbar to remove it. Install your replacement rope by pushing through the hole in the centre of the upper insert, slide the pin into place retaining the rope and screw the upper insert back into the deck. The lower insert is enclosed ensuring the design is watertight and the two parts have flats, so they can be tightened and undone with simple tools.
Allen has been working alongside Team Allen sailors to make sure their new range of tiller extension is stiff enough to give you the right amount of feedback yet forgiving enough to take a good beating. Although performance was at the top of the checklist it soon became apparent style should be too. The blue carbon range is available in several different sizes, and lengths over 1.9meters come with a smaller end knob to reduce outboard weight.
Blue carbon tiller extensions come with UJ already fitted.
Another progression from an already existing product, the double cheek block range incorporates Allen dynamic bearing technology into a double sheaved cheek block. This allows for an additional purchase to be incorporated into mainsheet traveller systems and anything else that might require a double mounted cheek block.
Tom Gillard’s Streaker
On display will be a brand new Streaker, built by The Boatyard at Beer, belonging to Team Allen sailor Tom Gillard. The Streaker will feature the Slingshot mainsheet jammer (A5266) which is self-aligning.
Standard mainsheet jammer systems usually have the block centrally located above the swivel meaning there is no turning force to swivel the block and jammer to the correct angle. By moving the block outward from the swivel and angling it away from the cleat, the A5266 mainsheet system creates turning force on the block and jammer meaning the cleat will always be forced to point away from the boom and towards the helm. This prevents the sheet from wrapping round the block and gives extra control for fast, smooth tacks and gybes.
Also, on display will be a fully restored International 14. The I14 restored by Phoenix Marine and put together by Allen designer Tom Clayton and Zhik’s UK Sales Manager, Tristan Hutt, features a wide range of standard Allen fittings, including the Keyball Trapeze system with new Zhik T3 Keyball Harness. The Allen Keyball system removes the traditional hook from the trapeze harness and replaces it with a moulded plastic socket. The Keyball socket has no sharp edges or protruding parts making it much less likely to damage equipment or get snagged on something.
Credit: ojsphotography./Oliver Southgate
Come and check out all of the above plus much, much more at stand C82 in the Great Hall.
If you work out first thing in the morning, chances are, at one time or another, you’ve been on the sleepy side and had to drag yourself out of bed with a little extra pep talk and motivation in your head.
Ask any person, who regularly trains in the morning, what their pre-workout routine is, and more than likely, you hear one of the more popular responses:
Many claim it gives them that ‘extra edge’ for their grueling workouts; But is it really all it’s cracked up to be?
Several research articles and studies in health and fitness publications over the past several years have claimed it’s actually a great enhancement to any workout.
The study evaluated the differences that 14 total participants experienced when they took caffeine (equal to two 8-ounce cups of coffee or 4 cups of black tea) and worked out on a stationary bike vs. no caffeine and a workout on a stationary bike. The findings? When caffeinated, the participants reported the ride as way easier than it was without the stimulant.
Health Magazine reported on another study published in the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, coffee enhanced fat-burning in exercise participants. Researchers concluded “trained athletes who took in caffeine pre-exercise burned about 15 percent more calories for three hours post-exercise, compared to those who ingested a placebo.
[The dose that triggered the effect was 4.5 mg of caffeine per kilogram of body weight. For 150-pound woman (68 kg), that’s roughly 300 mg of caffeine, the amount in about 12 ounces of brewed coffee, a quantity you may already be sipping each morning].” Still, one more study foundcoffee before a workout increases an athlete’s ability to draw extra energy and enhance their performance, particularly during endurance workouts.
In addition to all this research, we also hear about the popularity of the highly-touted Bulletproof coffee and diet, claiming if we drink a quality cup of low-toxin coffee beans + MCT Oil + Grass-fed butter, our energy and superpowers will soar through the roof. The burst of caffeine and specific fats is supposedly the ultimate recipe to boost your brain and brawn, fuel workouts, and even shrink waistlines.
So coffee MUST be the pre-workout drink of choice, right?
While coffee is actually a very natural substance (granted you are not adding artificial sweeteners, sugar or processed creams and milks), it is one of those ‘gray’ areas as to whether or not athletes really do benefit from the Cup of Joe before a morning workout.
Much like our training methodology, caffeine consumption—and the amount of consumption—is completely individualized, depending on the client.
Take a few different scenarios into consideration here:
Trainee #1: Daily Exerciser. 40-year-old male. Training for life.
Works out: 6:30 a.m. every day, at least 5 days per week.
Primary goals: Continue to gain strength and fitness (for life).
Drinks: Coffee is a ‘ritual’ for him. 1 cup of black coffee on an empty stomach, along with water before his workouts every morning while he reads the paper. Coffee is a simply a part of a routine and makes him feel more ‘awake’ on his early mornings. Somewhat would say he is ‘dependent’ on wanting it, because he likes it, but could also easily go without it if not available. No more coffee needed later on in the day.
The Verdict? Neither here nor there. If he wants the coffee, drink the coffee. Not directly impacting from his gains in the gym—positively or negatively. And he is not addicted to the stimulus the caffeine gives him, as he is able to abstain if needed.
Trainee #2: Daily Grinder. 28-year-old male. Training for sport, competition, gains.
Works out: 5 a.m. every morning; trains at least 6 days per week.
Primary goals: Build muscle and strength; Make top 20 in the 2016 CrossFit Open
Drinks: 2 cups of black coffee + Pre-workout supplements + Protein powder, 1 scoop every morning before his workouts every morning. Hits a wall around 10 a.m. in his mid-mornings, and typically reaches for another cup of coffee or two at that time. And some days, on his two-a-days, he has more pre-workout supplements prior to his afternoon sessions.
The Verdict? Running off adrenaline. This kid is dependent on caffeine—and has become highly dependent on needing stimulants to get him going. Caffeine stimulation + heightened cortisol (adrenaline) from both the coffee and his tough workouts=not ideal for his body, his hormones and his long-term gains (read more below). However, in the short-term, the overstimulation from caffeine and adrenaline actually seemingly keep him going, and fuel the fire to grind it out in the gym day in and day out.
Trainee #3: Recreational Athlete. 32-year-old female. Training for local competitions; fitness for life; the ability to keep up with her 2 and 4-year-old children.
Works out: 8:30 a.m. every morning; trains at least 4-5 days per week.
Primary goals: Be healthy and improve her fitness for her own gratification and joy of training.
Drinks: 2 cups of coffee + Splenda + almond milk every morning with her breakfast of eggs and oats. Coffee is a ritual she’s been doing since her college days and has no idea what a morning is like without it. Throughout the rest of the day, she is also a recreational coffee drinker. May not need it later, but if she meets up with a friend at a coffee shop or drives by a Starbucks, a latte is never past her.
The Verdict? Walking the line. Primarily the artificial sweeteners are not her friend for a host of digestive health and general wellness reasons (linked with brain fog, nausea, cellular damage, metabolic dysfunction). On the coffee front, if she could cut back to one cup of Joe with her breakfast, and let herself become less dependent on needing the stimulant to get her going, she may be able to actually tap into more innate and raw potential in the gym, as opposed to hormonally, running (and depending) on coffee as part of her pre-workout routine.
In essence, for all of these examples, the verdict of whether coffee is really beneficial before a workout all comes down to a matter of your hormones and stress levels.
Since coffee is a stimulant, too much of it, and your system goes haywire.
This, coupled with the additional stress of a workout on your body, day in and day out, can yield some not-so-positive effects.
Here’s the main problem:
Coffee stimulates the adrenal glands, which means every time you drink coffee (yes even decaf coffee has some caffeine in it), you’re activating the body’s fight-or-flight response, releasing adrenaline and raising your cortisol levels (stress hormones).
Consequently, instead of JUST releasing adrenaline so the body can react to a natural true stressor (a workout, running from a bear, escaping a fire), the adrenals are forced to release adrenaline at a non-natural time, simply in response to your coffee consumption.
With repetitive stress, your adrenal glands start to burn out from overuse, which can lead to a host of problems, including:
out of whack circadian rhythms;
‘wired and tired’ feelings at night’;
weight loss or weight gain;
impaired ability to recover fully from workouts;
low libido and plateaus in your physical training—just to name a few.
So to drink or not to drink?
That answer is completely up to you.
And it really all comes down to: Are you dependent on it or not?
If you only have the occasional cup of coffee, your adrenals will be able to react quickly and capably to this kind of stimulation. However, if you are consuming several cups of coffee each day, your body begins to have a weakened reaction to that caffeine (i.e. you need MORE to get that ‘edge’ or alertness). Some say their ‘tolerance’ has increased, or meet that need by upping the coffee consumption, but the truth is actually quite opposite.
Depending on how much caffeine you consume, it definitely can make you feel as if you have more energy, especially within the first couple of hours after consumption. However, once the effects of the caffeine have worn off, you’ll actually feel more tired than you did before you drank it.
If you’ve become dependent on caffeine/coffee, you may need to re-evaluate why that is.
Ask yourself:Does caffeine really give you an energy boost? Or is it actually leading to a more unhealthy stress response?
Ultimately, if you really want to see what your body is capable of (gains, recovery), but are also overly dependent on caffeine and stimulants to fuel your already-tough (and stressful) workouts: you may be blunting your optimal potential.
A couple thoughts to help you wean off?
One a Day. Consider cutting back to 1 cup of quality coffee per day—you choose when that is;
Water. Up your water intake—a natural energy booster. Especially first thing in the mornings. CHUG water (at least 16-20 ounces) in the mornings before you even so much think about drinking coffee. In total, drink at least half your body weight in ounces + 12 oz. for every 8 oz. coffee; plus additional around workouts on training days.
BEST Pre-Workout Choices. In fact, BEFORE you even so much as drink some coffee before a workout, it is IMPERATIVE you consume water. A second line of defense? Protein=a much better fuel source pre (and post) workout over coffee any day. Fortunately, for you coffee lovers, there are some coffee flavored protein powders out there. Lastly, if coffee is still in the mix, be in touch with timing consumption appropriately (after you’ve had at least 16 oz. of water) and depending on your tolerance, about 30-minutes before hitting the gym to allow time for the stimulant to fully kick in.
Digestive Dysfunction. Consider your digestion and the disruption coffee can cause to your GI system. You eat food and drink water to fuel your workouts right? However, coffee is a diuretic, meaning it causes excretion of fluid through the kidneys, which may lead to dehydration. Dehydration due to excess coffee may produce hard stools difficult to pass which may lead to constipation, in turn leading to a host of GI problems and discomfort that can impede your ability to feed your machine appropriately. In addition, when you drink coffee your stomach produces large amounts of Hydrochloric (HCI) acid. This overproduction of HCl is particularly pronounced if you drink a cup of coffee on an empty stomach, making first thing in the morning one of the worst times to kick back some coffee. Do this for long enough and your body’s ability to produce its own HCl may be reduced. When there is a shortage of hydrochloric acid for digestion, gas, bloating, indigestion, constipation and leaky gut can happen. Knowing this alone can help you with making decisions around how much coffee to consume, if at all.
The Replacements. Try Teecino—an herbal tea flavored like coffee (if coffee is more of a ritual for you)
Address Deficiencies. Speak with a nutrition therapist about amino acid supplements that can help give you a natural boost of energy if you’ve become dependent on caffiene. Often time, caffeine addicts are deficient in: L-Gluatmine, Tyrosine, Tryptophan, and/or Phenylalanine.
Just Do It. Quit cold turkey for 21 days; give yourself an ‘end’ timeline to remind yourself you can do anything for a short amount of time. By the end of 21 days, you may very well find that you don’t need coffee like you once did
“Pain is never really straightforward, even when it appears to be.” – Lorimer Moseley
Pain is part of the human experience. It’s an issue that can throw a wrench in your clients’ training. Before discussing how best to approach athletes with pain at OPEX Fitness and within the Sailing Performance Training community, we need to differentiate pain from injuries.
An injury is something that disables function of the body, while pain is an experience. For example, a broken leg would be an injury. The individual can no longer walk on that foot, therefore disabling the function of the leg.
Pain, meanwhile, is an “experience” created by the brain. That’s to say, all pain felt is produced by the brain to encourage protective behavior. However, not all pain comes from injury. It is possible to experience pain without actually having any tissue damage.
“Pain is an opinion on the organism’s state of health rather than a mere reflective response to an injury.”– Ramachandran
You don’t need to be an expert on pain, but it’s important your coach helps you begin to develop an awareness of just how complex the topic is. A good place to start is respecting the boundaries of your knowledge and the ethical limitations of your practice.
If clients are experiencing pain, always refer them to a medical professional first.
If the athlete still experiences pain despite being told by professionals there is nothing physically wrong, then and only then can you make some inquiries into the following areas:
Lifestyle – How are they sleeping? Are they sleeping? Are they stressed out all day? The chaotic pace of modern life can sensitize the nervous system, which can cause the sensation of pain where no actual damage exists.
Nutrition – Are they eating enough? Are they eating poor quality foods? What they eat can sensitize the nervous system which can increase their perception of pain.
Program – Sometimes your previous or current programming could be at fault, and causing problems because your nervous system is overtaxed. This is often the case with sailing athletes who regularly engage in group fitness models.
Mental – Does the athlete workout with negative thoughts and emotions? Are they happy to be in the gym? Don’t discredit the emotional side of the equation.
Pain is a complicated and messy subject. However, sometimes a bit of life coaching, nutrition monitoring, and individual program design can make the difference in reducing the pain an athlete experiences.
Everyone has a different perception of pain, which stresses the importance of an individual approach to coaching.