Mainsail pre-feeder?

Thread starter #1
I am soloing these days and note that hoisting the main requires quite a lot of guidance from one of my hands. Anyone install and use a pre-feeder to aid in one-handed hoisting? A few of the types are below which are available at APS.

-- Edward
Thread starter #3
No, I don't use a motor; I'm hoisting the main in the dock slip. I have found it is a lot easier, if I drop the flaked main off of the boom first. The longer distance between the mast bolt rope slot and the bolt rope seems to help.

Thanks for your reply -- Edward.


Sailing on Shelter Bay
Briliant idea.

I'm always looking for things that make "life" easier when rigging. A prefeed sounds like a great idea. I think I could probably fashion one out of wood. A good winter project.
Sounds like a neat idea to me too. Last summer on one of my first solo sails I managed to cut the heck outta my thumb by getting it jammed in the mast slot while feeding the mail into the groove. Real nasty I wear light cotton gloves.

So how does this gizmo work? Screws to the mast? I'm having trouble visualizing how it works, but on the other hand, I've been over at our place on the water for 10 days by myself and pretty goofy......may have been the 12 year old Panamanian rum.....

Thread starter #6
VicRoy, if you look at the picture of the Spinlock prefeeder (it is the third one on the right in my first post above), you'll see it has been fastened via its mast slug into the bolt rope channel under the sail's bolt rope opening. We are looking up the mast in the picture. If your gooseneck is as close as mine to the opening, this will probably not work.

The Wichard prefeeder is lashed to point below the bolt rope opening and is clamped onto the sail's luff (bolt rope). We are again looking up in the photo, so the line is leading downwards. For our Capri's, we could lash it to the gooseneck. This Wichard unit is nicer since you can easily open and close it to re-insert the bolt rope if it happens to pull out; with the Spinlock, you'd have to drop the main and reinsert the bolt rope in its groove between the two black hemispheres.

Wichard Prefeeder
Thanks, Ed......I see how it works now. After my mishap early on in my sailing "learn by screwing up" adventures, someone here suggested lubricating the groove and sail with a dry silicone spray. That made a huge difference in how easily the sail feeds. That, coupled with replacing the mainsail halyard with a smaller diameter new line, has made raising the main a snap and the gloves give me confidence I won't repeat the cut thumb. I motor out of the canal where I keep the boat docked into the river with the main down, then motor to whereever I decide to start sailing and nose into the lee formed by the large cypress trees that line the river and quickly raise the main. The silicone spray also allows the main to pretty much fall in one motion when you loosen the halyard. I'd also installed a "top haul" line & small block to hold the boom up when the main is lowered and that keeps the boom out of the way. I had not used the boat in several weeks until this week and had left the boom in a level, horizonal position and it was full of rainwater - this time I left it with a good down angle to the stern to allow the water to drain.

I'm learning.....and its a lot of fun.

Thread starter #8
I too went to a smaller diameter halyard; first, it was 1/8" Vectrus 12 (APS). I had to replace it with 3/16" Crystalyne because the Vectrus was so small that it could jump off its sheave when unloaded in a windy condition.

I've read that you can use bar soap to lubricate the bolt rope and the channel -- cut a plug, stuff it into the channel and hoist the main to lubricate the channel "on the way".

This tip was related to a short article stating that most people don't raise their mainsails properly. Apparently sail makers make the boltrope about an inch short for every 10 feet of luff (termed "preload"). If you simply raise the main to the "just raise" position, the sail is too baggy along the luff. We need to raise it another 1" per 10 foot of boltrope (about 2" total with our boats). Lubricating the channel helps. They also maintained that boltropes tend to shrink a bit with age magnifying the incomplete hoisting problem.

"Without stretching out the sailmaker's preload the sail will be draft-aft, "baggy", too much draft, and the aft sections of the sail (leech) will be somewhat hooked up to weather -- all shapes that promote aggressive heeling, powered-up, but exceptionally slow, poor pointing ability, increased weather helm, ... a very cranky boat!"

The last paragraph is almost word for word the author's statement:

-- Ed