Mainsail Boltrope Feeder

Has anyone purchased a sail feeder gadget (expensive) or have any remedies or methods for avoiding the boltrope not going into the sail slot well during mainsail hoisting. I stand on the stbd side of course and winch it with my right hand while my left hand is trying to keep the boltrope aligned...which slows down the process and I have to back the halyard sometimes since it jammed. I want to know hints primarily to be used with singlehanding. I also wonder if how you pack/unpack the mainsail affects this like rolling vs flaking, etc.
Appreciate any wisdom,

I singlehand a good deal and often raise the main with no help. I use a method pretty similar to your description. I always roll my sails parallel to the battens and seams and feed the rolled main onto the boom and then let it drop into the cockpit on the port side. Then feed with the left hand while cranking with the right. I do get some binds at times, but not a major problem. You can get a compound or compounds that lubricate the bolt rope. I cannot remember the name for this material. I just feed slow and steady and try to make sure the boltrope is well aligned with the slot before cranking. Patience is recommended and will limit severe jams.

Get the boat as close to head to wind as possible. I start to raise the main with the boat oriented in the best head to wind position, which often means cleating only from the bow with a loose safety line off the stern. Make sure your vang is way off and your mainsheet is run out so the boom can be lifted by the sail and can adjust quickly to the wind direction the minute the boom clears the crutch.

John McLaughlin
Customflex #1554

I have been thinking about making a bolt rope feeder. Big cruising boats have such devices for retrofit and they have bolt rope feeders on certain jibs and these devices are very expensive and some have tiny rollers. I have looked through sail catalogs and have come up short. My idea is to get a small harken plastic fairlead and cut a slot in it and radius the slot properly and screw it to the mast. Has anyone done something like this ? The standard spinnaker fairleads that come on the Scot have a stainless insert and are I think a tad too big.Gabor Karafiath FS 3512 301 681 6340

I am no longer interested in pursuing a feeder because I decided my problem with the boltrope being difficult to feed was due to us flaking the mainsail onto the boom with the head almost centered on the boom. This kept the boltrope far away and I had to tug the sail over to the mast while feeding. Whereas if we had rolled the sail aligning the head near the mast and making the roll keeping the first batten parallel to the boom, we would have little if any problem. Thanks for the advice Phil.

We flake it, too, but keep the head of the sail by the mast. I guess that way the bolt rope is closer and more aligned with the track of the mast. Maybe that's why this hasn't been an issue for me.

Claus FS5074 Ames, IA

I Goofed, I really did. it was an almost perfect day for sailing singlehanded in the river. There is a nice sized river flowing into Lake Pontchartrain in Louisiana, winds were westerly at 6 mph. I was planing on sailing up and down the river doing the easy thing. I wanted to stop at one of the shoreline resturants talk to other boaters brag about my 47 year old boat. I just thought it would be cool and relaxing watching the hundreds of other motor moats that seem to gather there.. Rarely would you see a sailboat in the river but the winds were in my favor so why not right, My boat would stand out among the other motorboats and here I am without burning an ounce of gas...
Well I hoised my mast before launching and after i raised the mainsail and I really screwed up because I didn't look at the pin closely I rotated the pin and it wasn't locked in it's position.
After about 15 min. of sailing the mainsail falls the boom falls on the rear deck and the sail slides down the mast. I looked up and saw the mainsail halyard way at the top of the mast so I can't retrieve it.
So I flagged down this nice guy and he towed me back to the launch.. Rats my day was over and I wasn't about to lower the mast while in the water nor was I going to haul it out lower the mast reraise it after retrieving the halyard that's just too much for my old bones...I was kinda ashamed of myself but after thinking it is a valuable lesson. I will forever double check that connection. I also forgot to put in the battens too. Again another lesson learned... I try to doubloe check everthing but this time it got awqy from me.. I'm sure similar stuff happens to other flying scot owners so I wrote this oops note..[:D]

Recently I saw on E bay a bolt rope feeder made for Hobie cats. The price was much less than other feeders. GK boat 3512

As long as you keep the bolt rope fairly close to the mast when the sail is flaked down on the boom and a close watch on the rope edge as you crank up the sail there should be no problem in raising it without a feeder.

R. Lewis
FS367 Chin up

I roll my main and try to be careful with the rope while feeding as described above. A lube would be a good idea. I think that flaking works better with a sail with the plastic slides which stay in the track as the sail comes down. The Flying Scot mast has a track with the opening which lets the sail fall out and therefore makes flaking tough for me(but not impossible for some).

When I roll the main I start at the top and fold it near the first batten - this allows the head to be exposed much earlier and you can then shackle it and feed it into the track while still partly rolled and therefore less unwieldy.

When hoisting, I try to head into the wind - not always possible when single handling but in fresh breeze it is a must or the main gets hung up. I try and do it as fast and deliberately as possible so I can get back to the tiller!

"If the sea did wild or wicked things, it was because she could not help them." - Hemmingway

I don't have a problem hoisting the mainsail anymore either flaked with helper or rolled singlehanded since I have more experience from sailing lots and racing some this year. Just takes practice grasping the luff boltrope as you crank away fast. I've seen others on my boat have trouble doing it, which reminds me of me earlier.

Similar to JHS and johnrmcl's comments, I often raise the main at a mooring in fairly strong winds. I find that the handled winch cranks available from Flying Scot Racing (either stainless or aluminum variety)enable you to raise the sail much more quickly.

FSSA Forum editor

Oh yeah, thanks for reminding me. I've been meaning to order one of those![:)]

"If the sea did wild or wicked things, it was because she could not help them." - Hemmingway