mast track stop above boom?

Puget sailor

Member II
In processing of considering Tides track vs Allslip slides in my current track, I've been racking my brain trying to figure out why the track has a stopper 10" above the boom, requiring a good back-stretch to reach the headboard when the sail is down. (I like to loop the halyard end over it to keep the sail down when stowed) - It also makes the sail cover quite tall on the mast. Suddenly this morning while shaving I had the thought that it must be so one can remove the track stopper, drop the slugs down to the boom, and then set a storm trisail above the now lowered main. But that still leaves me wondering why not just have a removeable gate closer up there so the main is always dropped to the boom when stowed, and then just open the gate to set a storm tri? Is there some other reason for this apparently typical mast track arrangement? If there is no good reason to keep the slugs elevated by that 10 inches, I'd love to get them down to the boom and make the new sail cover less tall too. What's the deal?

G Kiba

Sustaining Member
I think (know) you figured it out! To keep the slugs from falling out of the open mast gate when lowered.

Add a mast gate and you won't have to stretch anymore! I made my own mast gates several times (for different boats) from a thin sheet of aluminum. The design and shape depend on your mast opening and the slugs attaching your sail. The flange on the slugs likely has to pass over the mast gate for smooth hoisting and lowering. You might be able to buy one if the gate cutout is standard to the manufacture but I would not count on it. Plus it will cost you less and likely work better if you make your own. Post a picture of your gate and the sail slugs. I am sure you will get a lot of suggestions. If there were past attempt of a gate, there may be some threaded holes near the gate where it mounted.

Clifford Hunter

New Member
Several things can happen to move that sail down enough to reach the headboard. I have installed and sold a good number of Tides Strong Tracks of which you have mentioned. With the internal main luff track, Tides will cut the lower (below mast gate) internal section so as the track, and in your case...10" to the width of the slot. Then simply drill a hole through that bottom section for a holding screw. Which then brings those lower slides all the way to the gooseneck. Understand though, that the SS Strong Track slides are longer than conventional slides.
Secondly...if you have the Allslip slides you can fabricate a plate for the gate and grind off the outside flanges of the lower slides. For gaining the 10"s you would need only to grind off 5 slides.
Third...find someone who can make you a mast gate to accommodate your particular slides so the pass the gate. There is a guy in Camas, WA who makes a variety of mast gate covers for this very reason. At present, I don't reacall his contact info, but can find it.
Personally, the Strong Track system is my favorite. So...easy and efficient. Contact me if you want to pursue this option.
Cliff Hunter
First Look/Ericson 32-3
Portland, OR

Dave G.

1984 E30+ Ludington, MI
why the track has a stopper 10" above the boom
One of my dock mates had the same issue with his Hunter 45. He also had a Doyle Stack Pack that wouldn't work at all after he had the Tides Track installed. They had installed the track while the boat was on the hard while he was having a new sail made. After some head scratching it became obvious that the installer must have measured wrong. The answer was to call Tides Marine and get a 12" piece of track along with their splice kit. Once installed it dropped the sail down to the boom and the Stack Pack zipped right up. Call Tides and talk to them & Im sure they will suggest the same fix.

Clifford Hunter

New Member
It's the Goldilocks measure system for the Strong Track. You want to measure "just right" of course but "too short" is an issue and "too long" can easily be rectified by a simple cut. As I mentioned earlier...take notice that the S.T. slides are a bit longer. should be able to drop the bottom slide almost to the gooseneck.
Cliff Hunter