Please select your home edition
Edition
Allen Brothers

Sail Slides & Slugs - How to choose correctly

by Allen 29 Mar 17:32 BST
Sail Slides & Slugs © Allen

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.

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.

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.

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!

Related Articles

Allen's Latest Product Features
The inboard end batten adjuster and flanged aluminium deck bush Our newest range of flanged aluminium deck bushes feature a wider surface area with two fixing holes, allowing for a simple installation which only requires two screws and no messy bonding agent or silicone. Posted on 22 Oct
Reduce the friction in your mainsheet system
Take a look at Allen Roller Fairleads The roller fairlead is a cam cleat accessory design to remove friction from mainsheet jammers. The assembly comes with extra-long threaded bolts, which can be cut to length. Posted on 8 Oct
Allen's New Pro-Sailing Glove
A professional half finger sailing glove with reinforced Amara on palm and fingers A professional half finger sailing glove with reinforced Amara on palm and fingers to protect your hands when pulling rope. Posted on 25 Sep
One design? There's only one choice.
Allen know what hardware makes a boat go quickly! As an original equipment manufacturer to many of the world's leading one design boat builders, we know what hardware makes a boat go quickly! Posted on 17 Sep
Allen V Cleats - Simple and cost effective
One of the original methods for cleating rope The V Cleat is one of the original methods for cleating rope and to this day is still the favoured option for many applications. Posted on 3 Sep
Tii-on the best in marine hardware
Allen explain when and why Tii-ons should be used Tii-on products are quickly becoming the go to choice for many hardware fittings. So, in an article on our website we have explained when and why Tii-ons should be used. Posted on 24 Aug
Backstay Blocks and New Articulating Range
Blocks on a stainless-steel ring for sportsboat backstay systems 30mm dynamic blocks are one of the most versatile products in our range and so they are great for use in many different systems. Most recently we have started manufacturing the single version onto a stainless-steel ring for sportsboat backstay systems. Posted on 12 Aug
Introducing The NEW Allen Ti3 Block
Allen's range of soft attachment blocks is growing Allen's range of soft attachment blocks is growing with the release of the new 20mm Ti3 block, featuring a wider opening at the top of the block and flatter sides. Posted on 7 Aug
New articulating blocks from Allen
Introducing a new concept for double and triple blocks Introducing a new concept for double and triple blocks from performance hardware manufacturer, Allen. The Articulating block range. Posted on 29 Jul
Best value to strength available on the market
Allen's 60mm dynamic range is an ideal choice for keelboats, catamarans and dinghies Allen's 60mm dynamic range is an ideal choice for keelboats, catamarans and dinghies. Offering the best value to strength ratio on the market. Suitable for a wide range of applications from jib sheet to mainsheet systems and everything in-between. Posted on 21 Jul