Measurers Corner

Measurer’s Interpretations and Recommendations

Topic:Mainsail
Question:Can the mainsail be used loose footed? Can the battens be extended?
ID Number:000024
Date:2008-10-20
Short Answer:No 
Answer:Current rule: The foot shall be attached to the boom by a boltrope which may terminate 6 inches from the clew. A clew slide may be added. Roach reefs, zippers and similar foot control devices are prohibited.

Battens: There shall be 3 lower battens each 42 inches long, and a top batten 36 inches long. These are maximum lengths. The maximum width of any batten is 2 inches. Battens shall be spaced at equal intervals along the leech.  
Section:§V-5.1 + §V-5.6 
Status:In Process
Action Date: 
Tue Aug 20 23:52:33 2019
DateNameComment
2008-10-20John KienerCan the sail be fitted without feeding the foot into the boom (like and IOD) so that the draft can have a wider range of control? If so, can the boltrope be cut from the foot? Could a shelf be built into the foot?
2010-12-17Bam MillerI think we should permit a loose footed mainsail; I can't see an obvious advantage or disadvantage from one boat to another to have it either way, and it will facilitate the installation of the sail. I also think a there should be allowed a gate towards the end of the boom so you dont have to have slide the outhaul slug all the way from the gooseneck. It should be mentioned, otherwise, it would be specifically prohibited, should we decide to make the change.
2010-12-17Andy BurtonThis is one change I wouldn't have a problem with. It should make the sails less expensive and make them easier to rig. Bam's suggestion of a gate is a good one.
2010-12-17Richard RobbinsOne problem I hear on the loose-footed boom is the large stress at clew. This usually is solved with as strap that goes around the boom. There may be a problem with a strap because of the cut-off portion at the boom end. Reinforced boom slugs may solve the stress issue.
2010-12-19Kristian MartincicThis initially seems like a no brainer, but Richard brings up a good point, in that a poly or spectra strap wouldn't work on the Shields boom due to the bias cut of the bottom of the boom. That said, when feeling a bit lazy and changing mains for beercans or daysailing, we usually don't feed the foot and just let the clew load ride on the slug, and have seen no damage to the groove or slug. Can we get some sailmaker opinions on this? I'll ask our local guys regarding suitability and cost difference.
2011-01-12Kristian MartincicFrom spoke with Mike Considine-UK Halsey sails in person his thoughts were:
loose foot cheaper, sails will have no issue with slug in boom. Boom may be bigger issue, recommends using slugs no smaller than current North aluminum slug. Full batten can be retrofitted around $250. Only makes sense if sail is still in good condition. Doesn't see performance increase without roach increase.
2011-01-12Richard RobbinsTalked to Harding Sails. They are in favor of the longer batten and don't see the minor advantage (convenience) to the fleet for loose-footed overrides the transition issues.
2011-01-12Kristian MartincicFrom Perry Lewis-North sails: No-brainer to 'modernize' w/ full-top batten. As is, the top is V-shaped. Full-top also promotes twist, & controls twist. Old sails can easily be retrofitted. And longevity is basically a non-factor. Longevity won't change as far as the sail blowing up; its same cloth. The shape however, will stay good longer than a 3/4 length battened sail of same cut. The big difference is that a 3/4 batten sail, when luffing, is hinging at the front of the top batten which makes the crease in your (88's main) sail. A full length batten means the shape changes less up top over time. Again, no performance increase here and still a no-brainer.
2011-04-20Richard RobbinsThe Technical Committee and National Measurer have authorized and encourages the experimental use of the current mainsail loose footed (leaving the foot bolt-rope out of the boom groove) in local fleet racing per local fleet Sailing Instructions. Use of a clew strap is also allowed. It is suggested that a volunteer with an extra older mainsail be found in each fleet and a full-length batten be installed. This sail could then be used by as many in the fleet as possible per local fleet Sailing Instructions. Results of the local fleet racing with the mainsail loose footed and a mainsail with full-length top batten are to reported to Technical Committee. The thought is that if the consensus is positive then a rule change will be presented to the Member Meeting in September.
2011-05-30Com CrockerFleet One held our Spring Meeting this past Saturday and discussed both of these changes. The Fleet was largely in favor of trying the mains loose footed (no objections to allowing such use in local racing as per the Tech Comm and Class Measurer's guidance). We used our main loose footed this past weekend and found it much easier to adjust the outhaul, particularly when easing it. I will provide feedback from others over the course of the season, or encourage them to do so themselves. There was little if any support for a full batten, however. Mainsail life has not been much of a concern, and it appeared as though there were pros and cons on wear. It was suggested that, in addition to added cost, there would also be a new learning curve involved. Given the lack of support for the change, the Fleet decided not to participate in any testing at this time.
2011-08-01Reed BaerIt is hard to believe that going loose-footed is going to make zero speed differential - it will be slower or faster, and the only way to really tell will be live testing. Meaning I would hold off making the change on my boat until I knew one way or the other. That said, not sure why we are messing with the strict one-design nature of the class just so we can change the sail more easily (we never do mid-season anyway!) or pull less hard on the outhaul? Really? It seems to me to be a no-brainer (to quote others) -- leave it alone.
2011-08-15Kristian MartincicI don't see any reason at all why it would make any appreciable speed difference. The sails are the same size, and once you have the outhaul even a little on, they'll shape up the same way. The only reason I'm for this is that we have a "cruising" and a "racing" sail, and change them from wednesday racing to weekend racing every week, and it's a lot easier. We've used our main loose footed for all of 2011 with no damage to the boltrope groove on the boom or to the clew slug.
2011-08-22Richard RobbinsThe following has been placed on the 2011 Proxy: Should the Technical Committee write and approve rule(s) to change the Shields Class Sailing Association Class Rules to allow a loose footed mainsail to coexist with the footed mainsail in such a way that the current mainsail may be used footed or loose-footed (leaving the foot bolt-rope out of the boom groove) and to allow new mainsails to be built and used with or without a foot bolt-rope?
2011-10-24Richard RobbinsThe consensus at the members meeting (9/21/2011) was to proceed to write rules to allow the loose footed mainsail.
2011-10-24Mark SwansonI am for it. Not speed difference, lower cost, easier changes. I would be in favor of the gate as well.
2013-10-31Andy BurtonI would encourage the tech committee to take their time on this. The rule isn't broken so I don't think we need to fix it. And I see this as a slippery slope leading to composite jibs because they will hold their shape longer, etc. That being said, should you decide to change the sails from their current configuration, I suggest that the timing be 3 years out and grandfather the current sails. In other words if the rule changes, have the rule not take effect for three years.