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Thread: Bolger sail lacing system

  1. #1
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    Default Bolger sail lacing system

    I am trying to track down something I remember about Bolger lacing sails on with figure of 8 loops rather than just a continuous spiral, I don't see it on any of his plans, or on boats of his that have been built. Anyon recall where one might have seen it or know of pictures? I remember the system, and think I may have an improvement. But I want to show a friend some pics first. Anyone know of any? The main advantage of the system was that it didn't shift, was reefable, and when you went to drop it huge slack instantly occurred.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Bolger sail lacing system

    I remember it from Payson book 'Build the new instant boats'

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Bolger sail lacing system

    Its in the payson book. I used it on my gaffer, and the slack in the lacing did help with dropping the sail.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Bolger sail lacing system

    Polysail have a modified version of it.

    polysail.com/index.php/sail-library/sail-database/non-binding-luft-tie-system/
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  5. #5
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    Default Re: Bolger sail lacing system

    Thanks guys. Very timely, we are off to analyze and make a decision about some sails that need a lot of work done to them. Gaff sails for a 46 foot catamaran.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Bolger sail lacing system

    Let me guess, Wharram cat, sails with sleeve around mast and gaff? I must make a quote for a Tiki21 mainsail and the owner wants a zipper. I dont like it, rather have some strings. Am not convinced of aerodynamic advatages of sleeve

  7. #7
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by FF View Post
    Let me guess, Wharram cat, sails with sleeve around mast and gaff? I must make a quote for a Tiki21 mainsail and the owner wants a zipper. I dont like it, rather have some strings. Am not convinced of aerodynamic advatages of sleeve
    Is the sleeve shaped by inserts, inflated by air pressure, or just stretched taut back from the mast?

    Sent from a phone.
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  8. #8
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    Default Re: Bolger sail lacing system

    I use this on Marmalade's 620 square foot gaff sail.

    There are three accepted ways to lace a sail to a spar. Two, the spiral and a series of half hitches, do not allow tension adjustment or sliding the sail and are thus not useful on the luff.

    The hitch you are looking for is tied thus:

    Start the luff line at the top of the luff - the peak if three sided sail, the throat if gaff. Tie or splice the luff line to the sail's top cringle. Take the lin down and around the mast and through the first cringle down. It does not matter how you start but for clarity let us say you go from starboard around the front of the mast to the port side. Through that first down cringle. Now setting out from the port side around the front and enter the second down cringle from the starboard. Third goes around the mastfrom starboard and enters the next cringle from the port. And so on.

    At first you might think this will cause the cringles on the luff to twist. It won't.

    It's like a weird diamond pattern. It allows the sail to be struck with the loops not binding either on the way down or when setting back up.

    First time up put some halyard tension on and then tweek the luff line till all's even. I have not found putting intermediate ties at the reef tacks. The system seems to straighten itself out.

    I'll look to see if I have a pic but I don't think I do.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Bolger sail lacing system

    A modification I made on what some call forth and back or back and forth lacing is to turn them into diagonal robands with toggles to make the sail readily removable. A number of lengths of light line, with an eye seized in one end and a wood toggle seized in the other. Each length is cow hitched to the cringle in the luff close to the eye in the roband. At the head and at the clew your line has an eye at the clew and a toggle at the head or reverse order. Doesn't seem to make a difference. When bending the sail on you go around the mast zig zagging your way up, buttoning if' you will the sail on to the mast. It doesn't slack up as much as zig zag lacing but enough to make raising and lowering easy. And it can be rigged fast when the icy wind is blowing on TIPPY the gaff rigged ice boat. I had some sailmakers light leech line which worked well.
    Ben Fuller
    Ran Tan, Liten Kuhling, Tipsy, Tippy, Josef W., Merry Mouth, Imp, Macavity, Look Far, Flash and a quiver of other 'yaks.
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  10. #10
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    Default Re: Bolger sail lacing system

    Here’s a nifty method of making certain that your sail can be easily hoisted and doused. I first came across this system in Dynamite Payson’s Build the New Instant Boats. However, I found the text and diagrams a little confusing to follow easily, so I redrew the diagram and modified the system slightly to use zip ties in place of the knotting approach Payson explains. I’ve tried the system before, and I agree with Payson when he says, “Phil Bolger’s luff tie system beats them [sail tracks and mast hoop systems] hollow for easy installation. It works perfectly for hoisting and dropping the sail, and it costs no more than the price of a few yards of line.”


    non-binding-luft-tie-system (LINK)

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  11. #11
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    Default Re: Bolger sail lacing system

    That system of Bolger's is nifty, assuming your grommets are large enough for two lines. I think the single line system adjusts more easily to shifting luff tension.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Bolger sail lacing system

    Yea it looks cool, but is it fixing something that is not broke?

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Bolger sail lacing system

    I was never sure of the merit of Bolger's system over a simple zig zag lace line. Possibly that the zig zag doesn't work for larger vessels? It does have constant diameters all the way up and down and zig zag may hang on large sails. You do have to hoist the sail first time to set it up. The diagonal roband and toggle system is used by the Dutch on their pretty large boats so you can adapt it to large sails.
    Ben Fuller
    Ran Tan, Liten Kuhling, Tipsy, Tippy, Josef W., Merry Mouth, Imp, Macavity, Look Far, Flash and a quiver of other 'yaks.
    "Bound fast is boatless man."

  14. #14

    Default Re: Bolger sail lacing system

    Perhaps I am going a bit astray here.

    As a relative novice, I have wondered if there good information about how important it is to keep the luff close to the mast.
    I sail a Clint Chase "Jewell". The mast is about 9cm in diameter. I have used Leather's lacing and the "Correct Zig-zag'. (see below diagram) I have liked the idea that when I hoist the throat halyard then tension the lacing, the tension is even throughout. I don't need to cut the zip ties to trailer the boat. (Sail travels lashed to the gaff and apart from the mast).

    When I reef, the luff lacing below the reefing cringle is slack. Is that OK? It seems that it is primarily the tension between and throat cringle and the tack cringle that keeps the luff close to the mast. With the sail reefed, the distance between the throat cringle and the boom is smaller, so it is relatively easy to keep the luff close to the mast without the lacing being tight.

    Glad for any advice.

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Bolger sail lacing system

    Quote Originally Posted by Frank K. View Post
    Perhaps I am going a bit astray here.

    As a relative novice, I have wondered if there good information about how important it is to keep the luff close to the mast.
    I sail a Clint Chase "Jewell". The mast is about 9cm in diameter. I have used Leather's lacing and the "Correct Zig-zag'. (see below diagram) I have liked the idea that when I hoist the throat halyard then tension the lacing, the tension is even throughout. I don't need to cut the zip ties to trailer the boat. (Sail travels lashed to the gaff and apart from the mast).

    When I reef, the luff lacing below the reefing cringle is slack. Is that OK? It seems that it is primarily the tension between and throat cringle and the tack cringle that keeps the luff close to the mast. With the sail reefed, the distance between the throat cringle and the boom is smaller, so it is relatively easy to keep the luff close to the mast without the lacing being tight.

    Glad for any advice.
    I used a double zig zag on Udforske Havene, like Bolgers but without the zip ties/seizing, just continue to the other side of the sail, it has worked nicely, goes up and down without a hitch and allows the sail to go slack for furling on the boom and lowering mast.

    you can just make it out in the vid.


  16. #16
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    Default Re: Bolger sail lacing system

    I used John Leather's lacing on our whammell. It worked a treat
    Nick

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Bolger sail lacing system

    Excellent illustration, Frank K. I used the "correct" zig-zag lacing for years on a 400 square foot mainsail luff and liked it very well. When the luff tension is eased, the cringles are free to relax each to its own side of the mast, alternately port & starboard. I believe this affords a little extra slack in the lacing line compared to the all zig-zag lacing, though I admit I'm having a little trouble visualizing the latter. I don't see any advantage to the "all zig-zag" over the plain spiral lacing, actually.

    The Leather's lacing would give even more slack per loop, I think. I've never used it on a sail, but I once used something similar on my bootlaces when the ones I bought were too short!

    My lacing ended at the tack with a slipknot, and when reefing I would just take up the extra slack and make it fast. At leisure, much like ambling along the boom tying up the reef points, once you're under way again.

    Best,
    Chris
    "Where we would wish to reform we must not reproach." -Thomas Paine

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Bolger sail lacing system

    For smaller sails I really prefer robands over lacing -- so much more flexible and easy to remove the sail without pulling the stick. YMMV
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  19. #19
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    Default Re: Bolger sail lacing system

    Quote Originally Posted by Frank K. View Post
    Perhaps I am going a bit astray here.

    As a relative novice, I have wondered if there good information about how important it is to keep the luff close to the mast.
    I sail a Clint Chase "Jewell". The mast is about 9cm in diameter. I have used Leather's lacing and the "Correct Zig-zag'. (see below diagram) I have liked the idea that when I hoist the throat halyard then tension the lacing, the tension is even throughout. I don't need to cut the zip ties to trailer the boat. (Sail travels lashed to the gaff and apart from the mast).

    When I reef, the luff lacing below the reefing cringle is slack. Is that OK? It seems that it is primarily the tension between and throat cringle and the tack cringle that keeps the luff close to the mast. With the sail reefed, the distance between the throat cringle and the boom is smaller, so it is relatively easy to keep the luff close to the mast without the lacing being tight.

    Glad for any advice.
    I've always used Leather's system, and it works fine. Bolger's looks like a waste of line.

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Bolger sail lacing system

    My friend has been agonizing over rumors about the difficulty of dousing sail with the luff tube, or even other systems. I like the Bolger because when you drop it will fall like it wasn't laced at all; and it can easily be configured so that it works without adjustment when reefed; or so that it can be easily removed from the spar and replaced as easily as any modern system and without the need for adjustment once set up. But I don't think the owner is particularly interested in any of that. Or focused on it.

    It is a Wharram with the luff tube sail design. The outstanding feature of that with at least mulithull sail shape is that all you do is sew the panels together edge to edge and install the tube, and the sails pops right into a beautiful shape. I don't know why that would be a result of the tube as it is free to weathercock, so I don't see that inserting shape. Whatever is going on the results look great, and you don't hear a lot of complaints from people who built them to plan, or used reliable lofts. There is a lot of discussion about pros and cons from people looking ahead on their projects or theorizing. But if some people have sailed the world with them and made them work, not sure what the second guessing is about.

  21. #21
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    Default Re: Bolger sail lacing system

    The sails that we examined today are a bit odd, though I think they were a good buy and will do for a lot of harbor sailing and such, until he sets off on his dream trips. If they prove good then they will certainly last. They are two gaffs about 350 sq ft in size, they are flat, not shaped except there is 8 inches in the 29.4' luff, and a little bit in the head. The cloth is somewhere in a bullet stopping 16 ounce range There is no visible way of mounting them on the spar as there are only 5 grommets along the luff, and the luff is shaped in such a way that it does not lend itself to a tube. The way I would go is to grommet up the luff and see where that takes one.

    The current grommets are at the corners, and the three reefing points. But nicely spaced grommets to a total of 11 could be spaced on around 35" centers. An alternative spacing would yield 16 grommets and 23.5 inch centers. The spacings that will look good are 6 grommets, 11, or 16. I'm thinking 11. Are there any rules for this. Also, what size grommets. The ones that are at the corners and the reefing points are huge, like 1" hole. For the rest, can one get away with something smaller.



    The circles on the luff represent the level of the current grommets, except that the next to top one is not installed. From there either 6, 11, or 16 in total.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by Tomcat; 02-19-2018 at 11:48 PM.

  22. #22
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    Default Re: Bolger sail lacing system

    Finally found a pic of the system I use. This is for a 620 square foot gaff mainsail with three reefs. It works great.


  23. #23
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    Default Re: Bolger sail lacing system

    Quote Originally Posted by Tomcat View Post
    Thanks guys. Very timely, we are off to analyze and make a decision about some sails that need a lot of work done to them. Gaff sails for a 46 foot catamaran.

    The marline hitches per Chapelle are ones you might want for the boom(s) and gaff(s). See them on the right, here: http://polysail.com/library_files/image040.jpg
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