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Are those things supposed to be like that? That is typically not the question that one wants to be asking while raising the sails on a windy day. It is exactly what we were asking though when we noticed that some of the sail slides were out of the mast track (the slides hold the sail to the mast) as the main was going up.

The winds were up that day and as such, we decided to put a reef in the main as we were raising the sail. Apparently we had cranked down on the reefing line enough to push (pull?) the slide stop right out of the track! One look from the cockpit and I could tell what had happened. I rushed forward and found the slide stop sitting comfortably in the mast step. Good thing because we don’t have a spare. With some struggling in the rough water we got everything fixed and the sails raised, only to notice 10 minutes later that the same thing had happened again. Now where is the slide stop? Sitting half way down the cabin top, on it’s way to take a swim! Once again it was retrieved only now, because we were underway, I couldn’t fix the situation without dropping the sails.

Some time later after a brisk sail we dropped anchor and were able to give the situation a good look. The slide stop seems to be bent a bit which might account for it coming out. We likely bent it by tightening that reefing line too much. I did notice though that there is a hole that runs through the track below the slide stop. I’m not sure if it’s supposed to be there or not but I ran a bolt through it just in case. This will prevent the slide stop from making any more unplanned exits from the track!

Our escape-artist slide stop and the bolt I placed in the track to hold it.


  1. Can you fit a clevis pin through that hole? I’d be a little worried that the nut will be stuck when you need to remove the sail for one reason or another. Things on boats seem to fail at the most inconvenient times…

  2. If it helps, there should be a square base plate with a clevis pin that goes through the hole where you put the bolt. You can see how it all normally goes together here:

    See page 5, diagram E. The Tides track system you have is an excellent one (we have the same).

  3. You don’t want to permanently close off that area, because that’s how you get the sail off! Even though you won’t be taking it off for winter, you WILL want to be able to remove it in case of hurricane, sail damage, etc. The clevis pin is a good idea for wayward sail stops. I also bought a spare sail stop. They don’t cost much. Good thing, considering their propensity for taking leave and diving in! 🙂

  4. Reefing Madness — hilarious! You guys are too strong for the boat! 😉
    Sounds like you handled it well. Now when are you starting on your journey south?

    • At the moment our truck is at the dealership and they are trying to sell it for us. We also need to get rid of our iphones as we have contracts with a provider here that won’t be of any use to use when we head south. Hopefully these things are dealt with in the next couple of weeks and we can take off!

  5. To keep the sail stop in place, you might consider a bit of red loc-tite on the thread. While that might then require a set of channel lock pliers to remove (is that plyers in Canada?), I might be a bit worried about bending the clevis pin when reefing too hard. OY! That could be a PITA to remove.

    Alternatively, you might consider marking your halyard and reefing lines so you do not put so much downward pressure on the sail stop, only on the luff between the reefing point of the tack and the head.

    Fair Winds,

    • You’re right Mike, if that pin was bent it sure would be a PITA to deal with! Having that square plate shown on the link that Scott provided would certainly reduce any chances of bending it I think. As for altering the reefing lines, that might take some considerable thought. I’m not even sure how it currently functions.

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