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SAILTRACK INTERNAL FLAT
*Actual Track Length is the length the Track will be cut to! *
The left column is all information except slide choices.
The right column is for Slide Ship to Address (if different than
Track Address) and slide choices.
If you are ordering the Track for a future date
enter the date in the box after the slide choices.
Complete the order by adding the Actual Track Length rounded up to the next whole foot (IF INCHES ARE INCLUDED in the measurement) and clicking the Add to Cart button.
Comments may be added to the order on the Checkout Page. Price per foot will change on Slide Type Selection.
If Track Only, price per foot will remain the same.
Price $14.33 – $34.61
Internal Flat SailTrack – Letters A thru R – Lip Thickness 1 thru 8
Available Track Profiles:
The Tides Marine Track and Slide System is a high-performance, low-friction mainsail handling system built to carry the increased loads and demands of today’s full-batten mainsails. When installed, the mainsail will hoist easily and drop the instant the halyard is released.
The system consists of a one-piece UHMW track up to 64 feet in length and an “owner-defined” selection of matching slides and batten receptacles designed for smooth, long-lasting operation.
The system is competitively priced and is sold by the foot (Your Tides Track System comes with a MAXIMUM of one slide for every two feet of track. If more slides are required, they may be purchased for an additional cost).
The system offers minimal stack height, less weight aloft, and low-friction performance rivaling systems which cost more than twice as much. The track can be installed without going aloft and, in most cases, no holes need to be drilled in the mast.
The UHMW track is machined to fit more than 150 different mast luff groove shapes (internal flat / internal round) as well as most common external track shapes. The track is UV stable, unaffected by salt water and available in seamless lengths to 64 feet.
The Track comes in 4 different types. Internal Flat, Internal Round, External and CMPE. CMPE is an external type that uses mounting clips that are either riveted or screwed to the mast. The mounting clips are included in the price of the Track.
The 316 stainless slides are hand-polished to a smooth, low-friction finish. They are available in several sizes (see Sail Hardware Selection page for details).
The Tides batten receptacles are offered in two sizes which accept both flat and round battens. They are connected to the 316-stainless slides via a 10mm stud and rotate freely when raising or lowering the main. The Tides system will also work with any competitive batten receptacles using the same 10mm stud configuration.
SailTrack Installed on Mast
Mast Gate Cover on SailTrack
Before placing your order, you will have to determine the size and shape of your mast’s luff groove. If you have an external track on your boat now, Tides will need the width of this external track.
To help measure the luff groove on your mast, Tides will provide you with a set of 5 blue measurement discs (pictured below).
Numbered Discs shown above, from 1 through 8 are used to measure the luff groove’s lip thickness on Internal – Flat luff grooves. Information about flat internal luff grooves can be found on the Internal Flat SailTrack page.
Lettered Discs shown on the left, are used to measure the luff groove width on both Internal – Flat and Internal – Round spars.
Order SailTrack Measuring Discs HERE.
Using the lettered disks, determine the width of the luff groove. Simply insert the lettered studs into the luff groove anywhere along the mast.
Select the stud which fits in the luff groove with the least amount of play side-to-side without jamming or sticking.
Once you have found the stud size that fits snugly, move the stud up the mast (within the luff groove) as far as you can reach to ensure that the luff groove width is uniform.
Next, use the numbered disks (1 through 8) to determine the lip thickness of the luff groove. Select the stud which allows the least amount of play fore-and-aft.
You can slide these numbered studs through the mast gate. Or, you can turn each stud 90°, insert it into the luff groove above or below the mast gate and turn the stud until you find the one that fits snugly.
Below is a table of minimum Internal Flat Luff Groove widths you must have based on the Disc Letter Chosen
|Disc Letter||Minimum Width|
Mast Gate – Size and Location
Measure the length of your existing mast gate (D in the diagram to the right).
In order to install the Tides Track, the mast gate must be at least 3″ long and open on both sides of the centerline of the luff groove.
The distance from the top of the mast gate to the gooseneck should be at least 10” long (E in the diagram to the right). If the distance is less you might not be able to feed the Tides Track past the gooseneck and into the luff groove.
If your current mast gate configuration does not meet the above parameters, you will have to modify your existing mast gate accordingly.
In the above example, the existing mast gate is 2″ long (too short) and the distance from the top of the mast gate to the gooseneck is 6″ (also too short).
Simply enlarge the mast gate using a Dremel tool or grinder, moving up the mast until the top of the mast gate is 10″ above the gooseneck.
Your mast gate is now 4″ long.
The distance from the top of the mast gate to the gooseneck is now 10″ long.
Next, measure the overall length of the Tides Track you want to install on your vessel. The track should start approximately 2″ below the halyard sheave and stop 1″ – 2″ above the gooseneck. Your measurement will be more accurate if you first identify the distance from the top of your halyard thimble to the shackle pin – the halyard hardware (see photo below). Then, connect the end of a tape measure to the pin in your halyard shackle along with a retrieval line.
Hoist the halyard as far as it will go and measure to the point on the mast where you want the Tides Track to end. Adjust this measurement to account for the length of your halyard hardware.
In this example, the halyard hardware is 3″ long. If you add 1″ to the overall measurement on your tape, the track should stop 2″ below the masthead sheave.
Tides prefers to maximize the width of the track shape that enters the luff groove, whether the luff groove has an internal flat shape or internal round shape. If Tides can maximize the amount of UHMW material that goes into the luff groove, the track will perform better when the slides/sail begin to load the track assembly during vessel operation.
Measure the internal width of your luff groove at the mast gate using a tape measure / caliper / etc. In most cases, you can get a fairly accurate measurement of this space by simply measuring the width of the mast gate. It also corresponds roughly to your current slide width. One of these measurements should be satisfactory. See photos and table below.
Below is a table of minimum Internal Flat Luff Groove widths you must have based on the Disc Letter Chosen
|Disc Letter||Minimum Width|
This creates a section on the Tides Track we call the "flap". This flap contains either one-hole or two-hole backing plates. The final step of each installation calls for the installer to snug these backing plates into place, which locks the flap (or base of the track) in position on the mast.
Making this flap an integral part of the whole Tides Track allows you to stack your sail slides below your current mast gate and above the gooseneck. This minimizes sail slide stack height of the Tides System.
Step 4: Using a carpenter’s square or other straight edges as a guide, cut the top of the track at this mark preferably at a 45-degree angle like the original. You may use a miter box to help with this.
Step 5: In the hardware kit you will find a stainless steel cap approximately 3" long. There are two holes in this cap, one on either side. Press the cap over the top of the track and use it as a guide to drill a hole for the quick pin. Use a 1/4" drill bit and drill a hole athwartships.
You may find it easier to drill halfway through the track from one side and then finish the process from the other.
Step 6: File / trim the leading edges of the top of the track until they are smooth and clean.
Step 7: Install the quick pin in the hole at the top of the track.
Step 8: Insert the top of the track into the mast gate and push the Tides Track into position. You can now follow the installation instructions that came with your order.
If the Tides Track is too short, Tides Marine can provide a small section of track to correct the situation.
Tides will need to know the length of the extension track required (no more than 18” is advisable). To determine length required:
1) Push the Tides Track up the mast until the top of the track is 2" from the halyard sheave.
2) Tape or clamp the Tides Track to the mast.
3) Measure from the bottom of the Tides Track to where you want the extension track to stop. Add three inches for the removal of the mast gate at the bottom of your existing Tides Track. Is the gate in your mast visible?
4) Call Tides with this information.
Step 1: Tides will cut the required section of track, trim the back of the track to fit your mast and attach two stainless steel connectors to the top of the new track piece.
Note: These connectors make it possible for you to simply butt the new piece of track to the existing (or primary) piece of track on the mast.
Step 2: Cut the existing mast gate from your track squarely, then chamfer the mating ends of the track pieces. Slide the extension track into the luff groove and butt it up against the existing Tides Track. Snug the backing plates.
Step 3: Position the connectors over the existing piece of track. Using the connectors as a guide drill two (2) holes in the base of the existing track using a # 29 drill bit (.136"). The holes in the connectors are 9/64". You may find it easier to drill halfway through the track from one side and then finish the process from the other.
Note: To ensure a tight joint, DO NOT drill oversized holes In the existing Tides Track. Make sure you have the correct drill bit before proceeding.
Step 4: Insert a bolt (provided) in each of the two holes. Snug a nut over each of the bolts.
Step 5: Position the joined track pieces where you want them on the mast. Tighten all backing plates and connector nuts.
Step 6: Insert your slides through the new mast gate in the base of the extension track.
Step 7: Position the stainless cap over the end of the Tides Track and insert the quick pin.
Note: The slides should move smoothly through the stainless connectors and over the joint in the two-track pieces. If they don’t, contact Tides Marine for further assistance.
Each Tides Track System comes with a sample piece of track approximately 3" – 4" in length. This sample piece is exactly the same shape as the full-length piece of track in your order.
Tides "pins" each end of this sample track and puts a small intermediate slide between the pins. In the slide, you will find a large stainless ring.
Before you install the actual Tides Track in your mast, slide this sample piece of track into your mast gate and up the luff groove. Attach your halyard to the stainless steel ring. Also, attach a small retrieval line to this ring.
Using the halyard, raise this sample track to the masthead to make sure the actual Tides Track can be installed over the entire length of the mast.
Using the retrieval line, pull the sample piece of track back to the mast gate.
If the sample piece of track does not move all the way to the masthead, neither will your Tides Track.
Position the sample piece of track as well as you can against the top / bottom of the mast gate.
1. If the track section "neck" is too wide to fit in the luff groove, or,
2. If the track section "gap" is too tight on the edges of the luff groove, or,
3. If the track section "base" is too wide to fit within the luff groove.
Once you’ve determined which dimension is causing the problem, use the blue measurement disks (provided with your order) to re-measure your luff groove shape. Contact Tides to determine if you can trim your track to fit in your luff groove. If a replacement order is necessary, you will be responsible for a 15% re-stocking charge.
The Tides Track is available in seamless lengths up to 65'.
Most track systems have track lengths running between 38' and 45' in length.
The average sail area supported by Tides Track systems is between 450 and 700 square feet.
The maximum sail area using the Tides Track system is found on a Camper-Nicholson "day boat" in the Seattle area. The total area of the main is almost 1,000 square feet. This boat sails within a defined area from its mooring and rarely sails in winds in excess of 25 – 30 knots. It is never out overnight.
Today’s full–battened mains often have more roach than the average sailing vessel of 15 years ago. This type of sail shape puts far more load on the Tides Track and rigging.
If you have any questions regarding your particular application, please contact Tides Marine.
The average sail area supported by Tides Track systems is between 350 and 600 square feet. Multi-hulls sail much stiffer than monohulls. This, coupled with the large roach area on the sails of today’s multi-hulls, places far greater load on the Tides Track system.
Many multi-hulls require the use of an alternate headboard car
(see Alternate Headboard Cars.) The loads created by large roach areas and full battens can cause conventional Tides Marine headboard slides to pull out of the Tides Track while underway.
Storm Tri-Sail Track
Tides recommends that its track system not be used to support storm tri-sails. When these sails are deployed, weather conditions are abysmal.