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How To Lubricate A Sail Track To Stop Squeaking When Raising Sails


If you are tired of hearing a squeaking noise when you raise and lower your sails, you should consider lubricating the sail track. Here is how to stop sail track squeaking noise.

First, don't use any kind of lubricant that is oil based, or which leaves an oily residue. Don't lubricate sail tracks or slides with Armor All, WD-40, molybdenum disulfide grease, or other oily products that you many have onboard. The best kind of lube to use on sail tracks is a dry lubricant. There are a variety of formulations on the market. Some marine stores carry a product called Sailkote, which is made by McLube. It is probably hands - down one of the best dry lubes on the market for use aboard sailboats. It contains DuPont Krytox, which is their trade name for a family of lubricants based on fluorocarbon polymers of polyhexafhuoropropylene odixe, which is sometimes shortened as PFPE, PFAE or PFPAE.  You can also find Krytox in Loctite Krytox RFE Advanced PFTE Dry Lubricant, which is not yet that widely available. Either of these products work superbly well for long lasting sail track lubrication. I've used SailKote on my own boat and applying it once a year is enough to keep the sail sliding up and down easily with no noise or friction. Below is a video of Latitudes and Attitudes interview with the maker of SailKote.

Another good solution for a noisy sail track is any spray dry lubricant containing PTFE. This stands for polytetrafluoroethylene and it is most commonly known by the brand name Teflon. This is another high tech lubricant which reduces friction but does not attract dust in the way that oils and grease do. You can find several brands of dry PTFE lube on the market. One of the most common brands is Blaster Dry Lube, which is available at most hardware stores including Lowes and Home Depot for about four bucks a can. For most sailboats, this product, or ones like it, will work fine for sail track lubrication. Raise and lower your mainsail a couple of times, and spray the track and sail slides again to get rid of all squeaks. If your boat is several years old, and has a lot of dirt and dust inside the mast, you might have someone raise you up the mast using a bosun's chair and spray water into the sailtrack. Let it dry fully before applying dry lube.

Article by Karl Schultz, Austin, TX.




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