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December 8, 2015 “We have recently purchased a Maxi 34. We are not very experienced sailors and are finding it very difficult to lift the mainsail. It repeatedly gets stiff when pulled up the mast. Is it the actual runners or can we make our lives easier with an adjustment to other aspects, such as the kicking strap or topping lift? Any suggestions will be appreciated.”

David Flynn

December 7, 2015 Quantum Expert Answer

Be sure the strap and the mainsheet are loose because they will work against you. The topping lift will be holding the weight of the boom so that's to your advantage. Once the sail is all the way up, be sure to loosen the topping lift so it no longer has any load on it. The fully hoisted main will support the weight of the boom.  

By the "runners" we assume you mean the sail slides on the luff of the mainsail. If they do not slide easily, they might be a tight fit or they may just need a squirt of MacLube. You might consider cleaning out the slot in your mast with a hose and water pressure, then use MacLube all the way up and down. 

If you have a main with full-length battens your problem is likely due to pressure against the mast at the inboard end of each full-length batten. Difficulty raising and lowering the main is the classic problem created by full-length battens. The problem is addressed by installing a pressure-relieving slide and slide attachment system at the inboard end of each full-length batten. If this doesn't do the trick, you could consider a track retrofit system, which is a new track is installed in the existing track. It will come with special slides that must be put on your main instead of what's there.  A new track and slide system will reduce both friction and pressure against the mast.

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