An Innovative Track System
Dutchman is pleased to offer an innovative, new track system. Our track is machined UHMW (Ultra High Molecular Weight Polyethylene), and comes with cars which ride on MDS Nylon (Molybdenum DiSulfide filled nylon) inserts. By combining two of the lowest friction materials available, our track system slides more freely than any other comparable system.
Performance approaches or surpasses even ball bearing track systems, with none of the complexity, expense, weight, or potential for failure. Both full batten and short batten sails can benefit from the track systems ability to eliminate slide friction.
Battens twist around as a sail is raised and lowered, so the batten tensioners, along with all the intermediates, are connected with a patented ball and socket universal joint, allowing unrestricted three axis movement. This prevents the slides from twisting and jamming in the mast track, and also prevents the battens from developing permanent twists when the sail is down and flaked. Short batten sails use the intermediate type connections for all the attachment points. This lowers the price of the system. The ball and socket is held together with high tensile webbing. We offer aerodynamic, attractive batten tensioners for luff or leech loading of round or flat battens.
Full Universal Joint
Cars are connected to the sail with our patented ball and socket universal joint. This prevents the Car from jamming in the mast track, and also prevents the battens from developing twists when the sail is down. Our Universal joint requires no additional mast offset. This helps keep the cost down by allowing existing connections to be used.
All systems are priced complete with the track, cars, batten tensioners (if needed), intermediate cars, and a headboard car. The upper section typically is shipped coiled in one continuous length up to 45 feet. Additional sections are provided as needed if the luff length is more than 45 feet.
A Proven Track Record
At Dutchman, we have been producing full batten hardware since 1991. Our original fittings combined ball bearing wheels that rolled against the back of the mast with a full universal joint. These fittings are highly effective in winds under about 18 knots, when the battens push forward against the mast. According to the Practical Sailor; (November 15, 1996) “It does the job of managing full battens neatly and it’s adjustments and ultimate low cost are very endearing qualities. The BF 350 and BF 550 car and tensioners are shown below.
Eliminates Virtually All Luff Hardware Friction
However, in higher winds, the battens tend to pull back, not push forward, so the ball bearing wheels are less effective. This is also true when the sail is more than 20 off head to wind. Finally, although full battens can create a large amount of friction, especially when webbed to conventional slides, the headboard and intermediate cars also add friction, particularly with masts that are older, painted, or use round slug type slides.
Why is it better than other UHMW tracks?
Stronger, Smaller and Lighter
By using an external track design, the track stays cleaner, and the short load path makes our track stronger, smaller and lighter.
Easier to Install
This also makes it more flexible and easier to install. We include a shackle to the top of the track so you can use the main halyard, connected to a down haul line, to hoist the track up. The shackle serves as a line guide once the track is up. Less Friction Instead of metal on plastic, our cars have MDS Nylon strips where the car contacts the track. By combining two ultra low friction materials, friction is practically eliminated.
How does it compare to aluminum tracks?
A typical Dutchman track for a 50 foot luff weighs about 10 lbs for the track, and about 5 lbs for the luff hardware, about 1/2 of what most aluminum systems weight.
Simple, Rugged and Durable
Aluminum tracks use lots of screws and other small parts, which can loosen due to rig shaking. This can keep the sail from droping. Our UHMW track has no fastners at all in the top 45 feet. Likewise, our webbing universal joint is tremendously strong, with a breaking strength of up to 2,000 lbs per car. We’ve tested the system offshore on our J44 Monhegan, and have designed it to be a bulletproof piece of gear with a 5 year guarantee. UHMW is very UV resistant. After 10 years, it will still have about 80% of it’s strength left. It will probably need replacing after about 20 years, which is longer than most aluminum tracks will last (the anodizing wears off in time).
Easier Sail Handling
The Dutchman Track has as little friction as a clean ball bearing track system, and is considerably better than a non ball bearing track system. Raising the sail is easy due to the light weight and low friction, and in most conditions, you can completely lower the sail from the cockpit. Add our Sail Flaking System and/or Boom Brake for a truly effortless main, and get an extra discount on both systems.
Much Less Expensive
The Dutchman track is about half the price of most aluminum track systems, once you add in all the extra parts needed to complete their system. Installation of our system in the mast takes under half an hour, with no need to go aloft.
Our track system eliminates virtually all the luff hardware friction, making it ideal for sailors who:
• Often sail in winds over 18 knots.
• Want to be able to reef or drop the sail when not into the wind.
• Want to be able to raise and lower the sail from the cockpit.
• Have older masts / painted mast / masts that use slug slides.
• Want the sail to drop all the way to boom when lowered.
• Want minimal friction and minimal added weight aloft.
• Want an esthetically clean, attractive system at an attractive price.
Specifications / Pricing
Your track will be custom machined to fit your mast. All luff hardware is included in the price. If you would like see the system, order our sample kit. Specify round or flat battens. $20 is refunded upon return. Our measuring kit includes a caliper and other parts you need to measure your mast track. $30 is refunded upon return. If you don’t have a 50′ tape measure, we can send you one to measure the track length. $25 is refunded upon return.