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Old 11-21-2008
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That is a fairly standard cruising mainsail arrangement.

The "shelf-foot" refers to a sail foot that is connected to the boom along it's full length. This is as opposed to a "loose-foot", which is attached only at the tack and clew corners, with the foot hanging freely and independent of the boom.

The "full-battens" refers to battens that run from the leech edge all the way to the luff edge, where the inboard ends nest in pockets. This is as opposed to "partial" or "partial-length" battens, which only extend part way into the sail from the leech.

The advantage of full-length battens is that the sail tends to flog and wear less than a sail with partial battens. The down-side is that it is less "tuneable", i.e. it is less responsive to tweeking and shape adjustments.

Many sailors go for a compromise between the two approaches, choosing a combination full/partial batten arrangement, where the top two or three battens are full length and the lower one or two are partial length. this allows the lower, larger portion of the sail to be more responsive to tuning, while better controlling the upper portions that are subject to the greatest amounts of wind.

As for loose- or shelf-foot, there are again pros and cons. Many cruisers feel more secure with the foot of the sail captive in the boom, while performance-oriented sailors like the shape and extra sail area of the loose-foot.

Our old mainsail was full-batten, shelf-foot. It was a nice sail, but had exceeded it's service life. We went with a 3 full-, 1 partial-batten, loose foot replacement. It is a much more tune-able sail and I would definitely not go back to a shelf-foot.

Edit: Sorry to be redundant -- Camaraderie hadn't posted when I began typing.
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Pacific Seacraft Crealock 31 #62

NEVER CALLS CRUISINGDAD BACK....CAN"T TAKE THE ACCENT
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