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post #1 of 8 Old 06-27-2013 Thread Starter
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Replacement batten selection...

I am in need of new battens for my mainsail and, although I have done much research, am curious what would be the correct size in width I would need. I understand that their ability to flex with the wind and provide shape is crucial and I do not want to end up with battens that are too stiff.

My battens are each (3 of them) roughly two feet in length, I think the middle one is 2-3" longer, and each are in sail pockets about an inch and a quarter wide. I'd assume you do not size them per their pockets but based on sail and boat size??? I am thinking a 5/8th width batten would be correct but am unsure.

I've been looking at Sailrite for replacements and there are a number of options in different materials and different widths. Some seem to be a fixed length and others are "cut to length". The ones that are fixed note different stiffness at either the leech or luff end of the batten. Is this something that needs to be factored in if one is to purchase a batten that is the cut to length style or do ALL battens come with a more flexible luff end???

Boat is a 1985 Gloucester 20 trailerable sloop. Thanks for the help.

1985 Gloucester 20

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post #2 of 8 Old 06-27-2013
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Re: Replacement batten selection...

I know nothing about battens, but please enlighten me. Are there different materials and different flexibilities. How wide or how thick as well as how long as a percentage of sail width. I am in need of information numbers or opinions. Thank You.
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post #3 of 8 Old 06-27-2013
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Re: Replacement batten selection...

I actually wish I had sized the replacement batten I bought last year properly to the actual length of the batten pocket and put an end cap on it. I wouldn't have a hole in my batten pocket right now! My batten was a few inches shorter than the pocket and wore through the un-reinforced material at that point.

There are fiberglass, ABS and carbon fiber battens available from a number of sources. Most of the cut-to-length ones have a constant thickness (stiffness), but you can vary that stiffness by sanding the end(s) after you cut to length. Fiberglass battens need the end caps for sure!

Here's a nice discussion of battens that I found on the Ullman Sails site (I have no connection to them). It does get into the advantages of carrying battens of different stiffness depending on wind conditions. Since I am not inclined to sail my boat around buoys when it goes perfectly fine in one direction with far less work, I think those advantages are eclipsed by hassle associated with changing battens!

Ullman Sails

Good luck and don't let a missing batten stop you from going sailing!

Bill Sullivan
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Allied Seawind 30
Bristol 24
Old Saybrook, CT

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post #4 of 8 Old 06-28-2013 Thread Starter
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Re: Replacement batten selection...

Thanks for the info Bill! I have been eyeing these ones at Sailrite:

Recmar Plastream Sail Battens

No ends caps, so they say, and they are a non fibrous material that won't splinter.

1985 Gloucester 20

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post #5 of 8 Old 07-01-2013
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Re: Replacement batten selection...

I just bought battens for my Compac 19. My batten pockets are about the same dimensions you describe. The correct size for me were 5/8" wide (that was what was supplied with the boat). I bought my battens from Defender as one 7' length. Then I cut the individual battens to the sizes I needed. I was getting splinters from handling the battens so I just wrapped some clear packaging tape around them to solve that problem.
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post #6 of 8 Old 07-08-2013 Thread Starter
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Re: Replacement batten selection...

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Originally Posted by marcberoz View Post
I just bought battens for my Compac 19. My batten pockets are about the same dimensions you describe. The correct size for me were 5/8" wide (that was what was supplied with the boat). I bought my battens from Defender as one 7' length. Then I cut the individual battens to the sizes I needed. I was getting splinters from handling the battens so I just wrapped some clear packaging tape around them to solve that problem.
Marc
5/8ths it is! Thanks for the info Marc.

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post #7 of 8 Old 07-12-2013
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Re: Replacement batten selection...

I carry a moderate/heavy air batten for the top and a light air batten for my race main. Having a heavy and light air set really helps in shaping the main in different conditions. I also have the ability to adjust the tension on each batten with a set screw. But as stated above, probably not worth it for a fun daysail.

You want tappered battens that are stiff on the leech.

Merit 25 # 764 "Audrey"
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post #8 of 8 Old 07-13-2013
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Re: Replacement batten selection...

Basically battens stiffen the roach of a sail which lies outside the tensioned portion of the sail. The best kind are full length because they eliminate the common failure of battens where they end mid-sail. A Sailmaker's Apprentice has a great section on "dumping the hump," to eliminate battens altogether. I have done this on one sail which I can now hoist without battens. On another sail, with huge roach, I have tried a number of different materials and stiffnesses. None make any appreciable difference and all support the "hump." The ones I like best are the ash wooden battens I made myself. They have nice tapered, rounded corners and are MUCH less slippery and prone to slipping out. I also modified all my batten pockets so they don't lose battens. Most common pockets are completely inadequate and tend to spit battens out and cause sail damage very easily.

Alberg 35: With a philosophical flourish Cato throws himself upon his sword; I quietly take to the ship.
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