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  #1  
Old 09-13-2008
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Harken Battcars System

Has anyone had any experience with the Harken Battcars system, specifically,

1) Is it really easier to get a fully batten main up a 55' stick? I am not getting any younger and it is becoming increasingly more difficult to get the main up the last 1/3 of the way?

2) Is it easier to reef and are there additional reefing points?

3) In a reefing situation, how does one tie the sail to the boom to keep it under control in a blow?

Thanks for any help anyone can provide.

Regards,
bmoverbay
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Old 09-13-2008
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Yes, Harken Battcars can make raising, lowering, and reefing the sails much easier. They're much lower friction than regular slugs.

Harken Battcars have no effect on how many reefing points your sail has... if you need more, talk to your sailmaker. Generally, any more than three is both unusual and a royal PITA, and adds a lot of unnecessary weight aloft. If you need to have three reefs, make sure they're spaced out properly to handle the conditions you expect to sail in.

If you have a two-line reefing system with lazy jacks, you really don't need to tie the sail to the boom through the reefing points, unless you're going to be sailing with the reef in for an extended period of time. BTW, I generally don't recommend tying the reefing points around the boom, but just around the sail on a loose-footed sail, since it makes it less likely that you'll tear the sail apart if you forget to remove the reefing point lines.
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Donlt know whqat you have now but if its slugs, the difference you will find to be remarkable. There are three types of Battcars from which to choose depending upon loads commony expressed as boat size - go as large as you can given that boat size is a poor surrogate to determine load. also, when selecting which type cars, pay attention to the stack height or you will be doing lots of climbing to reach the headboard unless you also go with a split track system.
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Old 09-13-2008
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does anyone have any opinions on which is better: Harken Battcar or Strong Track? and if one is better, why?

thanks
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don't know about the other brands but can tell you from experience that Harken's customer service can't be beat
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Old 09-14-2008
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I am going to use them myself. I am using North to supply the 3DL sails and it was recommended that I upgrade to the Harken Batt Car system. It is actually a DIY install if you work with the sail maker or in case of pre-existing sails that you get the right load cars for it ... It works with full battens which my 3DLs will be...

Hopefully that helps with your decision making process... I won't be installing it until OCT due to budget issues but I will gladly post about the experience ...
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I have the Strong Track and am very pleased with it. The big advantage I see is it has no bearings or other moving parts. Not sure, but I believe it's cheaper as well.
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The StrongTrack system is pretty well regarded and as PBZ has pointed out has no moving parts to fail and is a good deal less expensive than a full BattCar system. IIRC, it also results in less weight aloft, since the track is made of UHMWPE, rather than the aluminum used by Harken.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bmoverbay View Post
Has anyone had any experience with the Harken Battcars system, specifically,

1) Is it really easier to get a fully batten main up a 55' stick? I am not getting any younger and it is becoming increasingly more difficult to get the main up the last 1/3 of the way?

2) Is it easier to reef and are there additional reefing points?

3) In a reefing situation, how does one tie the sail to the boom to keep it under control in a blow?

Thanks for any help anyone can provide.

Regards,
bmoverbay
We have battcars on our Moody 47 full batten main w/ a 60 ft hoist. In answer to your questions

1] Yes it is easier to raise the main
2] Yes it is easier to reef and lower the main on almost any point of sail. We have reefed sailing over 130 degrees off the wind. We did not add or subtract reef points cause of the battcars
3] We never tie the sail to the boom. We do have a loose footed main that we tie around itself. If you tie the sail to the boom it can rip if the ties are too tight or the heights are wrong. Even if you have a sail that is attached to the boom there should be slots in the foot for the reef ties to pass.
4] Battcars to require some maintenance - you need to wash out the cars every so often and lube the track. We use spray McLube [Harken likes it]. It keeps everything rolling smoothly.

FWIW and IMHO comparing to Strong track. I think depending on your requirements both could work. Battcars [or other ball bearing track cars] are a more sophisticated solution that does provide less friction so therefore some sail handling benefits over the Strong. However the Strong track is significantly less expensive and is significantly better than slides etc. I'm not sure what the upper limit is for a strong track system but you might be getting close. Also if you have a full batten main then the loading might make the Harken solution worth it.

I would do battcars again my only caution is the system is sized on square footage of your main. If you are close to an upper limit go up one size.
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We don't have major problems with rasing or lowering the main on our C36, but since I'm looking into new sails I've considered including one of the mainsail handling systems.

The disadvantage I've read about with the Harken system is that they stack pretty high leaving increased windage vs. traditional slugs. Probably not an issue for a lot of folks but maybe a consideration for those that might find themselves in truly serious weather.

I'm not sure what the downside of the Tides system might be.

The option I'd like to find out more about is the Ronstan batt slides. The are basically slugs with ball bearing tracks. They are used with the exisiting sail track so the ball bearings are only on one side but it looks like they should keep things from binding and wouldn't add very much weight aloft at all.
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