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Old 04-09-2010
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Battens?

I need to replace the mainsail on my 22' boat - believe me, it's way past it's prime . My question - is there any real value in going with 1 or more full battens vs. all partials? I could have up to a max of 4 full battens - is it worth it?
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Um, no. None of the cool kids use battens. They are dumb. If you really need that extra 3 square feet of sail, run your underpants up the halyard and enjoy the extra 1/3546787th of a knot.

Does you jib have battens? does your Spinnaker? No. Why? ...because those are your smart sails. Your mainsail is is a big baby and needs to grow up and lose the battens. Battens hang in the shrouds, eat your sails, and are the cause of the collapse of Western civilization.

Of course, your results may vary.


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e

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A full battened sail has some advantages over a un-battened sail. First, the sail will often be easier to flake and furl. It will flog less. It will often have better shape. It will often have more roach and more power as a result.

However, full-batten sails are also more expensive. They tend to need more maintenance, as the battens tend to chafe the batten pockets. They are heavier.

What boat do you have? Chances are likely that there is a specific mainsail design for your boat. If you vary from that, you may have issues with increased weather or lee helm, reduced ability to point, heeling more, etc.
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Old 04-09-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sailingdog View Post
A full battened sail has some advantages over a un-battened sail. First, the sail will often be easier to flake and furl. It will flog less. It will often have better shape. It will often have more roach and more power as a result.
Full batton sails are becomming very popular for racers, but often only the top batton is a full batton. In addition to the advantages SD pointed out, the pocket for the full batton won't have an end to wear (near the luff).

However, you need to do more than have any full batton, you need to have a good quality batton to get the advantage. Good battons these days tend to be light and tapered and are often made from hi tech materials. Racing battons can be carbon fiber, hollow, and very expensive. There are companies that make nothing but battons.

Is this for crusing or racing? If you're crusing around, and the price difference is great, you may not want to bother. Do you have a sailmaker you work with? If so, get his or her opinion.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sailingdog View Post
A full battened sail has some advantages over a un-battened sail. First, the sail will often be easier to flake and furl. It will flog less. It will often have better shape. It will often have more roach and more power as a result. ...
That varies depending on the boat. We have both a fully battened main sail and a battonless main and lazy jacks. The battonless sail flakes so well that often it only takes a few tugs at the mast to clean it up before putting on the sail cover.

The full batten main almost always falls off to one side reguiring a person at the mast to control it as it comes down, even then it sometimes falls off to one side if conditions are rough.

Neither sail flogs so can't really compare them. Sure they do flog but that is my poor trim or because of the angle to the wind when raising or lowering.

I would use the full batten in lighter winds as it holds it's shape without wind but I rarely sail if there is little or no wind so no advantage for me there.

As for power I think the full batten is better but my own sailing, trimming and sailing skills are far from taking advantage of that extra power so I have yet to notice.

I also reef early so lose the batten power advantage long before a racer would. Generally I do not think I reef later with the roachless main but I might sometimes as it is much easier to reef and secure.
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Old 04-10-2010
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If you are not racing, the extra sail area you can get with an extended roach with 1 or 2 full length battons is not important. For a 22 foot boat, I would just go with a sail with partial battons. It will be less expensive and you won't have the issue of the extra maintenance of the batton pockets with all full length ones.
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Old 04-14-2010
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Thanks for the replies..

Appreciate the input here. No, this isn't a racing boat and neither is her skipper a racing sailor. Also, I doubt if any substantial roach can be added due to close proximity of the backstay to the head of the sail. I think you guys helped me make a choice - the factory design was 3 partial battens - although that was from 25 years ago. I'm likely to go with the same, at this point.
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