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Old 12-19-2012
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Sewing in new battens: Asking for some advice!

I have a Bayfield 29' and the mainsail has seen some hard times. As of now it is missing it's 2nd and 3rd battens, and the batten pockets have ripped and been torn to shreds. I'm still fairly new to sailing and just need some advice, first off, if I were to sew in new pockets, would I be able to get the sail material at any chandlery, or would I have to order it from somewhere?
Would generic material be okay? It is a dacron sail.
Also, what material could I use for battens? Would I have to buy this on special order as well, or could I buy a sheet of wood or plastic and make my own?
Finally, the sewing will be by hand, do I need a special sail sewing kit?


Thanks a lot guys!
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Old 12-19-2012
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Re: Sewing in new battens: Asking for some advice!

It needs to be dacron, and the battens typically fiberglass. Sailrite.com | Home is a good supplier of both, or Discount Marine and Boat Supplies - Inflatable Sales - Defender. You can also probably buy what you need right here at sailnet.

That's the fact part, now the opinion. If your sail is that badly beaten putting in new batten pockets won't help because you really need to get it right- battens come in all shapes, strengths etc - and just guess won't get it right. You'll wind up with a baggy sail and poor shape. Battens have a lot of force on them, the idea of one shooting out the sail when you tack should be on your mind.

You are better off cleaning up the torn parts and going batten free. Or buying a new or newer sail in better condition (try searching for used sails online - several places sell them, for example Bacon Sails & Marine Supplies - Discount Sailing & Boating Supplies
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Old 12-19-2012
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Re: Sewing in new battens: Asking for some advice!

Quote:
Originally Posted by chucklesR View Post
It needs to be dacron, and the battens typically fiberglass. Sailrite.com | Home is a good supplier of both, or Discount Marine and Boat Supplies - Inflatable Sales - Defender. You can also probably buy what you need right here at sailnet.

That's the fact part, now the opinion. If your sail is that badly beaten putting in new batten pockets won't help because you really need to get it right- battens come in all shapes, strengths etc - and just guess won't get it right. You'll wind up with a baggy sail and poor shape. Battens have a lot of force on them, the idea of one shooting out the sail when you tack should be on your mind.

You are better off cleaning up the torn parts and going batten free. Or buying a new or newer sail in better condition (try searching for used sails online - several places sell them, for example Bacon Sails & Marine Supplies - Discount Sailing & Boating Supplies
Chuck gave good factual advice. You almost have to look at the batten pocket as an attachment, make it and then sew the pocket onto the sail. You will need to make allowances for the area when it reaches the mast. Best thing is to get a sail slide with a pocket the batten fits into. Sailrite has sopme excellent advice and will be able to give you the ideas to fabricate this yourself.

In terms of the sail you are doing, I agree with his advice also. If its a tired main, the battens will not help it. If it only used half its life though it may be worthwhile. I went from a partial batten main to four full battens with the new one I bought from Quantum 3 years ago. The sail shape difference is dramatic. Battens will increase the life of your sails and help older sails maintain the same sail shape as when the sail was newer. For the average sailor cruiser I would suggest at least a sail with 2 full and 2 partial battens or at least a number of partial battens.

As Chuck pointed out there are large loads on the ends of the battens so they need to be addressed when you construct the ends. The the batten at at the main we just talked about. Any well designed batten pocket will have a material cover over the end of it which will prevent the batten from ever shooting out. I have never had this problem with the battens we have because of this.

In terms of material, fiberglass is usually used with encaps to prevent sharp edges on them from ripping the sail material. You will need a leather palm protector when you sew, special needles, sp92 thread ( protects agains UV degradation.
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Old 12-21-2012
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Re: Sewing in new battens: Asking for some advice!

Thanks for the advice guys. I'll take another look at the existing battens and pockets and see if it is worth the effort. As of now, all the sail has is two half battens, one near the top and one near the bottom, the two middle ones are missing. I never considered just cleaning it up, but I will now. I also checked out that site Defender Discount Marine products and it had all the stuff I needed just in case I do try my hand at sewing, so thanks for the tip there!
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Old 12-21-2012
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Re: Sewing in new battens: Asking for some advice!

Sailrite.com has it to along with sewing manuals, thread, sail repair kits battens.....Its what they do.
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Old 12-21-2012
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Re: Sewing in new battens: Asking for some advice!

If you want to look into more sail building and repair issues, a good book is Sailmaker's Apprentice by Emiliano Marino.
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