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post #1 of 11 Old 09-11-2007 Thread Starter
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Question Mainsail questions

I have been pricing mailsails for the boats I am looking at, just to get an idea of what would be the cost to replace them when needed, and I am curious as to the configuration choices.

What are the pros & cons of going with a fully battened mailsail? would some one just want to do a couple of the battens full sail and the remainging partial?

Also most of the boats(and that isn't very many) I have seen come with only one reef point, why not have 2 or 3?
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post #2 of 11 Old 09-11-2007
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What kind of boat? What kind of sailing are you doing (cruising/racing)? Do you like it when the winds get above 20 - does your boat like it?
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post #3 of 11 Old 09-11-2007
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As all sailing questions the answer is to be found in the boat your are getting the sail for, where you intend to sail.. as in what are the wind conditions, and the type of sailing you intend to do.. racing, cruising of both.

Reefing points are for heavier winds and if you are a fair weather sailor you can avoid 3rd and 4th reefs. I would think two is a minimum for cruisiers. Offshore you would want 4 reef points or minimum 3. You can also go for deeper reefs and fewer as well.

Full battened sails will not slat when motoring close to the wind... and might hold their shape better... like the stays in a corset. The require special hardware and track fittings and so they add substantially to the cost.

And then you have fabrics and in the case of Dacron the weight of the clothe.

It's a complex matrix of decisions. Sailmakers can help you wade through them, but they are in it for the money.

jef
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post #4 of 11 Old 09-11-2007 Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TSteele65 View Post
What kind of boat? What kind of sailing are you doing (cruising/racing)? Do you like it when the winds get above 20 - does your boat like it?

I would be a Lake Michigan day/weekend sailor. If I will probably race a little. But my questions were more generic.

I can see where it would be nice to have more reef points, but was wondering why people wouldn't put them on the sail to begin with. The "better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it" philosophy.

Does a fully battened mail perform better in light air? across the board? Is it harder to adjust your sail to depower?
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post #5 of 11 Old 09-11-2007
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Hello,

Since I am a day-sailer, casual cruiser, I don't need more than 1 reef for the main. If it is windy enough to require a second reef I will either be at the dock, motoring with sails down, or sailing with just a little bit of headsail deployed.

If I planned on sailing out of sight of land, or more than 10 hours from land I would want another reef point.

Reef points add complexity, cost, and weight to a sail, and reduce performance in light air.

Figure out what kind of sailing you want to do and that will determine the number of reefs you need.

Regarding battens, generally, the longer the batten the longer the life of the sail. The longer battens prevent te sails from slatting, but add weight and cost to the sail. A number of manufacturers do offer some full length and some partial battens.

When I bought a new sail for my last boat the sailmaker asked me a lot of questions about the type of sailing I did, my desires for longevity, budget, racing, etc. Based on my answers he recommended a 7 oz dacron sail, 1 reef point, loose foot, top batten full length, the rest partial.

Barry

Barry Lenoble
Deep Blue C, 2002 C&C 110
Mt. Sinai, NY

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post #6 of 11 Old 09-11-2007
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Some like fully battened mainsails, especially for single-handed sailing, since getting a fully battened main to flake is relatively easy due to the battens. Combined with lazy jacks, they're almost self-flaking. The full battens allow the sail to be cut with a larger roach and can make for a more powerful sail. However, they do tend to be more expensive and require a bit more maintenance.

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post #7 of 11 Old 09-11-2007
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Most recreational sailors can get by with a single deep reef, because their sailing is generally "either/or" in regards to the weather. A bluewater cruiser needs reef points because you want to keep the boat in a certain speed range to ensure not only NMS under the keel, but to maintain steerage and the ability to punch into waves or to keep a decent speed for control. The only way to do this is to reef down in a blow, but to keep the right (and the properly cut) scraps of sail up in order to maintain six or seven knots of speed.

There are places in the world where you are quite safe and in good control with a staysail and a third reef in for days at a time, but they aren't usually host to coastal daysailors.
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post #8 of 11 Old 09-11-2007
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I just purchased a fully battened mainsail last year primarily to race and it has been better than expected. It was not much more money, $200 actually on a 30 footer with a big main. You do get more roach but if you are primarily a cruiser you would not want that much as it hangs up on the backstay when you tack. The sail takes a nice set in light air and it should hold it's shape longer as it ages.

My sailmaker told me that the reason some sailors do not like them is because the battens are not always tapered. So if you are getting any full lenght battens make sure they are.

My sail is not easier to drop as I switch to slugs and find the bottom two are a bit of a pain when furling the main.

I do like the sail but for strictly cruising I might just go with the top two being full lenght.

Gary
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post #9 of 11 Old 09-11-2007
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The number of reef points is basically an intersection of how your boat likes to be reefed and the conditions you expect to encounter. I'm pricing a main too and was all ready to go offshore and 3 reefs. Then I thought a minute. In my cruising ground in Puget Sound I rarely see over 25 knots, in the summer almost never. My R24 likes to be reefed at the main sometime after 15 knots but before 20k or so, then a bit of genny pulled in as well at 20+ to balance. Then she's good to go in most anything I've seen here so far, about 3 degrees of weather helm and hull speed heaven. So one reef point it is for me.

I'm just gonna trust North Sails here in Seattle on the full batten issue, whatever they say I'll go with. Does it effect cunningham usage much, can you depower adequately?

I'm so happy a slug broke last sail. It's evidence I needed to convince the wife we needed a new main. (sshh, don't tell her I replaced it in 10 minutes).


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post #10 of 11 Old 09-11-2007
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to the OP, my memory of Lake Mich. sailing is that it can get bad really quick, weather is much more volital than a lot of places. be interested to hear from people sailing there on a regular basis what they generally carry.


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