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  #11  
Old 02-08-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tommays View Post
Watch out for the extra roach as when you get just enough to hang on the backstay it becomes a PITA
One option is a backstay whip.



It will probably require that the backstay be made a high modulus core, such as Spectra.

I have used one on a Beneteau 36.7.
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  #12  
Old 02-08-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by puddinlegs View Post
With due respect, you need to talk to a sailmaker to get things straightened out. There are a number of very good reasons for battens in mains. I don't have time to go into detail at the moment, but maybe others will have time.

(Battened mains, in my experience, have always come down without a problem. For short handing, sail handling systems, i.e., lazy jacks, etc... address the more critical issues as boat size and wind velocities increase.)
Battens started appearing sometime around IOR if I'm not mistaken. It was an easy and cheap way to increase sail area given fixed JIPE measurements.

Over time it evolved to full cord battens to try and give the most aerodynamically efficient sail shape based on CFD (computational fluid dynamics) calculations (which makes one wonder about junk rigs). It in itself is a difficult feat as CFD only measures a particular shape at a particular time, not over time, as a sailboat's parameters are seldom the same from one moment to the next.

And don't get me wrong, the increased sail area, or anything that can added even a hair of a knot to a sailboat's speed is a fabulous feature for racing boats.

And yes, I have had a discussion with two British sail makers about batten chafe. And yes, someone I know with full battens on his main has had trouble getting it down because an odd angle can jam the (roller bearing) car on the track unless he's in irons (wind +/- ~20 deg).

However, the person asked about a cruising main, and unfortunately any mechanical part does eventually fail; the more its used, the sooner something is likely to happen.
If the object is not long distance or long term cruising but "weekend cruising", then the subject of cost and maintenance is not as important.
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  #13  
Old 02-08-2010
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I don't understand the fixation with jamming.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Talyn View Post
Battens started appearing sometime around IOR if I'm not mistaken. It was an easy and cheap way to increase sail area given fixed JIPE measurements.

Over time it evolved to full cord battens to try and give the most aerodynamically efficient sail shape based on CFD (computational fluid dynamics) calculations (which makes one wonder about junk rigs). It in itself is a difficult feat as CFD only measures a particular shape at a particular time, not over time, as a sailboat's parameters are seldom the same from one moment to the next.

And don't get me wrong, the increased sail area, or anything that can added even a hair of a knot to a sailboat's speed is a fabulous feature for racing boats.

And yes, I have had a discussion with two British sail makers about batten chafe. And yes, someone I know with full battens on his main has had trouble getting it down because an odd angle can jam the (roller bearing) car on the track unless he's in irons (wind +/- ~20 deg).

However, the person asked about a cruising main, and unfortunately any mechanical part does eventually fail; the more its used, the sooner something is likely to happen.
If the object is not long distance or long term cruising but "weekend cruising", then the subject of cost and maintenance is not as important.
I have spent 25 years on cats from 27-36', all with full batten mains and all with simple slug arraignments. I could always drop the main in any wind angle (that did not pin the sail to the spreaders) by releasing the main and letting it drop. I've never had to work hard to pull a main down.

As for wear, the main on the Stiletto was 31 years old when I sold it and I sailed it a lot and hard. It had wear many places, but none around the batten pockets (there were proper wear patches where it rested on the spreaders).

Maybe its maintenance. Maybe sail design. Maybe batten car systems aren't better unless the boat is quite large - critical maintenance.

I think this is not always a valid comparison point.

I think what I like best is that they never flog. Easy to pinch up in the gusts, or to travel way down.
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  #14  
Old 02-08-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pdqaltair View Post
I have spent 25 years on cats from 27-36', all with full batten mains and all with simple slug arraignments. I could always drop the main in any wind angle (that did not pin the sail to the spreaders) by releasing the main and letting it drop. I've never had to work hard to pull a main down.

As for wear, the main on the Stiletto was 31 years old when I sold it and I sailed it a lot and hard. It had wear many places, but none around the batten pockets (there were proper wear patches where it rested on the spreaders).

Maybe its maintenance. Maybe sail design. Maybe batten car systems aren't better unless the boat is quite large - critical maintenance.

I think this is not always a valid comparison point.

I think what I like best is that they never flog. Easy to pinch up in the gusts, or to travel way down.
wow, that is pretty awesome I have to say. We have a 10 year old main with 3 roach battens and I curse the damn things because they keep wearing holes in the cloth around the pocket.

It could be as you say, the better systems are designed for bigger boats.

It could also be, I think, something to do with designed obsolesance.
Just as with tools I have had from Germany and England that are older than I am, and the ones that you buy today are all made in China and they're cheapie disposables.
Its likely that similar things are done with all hardware you buy today, unless you pay the premium for it to be made like it was 20 years ago -designed to last.

I can definitely appreciate the no flogging aspect of it, I would get rid of the battens and recut a hollow in the leach to stop the sail work hardening itself to shreds from flogging, but I haven't the coin.
I guess I will just have to wait until the main corks it.
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  #15  
Old 02-08-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Talyn View Post
Battens started appearing sometime around IOR if I'm not mistaken. It was an easy and cheap way to increase sail area given fixed JIPE measurements.

Over time it evolved to full cord battens to try and give the most aerodynamically efficient sail shape based on CFD (computational fluid dynamics) calculations (which makes one wonder about junk rigs). It in itself is a difficult feat as CFD only measures a particular shape at a particular time, not over time, as a sailboat's parameters are seldom the same from one moment to the next.

And don't get me wrong, the increased sail area, or anything that can added even a hair of a knot to a sailboat's speed is a fabulous feature for racing boats.

And yes, I have had a discussion with two British sail makers about batten chafe. And yes, someone I know with full battens on his main has had trouble getting it down because an odd angle can jam the (roller bearing) car on the track unless he's in irons (wind +/- ~20 deg).

However, the person asked about a cruising main, and unfortunately any mechanical part does eventually fail; the more its used, the sooner something is likely to happen.
If the object is not long distance or long term cruising but "weekend cruising", then the subject of cost and maintenance is not as important.
Your friend who couldn't get the main down... there's much more involved than just full battens. What car system were they using? There are a huge number of variables you've introduced in the equation. Baby, bath water, that sort of deal. Conversely, I'm not a fan of in mast furling, yet there's plenty of evidence it works very well.

For anyone who's interested:

battens


Kind of covers a number of the questions asked here.

Last edited by puddinlegs; 02-08-2010 at 10:13 PM.
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Old 02-09-2010
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not trying to prove a point one way or the other...

Quote:
Originally Posted by puddinlegs View Post
Your friend who couldn't get the main down... there's much more involved than just full battens. What car system were they using? There are a huge number of variables you've introduced in the equation. Baby, bath water, that sort of deal. Conversely, I'm not a fan of in mast furling, yet there's plenty of evidence it works very well...
He is using Harken ball-bearing sliders on an external t track, it seems that the force exerted on the bat-car by the batten at an odd angle actually stops it from moving up or down.

There are definitely pros and cons to any feature, piece of gear, and technology.
Definitely more pros when everything works well.
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  #17  
Old 02-09-2010
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Given the rouble I've had with traveler cars, expecting a whole stack to be ...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Talyn View Post
He is using Harken ball-bearing sliders on an external t track, it seems that the force exerted on the bat-car by the batten at an odd angle actually stops it from moving up or down.

There are definitely pros and cons to any feature, piece of gear, and technology.
Definitely more pros when everything works well.
... trouble free is a stretch!

Really, they are designed for a straight-out pull. I'll stay with slugs.
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Old 02-09-2010
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The only worry I've ever had lowering the main is remembering to keep my fingers out from in between the cars, which tend to come down very rapidly if we blow the main halyard.
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Old 02-09-2010
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This from the designer of my boat John Marples. This is how he designs all his sails for charter and cruising boats. Both of which are really "work" boats.

Our mainsail for the Pacific cruise was battenless, with a slightly hollow roach. After 2 years and 20K miles, it looked like new - no chafe, no failures. It was loose footed with a D ring and without a headboard. It had a smaller area than the battened main, but it could be dropped on a downwind course, in heavy wind, without hanging up on the spreaders. I prefer battenless mains for that reason.
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Old 02-10-2010
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We've had sails with a variety of batten combinations: full, short, and part both. Our mainsail hoists with the luffrope running up a groove in the extrusion; no cars or slugs. The full-batten sails are easier to handle and seem to last forever. Our current sailmaker repaired a ripped seam in our full-batten main last month. We'went racing in 30+knots, and reefing put additional stress on the leech when we cranked in the sheet and vang, so the seam tore open. He remarked that the outfit that made the sail went out of business about 15 years ago. He agreeed to repair it because it still seemed to have life left in the dacron. Since we're planning more cruising next season, getting the sail fixed seemed like a good idea. We thought about installing a track system when we got new mains for racing (twice, now) but have found we haven't needed it. Dead calm to 50 knot squalls, the sails come down when we need them to. Hang-ups that others have with their mast grooves may be a function of the angle of the batten in the sail; I don't know. The advantage of a track with cars or slugs would be having the luff of the sail attached to the mast so it would be less likely to flog around. The additional roach that longer battens up top allows can cause hangups on the backstay and additional chafe. Your sailmaker can adjust things to avoid this. Currently, our racing sails are full-battened on top, for additional sail area, and short battens on the bottom, to save weight. Battenless sails end up being more expensive because they flap themselves to death and need replacing sooner. They're also next to impossible to set properly. We raced to Bermuda with a battenless main, and out of the 635 miles felt it was well set for about half an hour: about 3 miles, all told. Dismal performance under sail means you turn on your engine, adding fuel to your expenses too. For long-term cruising, full battens seem to be the right choice.
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