Full or partial battens? - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 34 Old 02-08-2010 Thread Starter
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Full or partial battens?

I am in the process of buying a new mainsail for cruising. Full or partial battens?
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post #2 of 34 Old 02-08-2010
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Had two sails with full and went back to top two full & the rest partial..

Personal choice really but I do prefer the tweak-ability with partials vs. full..

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post #3 of 34 Old 02-08-2010
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I prefer full battens (additional roach, no flogging, easier reefing), but be aware you will probably have to buy cars, track, etc. in addition to just the sail.
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post #4 of 34 Old 02-08-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Maine Sail View Post
Had two sails with full and went back to top two full & the rest partial..

Personal choice really but I do prefer the tweak-ability with partials vs. full..

.......same here. The top batten can support the extra roach and with partials towards the bottom you can shape your sail better in my opinion.
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post #5 of 34 Old 02-08-2010
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Watch out for the extra roach as when you get just enough to hang on the backstay it becomes a PITA

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post #6 of 34 Old 02-08-2010
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I hope no one minds me piggybacking this thread with a related question..

As an owner of a 30' x 17' one-off amateur built cruising catamaran I've become accustomed to finding solutions through experiments and settling for less than perfect outcomes. I've been pretty lucky for the most part, rarely having to re-work a part or a system. Everything functions well enough now but improving certain things would have a measurable payoff. Overall, the boat is a bit rough and does not merit a brand new mainsail.

Currently I have a masthead rig and a pin top mainsail. When I fly the self-tacking jib the weather helm is non-existent to oh so slight. When I fly the 130 Genoa the lee helm is equally, if not a bit more than, slight. This leads me to believe I could replace the current pin top with a square top, move the CE a bit aft and gain more power in the process.

A typical full-battened main is cut to suit some pre-bend in the mast, yet my masthead rig has no pre-bend at all. As such, I'm thinking of buying a used too-tall pin top, cutting it down, and adding just one or two full battens. With just two battens hopefully I can forego battcars etc. Is this approach completely ridiculous?
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post #7 of 34 Old 02-08-2010
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I think there may be more shaping possibilities with battens that are commonly known.

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Originally Posted by sharedwatch View Post
.......same here. The top batten can support the extra roach and with partials towards the bottom you can shape your sail better in my opinion.
Many classes that use full battens are raced extensivly, and they have certainly learned all of the tricks. When you see full battens on and AC boat, we can say that they are slow.

Tapering to match the sail is one trick. Sail Delmarva: Search results for battens. It is easily done, but most sailmakers don't do it because it takes time and is best done after the sail is delivered and set. The leach was sagging 6" to leeward before; it was hard to look at. Without full battens it was a throw-away.

Full batten sails:
* cost more
* flog MUCH less
* catch on back stays
* generaly hold shape better
* chafe more, but only on the batten pockets, which can have guards added
* set better in the absense of heel
* generaly last longer
* are heavier
* don't tweek as easily in light air
* don't flop as much in light air
* are easier to flake
* are harder to store
* have unique hoisting problems (batten friction) when over ~55' luff

Thus, they suit cats very well. Monohulls I cannot speak to. A compromise (a few full battens) seems rational.

That batten taper subject remains valid.

(when asked how he reached the starting holds on a difficult rock climbing problem that clearly favored taller climbers - he was perhaps 5'5")

"Well, I just climb up to them."

by Joe Brown, English rock climber




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post #8 of 34 Old 02-08-2010
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battenless sails for cruising

Personal preference is no battens, period.

Especially for cruising, you want to keep cost and maintenance down as much as possible.
Any sail loft will show you the mountains of sails waiting to be repaired because the batten pockets have chafed through.

Performance wise, you're not loosing a significant enough portion of your sail area to be noticeable.. you might loose from 1/10th to 1/3 of a knot...

Another advantage is that a battenless main will always come down, which brings me to a small point only slightly off topic: particularly for short-handed cruising you want to be able to strike sail area in a hurry with no fuss.

cruising main with 3 reef points with properly reinforced clews, tacks, and reefs + a small (1/4" even) downhaul line spliced to your halyard.
with a preset slab reefing system you can bring down sail alone no problem in 3 quick moves and no battens will catch on shrouds, stays, or spreaders.
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post #9 of 34 Old 02-08-2010
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You will get better performance and longer sail life with full battens. Chafe at the pockets are from battens being installed too tight.

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post #10 of 34 Old 02-08-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Talyn View Post
Personal preference is no battens, period.

Especially for cruising, you want to keep cost and maintenance down as much as possible.
Any sail loft will show you the mountains of sails waiting to be repaired because the batten pockets have chafed through.

Performance wise, you're not loosing a significant enough portion of your sail area to be noticeable.. you might loose from 1/10th to 1/3 of a knot...

Another advantage is that a battenless main will always come down, which brings me to a small point only slightly off topic: particularly for short-handed cruising you want to be able to strike sail area in a hurry with no fuss.

cruising main with 3 reef points with properly reinforced clews, tacks, and reefs + a small (1/4" even) downhaul line spliced to your halyard.
with a preset slab reefing system you can bring down sail alone no problem in 3 quick moves and no battens will catch on shrouds, stays, or spreaders.

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.)
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