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  #1  
Old 10-23-2012
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Full vs partial battened main

I will be replacing my mainsail soon. My current one is a Doyle with partial battens. I have heard of PSCs with full-batten mains and wonder what people think of them, pros and cons and personal experiences. Also any recommendations on who to buy from. Thanks in advance!

Paul
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Old 10-23-2012
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Re: Full vs partial battened main

I bought a fully battened main for my 31 from Rolly Tasker in Thailand (via a US agent). A fully battened main makes up somewhat for my less than perfect sail trim skills. The quality of the sail is excellent when measured against what I paid for it. You are welcome to come by and have a look at it.

Al Lorman
S/V Ann West, PSC 31 No. 55
Annapolis
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Old 10-23-2012
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Re: Full vs partial battened main

Yes, I got a quote from National Sail Supply who make Rolly Tasker sails in Florida. Their price was HALF the price quoted by Ullman Sails. That is a little scary. I am curious to know what the difference in quality is. But it sounds like you are satisfied with yours, Al. I am going to take my time before ordering so maybe I will be able to come by and look at yours in the Spring. What sort of slides do you have at the base of your battens?
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Old 10-23-2012
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Re: Full vs partial battened main

I have a fully battened loose footed main on Irish Eyes. While it does set nicely and probably gains some area from the extra roach, I am not sure I would do it again.

The battens, cars, batten pockets, and all add to the weight of the sail making it hard to raise from the cockpit. In addition to the three coach house winches and stoppers, I have two winches on the mast. I usually use the mast winches to raise the main because the extra friction makes raising the sail from the cockpit more difficult than it need be.

The battens wear on their pockets. Right now I have two that need to be repaired where they have chafed through at their heavily reinforced ends. I have also shaken apart the screwed bits on the batten cars in a storm. It is disconcerting to have little stainless steel screws and plastic parts raining down on deck when things are not going too well anyway.

The battens hook in the rigging when the main is raised off the wind. Sometimes my wife does not keep the bow perfectly into the wind when I am raising the sail. My shouted comments about the mess this makes do not contribute to maritial bliss.

The weight of the battens and the lack of slides on the boom make it difficult to keep the main balanced on the boom when the sail is down. The whole lot tends to slide off on one side or the other; sometimes even after the sail ties are on. The furled sail is just more stable hanging under the boom than being balanced on top. (I have a fix for this that I copied from a picture in a sailing magazine ad. Insert long story here.)

The batten ends and the lazy jacks are just not compatable when raising the sail. I have to pull the lazyjacks up to the mast before raising the sail to keep from hooking the batten ends in the lazyjacks. (The lazy jacks are almost a necessity when lowering the sail to put the sail atop the boom, so I can not do away with them.)

Down wind in light air, the luff roach straightens out from supporting the weight of the boom. Straightening the curve compresses the battens making them curve in lazy S-shapes. The curves put the sail in contact with the shrouds eariler than would be the case without them. And, all the wear on the sail happens in one spot on each batten rather than being spread out over the sail. (Yes, I have a hard vang and a topping lift to boot so I can stop this.)

Removing and storing the main for hurricanes, etc. is a real pain. Without a lot of work it can not be folded. Bundled up it is a really long, difficult to handle and fragile snake. The weight of the battens and cars make it a little harder to reinsert all the slides back in the mast groove when putting the sail back on the boat.


Bill Murdoch
1988 PSC 34
Irish Eyes
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Old 10-23-2012
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Re: Full vs partial battened main

I have a Rolly Tasker jib. No regrets at all. I had two mains and inherited a third. One had partial battens, the others have full. A full battened sail will last longer becuase it doesn't flog as much. The batten pockets and sail slides are more important on a fully battened sail. My lazy jacks are not a big issue. Just release the mainsheet and keep an eye aloft.
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Re: Full vs partial battened main

Another thumbs up for the Rolly Tasker sail makers.
We got a brand new, loose footed, full battened main for our T27 this spring. It was not quite 1/2 the price of the local sail loft but nearly 1 big boat buck cheaper (000). We are quite happy with it. We used the Monterey, CA office of sailwarehouse.com.
We sometimes do miss the Dutchman self flaking system that our old main sail had as this system does not require Lazy Jacks to hold the sail on top of the boom. The Dutchman system does require you to put extra holes in a brand new sail so we passed on that for now and will be adding Lazy Jacks to our rig this fall/spring. Having to manually flake the sail on top of the boom is a small price to pay for the extra speed we gained with the new sail. The main sail has many more shape control devices attached to it than a jib/genoa and is always more work to set up or take down in any case. The Dutchman system added extra work to set up, as do the full battens but as another poster pointed out, the full battens keep the sail from flogging itself to an early death.
We did a lot better in our beer can races this year and I'll bet that only a small fraction of those gains are as a result of our increased skill. The loose footed main with full battens allows you to shape the main sail quite easily to match the conditions.
When we go to replace our now 10 year old Dacron RF genny I would get it from Rolly Tasker in a minute.
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Old 10-24-2012
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Re: Full vs partial battened main

Paul,
We went with UK Halsey for our new main. It has a full top batten and long partial battens for the others. Very good workmanship, and I am totally happy with the shape/performance. Our halyards are led to the cockpit, and I have no problem fully raising the sail by hand without resorting to the winch on the cabin top. If remember right, it was made of 8oz, fabric.

Dave
Crealock 37 #151
"Eowyn"
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Old 10-25-2012
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Re: Full vs partial battened main

Have two years on a Rolly Tasker fully battened main. Very happy with the increased performance. We actually have to use a winch now sometimes to pull it in. Service was great, price ridiculously low. The battens don't appear to add much weight while hoisting. At least nothing I've noticed. The biggest trick was figuring out how to open the tightly rolled bundle of battens without killing anybody
Last year we added homemade lazy jacks that a sailnet member was kind enough to share on this blog. The full battens really help when dropping the sail in the simple jacks, and really stabilize the sail in general in all conditions.

Dufour 31
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Re: Full vs partial battened main

Thanks everyone! Great info. First I'd like to apologize because I did the bad thing and posted a question before doing a search. I subsequently did do a Google search and came up with all sorts of info, comments, facts, fiction and opinions about full vs partial battens. To atone for my sin of premature interrogation I will offer the following link to a VERY interesting thread on Cruisers Forum re this subject. Be sure to read the posts by IslandPlanet. He is a commercial sailmaker who basically says that although he makes a lot more money selling (and repairing chafe on) full-batten mains, neither he nor any other sailmakers he knows have full battens on their yachts! He explains very eloquently why:

Full Batten Main or Partial - Cruisers & Sailing Forums

After all my research I have decided to go with 2 full battens at the top and 2 partial battens below that.

Regarding the positive reviews on the Rolly Tasker sails, thank you. I really appreciate some extra motivation to save myself $1500. (And they only charge $32 to ship it from Florida to Maryland!) But I will get a quote from UK Halsey too for thoroughness.

BTW, I have a Dutchman flaking system on my current rig which I kind of like, so I am planning to do the same on my new sail. National Sail Supply (Rolly Tasker) does not do Dutchman installations so I am planning to install the fairleads and tabs myself. I got the instructions from the Dutchman people and it doesn't sound too difficult.

Paul
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