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post #1 of 17 Old 10-16-2018 Thread Starter
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Questions on Purchasing New Main Sail for Catalina 27

Hi,

Our boat has been on blocks since last winter and has just been put back into the water. Upon taking off her main sail cover we discovered a huge squirrel's nest that destroyed our main sail. Our current main sail came with our boat and this is the first time we will purchase a new main sail so we have lots of questions as we are still relatively new to boating.

First Question:
Our current main sail has 4 full battens. Most standard sails sold on the internet have partial battens. Which is better, and why?

Thanks for any help that can be provided.
Charlene & Rob
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post #2 of 17 Old 10-16-2018
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Re: Questions on Purchasing New Main Sail for Catalina 27

When used on a quality mainsail, with tappered battens full length battens add structure to the sail, giving the sail better shape and helps sails last much longer. Catalina 27's that are raced tend to have additional roach but that comes with the price that the leech will hang up on the backstay during light air tacks.


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Re: Questions on Purchasing New Main Sail for Catalina 27

You have basically three options with regard to battens: all partial battens, all full length battens, or a mix with one or two full length battens at the top. I've had all configurations over the years. Most club racers seem to go with the mix length option as it allows an extended roach but still allows control of sail shape. When I replaced my full batten sail about 5 years ago, I went with two full battens at the top.

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Re: Questions on Purchasing New Main Sail for Catalina 27

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Originally Posted by Jeff_H View Post
When used on a quality mainsail, with tapered battens, full length battens add structure to the sail giving the sail better shape and helps sails last much longer. Catalina 27's that are raced tend to have additional roach but that comes with the price that the leech will hang up on the backstay during light air tacks.
Thanks Jeff for responding. Noticed you were in Annapolis; we are on Rock Creek off the Patapsco. We don't race our boat, just cruise the Chesapeake Bay.

We usually sail in relatively light winds as Rob won't go out if the wind gusts exceed 20 knots. If the wind gusts go to 20 knots, Rob double reefs the main sail.

Since we only go out in relatively light winds and since, for the most part, the Patapsco and Bay mostly have light winds particularly in the summer, I would think having more sail area could be beneficial but I may be wrong.

We have never had the leech of our sail hang up on the backstay. Here is a picture of our boat with our damaged main sail:



Very curious to know: does our boat have a regular main sail for cruisers or does it have extra roach?

You mentioned "When used on a quality mainsail": how do you know when a mainsail is quality?

Also, for sailors who are not quite sure what a "good sail shape" actually means, wouldn't it be best to have the full battens so the sail can correct for our lack of knowledge?

Charlene & Rob
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Re: Questions on Purchasing New Main Sail for Catalina 27

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Originally Posted by JimsCAL View Post
You have basically three options with regard to battens: all partial battens, all full length battens, or a mix with one or two full length battens at the top. I've had all configurations over the years. Most club racers seem to go with the mix length option as it allows an extended roach but still allows control of sail shape. When I replaced my full batten sail about 5 years ago, I went with two full battens at the top.
So for sailing in conditions where wind is <= 20 knots and where we are not racing, which one of the options is the best choice? Also since we are still relatively new at this and not sure what a 'good sail shape' actually means, since it sounds like full batten sails automatically keep a better sail shape, is that better for those of us still learning the art of sailing?
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Re: Questions on Purchasing New Main Sail for Catalina 27

Wow, that's some main! Makes me feel much better about mine.
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Re: Questions on Purchasing New Main Sail for Catalina 27

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Wow, that's some main! Makes me feel much better about mine.
Why? You mean because of the holes created from the squirrel's nest?
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Re: Questions on Purchasing New Main Sail for Catalina 27

Catalina Direct sells Ullman sails and has some "special" pricing going on now.
https://www.catalinadirect.com/index...tten-main-.cfm
I bought my Catalina 28 sails through them several years ago and I'm happy with them. I'd go with full battens and a loose foot. Don't want to add confusion, but the loose foot sail does not have a bolt rope in the boom. It allows you to use the out haul a bit more effectively to affect sail shape. You may not want to mess with much adjustment when starting out but in time having options is a good thing.
It may be worth checking with your insurance company to see if there is any coverage for squirrel damage.
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Re: Questions on Purchasing New Main Sail for Catalina 27

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Originally Posted by Dfok View Post
Catalina Direct sells Ullman sails and has some "special" pricing going on now.
https://www.catalinadirect.com/index...tten-main-.cfm
I bought my Catalina 28 sails through them several years ago and I'm happy with them. I'd go with full battens and a loose foot. Don't want to add confusion, but the loose foot sail does not have a bolt rope in the boom. It allows you to use the out haul a bit more effectively to affect sail shape. You may not want to mess with much adjustment when starting out but in time having options is a good thing.
It may be worth checking with your insurance company to see if there is any coverage for squirrel damage.
Thanks Dfok for responding. So why would you go with full battens rather than partial?

Our mainsail came with our boat when we purchased it and we've never taken it off the boom. I honestly don't remember there being an out haul line or a leech line. I'm thinking there is a line that goes from the clew that's tied to the end of the boom. But there's no block or anyway to adjust that line that i can think of. I'll take a better look and take a picture when i go to the boat tomorrow. Are out hauls usually adjustable, or are they simply a line tying the clew to the end of the boom with a big knot?
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Re: Questions on Purchasing New Main Sail for Catalina 27

Is it perhaps worth having a professional repair person give a repair estimate? A hole in a sail doesn't necessarily render it useless.
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