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Old 03-08-2006, 10:56 AM   #1
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Default To batten or not to batten, that is the question

Views please, as I am about to order new main and furling goenoa for Pathfinder - Bruce Roberts 53 sloop

Mainsail

Full battens - only ever seen one person strongly recommending them - on the basis of lots of roach, so more sail area and better aerodynamic shape (Spitfire wing shape), and claims sail no more difficult to put away or reef

Part battens - nearly everyone seems to go this route, but is it worth the cost, possible wear and inconvenience when reefing or stowing. How much extra performance do you really get ?

No battens - and presumably a straight leach. Not often seen, but old Hiscock claimed this to be the best solution

Genoa

Current one is about 120% but is so blown that I cannot judge how useful a bigger one would be or whether 120% is fine

We carry a cruising chute - I have never had one before on anything bigger than a 24 footer - but no other foresail

Storm jib

With that roller genoa, what size storm jib do you think is useful.

Steelfan
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Old 03-08-2006, 08:38 PM   #2
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Steelfan,

I'm certainly no expert, but...

Ask any sail repair loft what their most common repairs are and they'll always say "batten pockets"

We sailed from Hawaii to the Caribbean (via Sebana Cove) with a used suit of sails as I've never had the luxury of buying new.

But if I could afford to and were where you are now - I'd visit Rolly Tasker's loft in Phuket. They have been making sails for a long time and enjoy a good reputation. If you contact him and offer to deliver a few rolls of sailcloth or Sunbrella up from S'pore I'm sure he'll make it worth your while.

I struggled to keep our old sails patched and powerful all the way across the Pacific. I finally cut the main to make a hollow roach while in Guam. I did'nt notice any loss in performance and never had to patch or repair it ever again.

Simple slab reefing and topping lift will make reducing sail a breeze. Build and install a simple set of lazy jacks and you'll be smiling. Combine the lazy jacks with a stack pack (or similar cover mechanism) and you'll be grinning!

A 120% genoa is a great and popular size head sail. A foam luff pad helps it perform a little better while reefed.

The first (and only) time I flew our cruising chute - it got hopelessly wrapped around the headstay and it took three days to get it down! Now Aye simply use a whisker pole (stowed on mast track) for easy wing-and-wing downwind sailing. Call me lazy or scared but this works quite well, we go fast and save valuable space & money, too.

I've set up our new boat (Hylas 49) with a 6 once 120% genoa on roller furler, a 9 ounce hanked on staysail on detachable inner stay (with running backs) and 7 ounce main with three reef points and hollow leach.

Good luck and enjoy your new boat. You're located in what I believe is one of the finest cruising grounds in the world. We'll be heading back as soon as we can pull ourselves away from the Virgin Islands.

Cheers!

Kirk
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Old 03-09-2006, 08:34 AM   #3
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On the trimaran I lived aboard and cruised, I had the sails (ketch rig) cut battenless. On my current boat, a Rhodes designed Meridian 25, the main is also battenless with a slight hollow to the leech. On both boats the sails worked very well and were much easier to set and douse than sails with battens. Furling is easier also.

If memory serves, the Pardeys are also proponents of battenless mainsails.

Personally, for a boat that is cruising, I would never have battens. For me they aren't worth the trouble.
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Old 03-09-2006, 12:31 PM   #4
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Just to broaden the scope of the topic, is there an advantage to setting a loose-footed mainsail over a hanked foot? And is such an arrangement enhanced or handicapped with a battened main?

David
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Old 03-10-2006, 12:18 AM   #5
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My 2 cents worth - I LOVE FULL BATTEN MAIN - much better to drop (speaking as a single hander) and control.

No pockets to give a problem , My first choice by far...

When on other boats with semi-battened sails - I end up ducking the bloody things !!! This dont happen if its a full batten.

Never sailed with Genoa/headsails battened - no comment...
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Old 03-11-2006, 12:24 PM   #6
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I have full battens and it's loose footed. It's not a problem, and may even be a help to straighten the sail out when dousing it. Never had a single problem with full battens. Most cats run full battens due to the large main (compared to a monohull).
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Old 03-12-2006, 09:29 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by name='Converted Post'
Originally posted by steelfan

Views please, as I am about to order new main and furling genoa for Pathfinder - Bruce Roberts 53 sloop

Mainsail

Full battens - only ever seen one person strongly recommending them - on the basis of lots of roach, so more sail area and better aerodynamic shape (Spitfire wing shape), and claims sail no more difficult to put away or reef

Part battens - nearly everyone seems to go this route, but is it worth the cost, possible wear and inconvenience when reefing or stowing. How much extra performance do you really get ?

No battens - and presumably a straight leach. Not often seen, but old Hiscock claimed this to be the best solution

Genoa

Current one is about 120% but is so blown that I cannot judge how useful a bigger one would be or whether 120% is fine

We carry a cruising chute - I have never had one before on anything bigger than a 24 footer - but no other foresail

Storm jib

With that roller genoa, what size storm jib do you think is useful.

Steelfan
Steelfan

Couple of other thoughts IMHO

Also consider that with full battens the forward end is in a special fitting that attaches to the slider/car etc. There is no standard batten pocket that you see in 'traditional' partial battens. The downside is that the battens can load-up on the mast so you need better sail to mast systems. I find that the more power and shape I can get out of a main the better. Let's me use smaller jibs and mains are typically easier to trim /reef etc. I personally have full battens and lazy jacks on a main probably about the same size as what you'll be dealing with.

Jib - 120-130 roller is fine. However I also carry a 100% blade that I use on the roller offshore. This sail is easier to handle with no overlap and unless in really light air get almost the same boat speed cause I powered up the main. I would not get a bigger roller furler than a #2 max.

Storm Jib - assuming inner forestay here. I would get on smaller than the racing max. Based on the rig size the sailmaker will tell you the largest storm sail measurement. Get one smaller like 70-80% or so. You're going for safety not max speed and load the boat can carry.
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Old 03-14-2006, 03:58 AM   #8
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Hi Steelfan,

I'm one who'se surprised you think most people have suggested one goes for partial length battens in a main. In my humble opinion that may have been the thinking 20 years back, but not today.

All the quality sailmakers I've spoken with inside that period would vote for full battens both for cruising and racing because full length battens : -

1. Make it easier (not harder) to raise / drop / reef / flake sail.

2. Help keep a much better sail shape than ever possible with nil battens.

3. Reduces the ability of the sali to flog, and thereby increases life of the sailcloth considerably.

IMO if the saliplan was designed to handle a 120% genoa then don't try to reinvent the plan - and the size of your strom headsail should approximate the same percentage foresail / mainsail area you'd get if the main was set with 3 reefs.

Again - a good loft should be able to give you specific advice on your yacht / sailplan. If you ask 10 of them and go with the majority views you'll probably be close to what's right.

Cheers

JOHN
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Old 03-14-2006, 01:32 PM   #9
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I'm for full length battens for ease of stowing and control, but only when used with lazyjacks.

Must have chafing patches (leather or similar on pockets where battens strike the aft lower shrouds (with both full and reefed mainsail) otherwise batten will cut through sail cloth in short order.

With headsails its horses for courses but anything above 130% will not reef effectively (unless its cut so flat to be useless) and is therefore potentially dangerous.

I cruise around NZ with a 120 and start the motor if the breeze dies and I'm keen to get somewhere
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Old 03-14-2006, 03:43 PM   #10
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Steelfan, battens are only a pain in the *** if you don't know how to handle your sails. If you know what your doing, there's no trouble at all.

With battens you'll get better sailshape, better hoisting and reefing and better handling. Combine with lazy-jacks and you'll put in a reef going downwind in 25 knots in 2 minutes without any trouble...

Jan
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Old 03-25-2006, 12:02 PM   #11
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My previous two boats had full batten mains. I now have a battenless, loose footed main, and can seem to get the same performance as before.

Ken
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Old 03-25-2006, 01:37 PM   #12
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Hi Ken, did you buy your battenless sails new? If so, was there an appreciable difference in price in comparisson to those with battens? And....Is your mainsheet attached to the aft end of your boom or between the ends? Does sailing with a loose-footed main increase the compression on the boom to the extent that a heavier boom is necessary? Best wishes.

David
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