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Old 23-02-2015, 16:35   #1
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"Best" battens

My 36 footer has a full-batten mainsail with an assortment of battens. It seems the former owners stuck whatever in those pockets they could lay their hands on.

Some are very floppy and some are pretty stiff. For cruising, never racing, should I replace the hard ones with floppy ones, or better replace the floppy ones with equally hard battens?

I cannot test it and see for myself at the moment as the sail fell apart along its seams and needs restitching... also, opinions of more experienced sailors appreciated.

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Old 23-02-2015, 18:17   #2
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Re: "Best" battens

If the stitching on the sail is falling apart I am guessing it is quite old and the battens won't matter...

However, in general you'd want stiffer battens the stronger the wind.

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Old 02-03-2015, 05:57   #3
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Re: "Best" battens

My boat, Sanderling, uses long vertical battens. I replaced North's heavy fiberglass battens with 1/2" CPVC tubing, and have been happy for over a decade. YMMV, but they would be cheap to try. I would think anything uniform would be better than a mix of stiff and floppy.
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Old 02-03-2015, 06:20   #4
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Re: "Best" battens

Stiffer battens will flatten the mainsail, reduce heeling and point better. We replaced the original 1 1/2" nylon battens with smaller, stiffer battens. Subtle, but noticeable difference. We'll get a few more years out of our main.
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Old 02-03-2015, 10:34   #5
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Re: "Best" battens

As mentioned batten selection is a bit of art, not science. It depends on the boat, the conditions, the goal... It gets complicated.

For what it's worth the best Barton's available are tapered pultruded carbon rods. But they are crazy expensive. The ones on my 24' trimaran run about $1,000 a set. The upside is they are designed specifically to the sails camber. Which reduces wear on the sail since the battens not only force the sail into shape, they also support that shape.

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Old 03-03-2015, 20:40   #6
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Re: "Best" battens

Bluestreak - Superior Fibreglass Sail Battens

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