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Old 21-04-2011, 22:08   #1
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Full Batten Main or Partial

I know this is probably a stupid question but here goes.
I have 2 mains:
#1 is fully battened, it has 5 battens that get longer as the sail gets wider.
#2 has 4 battens that are all the same lenth (about 2.5 feet)

I laid the two sails out, one on top of the other and they are within a few inches of each other in all directions and the reef points are close but not exactly the same. I have never used the partial batted sail.
My question is: what is the use for a partial batted sail like this? is there an advantage to it?
I did take some pics of the partial on top of the full if it helps.
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Old 01-05-2011, 20:22   #2
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Re: Full Batten Main or Partial

Full batten mains and the related luff hardware and track systems have been great for the sailmaker's profits but the industry has been doing consumers a disservice by promoting full batten mains as something magical. The fact is, unless you have a boat without a backstay or with a long backstay crane, there is minimal room for added roach. The full length battens add weight and friction without providing a discernible advantage. In fact in many cases they hamper control of sail shape.

I have an article in PDF format I'd be happy to send anyone that's interested. All they hype around full batten mains is one of my pet peeves.

5 battens is a lot for a sail on a 35 foot cruising boat. Having 5 battens limits the flexibility of where reefs can be placed. It adds stack height. Not a good idea in my opinion unless there's something I don't know about your boat and how you use it.
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Old 03-05-2011, 14:36   #3
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Cool Re: Full Batten Main or Partial

Great info, I get it now, to add roach. I think you're right on all counts. With the two sails laid one on top of the other, the added roach is tiny, what a waste. I think I will hoist the partial batted main when I return in a couple of weeks. Yes please forward that article and thanks for the reply.
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Old 03-05-2011, 14:55   #4
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Re: Full Batten Main or Partial

Quote:
Originally Posted by islandplanet View Post
Full batten mains and the related luff hardware and track systems have been great for the sailmaker's profits but the industry has been doing consumers a disservice by promoting full batten mains as something magical. The fact is, unless you have a boat without a backstay or with a long backstay crane, there is minimal room for added roach. The full length battens add weight and friction without providing a discernible advantage. In fact in many cases they hamper control of sail shape.

I have an article in PDF format I'd be happy to send anyone that's interested. All they hype around full batten mains is one of my pet peeves.

5 battens is a lot for a sail on a 35 foot cruising boat. Having 5 battens limits the flexibility of where reefs can be placed. It adds stack height. Not a good idea in my opinion unless there's something I don't know about your boat and how you use it.

I respectfully differ from this view.

Don't take my opinion (or anyone's) as gospel...

I have sailed, raced, and cruised with both.

I am very happy with my full batten main, I did not elect to have any roach added when I had it built.

I found full battens to be helpful in the following;

- Better sail shape
- Better light wind performance
- Boat points higher (went from a captive foot to loose, that helped too)

Added bonus; sail is much easier to stow.

I would suggest you talk to people who have your boat and have experience with both.. see how much of a benefit they have experienced.

Also, partial batten pockets typically wear quickly... arm chair sailors attribute this trait to full batten sails... few report this to be a problem in the real world.

Good luck what ever path you choose.
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Old 03-05-2011, 15:06   #5
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Re: Full Batten Main or Partial

You can use each and there are also sails without battens.

I like the full batten sails as the flog less and are easier to drop and hoist when using lazy jacks.

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Old 03-05-2011, 17:24   #6
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Re: Full Batten Main or Partial

Some great points! I have a "Dutchman" flacking system instead of lazy jacks. The full batten main does flake well even when sideways to the wind (with some help). By the way, I assume the reason I have 5 battens is my mast is 54' which I think is about 10' taller than most 35' boats.
Thanks for your inputs!
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Old 03-05-2011, 17:37   #7
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Re: Full Batten Main or Partial

A full-battened main will keep its shape longer.

A partial-battened main will tell you more about what the wind is doing, especially in terms of the luff. In light air, full-battened mains have been known to lie about sail trim.

Full-battened mains are easier to flake, partial-battened mains are easier to hoist.

Full-battened mains resist luff bubbles, and therefore point a bit better close-hauled.

Partial-battened mains require less gear, such as batt cars, and are therefore far less expensive to rig, especially on boats with mains larger than 500 square feet.

Full-battened mains put more weight aloft, which is not a good thing.

Partial-battened mains are more bomb proof, simply because they are a more simple piece of gear.

Bottom line: it's more of a toss-up than most people think.
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Old 03-05-2011, 23:16   #8
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Re: Full Batten Main or Partial

Good stuff Bash.
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Old 04-05-2011, 00:13   #9
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Re: Full Batten Main or Partial

If your main is traditionally shaped then it doesn't need full length battens. They are only necessary for big roaches and square tops. If that is your boat in the avatar then it is what I call traditional.

Whenever you buy a new main I would suggest 4 battens, top one only full length, lower 3 leach only, meaning 3 - 4 ft, all 4 parallel with the boom. Having the battens parallel with the boom makes the sail easier to fold over the boom or stuff into a stack pack.

It wouldn't hurt at all if you were to cut down the lower 3 battens on your fully battened main and it would save a lot of weight.
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Old 04-05-2011, 14:13   #10
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Re: Full Batten Main or Partial

Wow, thanks for all the info guys! That is my boat in the avatar and that is the full batten main. I think I will have to use them both this next cruise and see for myself. I will post my findings but now, thanks to you guys, I am armed with a dangerous thing: knowledge
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Old 04-05-2011, 15:19   #11
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Re: Full Batten Main or Partial

The Pardeys suggest no battens in your main... for what that is worth.

I have sailed with both full battens and short battens, and can see the advantages and disadvantages to both systems. Horses for courses. I think, for fully crewed racing, short battens are probably better, but for short-handed cruising, full battens probably have the advantedge.
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Old 04-05-2011, 20:19   #12
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Re: Full Batten Main or Partial

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Originally Posted by Wyoming pirate View Post
Wow, thanks for all the info guys! That is my boat in the avatar and that is the full batten main. I think I will have to use them both this next cruise and see for myself. I will post my findings but now, thanks to you guys, I am armed with a dangerous thing: knowledge
The more I learn, the confuseder I get.
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Old 05-05-2011, 10:21   #13
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Re: Full Batten Main or Partial

Lots of interesting points here. First of all there's a misunderstanding about full battens and sail shape. With full battens you lose shaping ability. I'd love to have access to a boat with both types of mains so we could prove this point in a video. With full battens you give up some shaping capability as the battens control the shape to a large degree.

The old fashioned leech batten pockets used to wear on the ends. I call that "hinge effect" wear. Our batten pocket do not wear in that fashion since we make our partial pockets a bit over 50% of the chord length.

Full batten mains do not inherently point better as alleged by Bash. I'd be happy to dive into a technical explanation on that but with all due respect to Bash, it's not so.

With respect to the Pardey's, the validity of their advice on battenless mains expired decades ago. When I started sailing in 1969 as a kid, we had wood battens that would break and batten pocket wear was more of an issue. On the battens we supply we usually have them sealed with a protective wrap that would preclude damage to the sail in the unlikely event they break.

S/V Faith alleges that only "armchair sailors" claim that full battens are more likely to chafe. One of our staff members just completed 17,000 miles of cruising. Along the way he supported himself in part by doing sail repairs and rigging. Many of the mains with full length batten pockets suffered a lot more than their partially battened counterparts. But I guess perhaps he's just one of those "armchair sailors" after that short 17,000 miles of sailing. Sorry Faith, but I'm disagreeing with you on this one. Our last cruise which was 8 months but fewer miles revealed the same issues with full length pockets. Unless they are well protected they chafe significantly on long passages.

I make my living supplying sails to a variety of boats around the world. I make more money selling full batten mains than I do partial full or standard batten mains. The advice I've presented is not good for the bottom line of Island Planet Sails but as a company, we feel very strongly about not using industry hype to separate sailors from their money.

If you are speaking to a sailmaker who is pushing full length battens for your cruising boat that is conventionally rigged with backstay, ask him to show you the full batten main on his boat. Chances are he doesn't have one. None of the guys I know in the industry built a full batten main for their own boat unless they had room for the kind of added roach that would require full battens. And keep in mind that on boats with full batten mains that are raced, you will find tensioners installed so the guys can adjust batten tension to suit the conditions since they are giving up shaping ability.
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Old 16-05-2011, 10:57   #14
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Re: Full Batten Main or Partial

For me full battens are about easy sail handling and sail life. When we purchased PEREGRINA we installed the Strong track in the mast, and added full battens to the virtually new main. The full battens combined with the existing lazy jacks make sail handling much easier. When sailing and you have to dump the main - it doesn't flod to heck - the same with motor sailing. If I was racing - no full battens....
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Old 16-05-2011, 11:23   #15
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Re: Full Batten Main or Partial

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For me full battens are about easy sail handling and sail life. When we purchased PEREGRINA we installed the Strong track in the mast, and added full battens to the virtually new main. The full battens combined with the existing lazy jacks make sail handling much easier. When sailing and you have to dump the main - it doesn't flod to heck - the same with motor sailing. If I was racing - no full battens....
With all due respect I personally have not seen the benefits outweigh the drawbacks. I've skippered 13 of my own boats, taught people how to sail, run day charter boats, and run Island Planet Sails for the past 7 years. I've sailed a lot of boats with full battens and a lot of boats without. I've always preferred a 2+2 or 2+3 arrangement except on the catamarans and boats with freestanding rigs like my Freedom 39.

I've logged thousands of miles delivering boats up the CA coast and always achieved a more comfortable and efficient ride by bearing off slightly which kept the main from flogging. If I'm motoring directly upwind I'll just drop the main. It's not doing you a bit of good directly upwind anyway.

I sell a lot of Strong Track systems. They do a great job. They are largely unnecessary though if you don't have a full batten main.

From a business standpoint I love the extra cash we make on full batten mains. But with the added weight, friction loads, expense, and increased chafe, I think it's money that could be better spent elsewhere.
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