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Old 27-10-2010, 23:43   #1
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Fully-Battened vs 'Battenless'

My boat has a batten-less mainsail and a very high aspect rig....I was wondering about converting to a fully battened sail. 37' luff 15' foot. the backstay attached to the masthead 2' above the head of the sail and clears the end of the boom by a bit over 3'. A significant roach would either require I reduce my luff or attach the bottom end of the backstay to a boomkin (which is already in place from an earlier rig variation). My intention is for Ocean Cruising and also the rig has been modified to a cutter rig by moving forestay back to foredeck
....see below


any opinions
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Old 27-10-2010, 23:51   #2
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Dollar for dollar, you may get more performance from a laminate sail without full battens rather than a full-battened dacron sail.
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Old 27-10-2010, 23:56   #3
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Full battened give better sail form for better performance. Compare a hang glider wing to an airplane wing. If it luffs it slows. In light winds the sail holds it's shape with battens, and it recovers faster. For long cruises it's essential.
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Old 28-10-2010, 00:09   #4
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The only production boat I have found that has the same dimensions as mine is the O Day 37' , would be nice try and get around a "custom" sail.
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Old 28-10-2010, 01:08   #5
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The battens will not only give you better shape, they will minimise the flogging of the material and thereby increasing sail life. I would not worry about it being a a 'custom' sail.
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Old 28-10-2010, 01:34   #6
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I don't agree that battens give you better shape... I think a better cut sail gives better shape.

I had full length battens on my old mainsail and they were always a hassle slatting in calms and cathcing the lazy jacks when hoisting.

My new mainsail I had short battens put in and a larger roach (the roach is now maximum to the backstays) and the sail is fine. Obviously when theres no wind they hang down a few cms but it doesnt affect the light wind sailing ability.

I would never have full battens again for cruising
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Old 28-10-2010, 01:41   #7
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Battenless mains usually have a hollow leech. If the leech is not hollow, it will flutter and eventually destroy itself from the vibration. You don't need to go full batten with a straight cut or moderate leech. I've got a full batten main with large roach and it works fine but I probably wouldn't do it again. Would go with full lower battens at the most and standard battens at the top.
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Old 28-10-2010, 04:24   #8
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I had the exact same situation a few years ago. Had a battenless main for 16 years on a Lyle Hess Falmouth Cutter. When I sold the boat, I needed to sail her from The Virgin Islands to NY, NY for the new owner. I had advised the owner she needed a new main for the trip. He told me to order what I thought best. I had been thinkin on it for awhile.

So a full batten main was ordered with only a little bit of roach, as that was all that would fit. Lazy jacks were used.

After having the Falmouth for 16 years my record top speed with her was on the order of 6.25 knots. On the trip up to NY we hit 7.25 a few times (measured by knot log used to record 6.25). WOW, what a difference.

Yes, they can be a bit of a pain to hoist w/lazyjacks, but you get adept at it. But when you drop the sail it's KERPLUNK right down into the LJ.

I am shopping around for another FB main now for my Bristol Channel Cutter.
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Old 28-10-2010, 04:37   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkJ View Post
I don't agree that battens give you better shape... I think a better cut sail gives better shape.

I had full length battens on my old mainsail and they were always a hassle slatting in calms and cathcing the lazy jacks when hoisting.

My new mainsail I had short battens put in and a larger roach (the roach is now maximum to the backstays) and the sail is fine. Obviously when theres no wind they hang down a few cms but it doesnt affect the light wind sailing ability.

I would never have full battens again for cruising
Its always good to hear opposing views, and this is hardly worth an argument Mark. But being able to hold and also adjust the correct foil profile is much easier with full battens than without.

I fully agree with you that a sail needs to be built correctly irregardless of batten length, but for cruising or racing full length battens have invariably worked better for us and I'd not go cruising without them.

Cheers
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Old 28-10-2010, 06:37   #10
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I do believe that the right battens make a huge difference. I know my application is different, but I use tapered epoxy battens and they work like a charm.

two good sources for high end battens

RBS Batten Systems

Bete-Fleming | Porch Poles | Flagpoles | Flagstaffs
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Old 28-10-2010, 07:15   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bash View Post
Dollar for dollar, you may get more performance from a laminate sail without full battens rather than a full-battened dacron sail.
A laminate sail from what I read/hear (never had one myself) will give a much better shape and performance than dacron regardless of batten setup, but what about handling the sail, longevity, chafe, wear, etc?

I have heard that they can be stiff and hard to handle and don't last like dacron, certainly an issue for a long term cruise.
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Old 28-10-2010, 08:16   #12
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Laminate sails

From what I've read they do perform better and longer then dacron sails BUT they are stiff and hard to flake and cannot take a lot of extreme bending or flogging which reduces their life.

They are lighter aloft and if one does ocean crossings a lot then laminate maybe the way to go. But for the average gunkholer who raises and lower sails daily a dacron would last longer.

Also they are improving the materials for laminates so maybe in the future there could be a change in sailing materials.
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Old 28-10-2010, 22:51   #13
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A battenless, roachless, headboardless main is great for cruising. All stiff hardware is a potential chaffing point, and you're trying to do minimal repairs for miles traveled right? Batten pockets are the most common repair in a loft. We race an Olsen 25' and a Viper with full batten plastic sails and they are very fast. But they can't be left on the boom after a race and take very careful folding. Definitely not a, dump the main in the lazy jacks, throw on the cover and walk away, sail. Jib maybe, main, not until the technology softens up the sails.
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Old 28-10-2010, 23:49   #14
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Quote:
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Batten pockets are the most common repair in a loft.
Bugger giving the loft any more money; before setting to sea tomorrow I have been reminded I need to stich up one of my batten pockets before it explodes. The main is about dead and must go, so it’s out with the needles and tape for the next few repairs. I really haven’t got the experience sailing yet to knew much better, but one thing I can confirm is partial battens are a pain. I am also sick of looking up to discover them missing.

What I am really hoping is that I might run into a traditional sail maker who knows their stuff and can solve my dilemma for a reasonable price. Last night I was reading Pardey’s “Self Sufficient Sailor” where Larry recommends a battenless, roachless main with no headboard and a leach rope. Hopefully a traditional sail maker won’t laugh at this idea. Then I could go to the other extreme of full battens? Who is really going to know unless the thing is up and I am out cruising?
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Old 29-10-2010, 00:32   #15
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According to Emiliano Marino in "The Sailmaker's Apprentice" battens give better sail shape but faster wear. If that is true don't use them unless you want to shorten the journey at the cost of the sail. He does seem to know what he's talking about.
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