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Old 24-04-2008, 07:56   #1
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Main Sail Handling Systems

Do any of you sailors out there have any specific experience with the Schaefer Battslide system. My main is 535 sq ft, upgrading to full batten.

I want to know your experience reefing and ease of hoist or any issues.

I am also considering Tides Strong Track system.

Jack
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Old 24-04-2008, 08:02   #2
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We have Battcars from Harken, probably pretty similar. Full batten main, 1000 sq ft, the cars are a big help when raising, lowering, or reefing the sail. The only downside is the height of the headboard because of the stack height of the cars, our headboard is now 12 foot off the deck.
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Old 24-04-2008, 08:22   #3
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Battcars

Thanks for that Joli. I agree the Battcars are a great system and the height of the head board is what has me looking for the other alternatives.

Jack
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Old 24-04-2008, 09:26   #4
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Consider keeping the bottom 2 battens less then full length. Instead, make them 60% to 70% of the cord length of the 2nd batten up, parallel to the foot, the same length.

Pros:
1. Less cost and less weight
2. Less luff hardware friction, compression, and wear
3. Less likely to break battens when reefing
4. Will still dampen flogging.
5. Lazy jacks will still effectively contain the sail when dropping it.
6. Shorter battens, making it easier to store a spare.

The only drawback can be the front end of the 2 bottom battens pockets, if they are not made well. If done right with webbing reinforcing there should be no problem. As for the height of headboard when furled: the only way I know of to lower the stack height while keeping the luff hardware attached to the mast is to use a jackline (from Spectra) to attach the luff hardware for the bottom 10% to 15% of the sail. I rarely did jacklines as a sailmaker, but think this could be a perfect application (I also have a Stevens 47); and plan to try once the rig is back in the boat – 3 weeks.
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Old 25-04-2008, 08:30   #5
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60% Battens

I will consider making the battens 60%-70%. Still need to consider a low friction slide system. What are you going to use on your Stevens 47. Thanks for the input. The Stevens are a great boat.
Jack
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Old 25-04-2008, 10:01   #6
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I had the Strong Track on my custom 38 sloop. The low friction track works really well. I could pull the main almost to the masthead w/o a winch. The beauty of the system is the fact that it does not use ball bearing cars and I suspect is lighter in overall weight. The Harken and Sheafer systems are very good but loading the cars onto the track can very a real pain. One slip and ball bearing go all over the deck.
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Old 25-04-2008, 17:09   #7
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I have the Shaefer batt cars and they seem OK, but I don't have any reference. 440 SF main 4 full length battens.
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Old 25-04-2008, 19:41   #8
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Quote:
I had the Strong Track on my custom 38 sloop. The low friction track works really well. I could pull the main almost to the masthead w/o a winch.
I have heard good things about the Strong Track especially a good way to resurrect a worn mast slot. My mask maker voiced a consideration regarding the long term wear and tear. I put a call into Tides Marine the maker and they say that the system has been installed for 12 years and going strong.

As I am putting in a new rig I have the option of using the Schaefer Battslide system with out having to add a track. This would be more cost effective, hence my interest in the friction reduction of the Schaefer system.

Quote:
I have the Shaefer batt cars and they seem OK, but I don't have any reference. 440 SF main 4 full length battens
defjef

Can you say more about the Schaefer system? Do the lugs run freely without jamming or binding, how easy or hard is hoisting the main, what is it like to set reefs under load etc.

Jack
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Old 08-06-2008, 16:07   #9
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I had my old mainsail converted to full battens, and used it for 3 years before buying a new main. I had full battens put in it as well. I love them.
with lazy jacks, the main comes down and is caught by the lazy jacks.
My mast has a groove for flat sail slugs. I use the orig plastic slugs, with a stainless one at the headboard. I have used the 2 mainsails for 4 years of cruising, and don't see any need for hi tech cars, etc.
Just wanted to let budget constrained sailers, not to put off getting a full batten main sail, because of the other equipment "required"
A good reason for full battens, that a sailmaker might not tell you is, that most sail repairs are for batten pocket repairs, with short battens.
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Old 08-06-2008, 20:42   #10
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Jack,

Again it's hard to know how easy or difficult my main is compared to others because I simply don't have experience with comparable sized mains. But here are some of my thoughts:

A little bit of wind causing the sail to move about aids in raising it.
I find no binding or problems associated with excessive loading and friction at the Shaefer cars.
I think the problems with rasing the main are:
It's weight for starters. Just hauling the bag around is difficult so lifting it with some friction has got to be WORK. Since the first few hundred feet go up with little problem, I think it's the weight and cumulative friction from the slides.
The Dutchman doesn't add much friction at all in raising the sail.
I suspect lubricated sail slugs might help, but when I spray silicone there is little difference.
Slab reefing lines need to be completely slack. Even so hauling them up is added weight.
The shaeffer cars are not high tech but have two slugs per which makes sense because of the loading of the batten. You want leech loaded battens.

Reefing with the Dutchman.

You want to use slab reefs. I use 2 lines for each reef, one for the tack and one for the clew. Mine run aft to the cockpit and are marked so I can tighten them without having to look up. I cannot reef unless the sail is not under load so I have to head into the wind, tension the topping lift (and dutchman lines) drop the halyard to a marked location and then pull in the reef lines and finish them off with a winch. Then release the topping lift and bear off. I usually have the motor on and the autplilot because I am single handing and this work well. If I want I can tie up the unused sail with reef lines and knots

I think it is logical and simple system, but I don't know others.
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Old 18-06-2008, 18:03   #11
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Strong track sx the way to go-full battens only on top-a lazy cover(incorporates lazy jacks ) sx that can disappear before or after sail is set (read no hassle raising sail on side that jacks are retracted)
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Old 18-06-2008, 18:45   #12
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Dragonfly 1000 (33') Fredrecksen Mainsail handling system (now Ronstan) which is similar to Harken. Easy to handle, and the top of the main is only 6 feet above the deck..

Your mileage may vary...

Steve B.
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Old 18-06-2008, 22:54   #13
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Painted Mast

I am going to go with the strong trac system, as my new stick is LP painted. Even though the Schaefer bat cars will work fine, they will destroy the paint. The other option would have been to anodize the stick, but that would cost as much extra as the strong trac. Thanks for the input.
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Old 18-06-2008, 23:39   #14
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I have the strong track and very pleased with it. My main is a 380 SF loose footed w/ 4 full length battens locked into 4 of the slides. I can hoist it 80% up by hand. When It comes down it'll drop like a rock if I don't keep a hold of the halyard.

I had to pull my gooseneck bracket to install the track but that beats climbing the mast and drilling a bunch of holes every 3". The full length S.T. track just slides right up in the mast grove and locks in with a couple screw clamps at the bottom and the slides are kept in the track with a cover and pin. If you want to pull the sail completely off you just pull the pin and it will slide right out. And it doesn't need to be lubed. The UHMW-PE track is almost as slick as Teflon.

The other advantage is the stack height is less with the strong track. Most commercial sliders are two to two-and-a-half inches long where the S.T. slides are available in three standard sizes···headboard slide (3"), reef or batten slide (2") and intermediate slide (approx. 1")...................._/)
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Old 19-06-2008, 01:21   #15
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I had Shaefer Battslides and 4 full battens fitted to my 550sqft main last season and they are great. Real easy to raise and drop and the full battens quiten the sail down when hoisting. The only slight issue I had was that one of them lost the pin that connects the slide to the receptacle. The pins are rivetted in but obviously there was a quality problem with the manufacturing - I just replaced it with a bolt and nylock and its been fine ever since. The other have all been good. I used one intermediate in place of two old slides between battens and this seems OK but I need to crank up the luff tension when its blowing to stop it flapping on the luff.

All in all I love them!!

Mike
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