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Old 13-05-2007, 07:42   #1
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Question Do you *need* to have battens?

I posted the story of my loss of my battens today in the Sailor's Confessional, but have a fairly urgent quesiton, as I have to break out the sail repair kit and do some sewing pending the answer.

How inefficient would it be to sail without battens? I've never tried it, so I don't know.

Am I looking at a 10% loss of power? 20%? More??

Thanks for any input.
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Old 13-05-2007, 08:48   #2
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I'd be more worried about the unsupported roach flogging and destroying the leech of the sail.
Mike
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Old 13-05-2007, 09:07   #3
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Good point, Mike. We'll take the main off and stitch up the pockets. What a fluke... that weather this AM (early... at like 6AM) was nuts. Came out of nowhere, but you could clearly see the visible division between the high pressure and the low these winds pushed to the South. Quite a pressure gradient.

Now... everything is calm again.
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Old 14-05-2007, 00:35   #4
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Aloha Sean,
If it is fairly calm you can sail without battens. It is not efficient and not good for your sails. Stitch up your pockets and reinstall your battens. The other option I told you about already. Many cruisers have gone to roachless mains. They are a bit less efficienct because you lose some sail area without the roach but they work just fine and you never have to worry about battens or pockets again.
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Old 14-05-2007, 02:22   #5
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If a sail is built to good specs the battens/pockets can be made to last as long as the sail. So why would you want a sail without them? If you are getting a new sail, consider full length battens, the extra cost will be off set by the extra life you will get out of the sail, and once you have sailed with them you won't want to go back.
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Old 14-05-2007, 13:12   #6
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Intersting that you all say that the sail would be OK in light winds. (I don't know, you guy's are far more expert than I in this area) But from observation, I would have thought it the opposite, or at least as important either end of the wind scale. My reasoning for this is that the battens would allow or create a better sail shape and propably a slightly deeper sail shape making it like a larger wing. Thus surely the sail would become more efficient in light airs, when the wind is not strong enough to pull the sail out into a wing shape.
So what don't I understand then????
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Old 14-05-2007, 13:25   #7
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Sean,
Battens are there solely to support the roach of your sail. The roach is there solely for racing purposes. If you're not racing, get rid of the battens ... and the roach. Getting rid of the battens ... but not the roach, doesn't work.
Bob
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Old 14-05-2007, 13:51   #8
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Aloha Alan,
If you'll read my post again I said you could do it. I also said it is not efficient and it is not good for the sail. I really didn't say it was ok forever.
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Old 14-05-2007, 14:20   #9
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Thanks, guys. We'll get the battens properly in the new pockets (and or a new main) when we get up to Maine.

For what it's worth, I have ONE left... ha ha ha. It's the largest.
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Old 14-05-2007, 14:30   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alan Wheeler
Intersting that you all say that the sail would be OK in light winds. (I don't know, you guy's are far more expert than I in this area) But from observation, I would have thought it the opposite, or at least as important either end of the wind scale. My reasoning for this is that the battens would allow or create a better sail shape and propably a slightly deeper sail shape making it like a larger wing. Thus surely the sail would become more efficient in light airs, when the wind is not strong enough to pull the sail out into a wing shape.
So what don't I understand then????
To expand on SkiprJohn. In light air the roach will fold over and you will have a terrible sail shape, but the boat will sail. At a certain windspeed the roach will start to flip from being folded over on one side, then back to the other. You can completely destroy a sail, as in shred the cloth, in a few hours this way.

You can learn a lot about destroying things in a club setting where some members either don't care or don't know any better.

John
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Old 15-05-2007, 04:07   #11
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From my understanding, The use of battens was to make the Main Sail bigger. If you had a smaller main sail by cutting the main sail down to about 1/2 of the batten pocket (more or less) you would not need the batten. However, this can be expensive.
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Old 15-05-2007, 05:53   #12
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Guys... I have 300 miles left on a passage. I'm at anchor. I won't be altering and sewing the main during this passage.

Mostly, I was trying to find out if I could sail without the battens (I have one left) and how this would affect performance.

I mean downwind, I should have no issue... let it fill up and go.

Working to windward is I guess more of what I was curious about. I'll let you all know how it goes when the winds get below 20kts and we head out of this anchorage.
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Old 15-05-2007, 11:39   #13
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Sean, isn't there a good Chinese Laundry in your anchorage?

Just take in the main, ask for lots of starch, roll not fold. Figure it will cost you the same as a couple of banquet-sized tablecloths, should last 300 miles without any problem.

(Just remember, tell them it is a MAN'S sail, they always charge more for lady's clothes.<G>)
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Old 15-05-2007, 12:00   #14
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Aloha Sean,
Temporary battens can be made from lathe soaked in epoxy. Just check the lathe to make certain there are no knots. These will get you by until you can get or make some proper fiberglass battens.
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Old 15-05-2007, 13:23   #15
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What is lathe?

I gather we aren't hoisting something tat will drop metal chips and way oil all over the deck!
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