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Old 16-08-2022, 14:48   #1
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Full (Luff to Leech) battens vs partial

So I'm about to order new sails and may go back to what I had when racing which was always luff to leech full battens. (for the mainsail)

When racing I had sets of battens for heavy wind races and light wind races.

I don't race these days but feel these type battens will help with sail shape/shaping etc.

What do you use and why?

Or does it even matter to cruisers....?
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Old 16-08-2022, 16:48   #2
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Re: Full (Luff to Leech) battens vs partial

I say yes, it absolutely matters to cruisers. My previous boat was a cutter, my first with full battens. They were flat fiberglass bar stock. Not only was sail shape better, and allowed for more roach, they kept the sail from flogging. The power the extra roach provided was very noticeable.

The only downsides were the extra weight and they could get caught behind the lazy jacks if I wasn't careful.
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Old 16-08-2022, 19:11   #3
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Re: Full (Luff to Leech) battens vs partial

We've had a range of different batten setups for our boats. Full battens help sails last longer by reducing luffing. The delivery sail we kept for more than 24 years had two full battens on the bottom and shorter battens on top. We found the full battens make furling and reefing easier because they help to hold the sailcloth on the boom so the sail ties can be put on quickly. Our new-to-us boat came with full length battens in the main last year. They seemed to weigh about 25 pounds each, which seems more than necessary, on top of the 8 or 10 ounce cloth. We got new North 3DI sails that weigh less than half what the old ones did. The sailmaker said that full battens in them would weigh too much. Will have to see how they hold up.
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Old 16-08-2022, 19:21   #4
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Re: Full (Luff to Leech) battens vs partial

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What do you use and why?

I really see full battens and a luff track and car system as a package deal and would prefer not to have one without the other. Cost then becomes a consideration. That's when ordering a sail. In real life, I use what the boat comes with and have had it both ways.



The great thing about full battens is that the sail doesn't flap which should lengthen its life and reduce the overall stress level in the cockpit. The sail holds its shape somewhat better when you're flaking it on the boom. You get somewhat better sail shape and maybe some more roach. The problem is that the sail becomes harder to hoist and douse. With just a boltrope you are more or less limited to hoisting and dousing into the wind and even so it's more effort than with partial battens. This leads to the desire for an expensive car and track system for the luff to regain what you've lost.


Partial battens are much easier to install into and remove from the sail so that it is less work to bend on the sail and remove it seasonally or for maintenance. You are less likely to drop one into the water and will not struggle to find a place to store them. They allow for a douse on a wider range of points of sail which is always a convenience and is particularly important if you are trying to sail to a mooring ball or dock, or if you're dousing in light and variable wind. They are similarly more forgiving of point of sail when tucking in or shaking out a reef. They are less costly in their own right as well as not leading down the path to an expensive luff track and car system. It is easier to determine what the leech is doing since it will luff if you're too close to the wind rather than just being a funny shape.
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Old 16-08-2022, 19:57   #5
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Re: Full (Luff to Leech) battens vs partial

Re full battens:
To the OP: Your boat is only 27ft long. With such a small mainsail area, I personally don't think you need an expensive car and luff track system.

My boat, a 32ft sloop has 4 full flat battens in the main, an internal mast track, and round "slugs" that go into the track. The top slug is metal, the rest are heavy duty plastic with metal inserts. The inner ends of the battens fit into plastic fittings bolted to the sail. The fittings are lashed to the slugs with webbing. There is no need on a sail my size (or yours) for ballbearing cars, etc. For a main your size, the battens themselves will be pretty light weight.



The only downside of full battens for me is the theoretical difficulty of hauling down the sail on a run (which I never do anyway). Its easy on a beam reach when the boom is all the way out and the sail fully luffing. My 2 luff reef points are on 2 to 1 tackles that go back to a winch on the cabin top, so I can apply a lot of force to haul the sail down if necessary. I've never found it a big deal to go to from a run to a beam or tight reach to make reefing easier.



I have lazy jacks, BUT I only deploy them when lowering the sail completely or in some circumstances when reefed in heavy weather (to keep the bunt of the sail confined on the boom, my main doesn't have intermediate reefing points to be tied in). Otherwise, they are taken forward to clips on the mast. They are never deployed when raising the sail, so no chance of the battens fouling them.
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Old 16-08-2022, 20:13   #6
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Re: Full (Luff to Leech) battens vs partial

Race sails do not have all full battens. Typically 1 or 2 full battens at the top and partials at the bottom. It's all about the abilty to control sail shape.
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Old 16-08-2022, 22:36   #7
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Re: Full (Luff to Leech) battens vs partial

JimsCAL: true about race sails, partial lower battens do allow more sail shaping. But for non-racers, and especially with masthead non-bendy masts, I think all-full battens have more advantages.
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Old 16-08-2022, 22:55   #8
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Re: Full (Luff to Leech) battens vs partial

I have full battens now but when I get a new main (which isn't any time soon!) (or if I am inclined to have the local sailmaker look at changing it) I think I'll go with long partials for the 2 lowers, not just for sail shape adjustment but the luff pockets do occasionally get stuck a bit and it doesn't like to luff at all, which has some effect on being able to douse the sail quickly. Also, it is harder for me to sail into my upwind slip now; she won't stop sailing!
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Old 17-08-2022, 15:15   #9
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Re: Full (Luff to Leech) battens vs partial

thomm:

It matters to some cruisers. We've been using fully or partially battened mainsails since 1990, if memory serves.

Some cruisers don't care about sail shape, some do. Since you come from a racing background, maybe you'll like trying some out. One aspect is that they flog less when reefing, and I like that a lot. One heard a sailmaker quietly counting, "$1,000; $2,000;" all the way to $5,000 listening to a racing mainsail flog. Flogging wears out sails.

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Old 17-08-2022, 16:45   #10
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Re: Full (Luff to Leech) battens vs partial

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thomm:

It matters to some cruisers. We've been using fully or partially battened mainsails since 1990, if memory serves.

Some cruisers don't care about sail shape, some do. Since you come from a racing background, maybe you'll like trying some out. One aspect is that they flog less when reefing, and I like that a lot. One heard a sailmaker quietly counting, "$1,000; $2,000;" all the way to $5,000 listening to a racing mainsail flog. Flogging wears out sails.

Ann
Thanks Ann.

I'm waiting for the quote and I know that these full batten sails would be great, but it may be that I have too many other projects going.

I'll have the house paid off in a few months so that should help but of course it will need a new roof soon.

The sailmaker was freaking out about my 8 oz main as being way to heavy. It's worn and does flap a bit on the leech now after 10 years, but I can still probably get by with it for 2 to maybe 4 more years (or more). There are no rips or tears in it

Jib is old but probably okay it's just the UV cover that is flapping around after I furl it in. It's split in places. If I were to lower and store it after sailing like I did with all my beach cats no problem for a few more years

In other words, I can still put up the rags and make headways.......but it would be nice to have more than one set of reef points

Video from last year.



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Old 17-08-2022, 17:19   #11
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Re: Full (Luff to Leech) battens vs partial

Also thanks for all the input .........much appreciated
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Old 17-08-2022, 17:27   #12
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Re: Full (Luff to Leech) battens vs partial

I had full battens installed on a main that was beginning to show it's age.

The battens infused new life to that sail, gave it a much better shape and all round better handling, better than even when new. An added bonus is that it prevents the sail from flogging when head to wind.

Count me as one that is totally pro-full batten !!
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Old 17-08-2022, 17:33   #13
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Re: Full (Luff to Leech) battens vs partial

I should add, that all I did was add an extra sail track slug at the forward batten location. Never have had any issues raising or lowering the sail.
I do spray my sail track with some water proof grease from time to time. Main slides down zippity quick and goes up the same.
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Old 17-08-2022, 19:25   #14
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Re: Full (Luff to Leech) battens vs partial

Our racing mainsails, in the last 10 years, have had full battens at the top, and some had the next batten down full length as well. With a BIG roach main they help the shape.

One problem is the wear of the luff of the sail. We have no battcars or tracks, not even slugs, just bolt ropes. We find that the full length battens press against the mast and cause wear of the sailcloth. We have avoided the Battcar system because of the added weight aloft and it changes the stiffness of the mast section (also cost).

We don't like that aspect but we do like nice sail shape we get with those two full battens so we tolerate the wear and repair the sail when needed.

Our cruising mainsail has short battens. The shape is not as nice but there is none of that wear.

Reefing is not possible for us when sailing downwind in heavy air (when else would you reef?) because the main is blown hard against the shrouds and spreaders and won't slide down (although Judy did it once when there was a bit of adrenalin flowing). I think that the full battens would hang up even harder on the spreaders. You must come up onto the wind to reef the main in a breeze.
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Old 18-08-2022, 00:25   #15
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Re: Full (Luff to Leech) battens vs partial

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Ö
Reefing is not possible for us when sailing downwind in heavy air (when else would you reef?) because the main is blown hard against the shrouds and spreaders and won't slide down (although Judy did it once when there was a bit of adrenalin flowing). I think that the full battens would hang up even harder on the spreaders. You must come up onto the wind to reef the main in a breeze.

Yes, you can reef any slab-reefing mainsail on any point of sail, including DDW. There are two main methods, which should work for both single line and two line reefing setups. If we can do it with swept back spreaders and cap shrouds and full battens, Iím positive you can do it.

Of course, it is easier to reef when on a wind angle where the mainsheet can be eased enough to depower the mainsail before dragging against the rig is easier. But if thatís a 120* course change thatís not so nice.

For both methods the first step is to move the boom to the centreline and move the traveller well to windward so that the main sheet is not holding the boom down tight. However, mainsail twist should be limited to keep the top part of the sail off the rig, so traveller position is a bit of a juggling act. If you have a bang it should be left loose.

Method 1 is brute force. Alternately grind in a bit of clew line until it becomes really tight, then lower the halyard until the sail starts to sag against the rig, then grind in the clew line some more. Repeat until the reef clew is made and you connect the reef tack. Take up the halyard, clean up the lines, and youíre done. Take up the mainsheet and lower the traveller until youíre properly trimmed.

Method 2 uses the mainsheet winch for the hard work (rather than the reefing winch, which is likely smaller, used in method 1). But method 2 will require two people if your halyard winch is at your mast. Ease the mainsheet until the sail just lays against the rig and bring in the clew line, lifting the boom. Lower the halyard until the sail just lays against the rig again, ease the mainsheet more and bring in the clew line, lifting the boom again. Repeat until the clew is made. Then lower the halyard bring in the mainsheet until the tack is made and the leech is tight. For large reefs the halyard lowering and graunching the mainsheet may need to be repeated. When done, lower the traveller and youíre done.
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