Originally Posted by Dockhead
main data point:
Our new carbon laminate mainsail
has a straight leech and four short vertical carbon fiber battens.
I took a conscious risk of jamming problems when I ordered this sail -- some people have had problems with battens in furling
I now have about 750 miles on the new mainsail
and so far no problems with the battens. You can't feel the battens as they go in and out of the mast
, and the laminate sail furls tighter and easier since it is less bulky than the Dacron one. The straight leech surely plays a role in the dramatic performance increase compared to the hollow leech Dacron sail. The battens are very thin carbon rods -- that also might play a role.
That's just one data point, and YMMV, but so far so good in my case.
I suspect the vertical pattens have a significant positive effect, while my 1990 sail is not great, the short (perhaps 6 foot long) vertical battens are supporting a perhaps slightly positive roach.
Overall performance has not been bad, even with this old sail and very large battens (width, not length) there have only been minor furling issues in 5 years of sailing.
Definitely looking for a new main though and if going to a high tech sail makes the furling work
even better it may be a very good trade
I also have a used UK tape drive genoa
as an occasional alternative to the hood
yankee. Love the tape drive but the maximum wind
for the sail is about 14knts which I hit very rapidly in light air conditions going to weather
. I am continuing to run the hood
yankee most of the time because when I downshift to the full main and staysail I loose about a knot
speed at the point of downshifting.
If the wind
is increasing though, once I have about 16 on deck
going to weather
speed is back up to where I was before.
If I can get the staysail + main to perform a bit better with 14 on deck going to weather the light weight headsail might be a good choice, but probably not for cruising.