Mainsail: Battens?

I’m interested in owners’ experience with full, partial and
battenless mainsails, from several perspectives. I understand the
traditional wisdom about battenless sails regarding chafe and
downwind reefing, but the sailmaker tells me that these issues are
easily dealt with. So aside from cost, why not go for the performance
benefits of full battens?

  1. Weather helm - will a full battened main increase weather helm?
  2. Snagging a batten in the rigging - has anyone had this experience?
    Can you share the details on how it happened and what you did to
    recover and avoid recurrence?
  3. Performance - has anyone tried both options and compared
    performance, or buddy sailed with another boat to compare? I’d be
    interested in relative speed and pointing comparisons.

I’d also welcome any other comments on this decision.

Thanks.

— Tom Unruh <tunruh@nga.org > wrote:

I’m interested in owners’ experience with full,
partial and
battenless mainsails, from several perspectives. I
understand the
traditional wisdom about battenless sails regarding
chafe and
downwind reefing, but the sailmaker tells me that
these issues are
easily dealt with. So aside from cost, why not go
for the performance
benefits of full battens?

  1. Weather helm - will a full battened main increase
    weather helm?
  2. Snagging a batten in the rigging - has anyone had
    this experience?
    Can you share the details on how it happened and
    what you did to
    recover and avoid recurrence?
  3. Performance - has anyone tried both options and
    compared
    performance, or buddy sailed with another boat to
    compare? I’d be
    interested in relative speed and pointing
    comparisons.

I’d also welcome any other comments on this
decision.

Thanks.

It depends on how techy you are willing to go.
We sailed #4 with old battenless red sails and were
very disappointed in the boats sailing ability. First
we recutthe main (and eliminated about 10-14 inches of
the hollowed roach which had bagged out) and still it
was not a pretty sight or sail. The new cruising main
from Ullman sails has a full top battenwith three
36inch lower battens. New Sails and a hard vang
turned the boat around. It is a pleasure to sail.
Oh yes we added a pair of furlers to the jib and
staysail which of course are battenless! I would
vote for two top full battens because the sailplan is
low aspect and they can give you good shape up above.

good luck and keep your luff right!
Nate Berkowitz
Anita Rock BCC#4

====nathaniel berkowitz,1095 market street,san francisco 94103
tel: 415 255 9781 fax: 415:255 9392
email:nathanielsf@yahoo.com


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