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Full batten main with swept spreaders?


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Any thoughts on how a full batten main will perform with swept spreaders? We have a Prima 38 with a rig very similar to the Farr 40 rig (clearly swept spreaders).

We race only shorthanded and are considering full length battens for longer sail life and ease of dousing/ flaking the main .... we've always raced her with a bolt rope luff and only the top batten being full length. However after a few hard wind ocean races we do spend too much time and energy reefing (or should I say too much time reefed/ unreefed when we should have been set up the other way around) - so we're going with a new battcar main for ease of reefing/ hoisting and we're considering full length battens to keep things as simple as possible. Good or bad idea for shorthanded racing? What sail shape can I expect with full length battens and swept spreaders on a deep run?

We’re going with carbon battens if we go full length.

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Practically every multihulls has swept spreaders, from slow cruising to very fast performance models. The general rule is not to sail deeper than ~ 120 apparent; at that angle, with a chute, the main isn't far enough out to matter and you are going pretty deep. See if you can find out what the best VMG angle is. Any deeper is slower, so why would you? The Prima looks like a fast boat that would reach downhill.

Yeah, you will like reefing with full battens. You barely even need to tie it up, and no flogging is nice. I hear a lot of noise about wear on the battens, but with guards it is a non-problem. In 35 years of sailing multis I've never had to repair batten chafe. The sail will actually last longer, at least in terms of holding shape.

You really should be able to keep the sail off the spreaders.

 

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I've got full length battens on a swept spreader rig.

No problems at all, its got low friction slugs and I find that at least with my mainsail size there is very little friction, as long as I'm fairly head to wind I can drop the sail no problem. Haven't found it any different than a standard main on a deep run, on a fractional they're all going to rub against the spreaders. Just make sure you have a patch there.

However my boat is much smaller than yours, P is only 10.16 & E 3.57.

 

In terms of short handed handling, its good that it doesn't really flog which makes life easier, definately don't feel as rushed when reefing. At the end of the day I don't find it any easier or harder to flake the sail.

No idea if its worth it for the rating hit, but its what the boats always had since I bought her so I've stuck with it.

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7 hours ago, fsiljelof said:

Any thoughts on how a full batten main will perform with swept spreaders? We have a Prima 38 with a rig very similar to the Farr 40 rig (clearly swept spreaders).

We race only shorthanded and are considering full length battens for longer sail life and ease of dousing/ flaking the main .... we've always raced her with a bolt rope luff and only the top batten being full length. However after a few hard wind ocean races we do spend too much time and energy reefing (or should I say too much time reefed/ unreefed when we should have been set up the other way around) - so we're going with a new battcar main for ease of reefing/ hoisting and we're considering full length battens to keep things as simple as possible. Good or bad idea for shorthanded racing? What sail shape can I expect with full length battens and swept spreaders on a deep run?

We’re going with carbon battens if we go full length.

Consider RBS Battens, if you can get them.  You don’t necessarily need carbon. They’re almost unbreakable!  And, proper batten boxes, toggles, and low friction luff cars/Slides are mandatory. 

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2 hours ago, silent bob said:

Consider RBS Battens, if you can get them.  You don’t necessarily need carbon. They’re almost unbreakable!  And, proper batten boxes, toggles, and low friction luff cars/Slides are mandatory. 

I had full batten mains with a bolt rope. Didn’t ever consider slides. Common. Works fine. 11 m luff.

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12 hours ago, fsiljelof said:

We race only shorthanded and are considering full length battens for longer sail life and ease of dousing/ flaking the main .... we've always raced her with a bolt rope luff and only the top batten being full length. However after a few hard wind ocean races we do spend too much time and energy reefing (or should I say too much time reefed/ unreefed when we should have been set up the other way around) - so we're going with a new battcar main for ease of reefing/ hoisting and we're considering full length battens to keep things as simple as possible. Good or bad idea for shorthanded racing?

Interesting topic. I am sailing two-handed on 42 feet. Similar rig. Some racing, but mostly cruising. We had plans for more racing when we ordered our Elvestorm EPEX sail, but cancer got in the way.

Got four battens. Only the top batten is full, the others 1/2. battens. We spend a good amount of time out in bad weather, and times we spend too much time and energy reefing. My excellent sailmaker (I think he is excellent) from Elvstrom UK insisted on this setup. I suggested full battens, he advised against it. The reason was two-fold: a) reefing b) keep up with the design/rigging principle of the vessel. I think it is more difficult to go up to the wind will full battens. With full battens and EPEX sails, the boat will always drive forward.

When we placed the order, our plans were to do more two-handed racing then we ended up doing. Between and above ever reefpoint I got a webbing handle. I got that fitted at first service. When working at the mast, the webbing handles make it easier and quicker too reef. I will never order a main again without webbing handles.

In my instance, it is the full batten battcar that makes the sail difficult to reef or drop. That is a different story. 

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2 minutes ago, thinwater said:

"I think it's more difficult to go upwind...."

Sorry, I did not make myself clear.

Holding the boat up to wind is more difficult with a full batten. The mainsail is stiffer. When setting or taking the sail down, it requires more of the helmsman to keep the boat on the wind.  

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We like our full length battens, the main is quieter and the sail more stable.  We have in line spreaders though so deep reefing is a non issue. We're cruisers, the main is about 1,000 sq ft, with Batt Cars and easily reefed and unreefed using slab reefing.

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6 hours ago, Mogle said:

Sorry, I did not make myself clear.

Holding the boat up to wind is more difficult with a full batten. The mainsail is stiffer. When setting or taking the sail down, it requires more of the helmsman to keep the boat on the wind.  

Don't agree with this. Easy to get the main to zero lift, and not having the rig shake itself to pieces while you are sail handling is a big benefit. 

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I've not found any difference holding the head up to wind, if let go of the helm for a second then before too long the boat will being spinning circles in her own wake, but that's always been the case.
And anyway the main filling should cause the boat to round up, not the opposite.

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I've been hoisting full batten sails, generally singlehanded, for 3 decades. You don't need to be dead into the wind, only close. And they are not hard to hold into the wind. The AP does good enough. Heck, I reef just by pointing high and getting the jib tight.

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It doesn't need to be all-or-nothing. Mixing full and partial battens is common and a nice solution. I have 5 battens, 3 of which are full and 2 partial. Less flogging, less chafe, less hardware but not a completely locked shape.  For smaller mains you can get away with allslip slides. 

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32 minutes ago, Elegua said:

It doesn't need to be all-or-nothing. Mixing full and partial battens is common and a nice solution. I have 5 battens, 3 of which are full and 2 partial. Less flogging, less chafe, less hardware but not a completely locked shape.  For smaller mains you can get away with allslip slides. 

Intelligent way to go

 

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22 hours ago, DDW said:

Don't agree with this. Easy to get the main to zero lift, and not having the rig shake itself to pieces while you are sail handling is a big benefit. 

The rig shaking I agree with. With some 1/2 battens, there will be more shaking. I am happy with the combination, top battens full, the next four battens half. Based on your rigging I think it often is the best combination. 

I remember the discussions well with my sailmaker. He claimed that full battens would make it more difficult to hold the main to zero wind. I have only had this setup so difficult to claim what is best. It makes no difference to me, my crew, co-worker and wife cant hold her to zero wind if it blows over 15 knots anyway. So it's me doing both jobs or the my trusted auto-pilot gets to work. Strange that - my wife is not a bad helm, but incapable of holding to zero wind. Practise, practise, practice is not helping. Basic skills if you ask me - I am told the keep quiet every time she loses the bow to zero wind.

When the main is due to be replaced, I might have to rethink - full or half battens. Stacking or packing the main might also be easier with full?

 

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Holding the heading to the eye of the wind is best left to crewed boats, like racing. As a shorthander I avoid that problem by doing all mainsail handling closehauled on starboard. Boom eased down. Much wider accommodation of windshifts and seas that way.

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On 2/20/2020 at 3:16 AM, Elegua said:

It doesn't need to be all-or-nothing. Mixing full and partial battens is common and a nice solution. I have 5 battens, 3 of which are full and 2 partial. Less flogging, less chafe, less hardware but not a completely locked shape.  For smaller mains you can get away with allslip slides. 

Makes sense, best of both worlds, full battens up high with most of the benefits of an FB main and shorter battens low to avoid chafe which occurs on monohulls ( usually ok on multis with apparent wind further forward in decent breeze).

sailmaker of 40+ years 

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On 2/19/2020 at 12:39 PM, Mogle said:

...with my sailmaker. He claimed that full battens would make it more difficult to hold the main to zero wind....

 

I'll blunt (this is SA?). Your sailmaker has no idea what he is taking about in this specific case. It's just not a problem.

 

As for crew, I singlehand 80% of the time. That's what the AP is for. Obviously, you need to maintain a minimum speed, typically 3 knots or so.

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On 2/17/2020 at 11:46 PM, silent bob said:
On 2/17/2020 at 4:00 PM, fsiljelof said:

Any thoughts on how a full batten main will perform with swept spreaders? We have a Prima 38 with a rig very similar to the Farr 40 rig (clearly swept spreaders).

We race only shorthanded and are considering full length battens for longer sail life and ease of dousing/ flaking the main .... we've always raced her with a bolt rope luff and only the top batten being full length. However after a few hard wind ocean races we do spend too much time and energy reefing (or should I say too much time reefed/ unreefed when we should have been set up the other way around) - so we're going with a new battcar main for ease of reefing/ hoisting and we're considering full length battens to keep things as simple as possible. Good or bad idea for shorthanded racing? What sail shape can I expect with full length battens and swept spreaders on a deep run?

We’re going with carbon battens if we go full length.

 

On 2/17/2020 at 11:46 PM, silent bob said:

, if you can get them.  You don’t necessarily need carbon. They’re almost unbreakable!  And, proper batten boxes, toggles, and low friction luff cars/Slides are mandatory. 

+1

cayuse new main IMG_0731.JPG

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Except for faster racing boats carbon battens don't make sense with swept spreaders.

Carbon does NOT like impacts. Battens hitting shrouds during uncontrolled gybes fit that description. Fiberglass, while heavier, is much more damage tolerant.

However if you are the kind of person that carries carbon uni tape on board for repairs, have at it. Just make sure the taper for the broken splice is very very shallow.

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1 hour ago, Zonker said:

Except for faster racing boats carbon battens don't make sense with swept spreaders.

Carbon does NOT like impacts. Battens hitting shrouds during uncontrolled gybes fit that description. Fiberglass, while heavier, is much more damage tolerant.

However if you are the kind of person that carries carbon uni tape on board for repairs, have at it. Just make sure the taper for the broken splice is very very shallow.

Sail is North 3Di raw  /carbon, so I’m thinking paying for less weight in the sail and adding extra with full length glass battens seems like a waste, rig is carbon, but the Prima is no lightweighter by modern means, so for overall weight I don’t think it will have any effect what so ever - but for weight up top / in the sail - I’m thinking less weight is better ...

 

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As some have suggested already, think about mixing 2-3 full battens at the top with half battens in the lower half of the sail. That should get you the best of both worlds. You should be able to open the top without flogging in strong winds and still have good shape in the bottom.

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On 2/21/2020 at 8:44 PM, fsiljelof said:

Sail is North 3Di raw  /carbon, so I’m thinking paying for less weight in the sail and adding extra with full length glass battens seems like a waste, rig is carbon, but the Prima is no lightweighter by modern means, so for overall weight I don’t think it will have any effect what so ever - but for weight up top / in the sail - I’m thinking less weight is better ...

 

I would seriously recommend getting North to add the offshore ply if you haven’t specced that already, it’s in the middle of the laminate so you don’t notice it but it just provides a little extra stiffness to the sail. We race a SF3600 offshore double handed and our main is  3di raw with the offshore ply on a bolt rope and has a small sewn in gaff batten and 2 full top battens and the other 4 are regular battens, we can alter the shape any way we want but in the gusts we can de power the main and the head sometimes will gently lift back and forth but not flog. It’s a great sail

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