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Beacher

Battens

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I need to replace a batten. The original was 5/8" untapered fiberglass. I can replace with same, but am curious is anyone has gone to tapered wood battens. The pocket will take a 7/8 batten, maybe 1".

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Beacher,

 

Back in the day, all we had was wood for battens.They worked, and we had the advantage that we could plane them down to get the shape that we wanted. The down side was that they often broke and had to be replaced. I use glass battens exclusively now because they are permanent. The popular woods for battens were cane, oak and ash. You need wood with good bending properties.

 

To make sure that I do not lose my leech battens I sew them in with a stitch across pocket opening at the leech. To remove the batten I snip the stitch and out they come. I use a sail makers needle with waxed sail makers thread.

 

To fold the battened sail into a small stowable package I do what I call a leech fold. Instead of folding the sail perpendicular to the luff and flaking the sail parallel to the foot, I fold the sail perpendicular to the leech, flaking the sail parallel to the battens. This stacks the battens on top of each of each other so that you can fold the stack around the battens, the folded sail should then fit in the sail bag.

 

On the CS17 and 20 mk3's we use a sausage bag with a zipper and flake the sail right into the bag and zip it up.

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I dislike the battens that come with most sails as being far too stiff toward the luff.  It may or may not create a big loss in performance but the typical vertical sail crease along the forward end of battens is just ugly.  My solution is to make my own battens.  I used to make them of ash when racing regularly but now make battens from fiberglass.  Wooden battens tend to develop the bends over time unless treated with great care. 

 

Regular woven fiberglass is no good for this job as it is much too flexible.  I use biaxial 18 oz or heavier with long linear strands taken from biax laminated inside.  More strands aft and fewer forward until you get the shape you want.  The forward end should be very flexible. The sandwich is laid up between plastic sheets and clamped with straight wooden planks on the outside.  It takes some experimentation to get the stiffness and flex where you want it but a great sail shape is the reward.  The first try will probably be too limber but you cans simply add more on top of the earlier one. If you have access to small diameter linear fiberglass rods, that is ideal.

 

Admittedly, this is a bit of trouble but it is only time and I always enjoyed fiddling with such stuff if it resulted in better performance.  Even if the increase in performance is not measurable, your mental state may be improved and that is just as important.

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I don't think it matter for short battens, but for full length it can, at least to my eye.  I am using teak as it rarely changes memory from true and playing with the taper.

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21 hours ago, Designer said:

 

To make sure that I do not lose my leech battens I sew them in with a stitch across pocket opening at the leech. To remove the batten I snip the stitch and out they come. I use a sail makers needle with waxed sail makers thread.

 

This would have saved my batten. It was a full length, 80" batten that was velcroed into the pocket. In the middle of a 25 mile long windy, wavy broad reach I noticed the batten protruding 6 inches from the leach. It seemed stable, but I lost it on the takedown.

 

A hint I got re wood battens is to wrap them in filament strapping tape. Some extra strength and you can get the pieces out if they break.

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