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From: Ron Nicol
Date: 04 May 2005
Time: 05:22:04 -0400
Batten tension as well as deflection or stiffness is very important for proper sail shape. In general, you should tension the battens enough to remove any vertical wrinkles in the sail. With Dacron sails, you will have to tighten them as they stretch, to keep the sail smooth. With composite sails, that do not stretch nearly as much, you need to monitor the shape and see where the draft looks best under a given condition. In heavy air, you would want the battens very tight, whereas in light air you would want just enough tension to take out the vertical wrinkles. Having adjustable batten pockets is a very good option, as you can easily adjust the sail for different conditions, and release the tension when not in use. (very important when storing the sail, always release batten tension for any extended period of time.) There are many types of battens, but the ones I recommend are epoxy/glass that can withstand the rigors of power-gybing with the loose footed main and full-length traveler. It kinda sucks when you snap a batten and lose sail shape and/or shred the sail because of inferior quality equipment, then lose the race to boot. Buy good battens with adjustable straps or screw-type. It is worth the extra money for ease of operation.