Removing a fully battened main

Stemar

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In a moment of weakness & generosity, I volunteered to help a mate remove his fully battened main and genny from his Dufour 39 this weekend.

It seems I'm the technical expert (Gawd 'elp us :eek:).

I've done this plenty of times on my 24 footer, and am aware of the issues of scaling up sails and ease (or otherwise) of controlling big sails in a gust, but are there any gotchas I'm likely to come across with the single line reefing or full length battens that may not be obvious until they bite us?

Thanks in advance
 

bobgoode

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Watch you don't drop the nuts when removing the battens! Some gaffer tpe over the nut works wonders whilst you unscrew the bolt. Dismatle the fitting, pull out the batten and then re-tighten the fitting.
 

earlybird

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When you detach any single-line reefing lines, make sure that you imediately tie LARGE stopper-knots in any free ends. Otherwise they disappear like rats up a drain-pipe, (or a boom)!
 

BlueChip

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When I am short handed, I keep the sail zipped in the stackpak and slide the whole thing off the boom complete with battens, then I lay it on the pontoon and take the battens out.
Its still tough work with 2 people but at least its easier to keep it all under control where there is room to work and its much less likely to lose a batten overboard.
 

Norman_E

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It depends on the sail design how you get the battens out. On my mainsail there is a long velcro covered strap that is inserted into the batten pocket over the batten. To put it in it is folded over a short length of batten used as a push stick, and pushed in. Withdrawing the push stick causes the velcro to grip and the batten is held in place. To get it out the same push stick is pushed in to separate the velcro, so that the strap can be pulled out. If your friend's boat has that system, make sure that the push stick can be found.

My battens on this new sail are inserted from the leach, but on the old mainsail they were put in from the luff, with a totally different system. The old sail had batten cars fitted to a plastic fitting on the luff of the sail, which included a steel clamp held by two screws. The clamp was there to hold a webbing strap that closed the batten pocket. I have no doubt that there are plenty of other systems as well.

My advice is to choose a calm day, then raise the sail until until the first batten can be examined to determine how to remove it. The other main issue is whether the sail is loose footed or has a bolt rope trapped in the boom.

I always get the sail makers to remove the sails for winter storage, but I have seen how they do it. My sail is loose footed. They haul the sail right up, removing battens as they go, then lower it, pulling the batten cars and sliders out of the mast gate as they go and flaking the sail on the deck. If it was really windy, and you needed to do it, on my boat at least it would be possible to get the sail slides out of the mast track without hauling it up first, but that would make it harder to get the sail neatly folded.
 

Goldie

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Got lazy-jacks? Is the sail loose-footed? If so, make sure the sail is nicely flaked with the lazy-jacks just a little slack so that the flakes lie flat. If it's fitted wih slides or cars(as opposed to bolt rope) remove/disconnect from mast. Take out reefing lines and battens and disconnect at tack and clew. The fold the sail within the confines of the lazy-jacks, lift off, tie up, relax.
 

john_morris_uk

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I don't see how there is an easy answer to your question because --- 'it depends'

For instance there is NO WAY you could remove our mainsail with its stacking system from the boom as a whole. With mine ui has to be taken to bits systematically. Slides out of the main track starting from the top, withdraw the battens as you go. Finally slide the foot bolt and stack pack out of the boom. How your friends mainsail fits together might be completely different...

Our battens come out from the Luff end - and you need to loosen two screws on each car and then a nylon bit slides out and then once its levered past the batten tensioning lug the batten can be withdrawn. Ours doesn't sound like any of the systems described so far.

I think that the best advice is to go slowly and methodically and make a note or take photo's of how it is arranged.
 

Playtime

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I don't see how there is an easy answer to your question because --- 'it depends'.

I agree - here's another system for you to consider. :)

On my Elvestrom fully battened main, the battens comes out at the leech. There are 4 and they are circular. Each fitting at the luff has a locking screw (Philips head) that screws into the body of a larger headless bolt that takes a medium sized allen key. You must first unscrew the locking screw and then completely unscrew and remove the headless bolt. The batten slides out through the hole left by the bolt.

Removing the sail from the mast is also different. The cars (ball bearing) are left on the track. The luff is attached to each car by a 2 pronged pin that holds a toggle in place that is sewn into the luff. Each pin is removed upwards (often with some difficulty) using a thin lever (I use a small screwdriver) and pliers; the toggle should then just drop out. Not easy to describe but, if it is this system, it should become obvious when you look at the fittings.

Have fun ;)
 
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davidfox

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When you detach any single-line reefing lines, make sure that you imediately tie LARGE stopper-knots in any free ends. Otherwise they disappear like rats up a drain-pipe, (or a boom)!

Take a 'hop up' so you can work above it a bit, getting the slides out of the mast is heavy work especially towards the bottom of the sail (unless you are quite tall) and the advice above is very important re stopper knots.
I cannot take out the stacker system/sails in one on mine, so do not rely on being able to (i wish I could as it is a very good idea!)
 

marchhare

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"On my Elvestrom fully battened main, the battens comes out at the leech. There are 4 and they are circular. Each fitting at the luff has a locking screw (Philips head) that screws into the body of a larger headless bolt that takes a medium sized allen key. You must first unscrew the locking screw and then completely unscrew and remove the headless bolt. The batten slides out through the hole left by the bolt."

Ditto for my Sanders sails however I find it easier with the loose footed sail in the lazy jacks tied up quite tight to tie it up in a sausage, raise the main a few inches to slip the sliders out of the gate in the mast, and then lift the sail complete with battens and slide it ot over the foredeck onto the pontoon. Then remove the battens on the pontoon, makes it easier to handle the sail as a stiffer long tube especially with three people.
The first time I did the removal I drew a diagram of the double line reefing to have a reference for when putting back in the reverse process, it is easy to get reefing lines and pennents the wrong side of the main. As previous poster noted make sure all lines have secure knots in the ends.
 

Ian_Edwards

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Hi,
I have Dufour 40 and take the mainsail of single handed most of the time. If it’s a standard Elvstrom Dufour mainsail, then the battens come out from the luff (mast end). There is a plastic fitting screwed onto the sail into which the 10mm studs for the batten car are fitted, you need to take the cars off the mast track, unscrew the studs and take the batten cars off, then unscrew the large black plastic nut, this gives access to the end of the tubular batten. On my sail there are washers inside the plastic fitting, which form a packing between the tubular batten and the large plastic nut. I find it easier to take the washer out, using a bit of bent coat hanger, this frees up the end of the batten so it can slide out.
As other have said it make it much easier if the sail is carefully flaked onto the boom, so that the sail is pulled out flat, i.e. tensioned axially along the boom. I also find it easier if I put half a dozen sail ties around the main sail (it’s a loose foot) to keep it in place when I undo one side of the lazy jacks. I also keep the shackle at the tack (goose neck end) in place and the outhaul reasonably tight until the battens are out, this helps keep the sail on the boom.
If the sail has a slide at the outhaul end of the foot you need to take the stack and pack cover off before you can get the sail off, but I’ve seen some mainsails with just a big Velcro tape around the boom at the outhaul.
When the battens are out, you can fold the sail from the mast end and then bag it. Our sail is quite heavy on the Dufour 40, just about as much as I can lift, so mind you back. I find it’s easier to move it with a sack truck than a standard marina trolley; you don’t have to lift it.
On, and there is a SS plate with two bolts which close the mast gate, make sure these screw a tight when you’ve finished, they work loose if you don’t, I found one on the deck, just about to roll over the side!
Hope this helps.
 
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