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After about a year of sailing our boat, we noticed that the top two battens on our square-top mainsail were not popping to the right curvature of the sail.
What are Battens?
Battens are long thin strips of a hard material – in our case, fiberglass – that are designed to help the mainsail keep its shape.
Battens improve sail performance and extend the lifespan of your mainsail. Full-sail battens (like we have that extend from luff to leach) minimize flogging during sail changes.
How to Remove and Cut Battens
The first step we took was to try to loosen the end caps as much as we thought reasonable. That still wasn’t enough.
Next step was to cut the battens themselves. This is a permanent solution, so make sure you really want to do this before starting.
Pull the pin out of the batten cap.
Use an Allen wrench to loosen and unscrew the cap.
You’ll see the batten is loose in the sleeve. Pull it out.
Our battens are round, which means it’s going to rotate when we try to cut it. We clamped on a vise grip to keep the batten from turning.
We sawed off less than a quarter-inch of batten. We used a hacksaw.
Use sandpaper to smooth out the edges of the batten.
Test your battens. We had to cut twice to get the battens to pop properly.