Sailing without the batons/battens in the sail?

Thread starter #1
1. I take my Laser out for the weekend and find it difficult to remove and replace the mast at the end of the day at the dock. When I had a Sunfish I would just drop the sail for the night. I was thinking if the sail didn't have the battens in it I could roll it and bungee it to the mast pretty tight. Will I harm the sail in any way not using the battens. I don't care if I have lost performance. I'm a day sailor not a racer yet.

2. Can I use a radial sail with a standard lower mast or should I buy a new mast for the smaller sail. I am finding it hard to handle the 20mph winds. I am getting beat up and spending to much time in the water.

Thank you,



Active Member
1. You will destroy the leech of the sail pretty fast if you sail without battens. Just take them out before you roll the sail, and put them back in when you go sailing again.

2. Yes, you need the Radial bottom section for the Radial sail. I can't even visualize how you'd fit a Radial sail on a Standard mast.

I wouldn't think of the Radial as a reefed Standard; the different rigs are rather a performance-equalisation method for different weight groups. You'll probably spend less time in the water with a smaller rig, but not much. How much do you weigh? The Standard/Radial cutoff is around 75 kg.
Thread starter #3
I am 5'8" and 160lbs the wind lately has been18-25 mph and I have found it difficult to control the boat. I have recently upgraded to the Laser from a Sunfish and never have had an issue with 20+ winds. I read on a different thread to roll the sail around the mast a couple of times if the winds are to high. Any thought on that method I know it will render the Cunningham useless, but I never mess with it because the wind have been to strong and all my attention is on keeping the boat on course. I sail on the Ocean side in the Florida Keys and the wave can be 2-4 ft to make things more difficult.

thanks for your response.
Thread starter #4
Here is the Quote I was referring to .

I'm your size, and 55, and I'd never even consider a Radial for 8-15. I'd just get a Full rig. It's easy to hold down beating, and more fun reaching and running. If it goes to 20+ and you're not racing, then a full is better for reaching/surfing around recreationally.

I can handle a full in 30+ if reaching around, just beating becomes a workout, but still doable. In the 30's you can do a wrap or two around the mast to reef it, but the sail shape is awful, thus hard to beat with, e.g. the cunningham becomes useless, but reaching/surfing is fun.

So, for 8-15 trade winds, I'd get a full, and maybe a radial if you want a second rig. Forget the 4.7.

Al Russell 182797

vtgent49, Jul 3, 2005 Report


Active Member
Your size fits the Radial definitely better and it would be smart to switch completely to it, at the latest when you start racing.

Thoughts on reefing: have never seen anyone try it, might make the boat barely-sailable in a storm, would try it only with an already worn-out sail, the cunningham should probably be preset as tight as possible as it becomes essentially unadjustable.

Thoughts on the above quote: that writer is also mistaking the different rigs to be used in different wind strengths by the same sailor, when they're actually intended for all-round use for different sized people. You can't switch them on the water anyway when conditions change.
Lali is correct about not sailing with battens. The leech will vibrate pretty strongly, damaging the sail. You will also feel the vibration though the boat. Better to take the battens out and roll the sail up open the mast. Also at your size you would be happier using a radial rig. I am 5'9" and 165. I go to the radial in winds above 15. I am fully powered up and fast.