R 22

Rhodes 22


Full-Batten Mainsail

Have considered similar solutions, Ralph. My Rhodes is super tender for the first 10 degrees or so...slams right over. I discovered that my traveler rod (tube) has been moved about 18 inches above its factory location. I guess that I will buy a new backstay assembly to get the rod back where it belongs. The straighter pull on the boom via the main sheet might help flatten the sail some.

I am also in the market for a new suit of sails. I am considering a full-batten main that should also stiffen the ride somewhat as well. Does anyone have experience with full-batten mains on the Rhodes? I am looking for a reliable, preferably off-the-shelf supplier for a new main and genoa.

Does anyone have any experience they would like to share?

Larry Sparks
s/v Sailman's Bounty

I have a full batten mainsail on our Rhodes 22. It's from:

The Sailing Source, JSI
PO Box 20926
St. Petersburg, FL 33742

My mainsail has 3 full battens and is cut quite full with a big roach for good light air performance. I had to weld an extension onto the backside of the masthead casting to move upper attachment point for the double backstays sufficiently aft (about 6") in order to clear the leach of the sail. If you don't, the battens will tend to hang up on the backstays when the boom swings across. In light air, the mainsail will hang up on the backstays. In heavy air, you could break a batten or tear the mainsail. My mainsail has two sets of jiffy reef points. My mainsail has sail slides, not the luff boltrope that comes standard. With full battens, you will have a lot more friction when hoisting and lowering the mainsail and boltrope is not practical anymore.

With sail slides, my mainsail practically falls down the mast when I release the halyard.

If what you want is the boat to have less initial tenderness, then, a full battened mainsail will help somewhat. A properly shaped sail will always give you more forward drive and less heeling. If your present sails are old and worn out; then, even a new set of factory OEM sails will be better than what you are used to. However, there is a price to be paid. The full battened mainsail will also hold its shape better in a gust. Your old sails will distort and spill enough wind by the point where the rail dips into the water to allow the extra buoyancy in the reverse shear in the hull to cause the boat to harden up. The fully battened mainsail will hold its shape almost no matter what.

If you aren't quick about dumping the traveler and/or letting the genoa sheet off, the boat will heel over enough to take water into the cockpit!

Lowering the traveler bar will help to the extent that it allows the tension on the main sheet to be more downward. This will enable you to properly shape the mainsail & thus, the boat will be less tender. My boat has a 4:1 Ronstan boom vang & it is a very important mainsail shaping control as well.

Do either of your boats have the IMF mainsail? With no battens, a loose foot, and more weight aloft in the mast for greater heeling moment, I would expect the IMF mainsail boats to be more tender than the standard mainsail boats. I've never sailed an IMF mainsail equipped boat, so I can't speak with authority here.

Roger Pihlaja
S/V Dynamic Equilibrium

Roger, I agree, just not sure I want the hassle. Right now, I just want to get the boat in the water and go sailing. Perhaps I can take a look at your modification. Where are you sailing this summer?

When the boom hangs, I grab it and pull it free. Can be exciting on a hard tack!

I am interested in your boom vang. I presume that you don't use the pop-top w/the vang? What are the connection points on the boom and mast base? Also, do you use it as a jibe preventer when sailing downwind?


Certainly my full batten mainsail could have been cut with less roach. But, I wanted it all - more power in light air, better sail shape in heavy air, longer fabric life from less fluttering, etc. If you cut your full batten mainsail to the standard sail shape, you would not be taking advantage of some of the potential benefits. If you don't trust your welding ability; then, take the masthead casting to a reputable welding shop in your area. MIG welding of aluminum is pretty foolproof.

After the modification to my upper backstay attachment point, it is physically impossible to hang my boom on the backstays. Before the modification, it was difficult, but possible. The boom gooseneck had to be in the uppermost position on the mast track, the boom vang had to be left slack, there had to be lots of slack in the mainsheet - such as when jibing from broad reach to bbroad reach, & then there had to be sufficient wind to cause the end of the boom to lift in the middle of the jibe. You can stop it by grabbing a handful of mainsheet between the fiddle blocks to pull the end of the boom down as it comes across the cockpit. Or, install a boom vang.

Roger Pihlaja
S/V Dynamic Equilibrium

Thanks for the excellent info, Roger.

I have problems presently with my boom hanging on the backstay occasionally. Makes for interesting moves when tacking in heavy air. Do you think your full-batten main was cut a little too generously? I hate to deal with welding, then worrying about the weld holding, etc. I too, have sail slides and have little problem raising or dousing the main.

I can't think of a good reason for the IMF unit, and almost would prefer a set of jibs to roller furling. I'm a traditionalist, I guess. My main is from a 1977 boat that the previous owner traded in on a 1984 recycled boat, so I would like to think that a lot of my problem is from a 21-year old sail.

Agree 100% on watching the water, anybody who sails inland lakes should certainly heed your advice.

BTW, the former name by the former owner of my boat was the Equilibrium. It is now officially, the Sailsman's Bounty.


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