method of tying sail to external batten/yards


New Member
Hello Group!
I am trying to adapt an old kayak of mine to a sailing rig. I have fallen in love with Rushton's batwing style (as seen of Vesper) that has battens/yards/spars laced to the sail at the luff and somehow attached to the projecting spars beyond the leach. It looks like a triangle is formed with ties to accomplish this. I was curious if anyone knows how these connections are made (photos would really help) or if I could be pointed in the general direction of good detailed sail plans (similar to Vesper's sail).
If you mean like this:


Then you have a couple of options for batten attachment. The most common is to place them inside narrow fabric sleeves (batten pockets). At the leech end of the pockets, there are grommets and the batten has a hole in its end. You simply tie it in so that it can't fall out. Without a mast track, you generally don't want a lot of tension on the battens, trying to force them into a curve as it tends to push the luff forward of the mast (undesirable). Forward ends of the pockets can either be closed and leather reinforced, or open if your system has some sort of metal hinge piece connecting the yard and battens (as seen above). I'm not aware of any sort of triangular lashing at the leech end of the battens or yard (or the need for one, and since I build sails like this, I'd think I'd be aware of it). Are you sure you're not looking at the reinforcement patches in those spots (as seen above)?

Another option is to eliminate the sleeves. pepper the sail with lines of small grommets and lace the battens on top of the cloth, Chinese-style. This is usually done with a thin batten on both sides of the sail. For our purposes it really has no advantage, but they do look pretty neat with their "bones" showing, as seen in these lugsails. All in all though, the batten pocket type is much more common on canoes.


A typical batwing gunter setup is actually fairly simple to build, even if you build your own metal hardware as it's mostly just sheet brass and pretty basic. This is another lug, but you can see the typical battens-in-their-pockets approach that most sails like this have.

Thank you so much for the quick response! And from the fellow who's book I am working from! Thanks!
Somehow my mind is just not wrapping itself around this one. Here are a couple of photos that show some sort of lacing around the external batten, 2 grommets and possibly a hole or slot in the batten or maybe just a constrictor knot (around the batten?). I appreciate the heads up on the luff tightening.... I was thinking how that must not be tight at all due to the tension pulling the sail luff out of shape. It is sounding like the external battens have a hole at both ends. If it seems that I am on the right track, I guess I'll let it ferment awhile.... that has to help!

Photo of batwing leach:

Chinese Junk:
Those are both Chinese-style sails with no pockets and the battens are just tied on top through multiple pairs of small grommets which straddle the batten along its length. Actually, it's traditional to use two battens, one on each side, with one being the real batten and the other a very thin "keeper batten". When we get to the leech end, since there is no pocket to keep the battens from sliding around, there is another pair of grommets and the triangle lacing you mentioned just does a little better job of keeping everything aligned. The batten has a single hole in its aft end. No big deal, but it can be helpful. For a pocketed batten, all we need is a single grommet through the batten pocket, a matching grommet through the sail's leech and one in the batten with a simple tie.

The sails on the aluminum boat actually had both a pair of little grommets straddling the batten's end and a larger one under the batten in the middle. This was in case the owner wanted to try a Chinese-style mainsheet bridle system instead of a normal mainsheet attached to the boom. The chinese system runs a light "sheetlet" to the aft end of every batten and they come together down below. Then it also had typical, larger reef clew grommets just above the lower two battens, so those spots ended up with four grommets at the leech for the two bottom battens.


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