Q: Where can I buy battens?
A: Your sail maker is the first stop. Because battens will require very specific measurements in length, taper, draft location and overall profile, it’s best to discuss with your sail maker. If you know exactly what you need, you can check with dealers or local sail makers on this page.
Q: What kind of battens do I need for my boat?
A: We wish it were as simple as Boat A = Battens X, Y and Z but of course this is never the case. We offer both E-glass and Carbon Epoxy batten stock in 6 different widths, and as many as 11 thicknesses per width to customize your sail’s profile and design to suit Optimists through Maxis. We don’t have any pre-built battens in stock and work with sail makers to customize each sail’s profile. We’re an OEM supplier to most of the major sail making groups throughout the world along with many smaller independent lofts. We have some general guidelines that we use based on boat size HERE, or if you’re lucky, you may find a general profile in our Boat Finder HERE.
Q: How much better is the RBS Powder Coated Flicker compared to standard crane or flicker battens?
A: Simply put, much better. When we first introduced our powder coated flicker battens many years ago, we’d conservatively estimated that the combination of our epoxy/E-glass batten stock, with the UV protection of a proprietary powder coating process would last roughly 3 times that of an un-coated, standard flicker. We were wrong. They’re proving to last much longer with the life span continuing to impress even us at this point.
Q: How do we fit the RBS Powder Coated Flickers, and what kind of hardware should we use?
A: Because we use our uni-directional E-glass epoxy batten material for our flickers as well, it is very important to drill through them properly. First, measure out and mark your holes on both sides of the flicker. Using a sharp (preferably carbide) bit to match your bolt diameter, drill through half way, flip the batten and drill through from the other side. This minimizes fiber blowout. Using a washer and standard bolt will do the trick from there. As far as hardware, we’d suggest researching a block or ring from companies like Harken, Ronstan or Antal depending on whether you’re using a wire, or fiber backstay. You can see more about the RBS Powdercoated Flickers HERE. (We also sell a high performance Dyneema SK99 dual braid 5mm backstay material from Alpha Ropes as well, ask or find dealers HERE).
Q: What size RBS Powdercoated Epoxy Flicker Batten should I use?
A: Our general reference chart is:
20-25′ boat (J-70 or similar) – EPC15200/1200mm
22-28′ boat (M-24 or similar) – EPC15265/1200mm
28-35′ boat (M-32 or similar) – EPC15300/1700mm
30-35′ boat with need for wider profile (Selden Sm spec) – EPC19265/1200mm
35-45′ boat (Selden Med spec) – EPC19350/1400mm
45’+ boat (Selden Lg spec) – EPC19400/1800mm
If you have a heavy roach/fathead main, err on the size up if your hull length falls between two sizes.
Q: What is the RBS Batten Splice all about?
A: With seemingly no end in sight to climbing freight costs, we developed the RBS Batten Splice to do two things. Firstly, minimize shipping costs. Secondly, make handling and storing long full battens much easier. The RBS Batten Splice utilizes an amazingly strong, ballistic grade, E-glass integrated thermoplastic film which we hand build the housing to fit our batten stock perfectly. We build a scarf joint into the batten and fix the housing on one end. From there, it’s simply plug and play. We’ve had these in the wild for many years in both Carbon and E-glass battened sails, and have an amazingly small failure rate. Having said that, almost every failure we’ve seen has been due to improper use, or force that would have destroyed a normal non-spliced batten anyway. If inserted and used properly, the battens are actually stronger with the splice. You can see more about the RBS Batten Splice HERE. Our spliced battens and housings need to be created and fitted at the time of order. We cannot “add a splice” to an existing batten as we need to add length to account for our splice and overlap necessary to reach the final length of the finished batten.
Q: Horizontal Roller Furling battens? Really?
A: While there is some debate internally at RBS as to why we’ve even tried and continued to develop a tapered, roller batten, we have been able to produce a furling batten that actually supports the leech of the sail while allowing a nice soft entry by way of a specially designed taper created in the layup process. Keep in mind that we’re asking a batten to be two opposite things here for two physically opposing functions. Using our E-glass thermoplastic, we’ve designed a hand built, tapered roller batten that can marry performance with function. We strongly suggest removing rollers when not in use, avoiding keeping them stored while furled, and it is IMPERATIVE that they’re inserted and furled the proper way, according to instructions from your sailmaker. There are many ways that these can be used incorrectly, (and they will fail if used any of these ways) but only one proper way to insert and furl. If cared for properly, they can last multiple seasons. Every version of a roller batten has its own compromises. For us, we have three stiffness choices with the Light providing little shape and support comparatively, but will furl easily within a 3″ internal diameter, the Standard which will offer more support but can only furl to 4.5″ minimum internal diameter, or our Heavy designation which provides great leech support, but can only furl to 6″ minimum internal diameter, and may leave a tail. You can see more about the RBS Roller Battens as well as the proper use instructions HERE.