Full-length battens in a mizzen or backstay riding sail will reduce or eliminate chatter in the sail. Solid fiberglass battens work best. We have found it better to bolt the battens into their pockets with locknuts rather than tie them in; ties can loosen or chafe through. Sails set on the backstay should have closely spaced hanks, and top- and bottommost hanks should be oversized.
You should not use conventional sails and storm jibs as riding sails except in an emergency, in part because of the ultraviolet degradation that results from prolonged exposure. With storm sails, in particular, you will want to know they are at 100-percent strength when you need them.
How large do you go? On our first Intermezzo, a 100-square-foot (9.5-square-meter) mizzen, which we could reef as needed, worked very well. Aboard Intermezzo IIwe used twin sails to take advantage of her double backstays. These were 15 square feet (1.4 square meters) each. Although the two sails were very small, the inboard angle they formed would hold us rock steady.
There is a light-weather advantage to riding sails as well. When the air is shifty, they will help keep you weathercocked, improving both ventilation and comfort below.
The next time you anchor, temporarily try out a storm jib or staysail on the backstay. You will find the difference in comfort amazing.
The boat in the photo below is riding nicely head-to-wind with her unbattened mizzen. Yet, when the breeze builds, between the lack of battens and the draft of the sail, it will begin to slat back and forth. This is hard on the sail, and very tough on the crew.
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Lets start by identifying what exactly certain boats are. Sometimes the terminology can get lost on beginners, so well look at some of the most common boats and what theyre called. These boats are exactly what the name implies. They are meant to be used for fishing. Most fishing boats are powered by outboard motors, and many also have a trolling motor mounted on the bow. Bass boats can be made of aluminium or fibreglass.