Feathercraft Batwing

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Paul
knight of the folding kayak realm
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Feathercraft Batwing

Post by Paul »

I thought it was interesting that in Doug Simpson's kayak sailing expedition they opted for the Sabani sails over their own FC manufactured batwings. The sabanis were larger and proved to be an overall superior sail. I wonder if this will cause FC to modify their existing line up of sails offered.
LH Mark I
Nautiraid Grand Raid 540
SOF Greenland Kayak

Alm

Post by Alm »

They sailed K2s. This boat with 2 people needs more than 36-38 sf sail, and too large sail is less efficient than 2 sails of smaller size.

The proper name is "Sampan", or more commonly - Junk sail. From the photos it looks like that they sailed downwind most of the time. From what I read about this rig, - they probably did: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Junk_Rig . Another impression - FC leeboard is a little bit small for upwind sailing. And, not impression but something I know for sure: FC K2 rudder is too small (and not properly plumb) for sailing even with FC K1 and sail area 36-38 sf - this explains the reference to "steering oar" in the text.

I wonder if they did anything to FC mast - unlike any ohter sail, Junk rig works better with the mast slanted forward a few degrees.

It appears that their amas have some degree of rotation around the cross-thwart - without a fixed angle to the horizon. On the 2nd video the amas are even turned "backwards" - with pointed tips facing forward, don't know why.

It would be interesting to see Junk sails manufactured commercially for kayaks at a reasonable price (this I doubt), and to hear some feedback from kayaking sailors. It looks more complicated than classical triangular "Bermuda" sail (like Folbot's) or Balogh's batwing sail. More ropes, especially after you've dropped the sail. OTH, hoisting it in strong winds, tacking and reefing with "Junk" is reportedly easy - I like it when it's easy - and who needs superb upwind speeds in kayak cruising anyway...

aklinz

Feathercraft Sail Rig

Post by aklinz »

You state that "F/C leeboard is too small for upwind sailing (?)
I sail a F/C K1 with a 32 sq ft Balogh Batwing, and my friend has a F/C Klondike with the stock F/C Upwind sail rig. I can assure you that both rigs sail VERY well upwind, thank you. We routinely sail up to about 40 degres into the wind. The F/C rig has two leeboards, while my Balogh has one much longer, wider one, and both boats have no problems with crosswind "skidding". In fact, when beam reaching, my Balogh makes some very interesting "creaking" sounds at the leeboard pivot; attesting to the large effect it creates. When initially considering my Balogh Batwing, and asking questions, I am surprised at how much negativity I received from kayakers, about how "it won't work" "it won't sail upwind" and "K1 can't handle sailing" etc. etc. After sailing this rig for almost 3 years now, I can assure you it is a blast flying along at 10 knots !
Happy Sailing Dudes!
Andrew Klinzmann

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chrstjrn
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Post by chrstjrn »

Hi Andrew-
Do you use the outriggers with the batwing?
Chris T.
Klymit Packraft
In storage in the US:
~'91 Klepper A2 w/ BSD schooner rig
'64 Klepper Passat/Tradewind
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'04 Pakboat Puffin II
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aklinz

BOSS Outriggers

Post by aklinz »

Absolutely ! I would never consider sailing my Batwing 32 without the BOSS outriggers. First: My Feathercraft K1 is quite narrow, and the 32 sq. ft. sail would simply flip over with the slightest crosswind. Second: Crosswind sailing (beam reaching) is the fastest, most fun sailing, anyway. Third: my friend initailly sailed his Feathercraft Klondike without outriggers and promptly flipped over! (He has since bought the Feathercraft upwind sail rig). Fourth: If you read Jon Waterman's book "Arctic Crossing" you will find the one time he sailed his Klepper without his outriggers he promptly flipped over....
The Feathercraft K1/Batwing 32/BOSS combo sails like the dickens! I have sailed in Alberta lakes, and on the BC coast. The ONLY caveat I have with this rig is during downwind running, in strong winds (with big waves), the sail tends to "power" the bow down into the wave fronts. Very scary. Mark Balogh has always recommended reefing the sail to minimum area during high winds, anyway, and this would prevent this. Andrew Klinzmann

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chrstjrn
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Post by chrstjrn »

Thanks Andrew.
Good post.
Chris T.
Klymit Packraft
In storage in the US:
~'91 Klepper A2 w/ BSD schooner rig
'64 Klepper Passat/Tradewind
'64 Klepper T12
Early '90s Old Town Canoe
Previous:
'04 Pakboat Puffin II
'05 Swift (prototype)
'84 Hobie 16.

Jan Dudda

Re: Feathercraft Batwing

Post by Jan Dudda »

My post with pic below...
Last edited by Jan Dudda on Tue Oct 28, 2008 11:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Jan Dudda

Re: Feathercraft Batwing

Post by Jan Dudda »

Paul, we have used the FC Sabani together with a jib on our NWkayaks Seascape on a 4 week trip down the BC coast this summer. We wanted to order a Balogh rig because of reputation, price and weight but they are always backordered at least 2 month. FC offers adaption plates you can tie on hardshell kayaks, which works pretty good. However, we did not trust in this system completely and put some additional bolts in. The weather was lausy sometimes with a lot of headwind and we got a lot of sailing upwind training! The sail performed wonderful and we never did regret the high price. However, when we compared the upwind sailing efficiency, the jib was far more effective than the Sabani in our hands. With the jib alone we could sail efficiently 45 degree off the wind direction, the Sabani made more like 70 degree. So, we were wondering, if a conventional main sail beside being lighter and easier to pack may also do a better job upwind, but I have no experience with that. Anyone else? Now, I am moving back to Germany, sold my hardshells and FC will install the sail on my K1. Can't wait to try this out.
Last edited by Jan Dudda on Tue Jan 20, 2009 2:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.

aklinz

Re: Feathercraft Batwing

Post by aklinz »

Hello Jan.
Good luck with your Feathercraft sail on your K1. My friend has the stock F/C sailrig on his Klondike; we have had many great days of sailing our two boats. The only thing I have to ask you is how do you manage to handle both the main sail and the jib in your one-man cockpit? My Balogh Batwing 32 is enough of a handful on my K1; I don't know if I could handle the extra rigging of a jib... I am still thinking about it, though. My friend's F/C rig has a nice jib, and it improves his light-wind performance dramatically. Only negative he has for the F/C rig is their strange "rotating" akas with their water-filled chambers. Weird, and doesn't always work. Several times he has had the aka rotate around 180 degrees and point backwards! He has praised my fixed Balogh aka/ama system, with it's built-in 15 degree angle of attack. OTOH, the F/C akas are much more robust and look like they will take a beating. Enjoy sailing your K1 and please send some pictures.
Andrew

Alm

Re: Feathercraft Batwing

Post by Alm »

With the jib alone we could sail efficiently 45 degree off the wind direction, the Sabani made more like 70 degree. So, we were wondering, if a conventional main sail beside being lighter and easier to pack may also do a better job upwind
Sabani sail, according to Wikipedia, is a so-so performer on upwind. Traditional triangular mainsail or Batwing should be better.
Several times he has had the aka rotate around 180 degrees and point backwards! He has praised my fixed Balogh aka/ama system, with it's built-in 15 degree angle of attack.
Amas design is just one more problem that I hear about FC upwind rig, and it confirms my conclusions so far - BSD (Balogh) Batwing rig is a superior design compared to FC Batwing rig (including mast, sail, amas, the way how crossbar is attached to the stringers etc).
OTOH, the F/C akas are much more robust and look like they will take a beating.
Is it because of larger outside diameter? BSD akas have 1.3/8" OD - is it any bigger on FC akas?

I have to say, though, that FC struts are thicker than BSD ones, indeed. An overkill, in my opinion, and doesn't make struts or akas stronger - the loads in struts act mostly along the strut axis. Also, plastic pieces used to fasten FC akas to stringers (hinges etc) are much larger than on BSD (not sure if this makes sense too, but - may be), and these pieces look... let's say, angular. Something that doesn't feel right on a sail hardware (and could've been easily improved).

Jan Dudda

Re: Feathercraft Batwing

Post by Jan Dudda »

Hi Andrew and Alex,

I will have the rig mounted behind the cockpit and will have to try if there is enough space for using the jib. In my feeling I also think this may be way too much sail surface for a single. I also agree about the amas, they are just too large, especially for a single kayak and I do not really understand the advantage of the rotation. Additionally, they seem to have some quality problems because I had to send 2 amas back for repair, when the valve connection to the ama broke after very short use. But they really have a great service and fixed it immediately. Fortunately, they have 2 chambers and one compensates easily for the other. Now, I am really thinking about ordering the conventional sail for the K1. There is just no need to take such a heavy rig on a trip if you can't sail upwind efficiently. When I bought the rig, Doug from FK told me, the upwind sail performance of the Sabani and conventional batwing would be comparable, but will have to talk to him again about it....

Jan

Alm

Re: Feathercraft Batwing

Post by Alm »

Jan, FC rig probably has some warranty. I would better sent FC rig back to the factory and ordered Balogh batwing sail 36sf with amas and all the hardware for FC K1. (You will need FC mast-step, but if FC insists, return them mast-step as well - Mark Balogh has some). With some luck and persistence, you'll get your Balogh rig in mid-summer 2009.

Amas filled with water... what happens to them on land, I wonder. With air-filled amas I simply load the boat on a small cart and pull it uphill, away from high tide and waves, and light amas don't disturb the balance. Heavy amas with water will tend to flip the boat on one side after you've loaded it on the cart, and, possibly, will drag against the ground, making your task difficult, and abrading the amas material. May be I'm wrong in these assumptions, but more weight ashore is always bad.

About sails for kayaks and canoes (Sabani vs Batwing) you better ask at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/sailing_canoes/. They are mostly DIY people, very few commercial rigs like Balogh or Klepper, but they know all possible designs. You better don't ask them a direct question about Balogh rig vs FC rig - Mark attends that Yahoo group occasionally, and, firstly, will be pissed off, secondly, he might not want to comment (it's unethical to compare your own company directly with another company in public). But he sails a lot and knows different sail designs, and Sabani is a very old Asian design, almost prehistorical. I tried to find Wikipedia article that I mentioned before, but probably it used another name for Sabani (there is another name, I forgot it). Doug is a smart and honest gentleman. He's been making FC boats for over 25 years (Theresa, his partner, joined the company later), but this upwind rig is his first sail rig. I can imagine how difficult it is to make a good upwind sail rig for a kayak. "Comparable"... well, on a kayak you want THE BEST upwind performance, because a kayak is such poor upwind sailboat itself, with long hull and not too much sail.

Adding jib to mainsail on K1 - yes, may be, only in light winds. In heavy winds the mast will bend too much when stressed with both mainsail and jib. I don't know if FC mast is thicker than BSD (doubt this), but BSD mast will bend. Besides, in heavy winds you often have to reef 36sf or 32 sf mainsail down to 18 or 20 sf, so jib doesn't make sense then. Again, I don't know whether FC Batwing has any reefs - I don't see any on the photos. BSD sails have reefs, and reefs are really necessary.

Btw, if your desire to mount the mast aft is caused by the need to be able to paddle, the crossbar will still get in the way of your paddle strokes. You will be banging paddle against the crossbar often, because it's very close to the aft cockpit rim. But it is better for paddling on K1 than with front-mounted mast.

PS: another name for Sabani is Junk Rig (also, Chinese Lug sail or Sampan sail). Here is the article (see Points of Sail): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Junk_Rig:
When close hauled, the junk sail rig comes under harsh criticism. In a racer/cruiser world that favors speed and sport, the criticism is quite valid. The junk sail is very inefficient when sailing up wind. The rig cannot "point" as close to the wind, and the craft loses ground by sailing a longer path. In addition, the sails do not generate as much power per square foot of sail area because of the flatness of the sail induced by full battens. In a practical junk rig, this is overcome by having larger sails.
Further they write that Junk rig is well suited for recreational (non-racing) multiday cruising, where slow upwind progress makes life on board easier - sleeping, cooking etc. But this has little to do with a trimaran kayak on multiday trip, where you don't have to heel (hike out) on high-speed upwind course, or sleep aboard, but you have to arrive to your daily destination before dark. So speed for cruising trimaran kayak becomes same important as for racing yachts. Racing yachts dislike Junk sail because with lower efficiency per square foot they need to make sail area larger, and they are penalized for larger sail area. A kayak sailor in K1 has a different reason to dislike Junk rig - he can't increase sail area too much because this is such a little kayak.

Jan Dudda

Re: Feathercraft Batwing

Post by Jan Dudda »

Alex, your landing technique sounds good, what cart are you using? Landing with a folder is probably always more difficult because you can't drag it much or carry with weight. And unloading in surf on a rocky shore is not a fun thing to do...

You are right, you can't reef the FC sails and the mast works only up to 10 knots with the jib, because it bends too much. What I did with the Sabani in strong winds was to put it into a angle to the wind where it got less force. However, not ideal and sailing upwind you don't have a choice. Not sure if they would take back the rig after 4 weeks of intensive use. I also hesitate to deal with a Balogh order from Germany.... first will check back with Doug, if the conventional sail would be a better option upwind. He should know...and I have to think about it...

Was expecting that there is interference with the paddle stroke. However, as long as you can use your conventional paddle, that's an improvement.

Please let me know what you think would be the best cart for a K1, have to get one....

Thanks! Jan

Alm

Re: Feathercraft Batwing

Post by Alm »

I don't have any landing technique, for Christ's sake :oops: ... Just sailing or paddling until I see some protected cove or until it gets dark, and steer my sailing contraption closer to the shore, then climb out, assemble the cart and drag it a little closer to where the tent will be. For FC boats in Europe I suggest Oker 1 by Zoeltser company (forgot the website, but German users know). Aluminum Oker 1 can be converted into a "luggage cart mode", but steel Oker 1 looks more compact than aluminum. Herr Zoeltser offers few different sizes of wheels, inflatable and non-inflatable (solid foam). Inflatable roll more smooth, but solid foam are more reliable, so it's your choice. For a heavy kayak with expedition gear and on difficult terrain (sand or large pebbles) I would use wheels diameter slightly more than 8" (20 cm). 20 cm might work if the tire is thick in lateral dimension (5 cm or more). Wheels larger than 30 cm are very good on all kinds of terrains, but very difficult to stow under K1 deck. There was a topic here about this ingenious modification - converting aluminum Oker 1 into luggage cart, using two FC stringers - may be you can find it. The website with modification and descriptions in German didn't work when I checked, but may be you don't need to convert it into a "luggage mode".

Not knowing about Zoeltser 4 years ago, I've made my own cart, which is also convertible to luggage mode. It is more compact under deck than Oker 1: http://www.geocities.com/alexm221100/cart.html.

Balogh told me last week that he had a dealer in UK, who is buying and installing his upwind rigs on FC kayaks. May be this is closer than the USA. Shipping from the USA will not cost too much, anyway. I don't remember the total weight of Balogh rig with sail, mast, leeboard, ropes, etc. FC rig is heavier (and FC factory is same far away from you as Balogh).

4 weeks of use is not too long to return an item. I am not sure about FC return policy (warranty repairs are performed for 5 years, I think), but if you will sound very unhappy, they will have to do something. They are not corporate bandits, it's a small company, and both partners were fair and well-organized every time I had to deal with them in person (last time was today).

There is only one possibility when FC Sabani on upwind course would work same well as FC Batwing - if Sabani is much larger than Batwing. (But then the question arises - why not making a Batwing same large as Sabani, right?)...

Jan Dudda

Re: Feathercraft Batwing

Post by Jan Dudda »

Thanks for all the informations, Alex!

Just remember our trip from Ketchikan, AK to Bella Bella, BC this summer. Even on the islands there are very few pieces of shoreline or bays where the gravel is smaller than 2", and we sometimes ended up unloading our heavy double kayak in the water at dark. In 3 weeks we had not more than 5 landings on sand (the pic above is one of these exceptions). Was always thinking that this would be a nightmare with the relatively sensible skin of a folding kayak.

Well, the thing is I am not really unhappy with the rig and would feel bad just to behave so...probably because we in Germany are not used to the generous return policies they have here in the U.S. Yes, the Sabani is a bit larger than the conventional FC sail. Maybe they let me change sails if there is really a difference in performance. Will see what I end up with and post my experiences here...

Jan

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