I have what seems to be a unique method of tieing battens on both the main and jib. When I was a dealer, I never had to sell a replacement batten because of one getting lost from one of the boats I rigged-which was several hundred.
For the jib, start by tieing the end of the line in a small, tight bowline on the side of the sail that the wide part of the cleat slot in the batten will be. There is not a lot of extra line for the main, so learn to tie the bowline tight to the sail with little tail left. I would have to show you in person the easy way, but you'll have to figure that out on your own from here.
The next step is the important part. The line now goes through the hole, and you need this very specific knot that I invented for this purpose. It's sort of like tying a figure 8, but rather than making the lower part of the 8, the line passes completely around the line just where it comes out of the hole in the batten cap, and after circumnavigating the bottom of the knot, goes through the loop formed by the top of the 8. At that point, the loop formed by the top of the 8 gets passed down over the rest of the knot, and tail pulled tight. As you push the loop down over the rest of the knot, you can easily take all the slack out of the line to the point that the batten is exactly held fully in the pocket with no forward/backward motion. This leaves a stop knot tight on that side of the batten cap hole that won't go back through the hole. It really is like a figure 8 with an extra twist. A figure 8 will go back through the hole. This knot will not. If you tie it correctly, and forget to cleat the line, it won't matter at all. The batten should automatically be in the right tension as if the line was cleated with no tension on the batten, but also no slack.
Now the tail of the line can go through the grommet on the other side of the sail and back through the cleat slot, to cleat tension as needed.
For the main is very similar, but the line goes farther for the extra purchase. For the second purchase, the line goes through the original bowline loop instead of the grommet again, and then back to the cleat. If I'm remembering correctly, there wasn't enough length to go through the first grommet again.
I tie the little bowline with just the tips of my fingers, in a twisting motion. You can't actually see what happening under my fingertips, because the knot is so tiny. Learn to tie a bowline with regular sized line first with the twisting motion. Lay the tail across the line, put thumb under the intersection, twist your hand away from you, and form the loop with the line coming up through it in that one motion. The little batten line bowline is tied the same way, only under your finger tips. The stock lines didn't give any extra to have left over, but just enough to do it this way.
I never epoxied a batten cap on, and never lost one. The stop knot at the right tension makes it impossible for even the cap to come off of the batten.
Last edited by Tom King on Fri Apr 19, 2013 1:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.