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1 A thin iron bar used to secure the tarpaulin cover over a cargo hatch of a merchant ship. Several of them were used on each cover. When they were placed in position they were held securely in place by wedges under the batten-cleats—metal right-angled brackets welded on to the coaming of cargo hatches—and the hatches were said to be battened down (see also next entry).

2 A thin wooden or plastic strip which fits into a long, narrow pocket in the leech of a Bermudan mainsail in yachts to hold the leech out when sailing. The name is also given to the long, thin strips of bamboo which are inserted in lateen sails to hold the form of the sail. These bamboo battens are also used in the sails of the junk rig.

Subjects: Maritime History.

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