To define the perfect sail for your boat, a number of variables must be analysed, including cuts, sail types, future use, cost effectiveness, among other factors
Our Dune Sailmakers team will be happy to present the best option.
Please contact us for quotes on classic sails
Polyester (Dacron®) - Introduced in the 1950s, this is the cloth most commonly used for cruising sails. It has good UV resistance, excellent abrasion resistance, good stretch resistance and good cost effectiveness. Different manufacturers produce different types of polyester. Sails made from Dacron are easy to handle and, on cruising yachts, may last a good few years. On racing yachts, they tend to rapidly lose shape and their performance suffers.
Kevlar® - An aramid class material with low elasticity, used for bullet-proof jackets and other body armour. It is quite commonly used on racing boats. It is not appropriate for cruising boats, since it requires special care to increase its operational life. Sails made from Kevlar require minimal flogging, must not be folded and have low UV resistance.
- Vectran is a polyester-based high performance liquid crystal polymer. It has
a modulus similar to Kevlar 29, but suffers negligible strength loss with flex.
This is a benefit in endurance applications and for cruising sails where durability is essential. Additional advantages of Vectran fibre
include high chemical and abrasion resistance and high tensile strength.
Ultra PE (UHMWPE) was originally introduced to rival Kevlar. The brands Dyneema®, produced by the Dutch company DSM, and Spectra®, by Honeywell, are familiar to many sailors. These fibres offer very good UV resistance, low stretch properties and very high breaking strength. Both Spectra and Dyneema are used mainly on larger cruising boats where reasonable weight, strength and durability are fundamental. It is an expensive fibre, but the longevity of the sails guarantees good cost effectiveness.
Sailcloth: This sailcloth first appeared in the 70s and 80s and changed the
sailing world. Lamination is the most effective way to combine materials with
different characteristics to make the most of each material's advantages. They
are made by gluing layers of film, scrim and/or taffeta under high pressure and/or heat to form
sandwiches of compound materials.
- The latest word in sail technology for competition and high-performance
cruising. What defines the shape of a membrane sail is the format of the mould
and not the cutting and seams of the panels.
These sails can be heat-moulded or just glued and the only seams are on the corner patches. They are very lightweight, with high deformation resistance and low elasticity.
Other Materials - There are other materials such as Mylar, Spectra, Technorati. They all vary slightly in cost, quality and general characteristics, but are basically similar to a Kevlar sail.
Elasticity - A good
material for upwind sails must have low elasticity, so that it does not lose
its shape. Sails are aerofoils, like the wings of an aircraft. Sails that stretch and lose
their shape reduce the performance of the boat, especially when sailing upwind.
This deformation can be temporary or permanent, but is always harmful.
UV resistance - Some materials degrade rapidly when exposed to ultraviolet (UV) radiation.
Abrasion resistance - During manoeuvres, sails can rub against the mast, stanchions, etc. This wears down parts of the sails.
Flex resistance - Capacity to be folded without defects or marks.
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