A new generation of sailcloths for performance and durability
Wednesday, August 4, 2021 4:50 PM
As well as great sailing performance a new generation of sailcloths is exploiting the potential for very much improved levels of durability
With the rise in popularity of longrange blue water cruising, the world’s leading sailcloth manufacturer Dimension-Polyant is experiencing greater demand than ever for its timeproven and distance-defying products.
DYS, a rugged Dyneema laminate, remains the most popular cloth for blue water cruisers who are also keen on maximising performance on the occasional race track. DYS is the cloth of choice on many of the yachts in the Oyster World Rally, for example.
For the ultimate in low stretch and durability, GXLD’s GraphX Carbon Dyneema Spectra laminate structure makes it the strongest and most durable product in the Dimension- Polyant range. Where loads, budget or specific operating conditions such as increased mildew resistance are required, woven hybrid Vectron and Hydra Net Radial are also viable options. Both of which benefit from Dimension-Polyant’s UVi technology which increases the resistance to degradation from UV light by 10 to 15 per cent.
While the racing fraternity has always been obsessive about sourcing the best possible products from the most reputable manufacturers, UK sales manager Ben Rogers says cruising sailors are just as demanding. ‘The racers see which sails are winning and they are fully aware when it’s Dimension- Polyant sailcloth that has powered another team towards victory.
Similarly, when someone has just completed a successful two-year cruise around the world, other cruising sailors want to know how the sails have fared. When they hear that the sails are still going strong and the cloth has proven as durable and reliable as promised, it’s natural that they would want the same. It’s why our products are so present in blue-water fleets such as Oyster and Discovery.’
Although the typical cruising sailor might have only a passing interest in racing, they’re nevertheless reassured by the strong racing pedigree of Dimension-Polyant, a German-based company with satellite HQs spread across four continents. Dimension- Polyant has been researching, developing and manufacturing worldbeating sailcloth for more than 50 years, employing its own textile engineers, chemical engineers and material scientists to work closely with leading sail designers and sailmakers around the world. Quality manager Heiner Schillings says: ‘In the past, when developing new materials for making sails, the focus was on technical aspects. But in the case of new developments, sustainability now also plays an important role.
‘Wide varieties of recycled raw materials, such as yarns, are tested for their usability. DP takes responsibility for future generations and I am happy to be part of it.’
Every day at the manufacturing plant in Kempen, near Dusseldorf, more than 10,000 metres of cloth rolls off the production line. From the yarn to the final product, the entire manufacturing process is precisely monitored and consistently controlled by expert teams. Dimension-Polyant’s experienced specialists and trained employees have mastered state-ofthe- art production of a wide variety of cloths and laminates right through to the fine coating.
DYS Offshore Technology is aimed at sailors who want a high-performance fabric with high tear resistance, low stretch, high performance-to-weight and that’s easy to handle. The Ultra-PE sandwich laminates combine ease of handling and the highest levels of durability in the industry, combined with excellent strength and UVstability. A strong internal Ultra-PE woven membrane base is encapsulated by film, which is laminated to a tightly woven ripstop taffeta.
Originally developed for superyachts, GXLD is finding its place at the top end of the blue water cruising market. It’s a complex hybrid of laminates combining the low-stretch/high strength characteristics of GraphX Carbon yarn with the solid durability of Ultra-PE fibres. Aside from delivering one of the highest strength-to-weight ratios in the sailcloth market, one of GXLD’s most important features is its light, soft pliability, a welcome characteristic rarely associated with carbon-based products. This makes GXLD the go-to specification for in-mast and in-boom furling systems.
Abrasion resistant Ultra-PE covering stretch-resistant carbon ensures a strong, durable fabric that enhances sailing performance without the life of the sail. The line is based on increasing counts of both inserted carbon ribbons and Ultra-PE based taffetas as weights go up. Even under high loads for a long period, a sail constructed from GXLD will hold its original design shape for thousands of sea miles through all kinds of weather conditions and varying climates.