Sails - high quality, great priced cruising sails and racing sails from the trusted sailmakers at Scott Sailmakers. We make the highest quality cruising mainsail, genoa, spinnakers and racing sails.



 





Modern Sailcloth... 

Sailcloth

The best Sails have to start with the best fabric. Without a great style of cloth no matter how refined the shape is or how much attention to detail goes into the construction, the sail will not perform its duties. There are many different fibers available and different ways each of these fibers can be utilized to build a great cloth.

Fibers

Polyester, DuPont's trade name is Dacron, is the tried and true fiber for cruising sails. It is a very versatile fiber that is readily available in many different deniers and can be easily woven. The fiber has excellent properties that allow it to stand up well to Ultraviolet light and it does not lose any strength through flex.

Pentex is the newest fiber to be introduced into cruising sails. The Pentex fiber is in the Dacron family and has good UV resistance. Its flex properties are good but not as good as Dacron. The strong point of this fiber is lower stretch for a given weight producing a sail that will hold its shape better than conventional Dacron.

Spectra is the third fiber that is commonly used in cruising sails. These fibers exhibits the best UV and flex properties of the three, it also stretches the least. It is best suited to large cruising boats where the loads developed are too great for Dacron. The downside of it is the cost.

Utilization

These fibers can be utilized in one of two ways either woven or laminated. Only the Dacron is woven in great quantities. Pentex is woven, not in great quantities because there are only a few deniers available and it is slightly more expensive than Dacron. Denier is the size of the fiber. Different sized deniers are needed in order to weave a wide range of weights.

The weaving of Dacron is a long process. It does not stop with pulling a bolt of fabric off of the loom and sending to the sailmaker. After the fabric is woven it is put through several different operations. The fabric is first run through a resin bath. Resin is used to minimize stretch in the fabric on the bias and to make it completely non-porous. There is inherently no strength in the bias of fabric; the bias is running 45 degrees form the edge. The more resin that is added to the fabric the less it will stretch on the bias and the firmer the fabric will be. The problem with using too much resin is that it will break down over time and then the sail will begin to stretch. So the tighter the fabric can be woven, less resin will have to be used and the sail will retain its designed shape over more years. After the resin is applied the fabric is then heat set and shrunk. This will set the resin and take some of the initial stretch out of the fabric. For racing dacrons the cloth goes through one more step, it is coated with another layer of resin. This will make the cloth very stiff but will minimize stretch.

The second way these fibers are used is to laminate them into cloth. This can be done in a wide variety of ways with different yarns run in different directions. For cruising fabric first a light woven taffeta base is laid down, on top of that a thin Mylar film, and then the yarn pattern is set on. The Yarn pattern varies from sailcloth manufacturer to manufacturer but the basic pattern is the same. Numerous yarns running along the warp of the fabric, the warp is the long edge of the cloth. Few less yarns running along the fill of the fabric, the fill is across the cloth. With fibers than laid out on an off axis grid to help pick up off thread line loading. This is then covered with another thin layer of Mylar and topped with another light woven taffeta. This is all glued together and then run through a machine that heats and presses the fabric together squeezing out any unnecessary glue to keep the fabric as light as possible.

Spectra is only used in this manner and Pentex is primarily used in this style. Dacron is also set into laminates. Sails made from laminated sailcloth will be built to a tri radial panel layout. This panel layout will be a representation of the anticipated load path of the sail. This will help to further eliminate stretch in the sail.

What type of fabric is right for you? That all depends on your type and size of boat and the type of sailing you intend to do. Stop by and talk to us and we will help you sort through it.





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Sails - high quality, great priced cruising sails and racing sails from the trusted sailmakers at Scott Sailmakers. We make the highest quality cruising mainsail, genoa, spinnakers and racing sails.