Paneled Sails

Paneled Sails

As an alternative to the 4T FORTE™, M3™ and Vektor2™ continuous yarn options and VantageOne™ glued membranes, OneSails offers more traditional woven cross-cut and tri-radial panelled sails.

Woven cloth - the underrated sail material.

Even today, fabrics are still very popular. That's right, because fabrics are made without glue and without film. They are robust, durable and inexpensive. Sails in Cross Cut are also the most cost-effective to manufacture.

In short, a fabric consists of long warp and short weft threads, which are interwoven at 90 ° angle. To offset diagonal loads, sailcloth manufacturers have come up with some ideas. One is called "heat setting", where the polyester fibers are shrunk by heat after weaving. The fabric becomes more compact and gains diagonal stability. Another is resin coating: resin fills the gaps between the weave yarns, and as long as the coating stays on it adds diagonal ("bias") strength to the material.
They also use different yarns for the warp and the weft, to suit different applications: namely, on high aspect ratio (tall and narrow) sails, the weft (also called "fill") yarns are stronger, as the higher loads on the sail are mainly vertical.

Suitable cuts
We can recommend the crosscut for any sails up to about 35 square meters. For larger sails, the radial cut has its advantages in terms of dimensional stability, longer service life and lower weight. We use the following fabric lines from Dimension Polyant for crosscut: All Purpose (AP), Stong Fill (SF) and C Breeze (CB).

Suitable for: all cruising sailors who are looking to price effective and durable sails.

The requirements of fabrics suitable for the radial cut are different from those used in traditional crosscut.

Since the panels' long edges are oriented on the load paths, the warp yarns are taking most of the strain. Recently, cloth manufacturers have developed a new special weave which greatly reduces the initial stretch caused by the yarn crimp, typical of "strong warp" sailcloth.

This fabric is offered by Dimension Polyant under the name of Pro Radial (PR). It is suitable for all sails (except of course gennakers and spinnakers) and achieves a very long service life.

Hybrid fabrics in which polyester fibers are interwoven with high modulus polyethylene (UHMWPE) have the longest life among sail materials. Hybrid fabrics however cannot shrink evenly when heat set, so, for better diagonal stability, yarns are mechanically roughened before weaving and receiving the resin coating. The special weave of Dimension/Polyant's HydraNet Radial (HNR) has been developed for radial application.

However, since resins tend not to stick well to polyethylene, high UHMWPE content sailcloth, although inherently very tough, can lose its diagonal stability rather quickly. For this reason, lower UHMWPE content cloth is advisable for crosscut applications, and also in radial cut can have better long term performance.

Laminates - the right material for cruising sails?

Laminates are sail materials where the structural yarns are encapsulated between two films. These films are mostly made of polyester, with DuPont's "Mylar" being the universally known one. Films can also be coupled with a so-called taffeta (light polyester) fabric from the outside for a longer service life. Sometimes this takes the form on a non-woven cloth, called by Dimension/Polyant "Liteskin" .The external taffeta fabric works as a shield and provides better abrasion protection.

Unfortunately in all kind of laminates, the bond strength of the adhesive diminishes in use, as the resins used in lamination polymerize. In addition, Mylar film crystallizes with age and becomes prone to cracking. As a result, the laminate parts can separate and peel off. On taffeta laminates, the formation of mildew as moisture is trapped between the taffeta and the film it is glued to can also be an issue, in the absence of a proper preventive treatment.

The way laminates are built makes it heavier compared to woven fabrics, on whose they have the advantage of a greater bias stability provided by the films. The structural yarns can be made from different fibers. For cruising sails polyester or polyethylene make the most sense, otherwise carbon and aramid are also available.

Cloth manufacturers have also developed multi-axial laminates for crosscut construction. Although better in shape holding than fabrics, sails built this way are generally heavier than the corresponding radial cut counterparts.

Suitable for: all cruising sailors looking for sails with a medium-long service life, or unfamiliar with a membrane sail but still wanting better performance than dacron with good service life.

The cross cut or horizontal panels is the way to build simple and robust sails. However, loads outside the yarn directions of the fabric aren't directly offset by the material. Therefore, the quality of the cloth used is crucial for the life of the sail.

The material:
OneSails offers two types of crosscut Dacron sails, both made from high quality Dimension Polyant fabrics: Dacron HQ, recommended for offshore or intense use, and Dacron standard for other uses. In any case, it is important to have a premium quality weaving for a maximum high diagonal stability.

Suitable for: long lasting budget sails, with acceptable performance.

The radial cut makes possible to produce sails that are lighter and more dimensionally stable than Cross Cut ones. In the radial panels, the cloth yarns and the seams are oriented along the load path lines of the sail.

The material:
OneSails recommends fabric for the production of triradial sails, which have been specially developed for this cut. HydraNet Radial, polyester/UHMWPE hybrid, has been on the market for 20 years and has more than proven itself for high mileage cruisers. It is the first choice for circumnavigators and those who expect the maximum life from their sails. Alternatively, we use ProRadial, which is 100% polyester and has a similar special weave.

Suitable for: cruisers looking for a good compromise of long lasting and shape holding.

For efficient shape holding sails, the structural yarns consistently follow in curved lines the force distribution in the sail. The fiber layout is custom designed for each sail.

In the development of new manufacturing techniques for high-tech sails, two fundamentally different philosophies have been followed. The two main families are membranes laminated in 3D with continuous yarns (the so called one-piece sails), while the other is made of individually laminated flat panels with horizontal joining seams. OneSails offers a wide range of membrane advanced technologies: 4T FORTE™, VantageOne™ and Vektor2™ are suitable for all kind of sails which can cruise many miles in the best shape.

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