Dacron Mainsail

- Powerhead, Sail ID: 1406

Crosscut sails have all the panels parallel to each other and perpendicular to the leech. The cross cut layout is use for Dacron mains and economical laminate sails because it is simple, does not waste cloth and the layout gives the sailmaker the most control over sail shape since all the seams are shaped. Cross-cut sails use fabrics with their greatest strength in the fill direction to withstand the anticipated loading along the leech of the sail since the greatest loads in any sail are up and down the leech. Fill-oriented fabrics are used in cross-cut sails because the stronger fill yarns are parallel to the leech in a cross-cut layout.

Because of its durability and relatively inexpensive cost, woven polyester sailcloth, better known by DuPont’s trademark, Dacron, is the most popular material for cruising sailboats. Sailmakers know its performance characteristics well since they have been using it since the mid 1950s. When durability is the primary concern, Dacron is the cloth of choice. But remember, every sail has two lives -- a “Performance Life” and a “Structural Life.” The “Structural Life” is how long the sail will stay in one piece, while the “Performance Life” is how long the sail will maintain an effective aerodynamic shape. Dacron sails have the longest “Structural Life,” but because polyester yarns have a fraction of the strength of carbon, Kevlar, Technora and Spectra yarns, Dacron sails have the shortest “Performance Life.” Dacron comes in many different varieties and when comparing pricing you need to know the specific material being quoted. Even though a quote may say 8 ounce Dacron, that does not tell you all you need to know about the cloth. Better and more expensive Dacrons use high tenacity yarns, and the weave is stabilized with heat, pressure and an applied coating. There are reasons why the cost of one seemingly similar Dacron sail is less expensive than another.

Whether you are buying a Tape-Drive® or Dacron sail, the Powerhead’s full-length top batten gives you many of the durability benefits of a full-batten main (UK’s Batmain), while offering performance advantages for sailing faster upwind as well as downwind. The Powerhead is a faster sail that a standard main because it is bigger. The extra roach up high makes the sail a more effective aerodynamic shape, which helps you point higher going upwind and gives you more sail area for going downwind. The long top batten controls the shape of the sail better in the top of the sail, and stabilizes the leech allowing UK to build a maximum-roach sail. The full-length top batten also increases longevity by dampening the damaging effects of luffing and by preventing the draft of the sail from moving aft over the years. To support the large leech on lower aspect sails, we offer the option of making the second batten down full length.

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