UK Sailmakers' Encyclopedia of Sails

1.1 -Introduction

Two Beneteau 40.7s racing with aramid Flex No. 3 genoas at the China Cup International Regatta.

UK Sailmakers is happy to make this encyclopedia on sailmaking available to our customers. The first half should be used as a reference tool or as a way to gain enough information about sails that you can work with your sailmaker to ensure that you get the sails that best suit your needs. The second half of the book gives hints and tips on sail trim, sail handling, rig tuning and sail maintenance.         

Sailing, like everything else, has its own jargon. For those on the inside, the nomenclature can facilitate communication. But for the uninitiated, it has just the opposite effect — the specialized vocabulary creates a fog. One of the important purposes of this booklet is to clear away that fog by giving meaning to the jargon as clearly as we can. If the booklet does its job, when we talk about things like “J” and “Tape-Drive® ,” you won’t have to wonder what we’re saying. As an example, we have found that some of the terms on a price list are unfamiliar to many of our customers.       

Some sails go by different names at different lofts. Also we find that some people don’t know the purpose or use of some of our more specialized sails. For these reasons, we’ve prepared this explanation of the terms used on our price list. There are some things you should understand about sailmakers’ price lists in general, and about ours in particular. There are literally hundreds of different types, classes and sizes of boats for which sailmakers must provide price quotes. For each boat, many different sizes and types of sails can be supplied in a variety of fabrics and weights.        

Obviously, the task of preparing and keeping all these price lists current would be impossible without some standardized approach. These lists are designed to price sails for an average sailor’s use. If the sail that you are interested in is not shown, or is shown in a different size or fabric weight than what you want, don’t think that we don’t make it. Every sail we make is custom made, enabling UK to make sails to meet your specific requirements. We’ll work with you to design and produce the optimum sails for your boat based on how you use your boat and your budget. To begin with, we’ll talk about how to buy a sail, sailcloth, different construction processes, followed by the different sails we make and their purposes.

By: Adam Loory and Owen C. Torrey, Jr.