To help protect today’s laminate sails and extend their peak performance lives, UK Sailmakers has the option to build laminate sails with one or both sides of the laminate is fully covered with a lightweight finely-woven polyester taffeta. We can also apply taffeta to targeted sections of a sail to save weight and cost. Not only does taffeta protect the film layer from abrasion, but it also prevents cracking of the film and reduces creasing. While taffeta doesn't add any strength, it does make sails last longer.
When tacking, the leech and foot of an overlapping genoa get beat up as the sail drags across the shrouds and the front of the mast. The battle of sail vs. friction and metal is clear in the image of the Little Harbor 53 tacking to the left.
The faster the sheet is trimmed or the stronger the wind is blowing, the greater the force of the sail against the mast, stanchions and rigging ...increasing friction and wear on the sail.
To protect the leech and foot of an overlapping jib, UK Sailmakers can adhere a thin layer of LiteSkin or woven polyester taffeta onto the parts of the sail that come in contact with the mast, stanchions and rigging. This protective layer can be applied to one or both sides of the sail. Adding the LiteSkin or taffeta to only the leech and foot saves weight and money. Taffeta comes in white, black or grey.
On X-Drive genoas that overlap the mast, UK Sailmakers strongly recommends adding a protective layer over the tapes along the leech and foot to protect them from protruding items such as whisker poles, radar domes, deck lights, baby stays, forward lowers, radar reflectors and loud hailers.
This video below shows the partial taffeta in action.
Liteskin or taffeta doesn’t add any strength to the sail, but it greatly extends its life, helping protect your new sail investment.