X-Drive Silver Taffeta - Cruising Genoa

Detail of an X-Drive Silver Taffeta genoa on a Jeanneau 43. X-Drive Silver Taffeta combines an all-white appearance with lasting performance. Click on photo to enlarge.

X-Drive sails made with S-Glass yarns are a good solution for owners who want sails that look white, like traditional cruising sails, yet have the performance close to sails made with carbon fiber. As the chart shows, S-Glass yarns have nearly three-times the Modulus (ability to resist stretch) and Tenacity (breaking strength) than those used in woven polyester (Dacron) sails. 

S-Glass yarns are less expensive than carbon and they are heavier, but on smaller sails, the lower stretch resistance and weight difference is not as noticeable.

UK Sailmakers’ tape laying machine puts down up to 11 tapes at a time in a 20 cm wide path (8 inches wide), which means there are hundreds of tapes on the sail. The almost complete coverage of the sail’s surface with S-Glass yarns prevents the sail from distorting. Because of the nearly complete coverage of the sail with tapes, the strength requirement of the base laminate is reduced. This means we can use lighter and less expensive laminates than would be used in Tape-Drive sails, and the savings are passed on.

The standard cruising X-Drive Silver sail comes with taffeta on one side of the sail and there are options to have taffeta put over the tapes on the leech or fully covering the tape side of the sail.

The S-Glass yarns used in X-Drive tapes are dry—not coated in glue—which keeps them from becoming brittle. Keeping the yarns dry improves their flexibility.

Extra Durability With Taffeta

To help protect today’s sails and extend their peak performance lives, UK Sailmakers can build all our X-Drive racing sails where one or both sides of the laminate is fully covered with a lightweight finely-woven polyester taffeta. 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. We also offer the option of putting a layer of taffeta over the X-Drive tapes only on the leech of the sail as shown below.

  A 72-foot small-scale J Class yacht with X-Drive double taffeta roller/furling genoa and boom-furling main.

A 72-foot small-scale J Class yacht with X-Drive double taffeta roller/furling genoa and boom-furling main.

Partial Taffeta Options

The leech of any sail benefits from having extra taffeta protection; when a sail luffs, the leech is the area most exposed to flogging, abrasion, and potential damage. This is particularly the case for boats with overlapping genoas that get dragged across shrouds and the mast in every tack. 

UK Sailmakers will work with you to determine the right amount of taffeta to add to your sails based on your boat, the kinds of sailing you do, and your budget. Having both sides covered with taffeta makes a sail more durable, but also would make the sail heavier. UK Sailmakers offers a Partial Taffeta option to save weight and cost.

Taffeta comes in white or grey.

Partial taffeta on the leech of a vertical-batten jib. Even though this sail does not overlap the mast, the taffeta reinforces the area of the sail that gets whipped around the most when the sail luffs.

The genoa shown above has taffeta on the part of the sail overlapping the mast to protect the tapes and the sail's mylar layer. This boat's mainsail also has a partial taffeta layer up the whole leech. 

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