Tape-Drive - Racing Mainsail

A Beneteau 45s5 with a Tape-Drive carbon black aramid inventory.

Since 1985, UK Sailmakers has been dedicated to improving and refining our Tape-Drive® sail construction system. Tape-Drive sails truly earn the tag line “fast sails that last.” Sailors around the world know that Tape-Drive sails are the longest lasting laminate sails. Whether cruising, club racing or ocean racing, Tape-Drive is the logical choice for boat owners who value durability.

What Is Tape-Drive?

Tape-Drive is a two-part construction process in which the structural strength of the sail and actual skin that defines the sail’s three-dimensional shape are separate and distinct elements. This process marries a grid of high-strength, low stretch tapes – the structural strength – to a three-dimensionally shaped membrane – the skin – made up of broadseamed, cross-cut laminated panels. The tape grid carries the primary structural loads of the sail, while the skin produces aerodynamic lift and handles secondary and tertiary loads. The tapes radiate across the sail with heavier concentrations at computer predicted high load areas.

Durability: In Tape-Drive sails the skin laminate is uniform throughout the sail. There is no differential stretch or shrinkage from panel to panel as commonly experienced in sails produced with traditional sailmaking techniques. Also there are no load-bearing seams to creep, distort, or worse yet, fail. As a result, Tape-Drive sails are acknowledged by many as the durability champions amongst laminate sails. The beauty with Tape-Drive sails is that after a 3-5 year peak performance life, the sails still have plenty of strength to last for another 3-5 years of cruising, deliveries and practice. These sails do not fall apart once they lose their racing edge.

Dependability: Depending on the size of your boat and its sailing requirements, UK Sailmakers selects the appropriate sailcloth from a wide variety of laminates made by sailcloth manufacturers specifically for the Tape-Drive construction system. These commercially made laminates include scrims made with black aramid or polyester yarns. Professionally made laminates do not delaminate. 

By selecting the right laminate for your boat, UK Sailmakers optimizes your Tape-Drive sail's dependability and longevity. 

Construction Options


Tape-Drive Carbon/
Aramid

Description:
The highest performance material combination for Tape-Drive sails is carbon fiber tapes and aramid fiber laminates. 


Boat size: 
30-80 feet

Construction: 
Cross-cut broad-seamed panels reinforced with continuous carbon fiber tapes bonded to the sails surface. The cross-cut panels define the sail’s shape and the grid of tapes carries the primary loads of the sail to lock in sail shape.

Material:
Cross-cut panels are made of a loose weave of aramid yarns (generic name Kevlar, Twaran and Technora) laminated between layers of Mylar. The carbon tapes are made with 14,000 or 28,000 filaments of carbon.





Shape Stability:
★★★★

Longevity:
★★★★

Shape after 500 hours:
Circa 80%

Price:
$$$$


Tape-Drive Carbon/
Polyester

Description:
For club racers, Tape-Drive carbon sails made with polyester laminates offer plenty of performance a significant savings. 
 

Boat size: 
20-45 feet

Construction: 
Cross-cut broad-seamed panels reinforced with continuous carbon fiber tapes bonded to the sails surface. The cross-cut panels define the sail’s shape and the grid of tapes carries the primary loads of the sail to lock in sail shape.  

Material:
Cross-cut panels are made of a loose weave of polyester yarns laminated between layers of Mylar. Some polyester laminates have a single layer of polyester taffeta for abrasion resistance. The carbon tapes are made with 14,000 or 28,000 filaments of carbon.


Shape Stability:
★★★

Longevity:
★★★★

Shape after 500 hours:
Circa 70%

Price:
$$$


Tape-Drive Carbon/
Spectra

Description:
For the ultimate in cruising durability, UK Sailmakers makes Tape-Drive with lami-nates using Spectra/
Dyneema yarns.
 

Boat size: 
35-80 feet

Construction: 
Cross-cut broad-seamed panels reinforced with continuous carbon fiber tapes bonded to the sails surface. The cross cut panels define the sail’s shape and the grid of tapes carries the primary loads of the sail to lock in sail shape.

Material:
Cross-cut panels are made of a loose weave of Spectra/Dyneema yarns laminated between layers of Mylar. Spectra laminates have a single layer of polyester taffeta for abrasion resistance. The carbon tapes are made with 14,000 to 28,000 filaments of carbon.


Shape Stability:
★★★★

Longevity:
★★★★★

Shape after 500 hours:
Circa 80%

Price:
$$$$$


Tape-Drive Silver
 

Description:
The less expensive polyester laminates reinforced with S-Glass fiber tapes is a great option for boats under 40 feet.
 

Boat size: 
20-40 feet

Construction: 
Cross-cut broad-seamed panels reinforced with continuous S-Glass fiber tapes bonded to the sail's surface. The cross-cut panels define the sail’s shape and the grid of tapes carries the primary loads of the sail to lock in sail shape.

Material:
Cross-cut panels are made of a loose weave of polyester yarns laminated in between layers of Mylar. Some polyester laminates have a single layer of polyester taffeta for abrasion resistance. The S-Glass tapes are white, which means these sails can have an all-white appearance. 

Shape Stability:
★★★

Longevity:
★★★

Shape after 500 hours:
Circa 60%

Price:
$$

 

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