Uni-Titanium - Racing Genoa
Uni-Titanium sails are the fastest sails UK Sailmakers makes and that claim is backed up by the fact that customers sailing with Uni-Titanium sails have been able to increase their upwind target speeds compared to pervious sails. If you’re interested in making your boat sail as fast as possible, it’s important that you understand what makes Uni-Titanium so different.
Before the development of Uni-Titanium, all sails suffered from shape instability: in puffs the sail gets deeper and the draft moves aft, when the wind softens the opposite happens. Even with string sails, shape instability comes from the fact that most of the loadpath yarns run parallel to the leech or luff – along the sail’s primary loadpaths. There is not enough stability in the pure loadpath design for the sail to compensate fully for secondary and tertiary loads.
To overcome these performance-robbing shape distortion issues, UK Sailmakers developed Uni-Titanium, membrane sails with sheets of uni-directional carbon added to the continuous carbon fiber yarn layout in a leech to luff orientation. The uni-directional carbon sheets used have the thickness of magnetic tape and are just as light. The four layers of the sail (Mylar, loadpath yarns, uni-carbon layer and second Mylar layer) are placed in a custom-formed variable geometry thermo form in which the sail is UV-bonded under vacuum pressure to become a one-piece finished sail. The result is a sail that holds its shape in puffs and lulls. In fact, Uni-Titanium sails hold their shape until a sail trimmer makes an adjustment to change the sail’s shape.
The Titanium Differences
There are several important differences between the Uni-Titanium construction method and other sailmakers’ membrane products. First, Titanium® sails are made with a grid of continuous carbon loadpath yarns running unbroken between the three corners of the sail; those yarns are laminated between two layers of 3D-shaped film. In the Titanium construction process, the yarns are laid dry–without glue–to reduce weight and to prevent the carbon yarns from becoming brittle. The mylar films are tacky on the inside from the copolymer coating; this holds the yarns and films in place until the final lamination has been completed. Dry yarn reduces the weight of a sail by 15-30%, which makes for happier crews who have lighter sails to lift and happier owners because the sails last longer.
The four layers (film, loadpath yarns, uni-direction carbon sheets, second film layer) are dropped into a variable geometry thermo form in which the sail is heated and UV-bonded under vacuum pressure to become a one-piece finished membrane.
Unlike most high tech sails in which structural yarns only run the width of an individual panel, a Uni-Titanium sail’s continuous yarns eliminate seam loads, load-induced seam distortion, wrinkles, or worse yet, seam failure. Yes, there are seams in the Mylar skin of a Titanium sail, but they are there simply to add 3D shape to the Mylar skins. Uni-Titanium sails are smooth and wrinkle free.
Uni-Titanium sails come with black or gray Mylar skins only.