X-Drive Carbon - Racing Genoa

X-Drive carbon racing genoa.

Carbon fiber is the highest performance yarn used in sailmaking. As seen below, carbon yarns are at the top of the chart in three out of four ways to measure their performance.  Carbon fiber’s resistance to stretch is three times greater that S-Glass yarns, which are three times more stretch resistant than polyester yarns.

A Tartan 10 with X-Drive Carbon sails.

Detail showing the extensive coverage of tapes are on an X-Drive sail.

Even though the individual tapes in an X-Drive sail are very narrow, their almost complete coverage of the sail leads to a smooth flying shape. 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 (see the picture of a working jib tack to the right). Since each tape has 4,000 carbon filaments there are up to 44,000 filaments of carbon are laid at time, giving the sail great strength along with the ability to keep its designed shape without distortion. This means UK Sailmakers can use lighter and less expensive laminates than would be used in Tape-Drive sails and these savings are passed on.

All the carbon yarns used in X-Drive tapes are dry (not coated in glue) which keeps them from becoming brittle. Keeping the carbon yarns dry improves their flexibility.

An X-Drive carbon roller-furling racing genoa on an Arcona 465. The carbon tapes are on a black aramid laminate giving the sail an all black look. 

The S97 HEJIRA sailing with a Titanium mainsail and an X-Drive genoa made with a partial taffeta layer over the portion of the leech that overlaps the mast. The taffeta keeps the tapes from becoming abraded as the sail sweeps across the mast and shrouds each time the boat tacks.

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