WESTERLY's X-Drive main and Tape-Drive No. 3. Jill Fitz Hirschbold photo. 

WESTERLY’s X-Drive main and Tape-Drive No. 3. Jill Fitz Hirschbold photo. 

The 2016 edition of the 2,300-mile Victoria to Maui race proved to be a barnburner with the first three boats to finish beating the record of 9 days and 2 hours set by the Santa Cruz 70 GRAND ILLUSION in 2000. UK Sailmakers Northwest’s Stuart and Joy Dahlgren’s Cruz 70 WESTERLY, sailing with the biggest UK X-Drive sail built to date (her mainsail) was third across the line and completed the course in 8 days, 17 hours and 32 minutes, about 5 hours ahead of Grand Illusion’s 2000 run. Stuart and Joy own the UK Sailmakers loft in Sidney, British Columbia, and they wanted to test the limits of X-Drive on their own boat…not on a customer’s boat…to see how well X-Drive performs on bigger boats. 

“The X-Drive main looked great after over 2,000 miles of hard racing. We continue to notice that the X-Drive sails appear to have the same durability that we loved in Tape-Drive, but with a smoother more stable flying shape especially noticeable in the leech,” noted Dahlgren. Speaking of Tape-Drive, WESTERLY’s 2012 Tape-Drive mainsail made the delivery trip home totally unscathed. This sail now has two Van Isle 360’s (560 miles), a Hawaii return delivery (2300 miles) along with almost four seasons of regular sailing. The Tape-Drive main is not as smooth as it once was, it still has a nice shape and is completely structurally sound. It will be used for “club racing” and local sailing and deliveries.


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