X-Drive® continues to be a sound economical choice for big, performance cruising boats. X-Drive sails are the preferred choice for sailors who are looking for the performance of continuous yarn sails yet also want sails that are durable and affordable. Because they deliver on all three points, X-Drive sails also have proven to be the ideal choice for club racers and performance cruisers.
Shown in this article are images of three new 50-footers and a 60-footer using X-Drive sails. Notice that some sails are white, some grey, and some black. That’s because X-Drive sails can be made with a range of fibers and laminates to custom match each boat performance, price, and aesthetic needs.
Performance cruising boats need the strength and stretch resistance of high-tech yarns such as Spectra, Dyneema, carbon, or aramids. The bigger the boat, or the higher the performance requirement, the more high-tech the yarns need to be. The picture of the all-white sails shows X-Drive Endure on a Hallberg Rassy 53. X-Drive Enure sails are made with Endumax loadpath yarns; Endumax is the tradename for a fiber from the UHMWPE family, which is the same family of yarns that include Spectra and Dyneema. The base laminate for these sails can be made with polyester or Spectra inserted yarns giving them an all-white appearance,.
The photo of the Swan 60 mainsail shows (left) UK Sailmakers’ latest X-Drive Endure construction where the loadpath reinforcing yarns are half Endumax and half carbon. In the X-Drive construction process, our yarn laying machines put down 10 yarns at a time. When we mix fibers, the yarns alternate between carbon and Endumax. This way, the sail gets the best of both fiber’s properties – the no-stretch of carbon and the durability of Endumax.
Photos of a Swan 55 full-batten main show the base laminate that has a white polyester taffeta on one side and the carbon loadpath yarns are bonded to the mylar side. The taffeta layer adds longevity by protecting the sail from everyday chaffing and UV rays.
The Beneteau 473 photo above shows X-Drive carbon sails where both sides of the sail are covered with Liteskin®, which is an extremely lightweight non-woven polyester cover that protects the sail from chafe and UV. Liteskin is half the weight of a woven taffeta.
The final photo shows sails on a Berkemeyer 53 that is flying the highest performance and most durable cruising X-Drive sails UK Sailmakers makes. Her square-top main, jib and staysail are made with carbon fiber loadpath yarns and there are taffeta layers on both sides of the sail for the greatest durability. These sails are heavier than one with Liteskin on both sides, but the double taffeta sails are the most rugged sails we make.