UK Sailmakers makes X-Drive performance cruising sails with at least one full side is protected by a layer of finely woven taffeta or a layer of Dimension-Polyant’s LiteSkin®. These coverings are on the side of the sail opposite to the load path yarns.
The left photo shows an X-Yachts 4.0 with X-Drive carbon sails. Notice how both the main and the jib have additional grey taffeta providing a protective layer on its leech and foot, as well as a black UV cover on the leech and foot. The mainsail has a taffeta strip on the leech. The leeches of all sails are the most highly loaded areas and they get the most abuse from flogging.
Not only does a taffeta or LiteSkin layer protect the laminate from abrasion, but it also adds UV protection, prevents cracking of the film and reduces creasing. While neither LiteSkin nor taffeta adds strength, both add longevity. UK Sailmakers also offers the option of adding taffeta or LiteSkin over the entire second side of the sail or just over the loadpath fibers in high chafe and stress areas. Targeted protection saves weight and cost. The image below shows four different partial taffeta solutions for overlapping genoas and non-overlapping jibs. Partial taffeta prevents the load path fibers in an X-Drive sail from being damaged during tacks as the sail get dragged across the rig. Watch the video below.
Lite Skin is a thin, lightweight sheet of random, non-woven, polyester filaments that gives the sail a matte-black appearance. LiteSkin is a proprietary product of Dimension-Polyant Sailcloth and it comes in two weights: 10×10 and a lighter 5×5, which is half the weight of the 10×10 style.
Taffeta is a lightweight, finely woven polyester cloth. Taffeta has more chafe resistance than LiteSkin, but it is twice the weight of LiteSkin 10×10.