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Cruising Genoa: Radial Spectra

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A radial Spectra cruising genoa.

Radial sails constructed with a Spectra laminate are a perfect choice for big boats that want performance cruising sails, yet need more longevity than a membrane sail. Spectra is one of the world’s strongest and lightest fibers. Pound-for-pound, it is 10 times stronger than steel and up to 40 percent stronger than aramids. Spectra doesn’t break down from folding, is impervious to UV radiation, and gets softer with use.

The Spectra yarns used in radial sails have tremendous strength in the warp direction (the warp direction is parallel to the length of the roll – See diagrams 1&2). 

Cloth manufacturers make many styles of Spectra laminates for boats from 40-150 feet long. Some have more and some have less Spectra yarns, while for the mega-yachts Carbon inserts are also used.

Radial sails (with their many panels) allow sailmakers to use more than one laminated fabric in a sail. Stronger laminates can be used in high load areas like the leech and tack, while laminates with less strength can be used in the luff of the sail. Using this helps reduce the weight and price of the sail. 

Cruising Spectra laminates come with one or both sides covered with finely woven polyester taffeta, which improves chafe resistance. 

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Diagram 1
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Diagram 2: Radially paneled sails use “warp-oriented” cloth where the strongest yarns run the length of the narrow panels as shown by the thin grey lines. For clarity, the diagram only shows thread lines of the panels in the back half of the sail.
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Close-ups of Dimension Polyant’s Spectra cruising laminates, which include strong warp-oriented Spectra yarns and X-Ply yarns laminated between two layers of Mylar and a Taffeta covering one side of the laminate.

Available details

Available with:

  • Reefs
  • Loose Foot
  • Cunningham
  • Telltales
  • Draft Stripes
  • Sail Numbers
  • Leechline Options


  • Powerhead
  • Full Battens
  • Furling Mains

Other Options:

  • Lazy Cradle
  • Lazy Jacks
  • Dutchman
  • Sail Cover

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