Cruising Headsail: X-Drive Taffeta Carbon
Carbon fiber is the highest performance yarn used in sailmaking. As the chart below shows, carbon yarns are at the top of the chart in three out of four ways to measure the 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.
Even though the individual fibers in an X-Drive sail are very narrow, their almost complete coverage of the sail leads to a smooth flying shape. UK Sailmakers’ fiber laying machine puts down up to 11 tapes at a time, which means there are hundreds of continuous fibers running across the sail. Since each carbon fiber has 4000 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. This means UK Sailmakers can use lighter and less expensive laminates than other sailmakers and that savings is 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.
Extra Durability With Taffeta
To help protect today’s sails and extend their peak performance lives, UK Sailmakers can build all our X-Drive racing sails where one or both sides of the laminate is fully covered with lightweight finely-woven polyester taffeta. Not only does taffeta protect the film layer from abrasion, but it also prevents cracking of the film and reduces creasing. While taffeta doesn’t add much strength, it does make sails last longer. We also offer the option of putting a layer of taffeta over the X-Drive fibers only on the leech of the sail as shown below.
Partial Taffeta Option
The leech of any sail benefits from having extra taffeta protection; when a sail luffs, the leech is the area most exposed to flogging, abrasion, and potential damage. This is particularly the case for boats with overlapping genoas that get dragged across shrouds and the mast in every tack.
UK Sailmakers will work with you to determine the right amount of taffeta to add to your sails based on your boat, the kinds of sailing you do, and your budget. Having both sides covered with taffeta makes a sail more durable, but also would make the sail heavier. UK Sailmakers offers a Partial Taffeta option to save weight and cost.
Taffeta is available in white or a medium grey color.
Taffetas are available in either white or grey.
- Loose Foot
- Draft Stripes
- Sail Numbers
- Leechline Options
- Partial Taffeta
- Double Taffeta
- Full Battens
- Furling Mains
- Lazy Cradle
- Lazy Jacks
- Sail Cover