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Cruising Headsail: X-Drive Endure

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An Oyster 575 with X-Drive Endure sails.

After extensive testing, UK Sailmakers is happy to introduce a new filament for cruising sails that will last and have great shape holding. X-Drive Endure is made with narrow Endumax® ribbons. Endumax is an Ultra-High Molecular Weight Polyethylene, similar to Spectra® and Dyneema® — fibers known for high strength and durability. Endumax tests nearly as well as carbon, which means cruising sails can be made with the same performance as racing sails in a clean classic white appearance. Because these sails are made with Endumax and because they have the endurance that is required for successful cruising and shorthanded sailing, we named the new line of sails, X-Drive Endure.

According to Teijin, the makers of Endumax; It is made of a special type of UHMWPE (Ultra High Molecular Weight Polyethylene), making it the strongest UHMWPE film available in the world. It also has a higher modulus and better abrasion resistance, UV resistance, creep properties and thermal-aging performance than other UHMWPE fibers. Teijian also says that Endumax is the most sustainable UHMWPE product available, being made in an environmentally friendly, solvent-free process. As a result, the film contains no additional processing aids or solvent residue. And the thermoplastic nature of UHMWPE means that it can also be easily recycled.

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An example of the greater coverage of tapes on an X-Drive sail. Also notice how flat the Endumax ribbons are. Click on the picture to enlarge it.
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The Centurion 57 ALICE races and cruises with a set of X-Drive Endure sails.
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An Arcona 435 with X-Drive Endure sails for both cruising and club racing.

Extra Durability With Taffeta

To help protect today’s sails and extend their peak performance lives, UK Sailmakers builds all our X-Drive cruising sails where one side of the laminate is fully covered with a lightweight finely-woven polyester taffeta that not only protects the film layer from abrasion but also prevents cracking of the film and reduces creasing. While taffeta does not add any strength, it does make the sail last longer. We also offer the option of putting taffeta on the second side of the sail over the X-Drive fibers — with either full or partial coverage. Taffeta comes in white, black or grey.

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X-Drive Endure sails are made with lightweight laminates reinforced with Ultra PE or polyester scrims. The Endumax tapes are bonded to the film side of the laminate and the other side of the sail has a chafe-resistant taffeta or Liteskin layer. Both sides are shown above.

The video below shows the partial taffeta in action.

YouTube video
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When the sun hits the taffeta of a side of an X-Drive sail, it appears all white like a dacron sail.

Partial Taffeta Option

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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.

Taffetas are available in either white, black or grey.

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Partial taffeta on the leech of a vertical-batten jib. The taffeta reinforces the area of the sail that may come into contact with the mast and rigging. This part of the leech gets whipped around the most during tacking and luffing.
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The genoa shown above has taffeta on the part of the sail overlapping the mast to protect the tapes and the sail’s mylar layer. This boat’s mainsail also has a partial taffeta layer up the whole leech.

Available details

Available with:

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

Available with:

  • Partial Taffeta
  • Double Taffeta


  • Powerhead
  • Full Battens
  • Furling Mains

Other Options:

  • Lazy Cradle
  • Lazy Jacks
  • Dutchman
  • Sail Cover

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