Cruising Mainsail: Dacron Voyager
Introducing VOYAGER™ sailcloth from Nautosphere, a new material that has raised the standards for woven sailcloth. Voyager sails are ideal for offshore and performance cruisers.
Voyager is a hybrid woven fabric that combines Dyneema® yarns with high tenacity polyester yarns of traditional Dacrons. (Dyneema® and Spectra® are tradenames for Ultra High Molecular Weight Polyethylene – UHMWPE).
Woven sailcloth has warp yarns running the length of the roll of cloth and fills yarns running across the width of the roll. In crosscut sails, cloth manufacturers use stronger yarns in the fill direction so that the stronger yarns are aligned with the highest loads in the sail – those that run up and down the leech. A cloth that is made with more strength in the fill direction is referred to as Fill-Oriented. As such, crosscut Dacron sails are designed with a fill-oriented cloth. Voyager sailcloth has Dyneema yarns woven into the fill direction, which provides near “off-the-chart” strength in the critical fill direction.
Another difference of Voyager sailcloth is the way it is made. Rather than using heat to bond the fabric’s yarns, Voyager uses “Cold-Setting,” a new technology developed for fiber-reinforced sailcloth that chemically shrinks the sailcloth far beyond what could be achieved with conventional heat setting methods. This Cold-Setting creates an ultra-high fiber density and, therefore, fiber-based stability that is greater than any other woven sailcloth we’ve tested. Importantly, this means that sails made with Voyager are largely unaffected by flogging.
Voyager relies on fiber density for stretch resistance and recovery after stretching instead of resin coating. This enhanced strength resistance and stability mean that Voyager sails will hold their shape much better than any other crosscut or radial Dacron — and it comes with a six-year guarantee to prove it.*
Cold-setting also gives the material a stiff “hand feel” without having a resin coating that can crack and break away over time. That allows Voyager sails to retain their new-sail look and feel. And, because it is a breathable, woven fabric, Voyager sails are ideal for performance cruisers worried about mildew when stored in damp climates.
Even though Voyager cloth itself is more expensive than Dacron, the price of the sail is reasonable since crosscut panels produce nearly no waste, and with the six-year shape holding guarantee, Voyager sails represent a significant value.