To help protect today’s laminate sails and extend their peak performance lives, UK Sailmakers has the option to build laminate sails with one or both sides of the laminate is fully covered with a lightweight finely-woven polyester taffeta. We can also apply taffeta to targeted sections of a sail to save weight and cost. 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 any strength, it does make sails last longer.


When tacking, the leech and foot of an overlapping genoa get beat up as the sail drags across the shrouds and the front of the mast. The battle of sail vs. friction and metal is clear in the image of the Little Harbor 53 tacking to the left.

The faster the sheet is trimmed or the stronger the wind is blowing, the greater the force of the sail against the mast, stanchions and rigging ...increasing friction and wear on the sail.

To protect the leech and foot of an overlapping jib, UK Sailmakers can adhere a thin layer of LiteSkin or woven polyester taffeta onto the parts of the sail that come in contact with the mast, stanchions and rigging. This protective layer can be applied to one or both sides of the sail. Adding the LiteSkin or taffeta to only the leech and foot saves weight and money. Taffeta comes in white, black or grey.

On X-Drive genoas that overlap the mast, UK Sailmakers strongly recommends adding a protective layer over the tapes along the leech and foot to protect them from protruding items such as whisker poles, radar domes, deck lights, baby stays, forward lowers, radar reflectors and loud hailers.

This video below shows the partial taffeta in action.

Liteskin or taffeta doesn’t add any strength to the sail, but it greatly extends its life, helping protect your new sail investment.


Randy St. Jacques on his C&C 30 II SCRUBS

It is our pleasure to announce that UK Sailmakers is re-opening in Ontario under the ownership of long time Canadian sailor Randy St. Jacques. Randy has 50 years of both racing and cruising on many boats under his belt. For the last 10 years Randy as sold sails for several brands, but he decided to move to UK Sailmakers because the brand provides the best products and reputation for service on Lake Ontario. It has been a year since Brian Chapman unexpectedly passed away leaving Toronto sailors at a loss. “Brian Chapman set the bar incredibly high for quality sails and service,” said Randy. “He will be a tough act to follow and I hope that I can live up to the expectations he created with sailors on Lake Ontario.”

“I come from a sailing family and I have been an active sailor on Lake Ontario for the past 30 years. If you don’t know me, I’m sure you have friends who do who will vouch for my knowledge, passion and integrity. I’ve been a sail buyer as well as a sail seller, so I know what’s important to sailors. UK Sailmakers’ X-Drive sails tick all the boxes of durability, performance and price for the average 25-40 footer on Lake Ontario along with the all the lakes around Ontario.

With the formation of the new loft happening so recently, there was no time to prepare a booth for this year’s Toronto International Boat Show, but UK Sailmakers Ontario will be offering Boat Show Pricing for all new sail orders placed by Thursday, January 31st.

UK Sailmakers Ontario will continue to provide UK Sailmakers customers top quality Sails and Repair Service. Please call or e-mail Randy to discuss your repair or new sail requirements.

UK Sailmakers Ontario
66 Chestnut Dr.
Grimsby Ont., L3M 0B9
SCRUBS E14 Fifty Point
Cell: 1.905.975.3087

A blast from the past. Randy and his wife Sue, who will be involved in the loft, with George Cuthbertson.


Stuart and Joy Dahlgren’s Santa Cruz 70 WESTERLY leaving San Francisco Bay at the start of the 2018 Pacific Cup.

Stuart Dahlgren, owner of UK Sailmakers Northwest, in Canada, writes about his favorite sailing memory of 2018, which happened while racing his Santa Cruz 70 WESTERLY in the Pacific Cup, a 2,070-mile race from San Francisco to Hawaii. Here is Stuart’s reminiscence.

“2018 was a busy sailing year for me. With my usual busy local racing season and running a large sail loft, I raced my own boat in the Pacific Cup and flew to Europe to do the 630-mile Rolex Middle Sea Race with customers. Each day on the water always leaves me with memories usually good ones. I think my favorite memory of sailing in 2018, however, is from the 2018 Pacific Cup race.

“The last night of the race we were sailing in perfect, windy tradewinds (20-25 knots of breeze) with long, round Pacific swells. We had just peeled from the A3 back to the A2+ after being headed in the late afternoon/early evening. We were now pretty much sailing straight at the mark with the pole back a couple feet off the headstay. These were perfect Santa Cruz 70 conditions. I took the helm just after midnight and had three hours of some of the finest sailing I have ever done.

“Hawaii races are fantastic—but what makes them truly special tends to be the last 48 hours. It was a night watch and perfect sailing. After almost 2,000 miles I asked myself whether or not the crew would mutiny if I told them we were just going to keep going. As it was, we wanted to finish this race and beat our Pacific Northwest competitor RAGE, a Wiley 70.

“When my watch shift ended, I grabbed a quick hour of sleep and then came back on deck to watch the sun rise over Molokai. It was a magic evening and morning of sun, wind, and water. We listened to music, laughed about events of the past week at sea, and discussed our cravings for after the finish.

“The two pictures show both the beginning and the end of our race. The first is WESTERLY beating out of San Francisco Bay and the second one shows us approaching the finish line at the end of a 2,000-mile race. After after crossing the line, you have about 3/4 of a mile to get the kite down and turn 90 degrees to avoid the reef and enter the Kāneʻohe Bay channel. The crew is shown cleaning up the deck and getting rid of the leeward strut as we wouldn’t need to gybe again. You can see we have a letter box drop retrieving line rigged to a stanch block on the weather rail.

“It was a perfect race, a perfect night, and a perfect crew with which to share it all.”

Sailmaking is what Stuart Dahlgren does. Sharing is passion for sailing is why he does it.



Congratulations to Brian Kaczor and his team on the Tartan Ten ERICA for their spectacular 2018 season! Chicago’s Tartan Ten fleet has been the area’s most active and competitive fleet since the boat was introduced in 1979. They still get 20 boats out for regular fleet races and 30-plus boats for the big regattas.

In 2018, Brian and his team on ERICA dominated the T-10 fleet winning the Season Overall Championship, the Buoy Championship, and the Distance Racing Championship! Many competitors have taken notice of their stellar performance and the great upwind speed they had when using their Titanium® jib from UK Sailmakers. It’s no secret that UK Sailmakers has developed fast sails for the class.

UK Sailmakers Chicago has been involved with the T-10 class since Day 1. Loft owner Jim Considine was co-owner of one of the first boats built. UK Chicago has worked with other customers who have had dominating seasons like ERICA, including Lindy Thomas' GOBLIN, Mark Wurtzebach's SUSAN, and Rick Strilky's US. In fact, there have been seasons when UK Chicago’s T-10 customers won every race but three in the entire season.

UK Chicago continues to develop fast sails for the fleet today. In 2018, ERICA was using a new UK AP jib, which had a minor tweak in the leech twist to produce that little upwind edge that made the difference.

Other congratulations also go out to Mark and John Croll and their team on RETENTION. They were runner up to ERICA for the season championship. The Crolls were always in the mix at the top of the fleet.


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Over the years, UK Sailmakers' service departments have caught many problems with the condition of sails that, when addressed early enough, saved the sails from developing catastrophic damage and costing the owner expensive repair or replacement costs. When we uncover problems, we not only save the customer money, but we save sailors from losing valuable time on the water. More than once, for example, we have found that a roller furling genoa was being rolled in the wrong direction (with the UV cover on the inside of the roll) leaving the sail exposed to the destructive UV rays of the sun. By alerting the owners, we saved their pocketbooks and made them happier, more satisfied customers.

Arrows point out sun-bleaching on the leech.

A close-up view of sun-bleaching..

UV damage can also happen on a mainsail. In the case of the mainsail seen in these two photos, the UK Sailmakers service department discovered UV staining or sun-bleaching on the partial taffeta layer on the leech. This sail has a Dutchman sail flaking system that puts the folds same place every time the sail is lowered, which means the same parts of the leech are always on top when the sail sits on the boom. The owner said the sail was never left uncovered. If it sail was always covered, that means his sail cover had worn out and no longer blocked the sun's harmful UV rays. Even though a cover is in one piece, the material does eventually get broken down to the point that the sun’s UV rays come through. Typically, this happens after 8-10 years depending on how close to the equator the boat lives. In this case, we made a new sail cover to protect this owners premium Spectra/Carbon Tape-Drive mainsail.

A new sail cover is inexpensive insurance when compared to the cost of new mainsail. Remember, mainsails spend most of their time under the cover while the boat tied to the dock or on a mooring. The sun beats down on the boat month after month. A well-fitted sail cover in good condition is key to a mainsail’s durability. To fit well, the cover must be big enough to cover the whole sail and loose enough that the sail does not have to be squeezed in.

All covers start with custom measurements. If your boat has lazy jacks or a Dutchman sail flaking system, the cover will need carefully placed slits and zippers to get around their control lines. If you get a Lazy Cradle, even more measurements have to be taken. Ask your UK Sailmaker to look at your sail covers and see if they need replacement.

A UK Sailmakers Lazy Cradle.

A UK Sailmakers Lazy Cradle.


Photographer Gerhard Batur captured NiNiX reefed down off her home port of Nieuwpoort, Belgium.

By Alain Ronse, Owner and Skipper

The X-452 yacht NiNiX© is unique for a number of reasons. First, the famous Danish shipyard X-Yachts only constructed twenty of this model worldwide and NiNiX is the only X-452 in Belgium. The design is also unique because of the boat performance and the reputation of its atypical crew.

The six member crew of NiNiX Sailing Adventure ( is led by myself, Alain Ronse, a passionate sailor who has been sailing offshore for more than 30 years aboard the various boats I've owned. It was not until I saw an abandoned X-452 that I decided to make my lifework of it.

All photos courtesy Gerhard Batur.

With the help of the crew, I renovated the boat completely bringing it back to its original state. Respecting both tradition and modernism, I combined the warm wood interior with latest modern navigation technology and state-of-the-art X-Drive®sails. The name NiNiX is a Flemish translation from the expression “It's a hell of a thing,” and indeed she’s a hell of a trustworthy yacht!

The X-Drive sails are made by the hands of well-known sailor-racer Michel Lefebvre from UK Sailmakers Belgium. Based on his many years of sailing experience, Michel recommended the X-Drive sails to the NiNiX team to improve the boat’s performance.

Michel has been a member of the UK Sailmakers group since 2005. His son, Yannick Lefebvre, represented Belgium in 49er class at Olympic Games in Rio and is qualifying for Tokyo in 2020. Michel is long-time provider of UK Sailmakers sails to NiNiX, so she’s in professional hands. Besides the support of UK Sailmakers, NiNiX Sailing Adventure is also supported by CORUM watches matching top-performing watches with top-performing X-Drive sails.

Thanks to the optimal performance of the X-Drive, NiNiX and her crew are successfully competing as an amateur team in local and international regattas. No wind is too heavy or wave too high to stop NiNiX from sailing offshore to different long-distant destinations.

Even reefed, the X-Drive sails set smoothly.

NiNiX Sailing Adventure is the only sailing team in their homeport of Nieuwpoort that can proudly say that for more than 20 years they have sailed every year from Nieuwpoort to St Malo or Isle of Wight and back independent of the weather conditions...and in record time. Of course, safety and reliability always come first so the boat is rigorously maintained by the crew to keep her in optimal shape.

In every port on The English Channel, and recently also on the Mediterranean (thanks to the sister-ships MiNiNiNiX and MiCrONiNiX), the NiNiX crew is known for their good sailing, spirit and fun. We are well-received sailors all year round. Thanks to X-Drive and the crew's comradeship, NINIX Sailing Adventure will maintain its reputation for decades to come.

NINIX with her X-Drive roller/furling genoa partially reefed.


Doug Weakley and crew with the Heritage Cup awarded to the winners of the Texas J/22 Circuit.

The new UK Sailmakers Radial J/22 Jib.

Texas is a stronghold for the J/22 one-design sailing; areas like Galveston Bay can see 18 boats on the line for Wednesday night racing, which makes for plenty of competitive racing. Sailing his J/22 consistently throughout the seven regattas making-up the Texas J/22 Circuit, Doug Weakley (Corpus Christi, TX) came out on top after winning four events and placing well in the remaining three. Powered by UK Sailmakers Texas’ sails, Weakly and his crew proved fast in all conditions.

One key to his success was Doug’s relentless drive to keep his older boat (hull #24) competitive. Another key was the new radial cut jib from UK Sailmakers that proved fast in heavy air conditions along with his cross-cut UK jib that is still fast in the light stuff. Designing sails that are flexible enough to work in the shifty inland lakes as well as the choppy coastal waters is tough work. UK designed the new radial jib to provide sailors a combination of durability and better efficiencies in the higher wind ranges.

Here’s Doug’s take on the season:

“2018 started out great with Jim Kondziela and Joe Mayfield sailing with me on HNL (#24) at the Houston Yacht Club’s Midwinter regatta. We were really fast throughout the event and starting with a bullet in race one. We were pretty excited about our 6th place finish in the 39-boat fleet, competitive fleet.

“We then sailed using our new radial jib at Austin Yacht Club and took first in a competitive fleet made of locals and traveling boats.

“We got back into the boat in the fall and took back-to-back wins at Corpus Christi and Canyon Lake yacht clubs and the HYC Heritage Cup. At Corpus, we sailed with the cross-cut jib for power through the chop and we used it again at Canyon Lake in the light conditions. Canyon is all about avoiding a really bad race in the shifty conditions there, and we were the boat that did just that.

“At HYC’s Heritage Cup, we went back to the radial jib and we were very fast in all the conditions. Saturday started out in very light air and we were quick in the light stuff, coming back from a terrible start to win the first race. The breeze quickly built and our old boat was set up really well for it. The radial jib was great, the boat just felt really fast. We had great downwind speed also with the new spinnaker design.

“We look forward to more success with UK Texas in 2019 beginning with the midwinters at Ft Walton Beach in March!”


Minkie and Windswept

In the Indian Ocean of Fremantle, Western Australia, sailors are used to a “bit of breeze.” In this group of photos you can see a close finish in the Ron Warren Trophy Race sailed Dec. 15th. With the breeze in the 20s, the Beneteau First 30 MINKIE sailed by Steve Delfos squeaked out a class win by 1 second over his brother Ernie Delfos sailing WINDSWEPT, a Jeanneau Sun Fast 32. Both boats sail with UK Sailmakers sails; MINKIE with X-Drives and WINDSWEPT with an X-Drive main and Tape-Drive genoa. Post race beverages were well earned by all. Chris Bender photos.

To close out the year, UK Sailmakers asked its loft owners from around the world to share with us, and you, some of their most memorable moments from 2018. Here are four of them and, in each, you will get the sense that the folks at UK Sailmakers live up to the corporate slogan: Sailmaking is what we do, sharing our passion for sailing is why we do it.

We hope you enjoy these sea tales and have a healthy and prosperous New Year.


The 2018 event that stood out for UK Sweden’s Mikael Olesen was the 350-mile AF Offshore Race also known as the Around Gotland Race. Olesen sailed this iconic race aboard the brand new Arcona 465 named FLYT that had had its very first sail just three days before the start. While Olesen and crew acknowledged that sailing a long-distance, offshore race without having had a proper shakedown period was a dicey call; they went after inspecting the boat, gear, and sails the best they could.

The Arcona 465 FLYT showing off her Uni-Titanium sails while sailing out to the Baltic Sea.

The race started right off downtown Stockholm and then weaved through the islands of the Stockholm archipelago. The UK Sailmakers’ Uni-Titanium upwind sails fit and performed perfectly out of their bags as they were immediately put to an extreme test that they passed with flying colors. Eventually the fleet got free of the islands and into the Baltic for a 16-hour downwind sleighride in 30-34 knot winds sailing to Hoburgen at the southern-most point of Gotland Island. At that point in the race, FLYT was fourth in fleet of 237 boats.

Video shot on FLYT speeding down the Baltic Sea to Gotland Island.

Video shot on FLYT speeding down the Baltic Sea to Gotland Island.

Olesen said, “It was an unbelievable ride. We pushed our still “untested” boat to the max and she sailed like a rocket; our speed never dipped below 17 knots with our top speed pegged at 23.2. The video (above) shows us sailing this new boat in 28-30 knots with complete control. The reality is that starting a long-distance race without a proper shakedown was not the best way to prepare, and taking off in conditions like these without knowing if everything would work was nuts; but we were lucky that the boat was built and commissioned well and our sails and gear were more than up to the tasks at hand!”

On the leg north to the finish off Sandhamn Island the wind got lighter and shifted. While the fastest boats had to beat all the way back from Gotland in the dying breeze, the slower boats got lifted to the finish. FLYT ended up 6thin the 50+ boat SRS A division and 13thoverall out of 237 boats. That result is not too shabby for a racer/cruiser with a full interior that had never been fully tested. Great results...and good fortune!

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