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Radial Dacron – Cruising Mainsail
In an effort to increase the performance of woven polyester sails, commonly called “Dacron,” cloth manufacturers have developed new weaving techniques to make woven polyester fabrics suited for radial paneled sails. The breakthrough was finding a way to weave a cloth with strong, straight warp yarns while all the “crimp” (bending over and under of the weaving process) is in the fill yarns. Cloth that is stronger in the warp direction is called “warp oriented.”
The fully articulated panel layout of a tri-radial mainsail rotates the cloth’s thread line to match the primary load paths between the three corners of the sail. To accomplish this, tri-radial sails are constructed from many narrow panels, where the thread line of the cloth is parallel to the longest edge of the panel. That is why radial sails made with woven polyester sailcloth were not feasible until cloth manufactures learned how to weave wrap-oriented cloth.
Radial woven polyester sails are a good choice for cruising sailors who need the durability of Dacron, yet who still appreciate the performance of sails that hold their shape better than traditional cross-cut dacron sails.