19 February 2011

lightweight racing sails

3D thermal laminating (3DL), was developed by Luc Dubois and J. P. Baudet at North Sails in 1990 and has since been adopted by nearly every racing boat in the Volvo Ocean Race and America's Cup.

Sailmaking has been transformed by 3DL. Instead of cutting and stitching patterns to create the ideal 'flying shape', strength to weight is maximised by laying continuous strands of fibre reinforcement (aramid, carbon and polyester) along the pre-determined lines of stress. Sandwiched between thin sheets of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) the individual fibres are bonded in place with a specially developed adhesive. 3DL sails give racing boats huge competitive advantage: they are seamless and up to 20% lighter than conventional equivalents.

Image from North Sails