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Cruise Laminates

Performance Oriented Cruising Sails

Doyle Bluewater
Doyle Bluewater
Doyle Bluewater
Doyle Bluewater
Doyle Bluewater

Performance Cruising Redefined

For sailors who desire a blend of performance, durability and value, Cruise Laminates offer a wide variety of choices that can be customized for each individuals goals and budgets.

The Cruise Laminate range of sailcloths available on the market today are a far superior option to those available just a few years ago. The developments in lamination techniques and yarn content have produced a cloth that offers an excellent compromise between performance, longevity and value for money.

Paneled laminate sails can be constructed in either a Cross-Cut panel arrangement, which utilizes cloths that are fill oriented with additional off-axis fibers, or in a Radial panel arrangement, which takes warp oriented fabric and arranges the fabric so that the panels radiate from the greatest loads in the sail. The advantage of radially oriented sails is that shaping can be very precisely controlled and the fabric can be carefully selected for each individual section of the sail - assuring that the sails will hold their shape for a long period of time.

Cruise laminates typically feature a base scrim of the primary fiber, an additional X-Ply for off-axis loading, and then external taffetas on the surfaces to aid with chafe protection and UV resistance. Because Cruise Laminate sails utilize various high-modulus fibers, they can typically offer weight savings over traditional Dacron sails. The latest generation of Cruise Laminates typically features additional UV and anti-mildew treatment inside the glue as well as on the surfaces.

Overview of common Cruise Laminate Fibers:

Polyester

Doyle Polyester Cruise LaminatePolyester’s desirable properties include excellent resiliency, high abrasion resistance, high UV resistance, high flex strength and low cost. Although polyester has been replaced by higher modulus fibers for most racing applications, its proven durability makes it the most common cruising sailcloth fiber.

 

Pentex

Doyle Pentex Cruise LaminateA modified polyester fiber made my Honeywell, Pentex has 2.5 times less stretch than standard polyester fibers (between polyester and Kevlar 29). Pentex is well suited to laminated sailcloth, in which the fibers are laid straight for strength and are sandwiched between sheets of film for stability. Pentex laminates offer a reasonable blend of performance and value for the discriminating cruiser.

 

Vectran

Doyle DVX Cruise LaminateVectran is a polyester-based high performance LCP (liquid crystal polymer) produced by Hoechst Celanese. It is naturally gold in color and has a modulus similar to Kevlar 29, but suffers negligible strength loss with flex. This is a benefit in endurance applications and for cruising sails where durability is key. Additional advantages of Vectran fiber include zero creep, high chemical and abrasion resistance and high tensile strength. Although it was initially though that Vectran’s UV resistance was lower than those of the Aramids or of Spectra, it has been shown that, over an extended test period, the UV degradation of Vectran levels off after roughly 400 hours of exposure, while the Aramids and Spectra® Doyle DVXcontinue to degrade.

Doyle has been producing their premium DVX laminates now for nearly 20 years, which have proven to be one of the most durable options for premium cruisers and Superyachts alike. The cloth has been so successful as it uses Vectran in the primary load direction as well as the secondary direction. For 2013, the cloth added an additional X-Ply at 22.5° to address all off-axis loading.

Spectra-Carbon

Doyle Spectra Carbon Cruise LaminateTypically reserved for larger yachts, Spectra-Carbon has become a standard for high load applications where durability and shape holding are desired. The Carbon in the sail addresses the highest loads, while the Spectra (typically including Spectra outer surfaces) address chafe and also adds long-term longevity to the sails. Combining these two high-strength, low weight materials ensures that the final sails offer optimal shape holding with light weight.

Spectra® is a highly processed ultra high molecular weight polyethylene (UHMWPE). Spectra offers good UV resistance (on par with polyester), very high initial modulus numbers (second only to high modulus Carbon Fiber), superior breaking strength, and high flex strength. More careful testing, however, reveals that it also exhibits a property known as “creep” (permanent, continuous elongation under a sustained load) that results in a change in shape as the sail ages. Creep makes Spectra unfit for high performance racing applications and more suited for large cruising boats where strength, UV resistance, light weight and durability are paramount.

Carbon fiber is a high modulus synthetic fiber made from an acrylic containing carbon, hydrogen and nitrogen atoms that is heated in three successive stages to eliminate all but the carbon atoms. It is naturally black in color and is essentially unaffected by UV exposure. First used successfully in the America’s Cup, carbon fiber laminates provide exceptionally low stretch for their weight. Recent manufacturing advances have led to improved fiber flexibility, which translates to longer sail life in exchange for lower modulus numbers.

For more information about Cruise Laminate Sails: