The ultimate partnership in Superyacht sails

The philosophy and delivery of the 46m sailing yacht Elfje’s new sail package was always going to ask a lot of the sailmakers and furling manufacturers, with high level loads and a large sail area. When designing Elfje’s new sail wardrobe to incorporate the Doyle Sails Structured Luff and Cableless technology, carefully engineered sails changed the way loads were being distributed through the sails.

Sailing Yacht Elfje sail testing sea trials with Doyle Sails // Cory Silken

In the past 10 years, weight-saving benefits have been embedded in the Doyle manufacturing process, attention has focused more on performance and how the sails work. Doyle Sails Design Director, Richard Bouzaid comments “A great deal of what we do now is about how we can manipulate our membranes to do more. It is not just about sails retaining rigid shapes. Our structures are designed to be manipulated, hence the evolution of Structured Luff and Cableless sails.

“This ability to manipulate the shapes means you no longer need five codes of each sail locked into a narrow working range. Our inventories provide flexibility.”

Advances in sail technology also feed back into broader areas of performance and design. On their own, lighter, stronger sails reduce weight aloft, which improves performance, but Structured Luff and Cableless sails also reduce loads, placing less demand on rigs and supporting structures.

“We are able to take load away from the mast and stays and carry more load in the sails,” says Bouzaid. “There are big gains being made there.” This has obvious benefits in racing applications, but also creates a virtuous cycle in superyachts, where reduced loads and weight can lead to smaller engines, reduced fuel consumption and better sailing performance.

To be able to build and deliver sails of this calibre and quality, custom integrated furling units are mandatory. For Elfje’s furling sails KZ Racefurlers, from Auckland, New Zealand was commissioned to supply all additional hardware.

Elfje’s previous inventory consisted of fixed headstays and hanked sails, which meant that when upgrading to bottom-up Doyle Cableless furling sails, the existing spigot locks and fixed stays required replacement and a furler with a safe working load of 42 tonnes was designed and manufactured.

In addition to the furler, KZ Racefurlers also manufactured a custom 45-tonne hanging swivel lock for the head of the sail. Custom titanium head and tack plates were also designed and machined by KZ to connect the furler and swivel lock to the sail.

KZ Furling units onboard Elfje

The custom swivel lock allows for the sail to be easily hoisted and lowered on and off a lock at the head. The lock is operated by the hoist of the halyard, on and off the lock, with no trip lines required to release. At the tack a continuous furling line drum allows for easy winch driven furling and unfurling of the sail.

ABOUT ELFJE //  ELFJE is a 46 m Sail Yacht, built in Netherlands by Royal Huisman and delivered in 2014. She was designed by Hoek Design Naval Architects, who also completed the naval architecture.

ABOUT DOYLE SAILS // As sailors, our obsession with sailing connects us to the water. The water is our playground, a sanctuary where we seek enjoyment, a competitive playing field where we race; it’s sometimes our home and always a place that unlocks our sense of adventure wherever that adventure might take us.

Our obsession with sailing takes us to every corner of the world and onboard every yacht. We become part of teams, share in the adventures of friends and families, sharing our knowledge and experience with those who have the same passion for sailing as we do. Sailing is in our DNA, where the water unlocks our sense of adventure. We are the custodians of a legacy that has been supporting sailors for close to four decades, and while our world changes around us, our commitment to sailors who seek the same enjoyment and adventure as we do hasn’t. From our sailors to yours, we are your experts in sailing. Your adventure starts with Doyle. By sailors, for sailors. Learn more here.

ABOUT KZ Racefurlers // A proud New Zealand based company with a global focus. We have built ourselves a reputation as an industry leader with specialist design and manufacturing of furling systems for grand prix race yachts and superyachts alike, as well as custom design and manufacture of deck and sail hardware for the industry.

Commissioned by sailmakers, yacht riggers, mast manufacturers, and elite race teams alike, we have a reputation for delivering on expectation, with honesty, and integrity.

Focused on delivering high strength low weight innovations, we have a true commitment to service. We build up to a standard not down to a price, always under selling and over delivering. We take pride in delivering systems that complement the sailing style and setup of every individual boat. Learn more here.