Alaris

Are all the fastest sails black now?

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It seemed until recently the top boats (top spenders) had a few different shades to choose from. Now, entire fleets both one design and handicap have all-black sails.

Is black or dark grey the choice now truly because of better materials more than just the cool look?

I will admit the last time I was sail shopping for racing sails it was Quantum dark grey (fusion M I think) versus North light greyish/white (pre-3di).

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1 hour ago, Alaris said:

It seemed until recently the top boats (top spenders) had a few different shades to choose from. Now, entire fleets both one design and handicap have all-black sails.

Is black or dark grey the choice now truly because of better materials more than just the cool look?

I will admit the last time I was sail shopping for racing sails it was Quantum dark grey (fusion M I think) versus North light greyish/white (pre-3di).

Genoa or main? Size of boat?

 

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The latest seems to be random carbon fiber run through a Tyvek loom. Feels about as good on the hand as well.

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Well, you don't want to be the only boat with white sails. If you are ever OCS they will know who it was even if they didn't see your sail #

 

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3 hours ago, Raz'r said:

The latest seems to be random carbon fiber run through a Tyvek loom. Feels about as good on the hand as well.

It's be pretty amusing to floor cut some Tyvek sails and turn up to your local beer can race night...

@Alaris it's still somewhat led by looks. Pretty much all the top end racing sails now use carbon in slightly different formats as it has the best combination of strength/weight (and UV) characteristics but their finished states vary a bit..

North led the way with 3Di and their Raw racing version is black 'by design' - as in it comes out of the factory that way as just the carbon membranes to minimise weight.

Doyle's Stratis, even for race sails, still seems to come out if the factory with an outer scrim that can be black, grey or anything else if you want to pay enough... seems like mosy teams opt for black or dark grey (except the new Black Pearl Botin 56 team who have gone for off-off-white to mix things up). 

With panelled sails there's more variation as there is still a huge range of material options out there but I know companies such as Dimension Polyant and Contender have been creating non-woven outer scrims for their cruising cloths to mimic the 3Di/Stratis look as a result of yacht owner pressure/interest... (these scrims are also used on their performance cloths but I believe that was led originally by performance rather than aesthetics).

 

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3 hours ago, NZK said:

It's be pretty amusing to floor cut some Tyvek sails and turn up to your local beer can race night...

@Alaris it's still somewhat led by looks. Pretty much all the top end racing sails now use carbon in slightly different formats as it has the best combination of strength/weight (and UV) characteristics but their finished states vary a bit..

North led the way with 3Di and their Raw racing version is black 'by design' - as in it comes out of the factory that way as just the carbon membranes to minimise weight.

Doyle's Stratis, even for race sails, still seems to come out if the factory with an outer scrim that can be black, grey or anything else if you want to pay enough... seems like mosy teams opt for black or dark grey (except the new Black Pearl Botin 56 team who have gone for off-off-white to mix things up). 

With panelled sails there's more variation as there is still a huge range of material options out there but I know companies such as Dimension Polyant and Contender have been creating non-woven outer scrims for their cruising cloths to mimic the 3Di/Stratis look as a result of yacht owner pressure/interest... (these scrims are also used on their performance cloths but I believe that was led originally by performance rather than aesthetics).

 

Or revive Nuclear sails!

I did some googling and I could not even find a picture of the old sails in action.

- Stumbling

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I think it depends on the type of boat. I bought 9 1/2 oz Dacron from Vermont Sailing Partners for my cruiser to keep the traditional look. I had black sails made for my Ensign Turbo project last year and ordered black sails for my Fareast28R to go with the modern look. 
For me, it was about the look.

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20 minutes ago, Sail4beer said:

I think it depends on the type of boat. I bought 9 1/2 oz Dacron from Vermont Sailing Partners for my cruiser to keep the traditional look. I had black sails made for my Ensign Turbo project last year and ordered black sails for my Fareast28R to go with the modern look. 
For me, it was about the look.

Yeah I think cruisers or older cruiser/racers look a little strange with black sails. Thinking of a Cal 40 around here that is beautiful but a little jarring to see with black sails. Even if we could justify the cost, which we couldn’t, we wanted white sails for our Block Island 40. 

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1 minute ago, Alaris said:

Block Island 40. 

allwayes licked teh looke of thoise........  nice boate.            :)

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22 minutes ago, Sail4beer said:

I had black sails made for my Ensign Turbo project last year 

Whast nexte?  Preppeng a Model-T foire Daytona 500?                     :)

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13 minutes ago, Snaggletooth said:

Whast nexte?  Preppeng a Model-T foire Daytona 500?                     :)

Foiling rainbow 

 

(not knocking the turbo ensign. Our BI40 is turbo as is the J/105 so weird turbo jobs are our M.O.)

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It looked so good that it felt faster!

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I saw a 100’+ yacht sailing the sound last weekend with a fat top  taffeta main and a white jib. 

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There’s a Swan 65 with a square top mizzen out there somewhere. It is certainly a look...

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21 minutes ago, Alaris said:

Foiling rainbow 

 

(not knocking the turbo ensign. Our BI40 is turbo as is the J/105 so weird turbo jobs are our M.O.)

I know two possible donor rainbows.

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yes they are.

Here is the Millenium Falcon:

DSC03151_2.JPG

PS: Shameless plug: you could have seen it first, had you followed me on Instagram :)

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Sail fabric colors are to the sailmaking industry what wheel sizes are to the mountain biking world.

15% technology, 85% marketing.

The PBO days were the best, loved me some pumpkin fiber.

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12 minutes ago, stinky said:

 

Sail fabric colors are to the sailmaking industry what wheel sizes are to the mountain biking world.

15% technology, 85% marketing.

The PBO days were the best, loved me some pumpkin fiber.

Sort of.  3Di is a bit of a game changer for those of us whose ginormous Kevlar & laminate sails would start getting stretched out the moment they came out of the bag from the factory.  After seeing one of the Volvo 70's use a set for a round-the-world race then continue to use it successfully for another six months of GP racing, I was convinced. 

I use a 3DI 155 genoa, but didn't see the need for a 3Di main, went with a ~7 ounce dacron for that.  Ebony and Ivory... together in perfect harmony.  J/35 FWIW.  If I had a boat that was more driven by a big mainsail then I'd give 3Di a hard think for the main.  

I guess that's a good way of saying shape life, service life and cost effectiveness matter.  I don't care if the sails are hot pink, I want a genoa that lasts longer than one season of light use, if possible.  Allows for purchase of additional useful sails within my annual budget.  

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1 minute ago, Lex Teredo said:

Sort of.  3Di is a bit of a game changer for those of us whose ginormous Kevlar & laminate sails would start getting stretched out the moment they came out of the bag from the factory.  After seeing one of the Volvo 70's use a set for a round-the-world race then continue to use it successfully for another six months of GP racing, I was convinced. 

I use a 3DI 155 genoa, but didn't see the need for a 3Di main, went with a ~7 ounce dacron for that.  Ebony and Ivory... together in perfect harmony.  J/35 FWIW.  If I had a boat that was more driven by a big mainsail then I'd give 3Di a hard think for the main.  

Do you have the light grey, dark grey, yellow, white, or black 3DI? The shiny black or the matte black? 

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13 minutes ago, Lex Teredo said:

I don't care if the sails are hot pink, I want a genoa that lasts longer than one season of light use, if possible.  Allows for purchase of additional useful sails within my annual budget.  

My AP chute is hot pink. Still boring old yellowish Kevlar and white Dacron for upwind sails though. 

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1 minute ago, stinky said:

Do you have the light grey, dark grey, yellow, white, or black 3DI? The shiny black or the matte black? 

I have whatever was cheapest, LOL.  It is pretty flat black - the 3Di raw, at an appropriate weight for a 35 foot boat with 3300 lbs of keel and 10 on the rail.  Considered the 3Di Endurance, which I believe is shiny, but the sailmaker said it was pretty heavy and while it would have longer shape & service life, it wouldn't be particularly fast given our generally mild conditions (Chesapeake - median wind is 9kts) and wouldn't be that much added life - but if I wanted to do a lot of ocean racing or sail hard on a heavier,  bigger boat, the endurance in the appropriate weight would be the right choice. 

Seriously.  I don't give a shit what color it is.  I want boat speed & long life at a middle class price point.  That didn't used to be an option due to the Iron Triangle of design- affordable, fast, durable, you can pick only two. Carbon fiber is magic, it breaks an economic and operational rule and gets away with it.    

It helps a lot having a sailmaker whose advice you can trust.   I understand that isn't the case everywhere, with every loft. 

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White dacron for the main on my Capri 25.  Awesome sail that looks new even after 4 seasons.  We baby our sails though.  Headsails are black since they're carbon/technora.  I'm assuming the polyester yarns are black for esthetic reasons.  My new kite is pink.  I think there are a lot of films out there however that are black simply because it looks cool.  Or maybe it doesn't.  My sailmaker made his new genoa for his personal boat with good ol' fashioned yellow aramid.  It looked awesome.

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For racing you want to hold shape at minimum weight aloft. The last main we bought was Spectra Hydronet. It's not black. It holds its shape nicely. It's lighter than Dacron. But, not as light as Carbon string sails.

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Ooohhh!!!!

I forgot tO mention hat the poly carbon sails go up and down like butter and they last longer than dacron...

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The color of the sails only makes you faster if you have orange foils

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4 minutes ago, Liquid said:

The color of the sails only makes you faster if you have orange foils

This is like coordinating your tuner bumper stickers for optimal horsepower. Got it

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3 hours ago, Alaris said:

This is like coordinating your tuner bumper stickers for optimal horsepower. Got it

Hey those stickers give you50+hp:D In the right place.

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On 9/22/2020 at 8:01 AM, Cristoforo said:

Black Sails Matter !

If I don't buy black sails will there be rioting and protesting on LIS

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1 hour ago, jesposito said:
On 9/22/2020 at 8:01 AM, Cristoforo said:

Black Sails Matter !

If I Saillman don't buy black sails will there be rioting and protesting on LIS

:)

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On 9/22/2020 at 1:58 AM, NZK said:

Pretty much all the top end racing sails now use carbon in slightly different formats as it has the best combination of strength/weight (and UV) characteristics but their finished states vary a bit..

 

I don't think that longevity, through UV resistance,  is a top priority of top end racing teams.

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At this point, more than important than color, is the construction of all of these laminate sails.

Radial used to be the bees knees as it came directly from the best type of layout for cloth (Dacron) material. Now, cross cut is making a come back as the sail is smoother than a Radial construction. And of course you've got neither which is apparently now the fastest (load path / membrane construction = 3di).

Price $$$ rises exponentially through these options...

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I hate to state the obvious, but aren’t most of the high tech sails black because that’s the color of carbon fiber?  

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1 hour ago, Monkey said:

I hate to state the obvious, but aren’t most of the high tech sails black because that’s the color of carbon fiber?  

They were black even before carbon fibers had mass adoption (i.e. were cheap enough) - Black was a UV coating on polyester fibers. 

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On 9/23/2020 at 1:52 AM, ROADKILL666 said:

Remember when Kevlar was the hot new thing.

And then was promptly banned for a year. We had a full set of lovely golden sails (rolled up around lengths of PVC tube) in the shed for 8 months why the sailing world argued about the cost destroying the sport. This was right in the middle of the IOR golden era.

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8 hours ago, McGyver said:

I don't think that longevity, through UV resistance,  is a top priority of top end racing teams.

It's all relative - they may not be looking for longevity like in a cruising sail but there have been other materials that were tested before carbon but were too unstable under UV even for racing sails (PBO being an example). Also more grand-prix classes are adding quotas on how many new sails can be used each year so managing sail life is still a concern for teams such as the 52 Super Series fleets etc. With carbon having a relatively decent stability under UV it means the fibres can be left exposed rather than needing UV protective scrims as an outer layer - means less weight overall...

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Carbon is black and big in GP racing, technora can be black and mimick carbon sails in IRC offshore, aluminum masts can be anodized black and look cool, even my sailmaker is making a killing with black polyester sails for club racing and cruising.

 It looks good the same way a kit car does but doesn't deliver the same way as the original. We took the opposite route and sail with white sails, just for the pleasure of overtaking carboned yachts and look at the sad faces on the way.

BTW, white painted carbon masts live longer, just saying.

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Me, I like the light gray film ones. May or may not be a second faster, but that’s not the point. The real advantage is that you can look through them. Tactically, especially shorthanded and/or on port that can mean one full boat length. 

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Can we please go back to the yellow and white.  Black is so yesterday.  Yellow/White was yesterday's yesterday, but now is tomorrow's tomorrow, the future.  Back to the future.

 

Hamilton Island Race Week — Podcast Show Notes — Ocean Sailing Podcast

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Do I have this right:

3Di is made in a mold by a computer and can be any of a variety of materials from pure carbon fiber (3Di Raw) to aramid carbon blends to dacron polyester (Nordac)?

Does anybody else do it this way or are all the others panel cut from various cloth manufacturers like DPL, Contender and so on and you take your pick of cross cut or radial cut (or prime cut)?

And, can you re-cut a 3Di sail if, say, you have a friend of a friend who buys a lot of replacement sails every seaon but the dimensions are a little different (just asking for a friend of this friend of the friend with all the sails).

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36 minutes ago, MauiPunter said:

Can we please go back to the yellow and white.  Black is so yesterday.  Yellow/White was yesterday's yesterday, but now is tomorrow's tomorrow, the future.  Back to the future.

Allmoeste poetrey, verrey sweetley ritten..............                           :)

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53 minutes ago, kinardly said:

Do I have this right:

3Di is made in a mold by a computer and can be any of a variety of materials from pure carbon fiber (3Di Raw) to aramid carbon blends to dacron polyester (Nordac)?

Does anybody else do it this way or are all the others panel cut from various cloth manufacturers like DPL, Contender and so on and you take your pick of cross cut or radial cut (or prime cut)?

And, can you re-cut a 3Di sail if, say, you have a friend of a friend who buys a lot of replacement sails every seaon but the dimensions are a little different (just asking for a friend of this friend of the friend with all the sails).

3Di is unique to North. Tapes are made from spread filaments of polyester, aramid, dyneema or carbon, frequently in combination. The tapes are laid flat in sections of the sail to build up the sail structure and reinforcements as required. The the sections are scarf joined on an adjustable male mold that is shaped specifically to each sail. The assembly is then vacuum bagged and consolidated with a heat lamp. There are no mylar films involved and although there are standard tapes and layouts that apply, every sail is custom. 

Then there are several "string" products that simulate load paths with various yarn types sandwiched between mylar film, sometimes with taffeta exterior surfaces. These are all variations on North's original 3DL product introduced in 1993 and retired in 2017. 

Radial constructions tend to be pre-made laminate materials, again available with a variety of yarn types. There are a few unlaminated woven materials, mostly polyester, with constructions oriented for radial construction. The corners of radial sails are limited in yarn orientation since they are triangles cut out of rectangles. Cross cut materials (woven polyester) are even less efficient in yarn orientation and generally can only align the strong direction of the cloth to the leech. 

Any sail can be recut and it depends a lot on how good the sailmaker is and how much you are willing to spend to do the job. You can hack out a triangle and slap on patches and tapes to make a sail the right size, but it will probably look like crap.  To maintain the yarn orientation of 3Di or string sails requires a lot more skill and time to do it right. 

 

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1 hour ago, MauiPunter said:

Can we please go back to the yellow and white.  Black is so yesterday.  Yellow/White was yesterday's yesterday, but now is tomorrow's tomorrow, the future.  Back to the future.

 

Hamilton Island Race Week — Podcast Show Notes — Ocean Sailing Podcast

Paging Mr. City, Mr. Bull City: We have a new subject for you to paint.

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On 9/24/2020 at 6:11 PM, MauiPunter said:

Can we please go back to the yellow and white.  Black is so yesterday.  Yellow/White was yesterday's yesterday, but now is tomorrow's tomorrow, the future.  Back to the future.

 

Hamilton Island Race Week — Podcast Show Notes — Ocean Sailing Podcast

 Pumpkin Spice sails, how Seasonal!  :P

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all the guys with the means are buying new 3di raw which is only in solid black. They offer the cruising (UV resistant) 3Di in 3 colors, dark grey, light grey, or yellow but they're heavier because of the UV protection. 

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Who cares if they're fast?  (I know they weren't for long.)

Even got used to blue spectra there for a while,  never was too keen on the green though.

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14 hours ago, TUBBY said:

Who cares if they're fast?  (I know they weren't for long.)

Even got used to blue spectra there for a while,  never was too keen on the green though.

I have a set of the OG Hood blue spectra sails for my Schock 35. I dont the think they have been out of the bag since 1996.

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On 9/25/2020 at 2:09 AM, A3A said:

3Di is unique to North. Tapes are made from spread filaments of polyester, aramid, dyneema or carbon, frequently in combination. The tapes are laid flat in sections of the sail to build up the sail structure and reinforcements as required. The the sections are scarf joined on an adjustable male mold that is shaped specifically to each sail. The assembly is then vacuum bagged and consolidated with a heat lamp. There are no mylar films involved and although there are standard tapes and layouts that apply, every sail is custom. 

Then there are several "string" products that simulate load paths with various yarn types sandwiched between mylar film, sometimes with taffeta exterior surfaces. These are all variations on North's original 3DL product introduced in 1993 and retired in 2017. 

Radial constructions tend to be pre-made laminate materials, again available with a variety of yarn types. There are a few unlaminated woven materials, mostly polyester, with constructions oriented for radial construction. The corners of radial sails are limited in yarn orientation since they are triangles cut out of rectangles. Cross cut materials (woven polyester) are even less efficient in yarn orientation and generally can only align the strong direction of the cloth to the leech. 

Any sail can be recut and it depends a lot on how good the sailmaker is and how much you are willing to spend to do the job. You can hack out a triangle and slap on patches and tapes to make a sail the right size, but it will probably look like crap.  To maintain the yarn orientation of 3Di or string sails requires a lot more skill and time to do it right. 

 

At least Voile Incidences from France is offering a material similar to 3Di. The shaping is done differently, though.

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On 9/24/2020 at 8:33 AM, 10thTonner said:

Me, I like the light gray film ones. May or may not be a second faster, but that’s not the point. The real advantage is that you can look through them. Tactically, especially shorthanded and/or on port that can mean one full boat length. 

Used Ullmans for years, Black clear, cool...  Whole fleet did.  Tried out a north older Genny a while back that was not see through.  OMG, Bad habits..  My driving was off by precisely the amount of space between the mast and the window...  ;)

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On 9/29/2020 at 4:39 PM, neuronz said:

At least Voile Incidences from France is offering a material similar to 3Di. The shaping is done differently, though.

This was developed after Incidence bought the D4 Technology group from Dimensions Polyant - looks like good stuff but I don't think they've achieved as much they hoped in terms of going up against 3Di. If anything it's the last 4 years that North have steam-rollered into the IMOCA and Ultime fleets that were typically strong-holds for Incidence.

Millenium Sails in Italy also have a 'spread fibre' membrane technology with their Monolithic range but they are very sparse on actual details. I heard from one sailmaker who had seen the manufacturing that it was a super basic set-up and it seems like they have the tech but not the investment for a proper production plant... This may have changed in the last few years but I was hoping to hear more about this cloth and it never seemed to really 'launch'. 

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6 hours ago, NZK said:

This was developed after Incidence bought the D4 Technology group from Dimensions Polyant - looks like good stuff but I don't think they've achieved as much they hoped in terms of going up against 3Di. If anything it's the last 4 years that North have steam-rollered into the IMOCA and Ultime fleets that were typically strong-holds for Incidence.

Millenium Sails in Italy also have a 'spread fibre' membrane technology with their Monolithic range but they are very sparse on actual details. I heard from one sailmaker who had seen the manufacturing that it was a super basic set-up and it seems like they have the tech but not the investment for a proper production plant... This may have changed in the last few years but I was hoping to hear more about this cloth and it never seemed to really 'launch'. 

The current IMOCA RdR winner used Incidences Sails. So while they have clearly lost some ground in the class, they are still equipping some higher profile teams.

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