Laminated Spectra Sailcloth

Our laminated spectra sails have retained their shape over eight years and many miles of use; much longer than the Dacron sails we had in the past. The fabric is from Dimension Polyant and Hallett Canvas and Sails in Falmouth, Maine made the sails. Incidentally, the first set of laminated Spectra sails delaminated very quickly due to a cloth manufacturing problem. Dimension replaced them, no question, no arguments.

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Meet the Author


John was born and brought up in Bermuda and started sailing as a child, racing locally and offshore before turning to cruising. He has sailed over 100,000 miles, most of it on his McCurdy & Rhodes 56, Morgan's Cloud, including eight ocean races to Bermuda, culminating in winning his class twice in the Newport Bermuda Race. He has skippered a series of voyages in the North Atlantic, the majority of which have been to the high latitudes. John has been helping others go voyaging by sharing his experience for twenty years, first in yachting magazines and, for the last 12 years, as co-editor/publisher of AAC.

5 comments… add one
  • Paul Oct 13, 2014, 12:55 am

    Windage & weight aloft furled.

    Wow, I’m impressed that a posting on the best sail cloth manages 8 years without attracting comment. I hate to break the silence, and I’m sure you’re right – laminated is best.

    You’ve confessed that 1200rpm on the engine overcomes the problems of windage aloft associated with the otherwise favourable headsail furling option when trying to sail to windward in heavy weather. I guess dacron sails with longer-lasting but bulkier sewn-on UV protection would have a lot more windage furled, maybe requiring 2000 rpm and perhaps more attention to course keeping.

    In the last 8 years sail development has progressed with molded 3di sails achieving further weight savings and (I assume) even less furled windage. Do you think there might be a place for them in a cruising boat now?

    • John Oct 13, 2014, 8:39 am

      Hi Paul,

      I know that Evans and Beth experimented with 3DL for cruising and as I remember, although they liked the shape, they went back to sewn sails afterwards.

      Other than that, I don’t know.

      • Claire Oct 13, 2014, 11:08 pm

        They wrote that when their 3DL sail wore out, they “tried to get a replacement 3DL but the factory was too busy to meet our timetable”.

        • John Oct 14, 2014, 8:24 am

          Thanks, Claire,

          Now I think about it some more, I would worry about getting 3DL sails repaired by any loft other than the one that built them.

          Also, about a year or so after Evans and Beth got theirs, I asked North for a quote on sails for our boat and asked about 3DL, more out of curiosity than anything else, and they said they would not recommend it for our high latitude use. Of course this was some years ago, so things may have changed.

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