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Changes in Racing Sails and Sailmaking

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Racing sails made of laminated materials have been the choice of leading-edge racers for nearly a quarter century. These sails, assembled from panels built of high-strength fibers sandwiched within plastic film, have continued to evolve, and the recent trend has been to design the sail first, then make each section of laminate, or the entire sail, with the expected loads of the sail in mind. In this area, North Sails' 3DL process is the clear market leader among bigger boats. For many sailmakers, existing patents have slowed development of customized lamination for these newer "membrane" sails (sometimes called "load-path" or "string" sails); but with the nine-year Sobstad vs. North lawsuit settled (in 2001) and relevant patents due to expire soon, there's been a spate of manufacturing news.   more...

 

 



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