There has been a lot of promotion of filmless and composite sail fabrics in recent years. With efficient mixtures and orientations of fibres, these materials can be used to create sails of great strength and durability. Dimension-Polyant’s new Tyra PLY now enables all sailmakers to offer their customers this significant uptick in performance.
The customisation of sailcloth is not new for Dimension-Polyant, it’s been in their core DNA since the company was founded in 1966. Since then they have continued to adapt to new ideas and technologies, with Tyra PLY the latest in this trend to fulfil the demand for high-strength, lightweight and durable materials applicable across the huge variety of boat types, from winged kites and windsurfers to offshore yachts.
Tyra PLY starts with a composite construction based on spread filaments of constituent high-strength materials, such as high-modulus carbon, aramid and Ultra-PE. The filaments are derived from yarns and spread into tape form known as Tyra-UD.
These tapes are then laid into an inner matrix oriented at angles of between 0 and 90° in varying densities, customised depending on the loads anticipated in the intended sails. The fibres are bonded together without the need for film, which not only reduces the thickness to an ultra-thin membrane, but also enhances the stability of the cloth – there is no shrinkage and limited shape distortion, and yet still exceptional support for the cloth’s off-angle loads.
This approach produces exceptional weight to strength ratios, while at the same time the inner matrix structure allows tremendous flexibility in providing the right DPI in the sail. The results of laminate stretch tests performed on several cloths of varied weights says it all: for example, when a 0-45-90° Tyra PLY cloth with a weight of 3.5 smoz made from aramid filaments is subjected to the application of 325lb of force, there is only 1 per cent elongation. These testing results are among the best in the industry.
‘This translates to a Tyra PLY cloth of 7000 DPI having the same strength as a traditional equivalent laminate of say 12,000 DPI’ says Ben Rogers of Dimension-Polyant UK. ‘This means a more efficient use of the filaments in the structure of the sail..’
A final step in the production process is the outer surfaces of the filaments assembled in the inner matrix. Dimension-Polyant’s well regarded Lite Skin non-woven taffetas are applied to minimise any chafe or puncture damage from handling the sail in demanding real world applications: on a beach or on the deck of a racing yacht in action.
The first Tyra PLY styles to be launched are for radial panel applications, and with pure aramid filaments in the range of 7000 to 20,000 DPI closely followed by versions designed for cross -cut panel applications. The addition of a traditional woven taffeta finish is also anticipated since this is critical for cruising yacht applications where sails are repeatedly folded, furled and stacked, and durability and longevity are especially appreciated in this marketplace.
‘We see Tyra PLY as being a game-changer,’ says Rogers. ‘When you consider the sheer volume of sailcloth produced for the sailmaking market, the availability of an affordable high-tech solution for our performance-minded customers opens up numerous new opportunities they would otherwise not be able to service. .’
Rogers points out that all customers of Dimension-Polyant can benefit from Tyra PLY whether for pre-planned sails or circumstances limiting their ability to meet their customer demand and a panelled sail is a solution, for example a replacement sail is required at short notice pre-regatta.
This could be for boat types ranging from International Moths to 60ft offshore boats (in the current product offerings) or even in the future to truly high-load applications found on Superyachts.
‘Not only this,’ Rogers says, ‘but we see Tyra PLY technology having a wide variety of applications in other industries beyond sailmaking – anywhere that a high-strength unidirectional composite tape or cloth is needed can be custom tailored to suit the needs of the application. The possibilities are endless.’