Woven vs laminate sails for cruising?


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Emily.Winter
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(This is a thread copied from the OCC Members Facebook Group)

Woven dyneema/aramid (hydranet) vs laminate sails for cruising?
Cost seems to be about even. Sail makers are giving the lifetime edge to woven sails, but only barely, and laminated sails are said to be a lot faster.
I've read that explosive delamination is a thing of the past. I've read that laminate sails with a high percentage of aramid fibers rather than carbon fibers lasts a long time. I've read that laminate sails with taffeta covers are as abrasion resistant as dacron. I've read that woven sails can be repaired by anyone with a sewing machine, but apparently anyone with the right kind of sail tape, a needle and sail twine, and a lot of patience can temporarily fix a 60' rip in a laminate sail because Alex Thompson did just that after a wee problem in a recent race.
Thoughts?

REPLIES
•    I have just finished a circumnav on a 52' cat which i have owned 16 years ..I also race offshore on others boats..
Laminates have no place on a cruising boat..IMHO.. perhaps for gennaker/reacher.
I had high quaility Bainbridge dacron Main and Jib cross cut last over 10 years and 10s of thousands of miles. But then replaced the mainsail and whilst from a reputable sailmaker and "ocean'" build was stretched after 2 years and carib>turkey>carib.
After much research i had new main and genoa built in NAUTOSPHERE cloth, made in Ireland with a mix of dacron and dyneema. Absolutely fantastic cloth.. Trinidad>Cuba>Panama>Pacific>Australia and broker and surveyor state they are as new sails!
I dont have any financial interest in Nautosphere but wish I did!
•    I sailed / cruised 75000 NM with my Hydranet jib and main on my 65' sloop. I could probably have sailed 10000 NM more, but decided to get a new set in the same material. Have now sailed 45000 NM with them and are very happy. Never had laminated sails and can't compare.
               o    Similarly we have just finished a nine year circumnavigation with Hydranet sails, they are still fantastic
•    We were advised against laminated sails if cruising to off-the-beaten-path locations. We had a repair (under warranty, new sail) in the Azores and the woven technology was a routine repair easily gotten.
•    We love our North Sail 3DI mainsail.
•    I just spent some time discussing this with Rodney Keenan of Evolution Sails. He's representing a loft and there might be a point of view, but he's also sailed hundreds of thousands of miles. His assertion is that you can repair a modern taffeta skinned membrane sail with a dacron patch and a sewing machine. He also asserts that the way this type of sail shows that it's tired is that the taffeta starts to wear out. If you've got holes in your taffeta, maybe it's time to call the sailmaker. In particular, membrane sails no longer explode.
•    We sailed 11 years, 35k nm with our dyneema membrane (DYS 23) main. 105 m2 on a 17 m boat. This is a 5 layer dyneema membrane: tafetta/load bearing/base/load bearing/taffeta. What I love is the shape, still perfect after 11 years. Also the resistance to mishaps like being caught in a block under heavy load, just a wrinkle, no tearing or rips. It is getting tired now which in our case shows up as delamination between the taffeta and the load bearing layers. It only needs to do 1500 miles to home and then it can be recycled.
Once back home I will look at Nautisphere, but last time I selected DYS over Hydranet and have not regretted it.
                 o    In my opinion the real split is between laminate and 3d type sails that are unrepairable.
                 o    this is super helpful, thanks!
•    Sailed around the world with Hydanet, 40k+ nm in total, sail still looks awesome. Zoomsail is the sailmaker.
•    We’ve done 50,000 miles, on a circumnavigation and a half. Still look ok. I’m from a racing background, Carbon laminate etc. But chose Dacron for this 7 years so far trip. We figured that for the extra cost of Hydranet, we could buy another set of Dacron at the end of our trip.
•    I have 25 year old dacron sails, they don't make them like they used to in terms of UV resistance!

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