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UK Sailmakers History

Established in 1946, UK-Halsey Sailmakers is one of the oldest lofts in North America. Over 50 years later, the UK-Halsey group has 25 lofts and service centers around the world. UK-Halsey has been on the leading edge of sail development ever since the late ’40s when Ulmer Sails dominated the Star class and other one-designs like 5.5 Meters, Snipes, Lightnings and Comets
In the early ’70s, UK-Halsey became known as the only place to buy spinnakers, since we were the first loft to perfect the radial-head construction tech-nique. Not being able to produce spinnakers fast enough, UK-Halsey branched out with independently-owned franchises. The computer programs we developed for sail design and construction ensured that sailors across the country could buy the same fast sails from any UK-Halsey loft. 

In the early 1990s, UK-Halsey Sailmakers hired Jack Kleene, UK-Halsey's Technical Director, to write and constantly update the most sophisticated computer design program in the industry. Jack headed the flow code sail shape research project for America 3 when she successfully defended the America’s Cup in 1992, and he continued to work with A 3 on their successive campaigns. His knowledge of sail shapes and computer programing is vast. 
Owen Torrey, our designer emeritus, affectionately called “The Prof,” created all our early computer programs. Owen invented the Flasher — an asymmetrical pole-less cruising spinnaker that permits short-handed sailors to enjoy the benefits of a spinnaker while flying a sail that handles as easily as a genoa. 
Over the past decade, UK-Halsey continues to develop our leading-edge load-path technology Tape-Drive® sail construction system. Tape-Drive is a patented construction method that enables UK-Halsey to build sails that last longer, hold their shape better and weigh less. Tape-Drive® is a reinforcing system of high-strength, low-stretch tapes that are glued to a sail. The tapes are laid along the computer predicted load paths that run between the corners of the sail. With the tapes carrying the major loads, sailcloth and shaping seams don’t distort. Tape-Drive® gives the strength of a two-ply sail at a fraction of the weight. 
In the mid 1990s, the UK-Halsey Sailmakers group continued to grow and expanded into Europe, doubling the size of the group.