Tape-Drive® Is:

 Stronger:The secret of Tape-Drive's strength is the web of low-stretch tapes, made with inserted high modulus Kevlar or polyester yarns, that run along the sail's primary load paths from corner to corner -- putting the muscle in the sail right where it's needed. The tapes radiate throughout the sail with a heavierconcentration in the high load areas -- in the corners and along the leech.
     Sirocco (right), an Alden 77, with roller furling Tape-Drive main and Passagemaker genoa. Compare the elegance of the main and genoa to the "patchwork" look of her traditional Dacron mizzen. Mitch Carucci photo. 

   Lighter:Because the major stresses in a sail are borne by tapes, the base sail cloth only needs to be a lightweight laminated skin fabric. Moreover, the convergence of many tapes at the corners further reduces the weight of the sail by eliminating the need for large, stiff, multi-layered corner patches. By saving weight aloft, heeling and pitching are reduced, which makes sailing more comfortable. lighter sails fold into smaller bundles, making them easier to carry and stow. Tape-Drive sails can be as much as 40 percent lighter than Dacron sails designed for similar wind ranges.
   More Versatile:Tape-Drive sails are light enough to lift and fill to get the boat going in light breezes, while being strong enough to hold their shape in a blow. By not distorting, Tape-Drive sails produce less heeling and more driving force. The rewards of strong, light sails are reaped on and off the water.

Because the Tape-Drive tapes carry the primary loads, the skin fabric need not have more than minimal strength in the vertical direction. However, to handle the secondary loads that run from leech to luff, the skin fabric must provide significant strength across the sail with heavier yarns running in that direction. On many Tape-Drive sails, the skin fabric includes extra yarns at shallow angles to the horizontal yarns. These "x-ply yarns" further enhance the off-threadline strength of the sail.
   Longer Lasting:To add strength and shape-holding ability, UK-Halsey builds Tape-Drive sails with the strongest threads of the skin fabric running across the sail from leech to luff. The skin fabric's strongest threads carry the secondary loads in the sail, while the web of low stretch Kevlar or polyester tapes carry the primary loads that run along the leech and out of the corners.
Not only are Tape-Drive sails stronger and lighter than other sails, but the tapes create a unique "damage control" structure that keeps accidental rips from becoming major problems. With the high strength tapes running up and down the leech and luff, damage to the base fabric can only migrate to the nearest seam or tape -- not across the sail -- a huge benefit to those cruising far a field. Repairs can be so minor that they can be cone on the boat with sail tape or even duct tape. And when your repairs are less extensive, they are less expensive.
   Distinctive:Tape-Drive's signature look is more than just elegant. Sails made with more than one fabric get bumpy and wrinkled with age as the different component fabrics stretch and shrink at different rates. To ensure a smooth shape, Tape-Drive sails use the same base fabric throughout the sail. Tape-Drive is one of those rare instances where state of the art materials and engineering yield an object of elegance and beauty. After all, why should your sails look like a patchwork quilt?