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Tape-Drive® Sails are Lighter and Stronger

Tape-Drive® is the only high-tech construction method in which the materials can be varied to suit the specific use of the sail. Depending on the size of your boat and its sail requirements, we select the appropriate membrane material from a wide variety of custom designed laminates using scrims of aramid, Spectra Pentex, Fiberglass or polyester yarns.

The purpose of the membrane is to:
  • Provide shape to the sail 
  • Prevent passage of air from the windward to the leeward side of the sail thereby creating lift 
  • Provide a surface on which to attach the grid of high strength tapes

The purpose of the yarns or scrim in the membrane laminate is to:
  • Absorb secondary, local aerodynamic and off tape line loads 
  • Prevent tearing of the membrane 
  • Increase durability and physical life of the laminate

For example, sails made with laminates of high modulus yarns such as Kevlar or PBO Zylon have very low stretch and very high strength. DuPont's new Kevlar Edge, the first high performance fiber designed specifically for sailmaking is 25% stronger than its predecessor. We now use it in Tape-Drive® tapes too, meaning the frames that carry the loads on the sail are stronger than ever. Laminates made with Pentex or polyester yarns are less expensive than the high modulus yarns. They can be used with Kevlar tapes or combined with tapes made of Pentex yarns for maximum economy. For the ultimate in cruising performance, we use Spectra laminates, which are the most durable of all. Spectra is among of the lowest stretch, highest strength yarns and is totally unaffected by flexing.