Old Dogs, New Tricks

tech talk

Old Dogs, New Tricks

Dimension-Polyant’s Moose McClintock wraps up the J/24 World’s from a the sailcloth perspective.

The J-24 Class, in an earnest effort to keep the class current with sailcloth development, passed an amendment this year allowing Aramid fiber for the class genoa.  Though the timing wasn’t particularly conducive to the Class’s regatta schedules, the fact is that the fiber would make its’ major debut in Annapolis at this years World Championships.  Timing was short for sail makers to do the necessary sail development to compensate for the different stretch characteristics of the Aramid Fiber (either Twaron or Technora Black) to the PEN fiber that was being used.  In the end, many sailors were split on which fiber to use (a rough look would see around a 30/70 split between Aramid and PEN) with Twaron or Technora Black winning the first 3 races and PEN winning the last 4. 

Overall, however, we were happy to see Brazilian Mauricio Santa Cruz use his new DP D4 Multi Panel Aramid genoa to place 1st overall while American Chris Larson, who was leading the series going into the last race, placed 2nd with a DP ODL Technora Black genoa.  Both boats also used minimum weight DP Formulon 75 spinnakers (as did overall 5th placed Anthony Kotoun) to make big gains downwind in the light air regatta.  The combination of DP 260 SF HTP® plus for the mainsails on both the top boats meant a clean sweep for DIMENSION-POLYANT fabrics.

The success of DP fabrics in the J-24 was not unexpected.  As a class, the J-24 has extremely tight one-design rules so the competition, particularly at a World Championship where every boat is meticulously measured, is very close.  Any edge in boat speed is critical, the primary reason for picking DIMENSION-POLYANT.  Another factor in picking DP fabrics is the extreme beating the sails take in the class, durability with performance is often a pipe dream in the J-24 and the overriding factor in going to Aramid fiber.  The class is looking at a means for improving performance (the minimum weight of the genoa has been dropped 1 kilogram with a fiber that is more than twice as strong) while being economical (the price difference between PEN and Aramid fibers is slowly closing).

The genoa Santa Cruz used for the Championship was a design he has been working on in his recently opened loft in Brazil.  DIMENSION-POLYANT built a D4 MP prototype to his design for initial analysis, the main difference from standard J-24 genoas being the 2-dimensional profile.  Using the standard D4 MP yarn map, Santa Cruz did two more sails to confirm his shape and profile and went on to show outstanding speed in the Worlds, leading the regatta after the first day (the heaviest of the series) and coming from behind on the last, light-to-medium day to take the championship from Larson.  Chris used a paneled ODL09/06 genoa (as did race 3 winner Charlie Enright) to take advantage of the incredible flex strength of the Technora Black yarn.  The feeling is that Technora Black will better handle the abuse the overlapping genoa receives in repeated tacks around the swept back spreaders, leading to a longer competitive life.  The sail looked perfect throughout the week and the leech line was never touched the entire time, a great affirmation of the low stretch of the Technora Black fiber.

.Photo by Dan Phelps – SpinSheet Magazine.