You wouldn’t use anything other than Dyneema for your halyards or sheets,’ says Banks Sails’ boss Paolo Semeraro. ‘So why accept anything less in your sails?’ There are good reasons why most sailmakers don’t offer sails reinforced with Dyneema despite its well-known strength, durability and toughness. Instead, they tend to use sailcloth made with carbon or aramid fibre.
Dyneema may be stronger than carbon, much less brittle and three times lighter for the same diameter, but it’s slippery, which makes it awkward to laminate into the body of a sail – and you really don’t want a sail with load-bearing filaments that are liable to slip around when it flogs. ‘Nobody else is using it,’ Semeraro says. ‘But we have found a way to make it work.’
After five years making Dyneema-reinforced sails with no problems, there is no longer any doubt that they have indeed cracked it. Read on.