Carbon Grand Prix Laminate sails are the best value proposition for the majority of high end club racers who want to take a step above Dacron. There are some unique attributes to this cloth and many benefits to the Tri-Radial paneled construction. The real magic is in the Carbon/Technora fiber blend which results in extremely high durability ratings for a race sail. We have some performance oriented cruising customers who have chosen this cloth and absolutely love it.
Technora was originally used in mining conveyor belts to withstand the punishment of the ore constantly falling onto the belts while still having the flex properties to bend around the corners with no issue. Excellent fatigue resistance allows it to be folded, rolled or tacked against the rigging with little effect.
These properties make technora the perfect fiber to blend with carbon. Carbon doesn’t flex as well but has a higher resistance to stretch, the best strenth to weight ratio, a similar or higher breaking strength and is entirely UV resistant.
Technora originally comes with a coating (“sizing”) that made it extremely difficult to use in laminate sailcloth. Dimension Polyant found the best process which involves cleaning of the coating, then cleaning off the cleaner used to clean the coating before laminating them. This challenge with Technora prevents it from being used in a fiberpath lamination. This is why Carbon GPL sails compete with fiberpath in terms of performance and outperform in durability.
We have a customer with a Choate 48 in Newport harbor whose ten year old Carbon GPL with Technora scrim Genoa has been tacking up and down the harbor, getting raked across the rigging, twice a week in the Sunset races, along with plenty of additional daysailing and racing. The sail is still in OK shape after a decade plus of extremely consistent solid use.
That’s a sail with no Liteskin. The new Liteskin Carbon GPL sails, like the one we made them this year will last so long, we need to be careful their durability doesn’t put us out of business.