Cruising Fabric Options
At Zoom Sails we try our best to match the sail material with the customers needs and budget. We are not biased towards any particular type of construction and don't increase our profit margins based on the value or type of material used. We are also honest about performance, where a low stretch material will help a lot sailing high angles to windward, there will not be a lot of difference running or broad reaching. We've spent a lot of time researching and testing different materials as well as tracking them in real life use. Below are our common options for cruising sail material.
Woven Polyester (Dacron cross-cut)
Dacron is still the most common sail material used in the world today. The main reason behind this is the low cost for high durability and long sail life. Dacron has a big variance in quality and price with at least a dozen different options available to sailmakers from six manufacturers.
We have done extensive testing including UV resistance and offer only the best performing and longest lasting dacron's in each price range to our customers.
Click here to learn more about Dacron sailcloth
Woven exotic (Dyneema/Vectran)
Our preferred hybrid woven sailcloth is Hydra-Net Radial made by Dimension Polyant Sailcloth in Germany and we are one of the biggest users of this material worldwide. Hydra-Net Radial offers the shape holding performance of a laminate, with durability and overall life exceeding the best dacron. This makes it the Rolls Royce of long distance tropical cruising materials.
Other hybrid fiber options include Hydra-Net cross-cut and Nautosphere cross-cut
We don't recommend woven vectran for bluewater cruising sails, as vectran is highly susceptible to UV damage
Laminated polyester and exotic fibers
Laminated polyester can offer good value high performance sails and combined with exotic fibers are the lowest stretch, most stable fabrics available. Polyester cruising laminates in radial construction are common for smaller boats, and radial Dyneema cruising laminates take over for the bigger higher load yachts.
Tear resistance and durability is generally good. The materials are suited to colder climates like North America and Europe as well as Australia and New Zealand. In equatorial climates these materials still have problems with molding, lamination and UV. Therefore they are not as common for the tropical around the world cruiser
Dacron testing at our in house lab in Sri-Lanka