Doyle Sails
Team Sanya has made a distinctive manoeuver before the Volvo Ocean Race has even started by dividing from the fleet and choosing an alternate sail technology – a move that will turn a lot of heads, according to skipper Mike Sanderson.
It could be a case of divide and conquer for Sanderson, the team’s CEO and skipper, who has elected to use Doyle Sails when every other team is using North Sails.
PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG Propulsion, CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand, Groupama sailing team, Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing and Team Telefónica are using North’s 3Di sail technology in various capacities.
Sail technology is more important than ever before in the 2011-12 edition with a new rule limiting the number of sails teams can carry to just 17, making sail programmes cheaper but putting a larger premium on the longevity of the sails.
Sanderson, who is Doyle Sails New Zealand director of sales, said it is not about the brand of the sail, but more about the experience and innovation of the team of designers and sailmakers behind it.
“It’s not about the logo in the corner you know — that’s why I’m excited about it,” he said. “We’re enjoying it and we’ve got some pretty fun new gear that’s going to turn heads.”
The 3Di technology uses layers of unwoven strands of Aramid and Dyneema in various blends to create
stronger sails with a solid shape. Like other Volvo Open 70 sails 3Di Aramid sails are UV sensitive and require a protective coating.
Doyle Sails use Stratis technology, which Doyle Sails NZ owner Richard Bouzaid said involved load applied membranes. “The fibres are designed and laid to certain load angles and then laminated under extreme pressure to form durable high performance laminates.”
Unlike conventional 3Di and Stratis technology, the sails used in the Volvo Ocean Race will not include carbon, as the race rules do not allow it.
North Sails designer Henrik Søderlund, who is working with Team Telefónica, said 3Di technology had proven to be an important evolution since it was first developed during the 32nd America’s Cup for Alinghi.
Despite its relatively new creation Søderlund said 3Di had been put through repeated rigorous tests and was now a tried and tested technology.
“We’ve tested its response to UV, furling, fluttering and general handling and there are a lot of good feelings about the product," he said.
“It creates a stronger sail for the similar weight, the sail holds its shape for longer periods and the overall performance and longevity is better."
Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing sail coordinator Jeremy Elliott said sail development was now just as much about durability as it was design.
Since joining the Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing in November last year Elliott has put various compositions of 3Di to test – laying several swatches on the rooftop of the team’s Abu Dhabi office exposed to extreme heat, UV and even the occasional sand storm for months.
Elliott said that due to changes in the race rules teams are now demanding more than ever from each of their sails as they are now permitted to use just two mainsails for the entire 39,000 nautical mile race, compared to three in previous races.
“Each mainsail will now see around 1,500 hours use which is a lot more than last time when we could share the duration of the race between three sails," he said.
“We’ve been looking for excuses to beat up the sails, to really push them, to make sure they are up it.
“Our tests along with the experience in the Barcelona World Race have given us a great degree of confidence to push ahead with the technology."
PUMA Ocean Racing skipper Ken Read said that 3Di had the potential to revolutionise sailmaking, but he would reserve his definitive proclamation until he had a beer in his hand at Galway, Ireland in July next year.
“My gut is that this 3Di stuff is going to be as bigger breakthrough, or even a bigger breakthrough than 3DL was, that’s how good it appears," he said.
“But on the other hand, have we put enough miles on it yet to know? I don’t want to go out and proclaim it to be the be all and end all yet, but we will know by the end of the race.
“So come to me in Galway, I will put my beer down for a second and tell you, because it’s either going to be one or the other.
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