X-Drive Carbon - Cruising Genoa

An Arcona 465 with X-Drive Carbon

Carbon fiber is the highest performance yarn used in sailmaking. As the chart below shows, carbon yarns are at the top of the chart in three out of four ways to measure the performance.  Carbon fiber’s resistance to stretch is three times greater that S-Glass yarns, which are three times more stretch resistant than polyester yarns.

An example of the greater coverage of tapes on an X-Drive sail compared to a Tape-Drive sail.

Even though the individual tapes in an X-Drive sail are very narrow, their almost complete coverage of the sail, leads to a smooth flying shape. UK Sailmakers’ tape laying machine puts down up to 11 tapes at a time in a 20 cm wide path (8 inches wide), which means there are hundreds of tapes on the sail. Since each tape has 4,000 carbon filaments there are up to 44,000 filaments of carbon are laid at time, gives the sail great strength along with the ability to keep its designed shape without distortion. This means we can use lighter and less expensive laminates than would be used in Tape-Drive sails and the savings are passed on.

All the carbon yarns used in X-Drive tapes are dry—not coated in glue—which keeps them from becoming brittle. Keeping the carbon yarns dry improves their flexibility.

An Italia 13.98 with X-Drive carbon sails for both cruising and club racing.

Close-up of carbon X-Drive tapes on a polyester laminate.