DIMENSION-POLYANT and DSM Dyneema announced the successful performance of the new D4 membrane sailcloth that features Dyneema, the world's strongest fiber.
The innovative D4 sails were used by Marc Emig and Bertrand de Broc, racing for the AST Groupe Francaise in an Open 40 in the 4,300-mile Transat Jacques Vabre race. After enduring the Atlantic crossover from Le Havre, France, to Salvador de Bahia, Brazil, the sail was found to be in perfect condition.
The unsurpassed strength-to-weight ratio and extreme modulus and low stretch of the Dyneema polyethylene fiber offers sail makers the possibility to engineer sails which are lighter whilst keeping their shape.
This results in greater speed and easier sail handling for sailors, particularly in racing and endurance racing. The DSM material is extremely resistant to abrasion, UV light and salt water. This combined with its excellent flex fatigue properties allows sails to be used over a longer period of time compared to conventional membrane sails with e.g. carbon or aramid fibers.
Unlike carbon fiber, Dyneema is nearly transparent to onboard radar energy, making it the material of choice for e.g single handed offshore races.
"After four years of development using Dyneema fiber, we have found that this material significantly enhances the value of our D4 membrane technology. Dyneema further reduces sailcloth weight and boosts strength for optimal shape retention, durability and performance, said Uwe Stein, Managing Director, DIMENSION-POLYANT.
"With the tremendous results of our sailcloth test during the Transat Jacques Vabre race, we are fully confident about launching this new product next year."
DIMENSION-POLYANT D4 sail membranes are custom-made using Dyneema fiber. The production process begins with the first external surface. A computer-controlled machine then lays the Dyneema fiber in accurate curved arrays; depending upon the complexity of the design, this can comprise a number of layers. Once this process is complete the second external surface is positioned and the lamination is formed using extreme pressure and controlled heat to bond the films and fibers.
"We are pleased at the exceptional performance of the first membrane sail made with Dyneema fiber, as our technology has been repeatedly proven in the most demanding conditions," said Rolf van Beeck, Business Manager Sports for DSM Dyneema.
"We believe the D4 sail technology featuring Dyneema will help boats achieve greater speed, and provide exceptional durability. We congratulate DIMENSION-POLYANT on their successful trial of the new D4 sails with Dyneema."