Get a Quote

I want you to know my total satisfaction with the sail... The sailmaking seems superior in all aspects for a sail of this type...
Greg A, Hughes 38

Island Planet Sails Catalina 38 0.75 oz. assymetrical cruising spinnaker.Cruising Sails

Island Planet Sails is owned and staffed by cruisers so our passion for cruising is no surprise. One of our team members recently completed 17,000 miles of cruising and has helped us further refine our sails.

Cruising means different things to different sailors. We are keenly aware our customers use their boats differently. Many of our customers participate in rallies like the Baja Ha-Ha, ARC, and the Darwin to Bali Rally. Other customers are content with a quiet weekend gunkholing in the Chesapeake. We have customers like Bob Bechler who has made several Pacific crossings with our sails and is the only customer to actually wear out one of our sails. It took tens of thousands of miles to reach that point. We feel honored that Bob came back to us for a new sail.

Like all sailmakers, we offer different levels of cloth and finish quality. We frequently modify our specifications to meet the needs of our cruising customers. For example some customers are better served if we build their mainsail with a twin ply leech. A customer investing in a cruising laminate for expedition type sailing might be better off if we build with a heavier taffeta than normal. Since our customers are scattered around the globe we must build every sail to a high standard. Although we offer a great warranty our company would not succeed if customers needed to use it often.

Most importantly we take the time to carefully listen and ask the right questions to determine what is truly the best solution for the customer.

The Right Sailcloth

Great sails start with choosing the right sailcloth. Regardless of how well a sail is constructed it will not perform as expected if the base cloth is not appropriate for the loads. Many sailors have purchased a sail with intricate handwork and lovely workmanship, only to replace it long before they expected. It may have been a poor choice of sailcloth by the loft or use of "seconds", a euphemism for manufacturer rejected material. Our production loft has one of the most rigorous cloth inspection programs in the industry to insure that cloth used in our sails meets standards. Nigel Calder visited the loft and wrote an article about it and the globalization of sailmaking. Ask us for a copy.

Our Dacron Range

Island Planet Sails has a wide range of cloth always available and we can special order any material on the market. Our Dacron range has material appropriate for everything from casual daysailing to circumnavigating via the great capes. We also have specially developed material for charter fleets in the tropics. Our top of the line Dacron sails are made with materials like Marblehead from Challenge Sailcloth. Marblehead is made with two of the best base yarns available, Dacron 52 by Dupont and 1W70 by Honeywell. The fabric is heat-set several times, methodically shrunk at high temperature to again tighten the weave, prefatigued, and calendered at high tonnage to further stabilize the bias. Marblehead is the most stretch resistant Dacron and will give many years of trouble free service to voyaging sailors.

Cruising Laminates

Some cruising sailors prefer the advantages of modern cruising laminates for better shape retention and longer performance life than Dacron. Cruising laminates are not appropriate for all sailors and we explain the advantages and disadvantages fully. We have a great selection of membrane, or load path sails as they often called as well as some tri-radial options. Our Matrix Membrane(MXL) line offers the performance oriented cruiser a wide range of material choices from polyester to carbon. Typically we use a protective taffeta on both sides of the sail, however those sailors to looking to maximize performance may choose a single taffeta or taffeta core.

Our most popular performance cruising sail is Custom Axis Laminate(CAL). This is a sail that is hard to say no to. For not much more than the price of a good quality Dacron sail, you get a high quality laminate that is custom constructed for your boat. Primary and secondary load carrying fibers are custom laid at angles determined by the load lines so the sail is actually much stronger where it counts most. These hand crafted sails are strung and laminated in environmentally clean and climate controlled rooms on state of the art equipment. The protective taffeta on each side makes sail handling easy. The anti-UV film in these sails is composed of the same type of ingredients used in UV block in modern car windows. CAL sails will hold shape far longer than most Dacron sails. We use Vectran fibers in our CAL sails. Vectran is an amazing material. Pound for pound, Vectran is 5 times stronger than steel, and 10 times stronger than aluminum. It has stretch resistance comparable to Kevlar 29 but does not lose strength when flexed. Vectran repels water so it is not prone to mildew. Since the yarns are flat, it is an ideal material for use in laminated sails. Many mega-yacht sails are made with Vectran.

Although membrane sails make far more efficient use of material some sailor still prefer radial construction. For cruisers we have two tri-radial products of interest. Our Multi-Film Cruise Laminate (MCL) utilises two films and is laminated as a membrane. The range uses a High Tenacity Polyester scrim which virtually eliminates warp crimp and resists stretch. The film and scrim is encapsulated in tough polyester using the same taffeta cover as we use on MXL strung sails to provide tear strength and impact resistance.

Our Radial Core Laminate (RCL) is designed for the cruising sailor who not only demands a low stretch sail but wants it to be very lightweight. This is very attractive to sailors who make frequent sail changes, admittedly a small subset of the cruising community. RCL is the only radial CORE cloth on the market for traditional tri-radial construction. The internal lightweight Taffeta combined with a special laminating process produces a much softer hand than a normal film-on-film sail, extends longevity and makes a ‘quieter’ sail.

The downside of radial construction is that it results in a lot of waste. Up to 30 percent of the cloth can end up in in the dumpster. The industry as whole has gravitated towards load path technology for this reason. There is a strong demand for radial Dacron sails in one design applications where class rules prohibit laminate sails. We have not jumped on the radial Dacron for cruising sails bandwagon. In our opinion, there are some significant drawbacks to using the recently developed warp oriented cloth for cruising applications. We can discuss this with you in detail. Ultimately, our customers decide what is best for their use. We simply offer our recommendations based on our observations and perspectives.

CAL in Vectran usually makes a lot of sense for performance oriented cruising yachts and racer/cruisers. Yachts over 55' and performance oriented cruisers like a J-46 will benefit from the options available with MXL. Island Planet Sails will spend time with you and review your options. And we guarantee that we will help you stretch your sail buying dollars. We will also help with deciding whether or not full battens make sense and if a track system should be part of your mainsail investment. While we appreciate the benefits of fully battened sails on multi-hulls and yachts with freestanding rigs, we do not recommend them for every boat. Our experience cruising has revealed that boats with full batten mains suffer a lot more from chafe along the batten pockets. The added weight and friction often necessitate a track system which adds more cost and complexity.