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The spinnaker was great; we won a ton of races!
Michael Smith, Chaser 29

MXL load path membrane sailRacing Sails

Like many of his colleagues, Island Planet Sails founder Dave Benjamin found himself working at a sail loft due to his appetite for racing. That was about 16 years ago. Now there is not much time in his schedule for racing but he enjoys sending winning racing sails to sailors around the world. On the US west coast Island Planet Sails has gained a reputation for building fast spinnakers for the Pacific Cup Race from San Francisco to Hawaii. Not only are the sails fast, but in one case, the Olson 911 Plus Sixteen, recorded back to back second place finishes using the same Island Planet Sails spinnakers. To top it off the sails were relatively inexpensive nylon, not AirX or one of the other higher tech spinnaker materials. In 2008 our friend and former dock neighbor John McCartney garnered second place in a competitive division in spite of some rudder issues that forced him to slow the boat to 4 or so knots for a day so repairs could be made. Using the 1.5oz reacher we supplied, his Nordic 44 Music exceeded 16 knots on several occasions in the early going of the race. Not bad for a 14 ton boat. The 0.75oz runner handled the tradewind portion of the race well according to John and the crew.

In addition to providing best values anywhere, we help you separate the industry hype from reality. Too often sailors are sold sails that are simply overkill for the boat and the owner. They carry a premium price and the return on investment is quite low. We put ourselves in your shoes and recommend what we would put on the boat if it was us having to write the check. We want to forge long lasting relationships with our customers. That only happens if we treat you with respect and recommend what is best for you, not our own bottom line.

ISAF Certification

Our sails are built by the leading independent offshore sail manufacturing facility, which recently became the first offshore manufacturer to achieve ISAF in house certification (IHC). This announcement followed an onsite audit and inspection from ISAF in 2009. Following his visit and inspection Rob Taylor from ISAF stated:

We were extremely impressed with the existing systems and quality control procedures already in place .... the fact that following a 2 day inspection we were able to endorse this assessment and award ISAF IHC status can only be good news for the loft and the sailmakers they supply. This is the first inspection we have done on a sailmaker with a PASS first time!

ISAF certification greatly enhances our one design program as well as IRC. Our list of supported one designs is long and growing. Many popular J-Boat, Melges, small keelboats, and dinghy owners find we offer compelling values. Contact us to see how we can be of service.

RYA certified measurers for IRC sails

Rest easy if you race IRC. Our production loft has three RYA certified measurers. The head of your sail will be indelibly marked with proper measurements and your IRC certificate properly updated. We ship worldwide so regardless of where you race, we can help.

The Right Sailcloth

Great sails start with the right sailcloth. Regardless of how well a sail is constructed it will not perform as expected if the base material is not appropriate for the loads. Many sailors have purchased a sail that looked good initially, only to replace it long before they expected. Perhaps the sailmaker specified an inadequate material or used "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

We always have a wide range of Dacron on hand and we can special order any material we don't have. For long lasting performance in a woven sail consider Marblehead from Challenge Sailcloth. This cloth is well suited for the customer who does a combination of casual racing and cruising. It far outlasts other Dacron, even the oft touted "high modulus" sailcloth. Marblehead is made with two of the best base yarns available, Dacron 52 by Dupont and 1W70 by Honeywell. These quality polyethylene terepthalate (say that 10 times quickly) yarns are used to manufacture Marblehead on modern shuttleless looms which have been specially rebuilt and reinforced to pack in the highest possible number of yarns.

For one design racing where laminates are prohibited we use a range of specially developed highly tempered cloth sourced from quality manufacturers like Dimension Polyant who supplies our popular square weave cloth.

Racing Laminates

Laminate sails are chosen for their ability to maintain the most efficient aerodynamic shape. In many cases laminate sails are lighter than their Dacron counterparts. Laminates are not for everyone and we explain the advantages and disadvantages fully before you purchase. Our most popular racing sails are membrane, or load path sails as they are commonly referred to. Our MXL line offers something for every sailor, from Finn dinghies to ocean racing maxi's. MXL sails come in materials ranging from polyester to carbon and can be built as film-film, single or double taffeta, or our increasingly popular TC (Taffeta Core).

Club racers and others looking for value find Custom Axis Laminate (CAL) practically irresistible. For a price comparable to a well made Dacron sail, you receive 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. Protective taffetas on each side makes sail handling easy. With an anti-UV film made with the same components utilized in car windshields, the CAL sails stand up well to the sun.

Tri-radial sails are used less frequently with the advent of load path sails. It boils down to economics. Tri-radial construction results in a lot of wasted material. So a notable percentage of your investment is literally going into a dumpster or being used to make one of those fancy little bags you see us carrying around. Our tri-radial materials are offered in Aramid, Pentex and Polyester. Our RAL (Radial Aramid Laminate) sails are film on film laminates with Aramid warp and fill fibres coupled with a 22 degree black Aramid scrim which reduces the film loading and stabilises the bias. This combination provides the ultimate in low stretch and light weight.

Our Radial Pentex Laminate (RPL) is a film on film laminate with Pentex warp fibres. Polyester is used in the weft giving a combination of a virtually zero crimp Pentex warp with a softer Polyester fill to prolong competitive use. A 45 degree black Polyester scrim reduces the film loading and stabilises the bias. RPL is ideal for sport boats. RPL is also a great fit in classes that do not allow high modulus fibers to be used.

For dinghies and small keelboats our (RDL) Radial Dinghy Laminate is a good choice. It was originally developed for and successfully used on extreme land-sailing craft. RDL cloth exhibits good durability as well as performance with Zero crimp warp yarns and overall stability. High tenacity, low stretch polyester warp and fill fibres with a Black X-ply combine for for off-thread line bias performance. RDL is ruggedly constructed and offers a modern hi-tech appearance.

Radial Core Laminate (RCL) is only radial CORE cloth on the market for traditional tri-radial constructed sails and is designed for the racer/cruiser market. RCL features an internal Taffeta core and uses High Tenacity Polyester scrim all but eliminating warp crimp and resisting stretch. The cloth looks high tech and has a subtle grey colouring. RCL has a much softer hand than a normal film-on-film sail helping it last longer. It is quieter than a traditional film on film sail.

If some of this sounds confusing, you are not alone. We will take the time to explain materials and options for you. Additionally we will guide you through the decisions around batten configuration and all the little choices that you get to make when having new sails built.