I have been lucky enough to work with Matthew Burridge, in his sail loft over the last few weeks. To see how he builds these sails was an eye opener, which is an understatement. The windsurf sail industry is slowly catching up with Demon and 5-O sails. Their stance on exotic materials has been a slow grind into the 21st century.
The new 2013 sails are now being announced with lighter versions of last years sails being introduced. Also the forums have been extolling the virtues of these "new" materials being used in the sails. After reading these blogs and posts I feel compelled to comment on the bullshit that some are saying.
Now I can now look at a sail that Matthew has built and see what is involved in the building process. First off is the re-enforcing. I have been building luff tubes for Matt and there are at least 6 processes just for making the head area. Including kevlar strips and layer upon layer of strength patches. Clew re-enforcing would be enough for a yacht, let alone a windsurfer. There there are the grains used in the cloth. The sail is built like a bridge. The load areas are controlled by the grain structure of the cloth. Talking of load areas, these are of the highest importance in the design process. More beefing up is applied to these areas. After my time with Demon and 5-O, I believed them to be over-engineered.
This is where the contradiction smacks me in the face like a wet kipper. Demon Design and 5-O wave sails are the lightest available. How can they be over engineered? Fact is they are not. The customer is getting a huge bang for their buck when they purchase one of Matthews sails. Fact is, on other sails you are being sold short. In no way could the big manufactures used the laminates that Matthew is using. If they did you would be paying substantially more than you would be paying now. All through the design process of any sail, there are compromises. The compromise on Demon Design and 5-O are in another ball park compared to others.
The 5-O team riders are animals on their kit. time after time the sails end up on barnacled encrusted rocks, in the most extreme of conditions and yet they survive. I am now not surprised at the incredible strength of these sails.
A friend bought in a un-named brand of sail for repair. the luff area had failed. After un-picking the luff tube, the horror of the strengthening process came to light. bellow the batten was 6 layers of strengthening, directly above was 2 layers. Where the layers met the sail had ripped in half. This was on a 2012 sail.
The bottom line is, why are you letting yourself be sold short? Remember these exotic laminates that is part of the new marketing bs pouted by the hangers on and paid riders were used by a certain sail designer in the mid eighties. boy do i look skinny.