Star class researches mylar sails

Iain Percy is amongst those who would like to see the Olympic keelboat switch to more durable sailcloth, Andy Rice reports

Friday March 9th 2001, Author: Andy Rice, Location: United Kingdom
The Star class is looking into adopting mylar sails in favour of the dacron currently used in the Olympic keelboat. Star president Riccardo Simoneschi has been updating class members with his own research, having begun sailing his own boat with mylar sails.
He commented: "With these sails, we could expect more durability. Other Olympic classes followed this path in the past and are fully satisfied with their choices.

"A forecast about prices is very interesting because - even using very sophisticated materials - the price will be equal to or lower than the actual sail prices in Europe and the United States. I'm currently testing a new set of mylar sails and am satisified so far.

"Of course, there is more work to do on the sails, but I think we’ve begun from a solid starting point. I will test the sails in the next 'non-sanctioned' events to get more data, but my first impression is that this is a step forward the Class should take under advisement.

"Mylar is now the most common sailcloth worldwide. It will be easier to acquire from the sailmakers and the technology applied is evidently superior to dacron. The general look of the boat will be improved and updated.

"To maximise the benefits of durability and performances, it will be necessary to define some rules of construction, minimum weight of cloth etc. Overall, I think mylar is at least a small part of the wave of the future."

This news will come as a welcome relief to less well-funded sailors, as the dacron sails currently used are good for little more than a championship. Iain Percy will welcome any move to mylar, as he voiced his concerns about funding sail development to madforsailing: "It will be a nightmare trying to keep pace - you just need tons of sails. I don't know why they don't switch to mylar - the sails would last loads longer."

Perhaps Percy's prayers are about to be answered, although whether any positive moves are made this of the next Olympics is another matter.

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