The 3Di revolution - part 2


3Di mainsail on RP78 All Smoke
3Di mainsail on RP78 All Smoke
We look at the future of 3DL and other applications for 3Di technology
This article follows on from part 1... An unanswered question at present is ‘how long will a 3Di sail last?’ Bill Pearson says that they are aiming for a similar lifespan to 3DL – typically three years for race boat sails, but at present they are guessing because no 3Di sails have been around that long. Sails sold to date have been to teams where they have had the understanding that 3Di remains a development product. North are also working on an offshore version of 3Di, based on an aramid-Dyneema composite (the aramid fibre North typically use is high modulus Twaron) and we can expect to see this being used on boats in both the next Vendee Globe and Volvo Ocean Races. According to Pearson their aramid-Dyneema sails will have both pigments and UV inhibitors added to the resin when they are making the pre-preg tape. Plus these sails, as well as future offshore 3DL sails, will also have a new clear UV varnish applied to them. “One of the frustrations from the last Volvo was that not only was the race longer, but it was four times across the Equator instead of two. The aramid-based sails after four times across the Equator, it was beyond the UV limit that the fibre could stand,” says Pearson, a former competitor in the fully crewed round the world race. While 3Di is still in its development phase North have been quite conservative in their approach and the sails supplied to date weigh the same as their 3DL equivalent with the goal at present of producing longevity. “The first bridge you have to cross is to make a better product that lasts as long as 3DL,” says Pearson. “Right now we are trying to make something better that lasts the same time, for the same weight. Once you have

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