sail-world.com
 
 
News Home Cruising Photo Gallery Video Gallery
Sail-World.com : UK Sails Titanium - 'little black number'
UK Sails Titanium - 'little black number'

'Selma Star and Elekta at the Commodore’s Cup 2014, Subic Bay, Philippines'    Bary Hayes    Click Here to view large photo

The dictionary defines 'Titanium' as a hard silver-grey metal used in strong, light, corrosion-resistant alloys. No wonder that UK Sailmakers' hottest item on the market bears the same name.

Say hello to UK's TITANIUM, a sail construction process that makes strong, light, hard-wearing sails that hold their shape through a wide range of wind strengths. This combination has long been every sailmaker's Holy Grail, and here is a winning construction that is already proving itself out on the racetrack.


UK’s Hong Kong production loft is tucked away in the north end of the territory, conveniently far away from any over-curious eyes. And now this phenomenally successful company that boasts almost 50 lofts and service centres around the world is rolling out a new generation of sails that encompass absolutely the most advanced design technologies and materials. They are very proud of what they do, but there are still places in the factory that are off-limits to visitors.

'It’s a lot of science, a good helping of art, and a pinch of black magic,' says UK Sailmakers’ Barry Hayes. 'As well as the input from the enormous UK team all around the world. Titanium sails are true one-piece sails that have continuous yarns running between the corners of the sail. They are the latest chapter in a story that began back in the 1980s with UK Tape Drive.' We all remember those, right? When, for the first time, someone thought of separating the load bearing and the air-impermeability functions of a sail, and came up with a unit that was strong in the right directions and right places only.

Production of PET film for UK Titanium -    

UK Titanium sails are composed of four layers: two PET films that are the outside faces of the construction, with the familiar pattern of load bearing carbon tapes and then panels of unidirectional carbon fibre cloth in the middle of the sandwich.

The exterior films are simultaneously the both the ‘finish’ and the glue that holds everything together. Shiny and weatherproof on the outside, the black PET copolymer skins are tacky on the inside, holding the whole layer cake together as it is constructed and also providing the resin that is going to melt down and through the interior elements, just like the cheese in a Reuben sandwich.

The carbon is extruded as a continuous fibre for added strength, measuring in at 2m wide and half of nothing in thickness. There’s not much introduction needed here - sailors all know about carbon fibre. This stuff looks like it came out of one of your old Barry Manilow cassettes, but is a lot stronger and less likely to be used as emergency tell tales. UK have been calculating load paths for long enough to know exactly what they are doing, so take it as read that all the angular sheet loads in this sail are now taken care of. Furthermore, the tapes are not coated in adhesive because there’s no need, and that makes for less weight aloft and less grunt required from the mast man.

The unidirectional carbon cloth is also massively strong and gossamer light, and its job is to provide rigidity to resist the twisting forces inherent in a sail that is being pulled three ways – from the head, the tack and the clew. Look at a Titanium sail and you may think that it is a panel construction because you can see the parallel panels of cloth. In fact, the seams are only in the film to shape the membrane, nothing more.

Gossamer-thin. Checking the gauge of the PET film for UK Titanium -     Click Here to view large photo

Hayes recalls that 'When we made our very first Titanium sail there was inevitably a certain amount of suck-it-and-see where the materials were concerned. We sandwiched three layers of unidirectional cloth into a No 3 jib built for Frank Pong’s RP76 Jelik. We knew the stuff was strong, but we didn’t expect the jib lead car to get ripped straight out of the deck. It’s strong – stronger than we realised. Jelik’s present No 3 only has one layer of unidirectional in the sandwich, and it’s just fine.'

The four layers are dropped into a custom-formed variable geometry form in which the sail is heat and UV-bonded into one piece. This is a concave form, and the ‘variable geometry’ part is very Secret Squirrel. (‘Don’t ask’ is safest, but we do know that it doesn’t involve trapeze artists and hovercraft). The PET copolymer resin melts and seeps around the carbon fibres and then down through the unidirectional weave cloth, and then all of a sudden the whole becomes substantially greater than the sum of its parts.

UK Titanium - Titanium Uni Film -     Click Here to view large photo

What’s happened here is that instead of applying the load path structural members to a pre-made sail membrane, the sail skin and load path structures have been fabricated as one integral product. Now you have a sail that is formed to exactly the right shape, as stiff as cross-grain plywood thanks to the unidirectional panels, as strong as the carbon load-bearing fibres can make it, and – here’s the bonus – not subject to UV degradation. Quite the opposite, in fact. Along with heat, ultraviolet light is part of the process that bonds everything together. Outdoors, UV merely serves to bond the sandwich together even more strongly.

UK maintain that their Titanium sails are their 'lightest, strongest and most high performance product ever'. They should know, after all, they have been building sails since 1946. The group has grown enormously since then, but UK are proud that the individual lofts that make up the group still retain the personal touch that sailors expect - all UK lofts are owned by local sailors who know the needs of their sailing communities. That's why each loft prides itself in providing quick, high-quality service along with well-designed, long lasting new sails.

UK Titanium - Sailcloth Testing -    



































Out on the race track, the most easily-spotted version of UK Titanium is probably the black-skinned sails on board Marcel Leidts’ GTS43, Electra. At the China Coast Regatta 2013, Electra rounded off the six-race series with three consecutive first places to take top honours in IRC 1. Leidts said afterwards, 'the sails took a little getting used to as they really are very, very stiff. But that didn’t take long, and the results speak for themselves.'

Elektra, GTS43 and UK Titanium. St Regis China Coast Regatta 2013 -  Guy Nowell ©   Click Here to view large photo

Frank Pong’s Reichel Pugh 76, Jelik, is also using UK Titanium sails, and made quite an impression at the Royal Langkawi International Regatta in January 2014. After a rocky start to the regatta – tactics, not equipment – Jelik chased hard, taking six first places in ten races, and finishing just two points off the trophy.

Jelik - dressed over all in UK Titanium. Royal Langkawi International Regatta 2014. -  Guy Nowell ©   Click Here to view large photo


Sea Wolf, Archambault 40, the only mainland Chinese entry in the Rolex China Sea Race 2014. With UK Titanium. -  Guy Nowell ©   Click Here to view large photo

If you talk to the UK people for more than five minutes you quickly realise that the company celebrates ‘unity in diversity’. It’s been described 'a group of strong-minded independent operators with an enormous depth of specific talent spread through the whole group that any member of the group can call upon'. It’s that strength in depth that has come together to produce some of the finest racing sails in the world: UK Titanium – strong, light, stiff, practically bulletproof, and beautifully engineered.


by Guy Nowell


  

Click on the FB Like link to post this story to your FB wall

http://www.sail-world.com/index.cfm?nid=121938

12:24 AM Thu 8 May 2014GMT


Click here for printer friendly version
Click here to send us feedback or comments about this story.







News - USA and the World

America's Cup: Five Challengers sign-on for 35th Match by Richard Gladwell/Sail-World.com/nz,


















AWT Quatro Desert Showdown at Punta San Carlos by American Windsurfing Tour,
















America's Cup: Rod Davis - Time for a change after ten years with team *Feature by Richard Gladwell/Sail-World.com/nz,








Maxi yacht rendezvous this September in Sardinia by International Maxi Association,




















America's Cup: Team NZ wish Davis well with new team *Feature by Richard Gladwell, Sail-world.com/nz,


Fisher's View: Sailing perfection at Hamilton Island- Day 3 by Bob Fisher, Hamilton Island, Queensland


Roble and Wilson still number one match racers in the U.S.
2014 Formula Kite World Championship Day 1
IFDS World Championship - Day 1 images by Jude Robertson
Volvo Ocean Race: Forget the f-word - Team SCA profiled
52 Super Series - Fleet grows, 2015 dates revealed
420 and 470 Junior Europeans - Teams from 9 nations on the podium
IFDS Worlds - Former president presented with ISAF awards medal
Nanjing Youth Olympic Games - Improvements aplenty in Byte CII fleets
America's Cup: New Zealand loses top coach to Artemis Racing
Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15 CEO Knut Frostad talks (Part I) *Feature
Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race Day 9 - Swish on record pace
2014 CORK Olympic Classes Regatta - Day 3
2014 Nanjing Youth Olympic Games - Day 2
2014 IFDS World Championship: Opening Ceremony images
Opera House Cup - Images by Ingrid Abery
Teams descend upon Cowes for inaugural J/111 World Championships
Hamilton Island Race Week: Everywhere there's smiley people
IFDS World Championships - US Paralympic hopefuls ready for racing
Sopot Match Race - Poland's Tour debut deemed a triumph
Vineyard Race celebrates 80th running of the East Coast classic
Nanjing Youth Olympic Games: Young sailors begin racing on Lake Jinniu   
AWT Quatro Desert Showdown - Victory for Morgan Noireaux   
Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race - Day 8: Test of endurance   
Bart's Bash: Over 2300 entered from 588 yacht clubs - Join here   
Halifax ready to welcome the world at 2014 IFDS World Championships   
RC44 World Championship title to Bronenosec + Video   
Audi Hamilton Island Race Week: Day 2 Images by Crosbie Lorimer   
IFDS Worlds - Gary Jobson to attend opening ceremonies   
Melges 32 U.S. National Championship - Dalton DeVos crowned champion   
2014 Nanjing Youth Olympic Games trailer   
2014 Chicago Grand Slam - Canfield wins   
Round Britain and Ireland Race - Varuna takes overall lead   
Audi Hamilton Island Race Week; Crosbie Lorimer Day 1 Images   
Fisher's View: Hamilton Island Race Week - Day 1 - Stayin' Alive   
CORK Olympic Classes Regatta 2014 - Day one   
Youth Olympics: practice over, athletes welcomed, time for YOG sailing   
Round Britain and Ireland Race - Record for Artemis-Team Endeavour   
2014 Melges 32 U.S. National Championship - Day 2   
Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland: Artemis sets fourth course record   
2014 Chicago Grand Slam - Top seeds survive as semi-finalists   


For this week's complete news stories select    Last 7 Days
   Search All News
For last month's complete news stories select    Last 30 Days
   Archive News







Sail-World.com  


















Switch Default Region to:

Social Media

Asia

Australia

Canada

Europe

New Zealand

United Kingdom


http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/Twitter_logo_small.png http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/FaceBook-icon.png  http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/RSS-Icon.png

United States

Cruising Northern

Cruising Southern

MarineBusiness World

PowerBoat World

FishingBoating World

 

Contact

Commercial

News

Search

Contact Us

Advertisers Information

Submit news/events

Search Stories/Text

Feedback

Advertisers Directory

Newsletter Archive

Photo Gallery

 

Banner Advertising Details

Newsletter Subscribe

Video Gallery

Policies

 

 

 

Privacy Policy

 

 


Cookie Policy

 

 



This site and its contents are © Copyright TetraMedia and/or the original author, photographer etc. All Rights Reserved.  Photographs are copyright by law.  If you wish to use or buy a photograph contact the photographer directly.
XLXL NEW US
LocalAds   DE  ES  FR  IT