Please select your home edition
North Sails Performance 2023 - LEADERBOARD

How long do 3Di sails last? North Sails expert Mark Bradford explains

by North Sails 15 Aug 2021 09:00 PDT
3Di sails © Cate Brown

Most sailors shopping for a new 3Di sail ask, "how long will it last?" Based on years of record-keeping, I can honestly say that the competitive life of a 3Di sail is far superior to any other technology on the market. It's also much better than 3DL, our previous molded technology.

There are far too many variables to predict precisely how long a sail will last, but we now expect race sails to remain competitive for several seasons. That's a significant change from a decade ago, and it makes perfect sense once you understand how 3Di sails are constructed.

The biggest killer of sails is UV. 3Di sails contain zero Mylar (the main culprit of delamination, use environmentally stable thermo-set adhesive (as opposed to thermoplastic hot-melt) and have a UV protectant added to the outermost surface. They'll stand up better to the sun than any other sail material. The surface might degrade a bit, especially in the tropics, but those top layers protect the basic structure. As a result, when older sails come into our loft for annual maintenance, we often have trouble finding any damage at all.

One great example of 3Di's extended life comes from the annual race from Sydney to Hobart. I sail on Black Jack, and before 3Di, we often carried a spare main in case we blew up the first one. Now we're doing two or even three races with the exact same sail, all thanks to the longevity and reliability of 3Di compared to either 3DL or our competitor's so-called high-performance options.

Our customer's buying habits have changed, too. Before 3Di, whenever a customer bought a new race boat, they'd buy three mains: inshore racing, offshore racing, and deliveries. If they took outstanding care of their inventory, they might get three years out of the offshore and delivery mains and one to two years out of the inshore main.

But changing mainsails can be a day's work for several people, so after seeing how fresh the VO65 3Di sails looked after at the end of the last two Volvo Ocean Races, some of the hundred-footer crews got savvy and delivered the boat home again with the race sail. When they realized the main looked exactly the same even after all those extra miles, that one-mainsail trend trickled down to the smaller race boats as well.

Today, even our most particular racing customers with new boats are only ordering a single mainsail. So that's the best vote of confidence we could imagine about how well this product lasts. And it's also a lot less hassle for them because once they get the sails set up on their boat, they're not tweaking and adjusting and switching one in for another and vice versa. They're simply pulling up the sail, using it, and then putting it away.

And 3Di isn't limited to racing boats. In 2020, North Sails introduced 3Di Ocean, a full product line engineered to deliver the benefits of 3Di to the cruising community. For example, we used to tell offshore cruisers that Dacron sails would last for one circumnavigation. Now we tell them they could do two or three laps around the world with the same sail inventory, as long as they have them serviced at one of our worldwide lofts.

Whether you race or cruise, your new 3Di sails will undoubtedly last longer than you think. And it will last longer than any of our competitors' products. What you'll experience is a greatly extended lifespan, the longevity of a stable sail shape, and fewer replacement sails less often. Yes, 3Di is a premium product and may initially be the more expensive option, but its cost of ownership over seasons is unmatched.

For more details, contact your local North Sails expert today.

Related Articles

North Sails' innovation leads The Ocean Race 22-23
Global leader in sailmaking and performance clothing Global leader in sailmaking and performance clothing, North Sails, is proud to again be the Official Sail Supplier at the Ocean Race 2022-23. Posted on 15 May
North Sails power Overall Hobart winner
Celestial's victory is a massive achievement for longtime North Sails friend and customer Sam Haynes The waiting game is over for North Sails-powered TP52 Celestial, who has been declared the Overall Winner of the 2022 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race. Posted on 31 Dec 2022
North Sails: New sails pricing offer ends Friday
Order your new North sails before September 30th and take advantage of seasonal pricing Order your new North sails before September 30th and take advantage of seasonal pricing across our full range of sails and materials. Let our experts help you determine the best options to maximize your next sailing season. Posted on 24 Sep 2022
North Sails: Final Day of One Design 15% discount
Order today (August 31st) now to take advantage of North Sails NZ offer and save 15% on One Design . North Sails NZ One Design Discount Deal ends today (August 31st). Order now to take advantage of North Sails NZ offer and save 15% on One Design sail orders. Posted on 30 Aug 2022
North Sails NZ $250 Winter sails service discount
North Sails NZ offer a great discount deal on winter sail servicing. Book below for your check. North Sails are offering a great discount deal on winter sail servicing. Full details of the offer are included below which includes free pickup and delivery. Uninstall and install of sails not included. Posted on 20 Aug 2022
Zeke's J70 tips to the podium
Lessons learned at the Helly Hansen Sailing World Regatta - Marblehead As usual, the town of Marblehead pulled out all the stops for competitors to descend upon the quaint New England town for a weekend of racing in multiple one design classes. Posted on 16 Aug 2022
Bluebottle - The Queen's Dragon
A wedding gift from the Island Sailing Club to the-then Princess Elizabeth "Take the measurement certificate, for example, it says the owner, and it's... well, Her Majesty the Queen. So, when you go to the regatta office to register [your entry] and they're looking at it... they're taking photographs and they can't believe it." Posted on 18 Jul 2022
John Bacon - from 5.5m sailor to IRC racer
Taking on the world with North Sails World Champion yachtsman John Bacon has put many successful racing programs together, and his next few months of sailing is no exception. Posted on 3 Jul 2022
North Sails powers the Newport Bermuda Race 2022
This year marked the 52nd edition of this East Coast offshore classic The Newport Bermuda Race has kept North Sails buzzing (and busy!) since well before the 186-boat fleet set off on June 17th. This year marked the 52nd edition of this East Coast offshore classic and the return of racing after a canceled 2020 event. Posted on 27 Jun 2022
North Sails: behind the scenes with Loft 57
Loft 57 is a conversational podcast that opens the doors to North Sails Loft 57 is a conversational podcast that opens the doors to North Sails, the world's leading sailmaker. With host Ken Read, this series goes behind the scenes with product creators and the passionate sailors who trust North Sails to power their adventures Posted on 16 Jun 2022
North Sails Performance 2023 - FOOTER