Please select your home edition
North Sails 2021 Innovation - LEADERBOARD

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

by North Sails 15 Aug 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 - The Debrief: Transat Jacques Vabre
Some of the world's best (and fiercest) offshore competition The Transat Jacques Vabre is a doublehanded sailing event that brings together some of the world's best (and fiercest) offshore competition on par with the likes of the Vendee Globe and The Ocean Race. Posted on 7 Nov
Successful Swan sailing season is in the books
Competition within the classes at Swan One Design Worlds was at an all time high The Swan One Design Nations Trophy in Palma de Mallorca was quickly followed by the Swan One Design World Championships in St. Tropez, which capped off this year's success for Swan owners. Posted on 1 Nov
North Sails - The Debrief
Recently Launched, How To Videos, Exciting Time for the IC37 The Baltic 146 Path is one of the most recent superyacht launches. Designed by Judel / Vrolijk and outfitted with North 3Di, Path is built for global long-distance cruising. Posted on 23 Oct
North Sails, At Your Service
The dedication and determination of the team is the driving forces behind North Sails The dedication and determination of our team are the driving forces behind North Sails. It's this persevering spirit that has grown into a vast resource of local experts and valuable know-how. Posted on 7 Oct
North Sails: The Debrief
Clean Sweep in Swans, Porto Cervo Photo Journal, View from the Coach Boat What is one thing the Swan One Design Nations Trophy's winners had in common last weekend in Palma de Mallorca? Niramo, Natalia, and Vitamin all carried North Sails. Posted on 26 Sep
Winning results and teamwork speak for themselves
North Sails are in the business of pushing boundaries North Sails are in the business of pushing: boundaries, speed, science and technology. Whether the boat is 83 years old or 8 years old, the most competitive teams and owners consistently choose North Sails. Posted on 17 Sep
That's a wrap for the Moth Worlds
140 Moths buzzing around with just the sound of the foils cutting through the water Imagine this for a second, 140 Moths buzzing around with just the sound of the foils cutting through the water. That was the scene on Lake Garda last week during the 2021 REDORO International Moth World Championships. Posted on 13 Sep
Tom Slingsby wins Moth Worlds 2021
Using the North Bi9 DSX Decksweeper It's another win for Tom Slingsby, who has successfully defended his title as the Moth World Champion. Slingsby used the North Bi9 DSX Decksweeper, a standard design developed after the 2019 Worlds in Perth, Australia. Posted on 8 Sep
North Sails - The Debrief: 52 Super Series
3Di Custom Solutions, #NSVictoryList, Boat Show Schedule Did you know that many times the latest advancements for North 3Di are tested on the TP52s? 3Di RAW is a result of development within the Super Series. Posted on 29 Aug
52 Super Series keeps North Sails in development
The latest advancements for North 3Di are often tested on the TP52s The 52 Super Series is known as one of the most competitive circuits in the sport and for North Sails, it keeps us on top of our game. Posted on 28 Aug
North Sails 2021 Innovation - FOOTER