I was very pleased when I heard that military technology and research had found use in civil service. This time it is the material research on a molecular level, which resulted in a brand new material suitable for production of high performance sails. We are talking about membranes made of ultra-high polyethylene module called the Multi Micro Structure (MMC).
The OneSails Company is just about to get the patent for this revolutionary product which is going to be known as 4T FORTE. This composite structure includes polyethylene fibers eliminating the use of carbon ones, coating and glue, increasing the durability and the form of the sail as well as reducing the overall weight. Structural core web is made of ultrahigh polyethylene fibers which take over major tensions while oriented micro layers give strength in secondary directions. All components are put together by closing between protection layers and processed in vacuum heating and polymerization.
The use of 4T FORTE cutting edge technology decreases the weight of sails by 5-10% in the area of racers; and by 30% in the area of cruisers. Furthermore, the durability is increased by 300% than of those sails currently offered by OneSails’ competitors. The 4T FORTE was presented at last year’s edition of Barcolana, by OneSails Executive Director Dede de Luca, and Piercarlo Molto from Flexon Composites Company. New sails were tested aboard Class 40 Fantastica sailing yacht which sailed over 2000 NM throughout the Mediterranean and the Atlantic within the qualifications for Transat Jacques Vabre regatta.
Along with new material technology, Mr de Luca presented cutting edge OneSD technology which consists of a microchip incorporated into the membrane of the sails. Microchip measures all data relevant for their use and maintenance which could be displayed on smartphone, helping both the user and care-taker of sails detect the number of hours exposed to UV radiation, the number of hours in use, the highest tensions, the number of tacks done etc. The whole article seems like a SF story to me, but obviously this is how the future of sailing will look like soon.
I wish you a calm sea, a fine wind and a strong mast!