Sail Cloth Glossary

BIAS

The direction diagonally across a piece of fabric at 45 degrees to the warp and fill.

CARBON

An extreme performance fibre used extensively in composite engineering and recently introduced to the sailcloth market. 

CREEP

Permanent, continuous elongation of a fiber under a sustained load. 

CRIMP

Lenght or waviness added to a yarn when it is woven over-and-under in a piece of fabric. Crimp can contribute to the elongation of a fabric under load. 

DACRON®

DuPont’s trade name for polyester fibre. 

DENIER

A measure of the weight of a continuous fiber filament. It is the weight in grams of 9,000 meters of a given fiber. The lower the number, the finer the fiber. Higher denier, heavier fibers are generally more rugged and durable. 

DYNEEMA

Super strong polyethylene fibre made by DSM, up to 40% stronger than aramid fibres. Also resistant to UV and moisture. 

ELONGATION

The difference between the initial length of a fabric sample and its length after stretching, expressed in 1/100ths of an inch. 

FIBRE

The basic entity that is twisted into yarns and then used in the production of a fabric.

FILL (WEFT)

The yarns or fibers that run across the width of the roll of fabric, perpendicular to the warp direction. 

GSM

Weight expressed in grams per square meter. 

HAND

Softness or firmness of a fabric. 

KEVLAR®

DuPont’s trade name for a family of high-strenght aramid fibres.

LAMINATE

 Fabric constructed from layers of film, scrim and/or taffeta glued together under high pressure and/or heat to form a composite sail material.

MODULUS

 The measure of stretch or elasticity of a fabric. High modulus = Low stretch.

PEN (Pentex®)

Modified polyester with 60% less stretch. Sometimes called Pentex.

POLYESTER

 A strong, reliable and inexpensive fibre ideal for cruising and low-tech racing laminates and woven sailcloth.

PRIMARY YARN DIRECTION

The orientation (warp of fill) in which a fabric is the most stretch resistant. 

RADIAL

A panel layout where the seams and panels radiate from the corners of the sail in the direction of the highest load. 

SAILMAKERS OUNCES (smoz)

Weight of a 36’’ x 28.5’’ piece of cloth. 

SCRIM

 Non woven, formed sheet of yarns held together with resin.

SPECTRA®

A highly modified polyethylene fibre developed by Allied Corp. 

TAFFETA

A light woven fabric used on laminates to add durability and abrasion resistance.

TENACITY

The breaking strength of a yarn or fabric stated in force per unit of the cross-sectional area. 

TENSILE STRENGHT

The ability of a fibre, yarn or fabric to resist breaking under tension.

THREADLINE

The direction of the yarns. 

TECHNORA

Aramid fibres with lower modulus but higher durability than Twaron. 

VEKTRON™ (Vectran®)

Trademark of Hood Sailmakers. Stronger and less stretch for equal weight. Eg: 7.7 oz Vektron is equivalent of 11.0 oz Dacron. Lighter – Softer to handle sails.

WARP

The yarns or fibers in a fabric that run the length of a roll of cloth and, in a woven fabric, are interlaced with the fill (weft) yarns. 

WOVEN

Material made by interlacing fibers over and under each other in a regular pattern. 

YARN

A continuous strand of fibers created when a cluster of individual fibers are twisted together. Yarns are used to create fabrics.