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Old 05-11-2013, 14:15   #1
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Pentex vs Polyester laminate sails

Hi
I'm looking at getting a new set of sails. I'm looking at a tri-radial laminate with either a polyester (Dacron) fibre or a Pentex fibre. The Pentex is dearer and I was wondering did anyone have a view, in broad terms, of how much of a premium would it be worth paying for the Pentex laminate?
All thoughts welcome.
Thanks
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Old 11-11-2013, 20:24   #2
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My experience with Dacron/Mylar laminate was not good...they are too dissimilar in their stretch characteristics and the adhesive could not hold them together...massive delamination. I had a brand new jib come apart after 3 seasons.

My experience with Pentex/Mylar is very positive...no delam after 10 plus seasons and while it shows the expected wear the clothe itself is in very good shape.

Note, this was a racing application on a beach cat, where the sails were taken off the boat each night, and I would not use a laminate for any roller furler application again.

With that said, I do not think I would use a laminate in a cruising application...my 1966 Ted Hood Auxiliary Racing Sloop is still sailing on most of her original sails, Hood Sails Dacron, which are still in very good shape. I am not sure I would use anything but Dacron for a cruising application...for durability and maintenance it is hard to beat.

There are also some newer Dacron application which are pretty slick...in particular a square weave Dacron which I used for the roller filler jib replacement.

As for cost...I don't recall the difference, but not as much as I expected to upgrade to the Pentex/Mylar. I suggest talking with a number of lofts about what you are planning to do...boat, sailing plans/conditions...get swatches of the various options and references.

Have fun with the search.
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Old 11-11-2013, 21:20   #3
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Re: Pentex vs Polyester laminate sails

The only laminate sail I would consider for cruising is the North 3DI sails (NOT the 3DL). They have shown extraordinary resistance to wear and UV, and so far I haven't seen one that really needed replacement. The J-35 I race on frequently is still using the 3DI delivered in 2007 (I think), and despite the owner being willing to replace it, we haven't seen any reason to do so.
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Old 11-11-2013, 21:24   #4
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Re: Pentex vs Polyester laminate sails

Unless your seriously going to be racing I would avoid the laminates altogether. I did have a set of sails by Doyle made from Pentex for cruising and I was happy with them as they held their shape very well but they were not laminate.
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Old 12-11-2013, 01:53   #5
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Re: Pentex vs Polyester laminate sails

Thank you all very much. feedback much appreciated.
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Old 12-11-2013, 03:49   #6
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Re: Pentex vs Polyester laminate sails

My next set of sails for my catamaran will be triradial made from HydraNet from Dimension Polyant

Hydra NetŪ - Sailcloth Technology by DIMENSION-POLYANT - Sailcloth and laminates for high performance sailing and polyestersailcloth for surf
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Old 12-11-2013, 04:21   #7
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Re: Pentex vs Polyester laminate sails

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Originally Posted by Reb Blanchard View Post
I would not use a laminate for any roller furler application again.
Why is that? What happened?
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Old 12-11-2013, 05:02   #8
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Re: Pentex vs Polyester laminate sails

Fibers and Films Used in the Sailcloth Industry
Fiber Guide | Doyle Sailmakers
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Old 14-11-2013, 18:57   #9
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Re: Pentex vs Polyester laminate sails

When Pentex first came out about 20 years ago, it was viewed as the next big step in sailcloth advancement. Time , however, has shown that although it works in crosscut applications, it suffers from UV exposure much more than other woven fabrics.

Our Pentex main and jib fell both fell apart (small "cuts" developed in the fabric in the warp direction, then huge rips) after a few seasons.
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Old 14-11-2013, 19:45   #10
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Re: Pentex vs Polyester laminate sails

The problem I've had with laminates is that they grow mildew. Racing sails are taken off and dried but that's not obviously not practical with cruising sails. A slightly damp laminate sail furled tightly in 90 degree heat grows mildew fast. Every sailmaker says they've got the problem licked until you ask for a guarantee against mildew growth.

Here's Mack Sails guide to cloth. I've never gotten a sail from them but it sure seems right to me..


Sail Cloth
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Old 14-11-2013, 20:12   #11
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Re: Pentex vs Polyester laminate sails

I am currently considering the replacement of 14 year old cruising sails that have a lot of blue water and tropical miles on them. We have over 10,000 miles on the sails including seven in the tropics or San Diego.

They were custom made by North in Seattle for our Caliber 40 and the 1999 material was 295 Spectra TX (NorLam Spectra/Dyneema). Here is a link to the current North Spectra specs:

Spectra TX

The 120% RF genoa is in very good shape. Only the UV cover needs to be replaced and the corner webbings need to be restitched.

The main is gone! There is a lot of delamination at the base of the head board and the leech is rotten. However, just a couple months ago I went for an ocean sail in 20 knots apparent and six foot swells with the full main and genoa and the main held it's shape perfectly.

I consider 14 years of cruising and 10,000 miles of sailing a pretty fair life for a main.

The sails do show a lot of Baja Dust in between the laminates (3 summers in the dusty upper Sea of Cortez) and a LOT of Puget Sound Mildew (7 wet winters in Puget Sound). There is no way to clean the unsightly material out of the laminates.
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Old 14-11-2013, 20:31   #12
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Re: Pentex vs Polyester laminate sails

The new North 3DI sails are getting one circumnavigation per mainsail. Not 14 years, but a lot more than 14,000miles. The ones I have seen are pretty much bulletproof. UV doesn't effect them (dyneema fibers), they don't stretch, and there is no laminate to fail.

I was talking to a friend who does minis, and even as hard as they push the boats, they a re still racing a three year old 3DI. It just doesn't change.
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Old 17-11-2013, 12:26   #13
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Re: Pentex vs Polyester laminate sails

Srah,

Great choice of boats. I've been on the 409 and liked it quite a bit.

As a sailmaker, I'm not a fan of Pentex laminates for cruising boats. We use it more for smaller keelboats under 30' and even then not too much. We've had tremendous success with our MXL CR load path sails with Technora fiber for race boats up to around 38'. It's a better technology than radial laminates and less expensive in many cases. The CR is an entry level version of MXL that is offered only as a film-film sail with Technora or Twaron.

Radial Dacron isn't something I get too excited about either with the exception of one design classes that prohibit laminates.

One product that could serve you well is Custom Axis Laminate. We've used it on many performance cruisers. One is a J-42 with a couple of Hawaii races (and returns) and lots of racing on San Francisco Bay. I don't frequent this forum but if you send a PM I'll get a notification and respond to you. Or you can find contact info on my profile.
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Old 18-11-2013, 03:55   #14
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Re: Pentex vs Polyester laminate sails

Quote:
Originally Posted by Srah 1953 View Post
Hi
I'm looking at getting a new set of sails. I'm looking at a tri-radial laminate with either a polyester (Dacron) fibre or a Pentex fibre. The Pentex is dearer and I was wondering did anyone have a view, in broad terms, of how much of a premium would it be worth paying for the Pentex laminate?
All thoughts welcome.
Thanks
Pentex is a high modulus polyester. It is primary made for one design classes which only allow polyester sails (the Farr Platu or Beneteau 25 is a example of this). It has better stretch resistance than polyester but is more affected by UV. This is why it is often tinted grey. IMO I wouldn't use either in laminate form unless racing in one of those one design classes. These days aramid or technora sails are often cheaper then pentex. If your only racing at club level your better off using a hard dacron like HTP or Polykote because it will last much longer and not be much different stretch wise.
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Old 18-11-2013, 05:20   #15
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Re: Pentex vs Polyester laminate sails

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Originally Posted by islandplanet View Post
Srah,

Great choice of boats. I've been on the 409 and liked it quite a bit.

As a sailmaker, I'm not a fan of Pentex laminates for cruising boats. We use it more for smaller keelboats under 30' and even then not too much. We've had tremendous success with our MXL CR load path sails with Technora fiber for race boats up to around 38'. It's a better technology than radial laminates and less expensive in many cases. The CR is an entry level version of MXL that is offered only as a film-film sail with Technora or Twaron.

Radial Dacron isn't something I get too excited about either with the exception of one design classes that prohibit laminates.

One product that could serve you well is Custom Axis Laminate. We've used it on many performance cruisers. One is a J-42 with a couple of Hawaii races (and returns) and lots of racing on San Francisco Bay. I don't frequent this forum but if you send a PM I'll get a notification and respond to you. Or you can find contact info on my profile.
Thank you all very much for the replies. In the end I have decided to go for something different, probably similar to the one mentioned above a Cruising Technora GPc laminate fibre from Doyle's. Here's hoping it'll be worth the cost! I decided I'm probably only going to do this once with what's left of my life and, as the man said, you can't bring it with you!
Cheers
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