Uni-Titanium sails are UK Sailmakers latest Grand Prix product. “Uni” refers to the thin sheets of uni-directional carbon films that are laminated into the sail along with the continuous corner-to-corner load-path carbon fibers. The result of adding uni-directional sheets is that Uni-Titanium sails are light and have unbelievable shape stability over wide wind ranges.
UK Sailmakers invented load-path sail construction over thirty years ago. Over those three decades UK’s development in high-performance load-path sails hasn’t stopped, and UK’s Titanium® continuous-yarn sails have become widely recognized for extending the peak performance life of a high-end sail.
With Titanium sails winning races around the globe, UK didn’t rest on their laurels. Regardless of how well the load path yarns are distributed in moulded sails, there are still elements of extra torque and stress that build-up in the most highly loaded sections of the sail—particularly in racing sails for boats over 45 feet.
UK Sailmakers developed Uni-Titanium sails, with uni-directional carbon sheets added to the continuous dry carbon fibre yarn layout, to reinforce the sail’s most highly-loaded and damage-prone areas. This enables better shape retention and extends its peak performance life. Plus, Uni-Titanium laminations are guaranteed. All Uni-Titanium sails are made with opaque black laminate skins further enhancing lamination and UV protection when compared with clear films.
Uni-Titanium sails are composed of four layers: two PET films that are the outside faces of the skin, with the familiar pattern of load bearing dry carbon yarns and panels of unidirectional carbon fibre laid up in between the outer films. The exterior films are the epidermis that protects and holds all the layers together. Shiny and weatherproof on the outside, the black PET copolymer skins are tacky on the inside, holding the components together as it is constructed while also providing the resin that is going to be heated and cured, permanently bonding all components together.
The uni-directional carbon is extruded as a continuous fibre for added strength; it has the minimal thickness of a cassette tape. The unidirectional carbon cloth is massively strong and light, and its job is to provide rigidity to resist the twisting forces inherent in a sail that is being pulled three ways – from the head, the tack and the clew. Look at a Titanium sail and you may think that it is a panel construction because you can see the parallel panels of cloth. In fact, the seams are only in the film to shape the membrane, nothing more.
In the development process, a Code 3 was made for the Reichel/Pugh 77 JELIK. The sail was so strong that when it was trimmed in for the first time the genoa sheet block was pulled off the deck. The sail was simply too strong. We learned that you can put too much carbon in a sail. A new sail was built with a reduced lay up of uni-directional carbon. That new sail, with less uni carbon has enough strength and shape retention; it's still being used today.