May 31, 2012

A-Class, Andrew Landenberger: Membrane Mainsail in Detail

Report by Andrew Landenberger on their new Membrane sail for A-Class, after Sascha Wallmer win at Rheindelta --
We have been developing membranes now for quite a long time, but until now we have chosen not to release anything on the market. When we started this project our initial results showed great promise but we realised there were limitations and that a much better product could be possible.

Our original test sails were very similar to those currently being sold in the market by our competitors. We always knew the risk was there, that Glenn or Stevie may show up with this type of sail at any time and with their extraordinary sailing abilities, they would clearly do well enough to convince people to buy the sails, but after testing we felt the average sailor would soon realize these sails were possibly too difficult to trim to achieve their best regatta results.
Our objective for a Membrane Sail Project was to achieve a very 'automatic' sail which is easy to trim under racing conditions.
Achieving a greater range in the sail between upwind and downwind has been a major goal.

After a lot of work on fibre types and layouts with our partners we have reached a very balance membrane offering excellent stretch characteristics.
These sails are also significantly lighter than standard sails and our lamination appears to be much more durable than the sails offered by others.

With the extreme mast development in the class over the past two seasons, there has been real opportunities to to make big steps in sail design. The major mast builders in the class, such as Saarberg, Fiberfoam and Hall have all worked hard to develop softer fore aft bending masts.
Sail development has followed closely, and it is now possible to sail the A class downwind on the trapeze in very marginal conditions.
Two years ago in similar conditions, most sailors were only able to lift a hull while sitting on the trampoline. Now it is possible to go into the trapeze and develop a much higher apparent, even in these very light conditions.

While the last 10 years our loft has been a large player in the a class market, the past season has seen an even bigger increase in market share. One factor has been the large number of top European sailors who have chosen to use our sails, but I believe we are now possibly the only loft who can offer a sail built to match the customers mast. While the new sails are closely developed to follow the trends of the latest masts, many sailors simply can not afford to go out and buy a new Carbon Fibre mast each season.

The largest part of the market are still sailing with older masts so I believe one of our strengths is that we offer a comprehensive range of designs which cover a broad spectrum of masts and sailor weights.

We have our own mast bend system which the customer can easily follow to deliver us accurate mast data. With this information we can recommend to the customer which sail will give them the best results.
In 2012 we have done a full update of all our past designs since 2009 giving all sails a fresh and modern look while maintaining the key design features which made them successful on the various mast types.

We cover the full range of sail types including Radial cut, Maxx cross cut and now the new Membrane load path sails. While it may at first seem confusing to the customer which sail is better, it is actually quite simple to decide once we know more information about the mast bend and sailor weight.

We will happily assist the customer to make the right choice.
Our sails are either build in Germany or Australia and are of the highest quality and construction.

We have some special details in our sails like the way we build the luff tube and how we apply reinforcements. We take a lot of pride in our work and do our best to see that every customer receives the best possible sail/mast combination..
Customers should feel free to contact the loft at any time for further information.

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