Sunday, August 19, 2007

Revolution in sail design... Elvström Sails

Elvstrom Sails: Improving the performance of sail design once again.
Swan 45 owners noticed something very different in their fleet at Cowes Week this year. Overall winner of the class WISC (Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing) sported a unique design of sail from Elvström Sobstad including large ‘cut out’ sections to the headsails.

Elvström Sobstad UK’s Kevin Sproul picked up on the opportunity to produce a larger headsail on the Swan 45 which could be sheeted fully without fouling the spreader, but remaining within the class rules (maximum mid girth measurement of 3.08m). After consultation with the Elvström design and engineering department in Denmark, the concept was quickly implemented and a design was drawn to cleverly move the leechline round the spreaders.

By effectively ‘cutting out’ room for the spreader, the two medium headsails on WISC gained 6% extra sail area. The inventory consisted of a conventional light headsail for up to six knots of breeze, then two ‘cut-out’ jibs, a medium light for 6-11 knots and a medium heavy for 11-16 knots. The conventional three is used for 16 knots and above.

"The new sails proved unbeatable at this year's Cowes Week” commented Glyn Williams, owner of Swan 45 WISC. “With the cut out jibs, our upwind performance across a range of light to medium wind speeds allowed us to sail higher and faster than the rest of the fleet. We also found we had improved acceleration off the line and through the tacks.” -