Nesting the Design

Before the panels can be cut the production manager has to first "nest" the panels. Here the individual panels are oriented on the computer on a simulated roll of fabric, and the individual panels are arranged where their orientation takes the most advantage of the fabric's strength while minimizing waste. It's a critical step, and once all the panels are laid out, the design can be sent to the laser cutter or plotter for the next step. In either case, once the roll of fabric has been laid out on either the laser table or the plotting table, someone inspects the fabric for flaws and blemishes, and if satisfied, the process of creating the individual panels takes place. One at a time each panel is cut and marked so that all the individual pieces can be pieced together with the panels going in their proper place. They are then taped with double-stick tape, glued together, and the assembled sail is sent to the floor for stitching. The rest of the process is as described above.

The art of making sails is constantly evolving as newer construction techniques and manufacturing methods are developed. While computers and modern machines have made things easier, it is still a labor-intensive business. There are many steps and

Workers use a hydraulic press to install heavy rings in the corners of sails.

A plotter scribes the design of each panel on the fabric.

A plotter scribes the design of each panel on the fabric.

Hand sewing leather on corners is time consuming and tedious, but the wax threads lend an air of tradition to a sail and add durability.

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