Woven Fabrics

With the perspective of time it's easy to look to the past and think about how simple it must have been to design sails back in the good old days, even at the grand prix level. There was only one fiber to think about - polyester - and only one way to use that fiber to make sailcloth - by weaving. We forget, however, how hard it was to engineer a sail within even these seemingly limited parameters and have it perform efficiently. Weaving, for example, was an inexact process in the past that allowed many variables, so that when combined with a restricted panel layout, the task of engineering a sail to hold its shape was daunting. Therefore, to fully understand the difficulties faced by sailmakers, both yesterday and today, we need to look at the weaving process to understand how Dacron sailcloth is manufactured, the problems manufacturers encounter and how they strive to overcome them. We also need to know some of the terminology used to describe sailcloth and its various components since this goes to the very heart of how woven sailcloth is manufactured.

WARP AND FILL

Bolt of Sailcloth

Bolt of Sailcloth

FILL — Across the fabric WARP — Along the fabric BIAS — Fabric stretch on the bias

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