Fibre Choices

Hood Sailmakers has always been at the forefront of developments in the use of fibres and processes for manufacturing sails. Ted Hood pioneered the materials and the technology for weaving polyester sailcloth in the early 1950’s as “Dacron” fabric.

As early as 1971, Hood was testing Kevlar fibre for use in sails and later on using Mylar film glued to fibres. In 1986, Hood was the first sailmaker to introduce Spectra as a fibre for use in sails, and their ubiquitous blue color was prominent in races around the world. In 1994, Hood Sailmakers introduced Vectran fibre into a woven sail fabric, raising the bar for stable and durable high value sail fabric.

Vectran is a high-performance yarn spun from liquid crystal polymer. The fibre is five times stronger than steel and offers a unique combination of outstanding properties. Vectran’s golden fibres are noted for their high strength and modulus, low creep, good chemical stability, and are moisture-resistant and generally stable in hostile environments.



In 1995 Hood launched Vektron sailcloth to the world, a breakthrough in sailcloth technology utilising the Vectran fibre to weave a higher strength, lighter weight fabric with superior durability and longevity. Vectran is underwoven with super high tenacity polyester, a process which had a worldwide patent and was pioneered by Hood Textiles in Ireland.

Because Vektron sailcloth is fully woven it is not subject to the delamination and handling problems inherent in laminate constructions, and as it incorporates fill Vectran yarns the performance is comparable to laminates but with superior durability and longevity. Since 1995 this unique product has gone from strength to strength, having supplied yachts worldwide from 24′ to 146′.

For over 60 years Hood Sailmakers were the only sailmakers to weave their own cloth and consequently Hood remains renowned for its quality and performance; Vektron is now woven by Dimension Polyant or Contender Sailcloth, worldwide experts in sailcloth weaving.


Other Cloths

Laminates merit a mention for their dimensional stability, especially modern ‘cruising laminates’, since these mitigate the relative fragility of Mylar film racing cloths by adding a layer of protective scrim on the outer faces to cope better with punctures and chafe.

We are often asked about radial cutting, and whether the benefit outweighs the added cost of warp-oriented cloth and increased waste in the panel shapes is worth considering: “load path” fibre layout is also available as we embrace a once-futuristic technology.

For downwind sails, woven Nylon is a ubiquitous choice on spinnakers and asymmetric designs, but the range of shapes in this latter category is much wider than when a simple “cruising chute” would do – we welcome chatting over what is right for your purposes.