Challenge Sailcloth and Neil Pryde Sails

chall logoDacron Fabrics:

We work closely with Challenge Sailcloth in developing the fabrics that will represent the best performance, longevity and value to our customers. All of our woven fabrics that we use in our sails, with the exception of our 3.8oz which is manufactured by Tejin, come from Challenge. The fabrics listed below represent our latest thinking on both constructions and finishes. Through an aggressive manufacturer quality control system, and then through our own in-house ISO 9002 certified testing procedures, which include INSTRON (see image, below) strip testing and visual testing for flatness, the fabric we use day to day is consistently the best we can buy.

High Modulus Dacron ®:

Challenge Dacron is finished 100% in-house (the largest U.S. based sailcloth manufacturer to do so). The fabric is heat-set, shrinking up to 20%. The Challenge durable Stabilized finish is achieved by immersing the fabric in a bath of suspended resin. The resin is absorbed by the fiber. The cloth is then fed into a long oven where the liquids are driven off, leaving the resin solids bonded to the fibers. The result is the tightest possible weave, lowest bias stretch, and maximum durability.

The Neil Pryde standard for resinated finishes on our fabrics is to a "medium-firm" finish or "hand". On an Instron test, this firmness would be represented by a 10lb. bias number between 9 and 12 pounds.

instronThe Application:

Highest Performance Cruising mainsails, jibs, and genoas of all weights. This is Challenge's top of the line cruising range of sailcloths. Re-engineered continually to take advantage of new weaving and finishing technology, High Modulus Dacron Fabrics have large fill yarns to counter leech loads but tight weaves to resist genoa bias loads.

The Fiber:

High Modulus fabrics use almost exclusively Dacron yarn. (Challenge have and will weave other brands of fiber where performance or value is enhanced.) Type 52 High Tenacity High Modulus Dacron is used wherever possible, as we consider it the best sailcloth yarn in the world, due to its low stretch (for strong leeches), and high shrinkage (translates into lowest bias stretch and best durability) Type 52, made for sailcloth, is only available in 220, 350, and 440 deniers. In heavier fabrics we discovered High Tenacity Dacron made for tire cords! In yarn diameters where high tenacity is unavailable, standard Dacron is used in order to maintain the precisely engineered density ratios necessary to achieve maximum fill yarn efficiency, and lowest stretch.

The Weave:

Moderately large fill (width direction) yarns, generally about twice the size of the warp (length) yarns are used in the light and medium weight cloths. In heavier weights where loads are higher, the ratio is 3:1, or more. The purpose of the weave design is first to keep the high load bearing fill yarns straight, (bending or "crimping" results in stretch as the yarns straighten out under load) and to force the warp yarns to bend acutely over and under them). High counts of warp yarns ("high sleys") accomplish this, as there is no space between warp yarns into which fill yarns can bend. The warp yarns effectively create tunnels which encapsulate the straight fill yarns. Second, the loom is geared up to a "high beat-up" level (high "pick" or fill yarn count) in order to obtain a tight weave and high number of yarn interlacing to resist bias loads, prolong sail life, and to keep the sail shape from blowing aft.

The Company Focus:

Challenge Sailcloth, founded in 1986, now has the largest line of woven sailcloth in America, and possibly the world. Challenge concentrates in R&D on the development of the most sophisticated, highest quality Dacron, and nylon woven fabrics. Owned by Bob Bainbridge, former owner of Bainbridge Sailcloth, and Dr. Terry Cronburg, former R&D director and "The brains behind Bainbridge Sailcloth" (Sailor Magazine, 1985), the company boasts two of the best sailcloth minds in the world. Its designers focus their energies on bringing out new concepts in racing and cruising durable woven sailcloth. Challenge is the only of the top three U.S. sailcloth maker to process all its woven sailcloth in-house in the U.S.

From start to finish, Challenge personnel precision-monitor the critical heats, tensions, speeds, pressures, and chemical formulations necessary to produce woven sailcloth with highest performance, and measured consistency.

The Neil Pryde Woven Fabric Line

Fabric Style (and true weight) Warp Yarn Denier Fill Yarn Denier
3.8 oz. 140 250
4.9 oz. High Modulus 150 Dacron 250 Dacron
5.9 oz. High Modulus 150 Dacron 350 High Tenacity Dacron
6.62 oz. High Aspect 150 Dacron 440 High Tenacity Dacron
7.3oz. High Modulus 250 Dacron 500 High Tenacity
8.3oz. High Modulus 250 Dacron 840 High Tenacity Dacron
9.3 oz. High Modulus 250 Dacron 1000 High Tenacity Dacron
10.3 oz. High Modulus 300 Dacron 1300 High Tenacity Dacron
11.9 oz. High Modulus 500 Dacron 1300 High Tenacity Dacron
13.9 oz. High Modulus 500 Dacron 1800 High Tenacity Dacron