Juliet Benning reporting from METS
New Zealand sail maker Doyle Sails has brought to the market what is calls a “game-changing” new product, the Stratis ICE sail fibre. At METS it has achieved recognition as a DAME nominated product. SB spoke with superyacht sail co-ordinator Matt Bridge to find out more about the fibre.

Stratis ICE is an entirely new and unique Ultra High Molecular Weight Polyethylene (UHMWPE) sail fibre that offers significant weight savings, along with being more durable and stronger than other sail fibres.  Results from vigorous testing on ICE have shown the highest resistance to flex fatigue of any sail product, with ICE sails retaining their initial shape and speed longer than any other sail membrane. The thinner, lighter sail material is also easier to manage onboard and furls well. “The material has an infinite flex life.” Bridge explains. He  reveals that although ICE is similar to spectra, it is less slippery, making it easier to laminate. Doyle looked at chemical bonds at molecular level to develop a new adhesive system for ICE, a closely guarded secret ingredient behind the product’s success.

Doyle first became aware of the fibre in two different applications – mooring lines for offshore supply vessels and bullet proof vests for the military. Tracking down the supplier of the fibre, the identity of which remains another closely guarded secret, Doyle managed to secure exclusive rights to the material  for the marine industry.

Having made such leaps forward, Bridge sees no limit for R&D on ICE and other new fibres at Doyle Sails, “There’s still a lot of potential in terms of extracting the most out of the ICE fibre. As we scale it up we will know more about the product. The more projects we do with it, the more we will learn, but so far the market response has been very good. It’s exciting times.”