Choosing Your New Mainsail

At Dolphin our philosophy is to apply the same attention to detail no matter how large or small the boat, whether racing or cruising.

We will help guide our customers through the sail selection process to ensure that they have the correct sail option to suit their sailing needs and expectations. Where possible we will measure the boat’s rig, set-up characteristics and discuss with you any personal preferences. Our experience with building racing sails enables us to bring a wide range of knowledge to the design and construction of your cruising sails to enhance durability and performance. This experience is invaluable for the production of sails with excellent shape holding, sails that help you to get to your destination as quickly as possible. After all, boatspeed IS important. How often do we hear, “I’m not worried about boatspeed, but when we actually get out there we tweak and trim to try to get past the boat in front… We can’t help ourselves!” Of equal importance of course is the ease of handling and use of a sail. Dolphin take care to ensure both the sail handling and sail handling systems make your cruising as pleasurable an experience as possible.

Sail Design and Construction

A wide range of fabrics are available from the highly durable woven polyester (dacron), through to single and double taffeta laminates. Dacron fabrics are generally used in a cross-cut construction giving good shape holding and great longevity. For enhanced shape holding, weight saving and speed, a tri-radial construction utilising the warp orientated laminated fabrics is employed. Greater performance will be achieved with a Pentex laminate whilst Vectran/Dyneema will produce the best shape holding capability in panelled sails.

Membrane sails produce the ultimate in performance and shape holding capability. Each Membrane is designed bespoke to the yacht and customer needs. There are various yarn options that we use to create the sails using Kevlar/carbon/dyneema or Vectran to get the best longevity and durability.

Cross cut

Tri radial


Cloth Selection

Our cloth is chosen from the world’s leading sail cloth manufacturers. Whilst we can supply all fabrics, below is a guide for the recommended cloth options from the Contender and Dimension Polyant range.

See our downloadable fabric spec sheets for more information.

Woven Polyester (dacron) for Cross cut sail options

  • Fibercon AP
  • Fibercon Pro
  • Fibercon Pro Vectran

Woven polyester/ dyneema for Tri radial sail options

  • Hydranet Radial
  • Pro Radial (polyester)

Cruise Laminate for Tri radial sail options

  • Polyester (mylar) Cruise laminate – DCX
  • Pentex Cruise laminate – DCP
  • Dyneema Cruise laminate – DYS available in white & grey
  • Carbon/Dyneema Cruise laminate – GLXD

Membrane options

  • Twaron Yarn
  • Carbon Yarn
  • Dyneema Yarn

Available in a mixture of yarns along with single or double taffetas


Standard Sail Specification

  • High quality woven polyester or cruise laminate fabric
  • Full radial patching to reduce creasing for reinforced areas and to absorb loadings
  • Two and three step stitching using Hemingway and Bartlett thread
  • Low stretch leech lines using either aluminium or plastic cleats depending on sail size
  • Luff reefs with pressed rings and spectacles where applicable
  • Loose footed main for shape control where appropriate
  • All stainless steel pressed/webbed on rings for corner attachment
  • Standard sail slides if required
  • Durable fibreglass battens
  • Insignia sail numbers
  • Tell-tales
  • Drawstring sail bag

Extra Features/Upgrades

  • Reefs
  • Flow Stripes
  • Fully battened option
  • Tapered battens
  • Glo flow stripes
  • Single live reefing block


Our proven ‘Atlantic’ finishing upgrade is a must for all sailors who are planning on blue water cruising. N.B. more than 50% of our customers select this upgrade for their new sails.

  • Extra reinforcing on all areas of the sail that are under stress and load
  • Additional chafe patches are added where needed using leather or heavy duty webbing
  • Heavier duty batten pockets and inserts
  • Twin ply leech and luff tapes
  • Overhead leech line
  • 2:1 leech line tensioning system in cloth pockets
  • Additional webbing strainers from rings and headboard
  • Webbed on slides (if applicable)
  • Additional corner patching
  • Spreader patches supplied loose
  • Flow stripes
  • Sail numbers and Insignia

Extra Features/Upgrades

  • Tenara Thread
  • Full batten
  • Carbon battens
  • Glo flow stripes

Full Batten Options

There are many systems on the market but for yachts upto 45’ we have a cost effective batten solution. We recommend the Rutgerson system for masts without external tracks. This system consists of high quality wheeled cars and adjustable luff batten receptacles combined with a closed leech end. We can also supply batten systems from other manufactures if the requirements suit.

N.B. For ease of use when sailing with a fully battened mainsail, a stackpack system and lazyjacks are essential.

For yachts with externally fitted mast tracks we can fit the slides and luff boxes that suit your system, whether it be Ronstan, Selden , Antal, Harken.

Furling Mainsail Options

Standard specification for in-mast furling and roller boom sails

  • Highly refined designs
  • Top quality fabrics
  • UV cover protection at clew
  • Superior three step seam construction. Multiple rows where applicable
  • Radial patch construction
  • Low stretch leechline with Aluminium cleats
  • Drawstring sailbag

Extra Features/Upgrades

  • Outhaul clew block where applicable
  • Short or full length vertical leech battens
  • Twin ply leech to suit your system if applicable
  • Designed to suit your particular in boom reefing/furling system (Leisure furl, Profurl, John Mast)
  • Full length glass battens with soft luff batten ends and laced leech tensioning
  • Reinforced webbing straps to suit, for head/tack/clew
  • Spreader patches supplied loose if required
  • Custom luff tapes if required
  • Carbon battens

Click HERE for a downloadable version of this page.