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Hurricane News 2024

The last three years (’20-’23) have been the most productive, design-wise, for Douglas since the inception of Hurricane Sails. Feedback from sailors, testing, personal time on the water and studying video shot from shore, as well as from a helmet mounted GoPro, have provided spectacular performance information that resulted in new and/or improved designs, using new materials, that bring Hurricane Sails these following improvements:

Lighter weight, increased durability, faster spinning and improved overall performance.

Towards the latter part of the ‘21 sailing season the data and ideas coalesced. Subtle changes to the Hurricane Sails’ profile, shaping seams and luff curves were made. With good product development, making one change at a time is key as some changes worked extremely well while others not-so-much. More prototypes and re-cuts were painstakingly made through this specific testing & development period and a plan to upgrade the entire Hurricane Sails’ line was solidified.  In the end, some sail sizes required little work at all, while others benefited from more robust alterations. 

During the spring of ’22, Douglas brought the addition of a 6.2, 5.8 and a 5.2 to the Hurricane Sail line. The 3.9, 4.2 and the 4.4 were the first sails designed and sold in this new Hurricane era. Those three sails had their profile changed, along with the above-mentioned subtle changes, to match how the rest of the sail line has evolved.

The 3.9, 4.2 and the 4.4 overall height was shortened a bit and the removed area, off the head, was added to the upper leach. All of the sails had the clew length shortened and additional optimizations to all the sail reinforcing has facilitated a reduction in overall sail weight for all Hurricanes.

Enjoyably for Hurricane and it’s customers, the loft, brand, and volume has grown enough to be able to design, with its main sailcloth manufacturer, Dimension-Polyant (D-P), in Putnam, CT, two custom X-Ply laminates.  

The two materials are very similar, however one is lighter. Both have uni-directional Kevlar fibers, know as tows (groups of individual fibers), in the warp direction (up the roll of cloth) and both have a Spectra/grey polyester twisted 22-degree X-Ply. 

The material used in the leech and top panels of the sail (yellow in sail drawing) has 4-mills of film and the Kevlar uni-directional tows, spaced a ½” apart, is aligned to be parallel to the leech of the sail and is called KWiXS.




The second material (green in sail drawing) is lighter and used in the center section of the sail and called KWiXS-L. It has the Kevlar uni-directional tows, spaced 1” apart, is aligned to be parallel to the Dacron luff panel. As a result, this material has half the unidirectional Kevlar tows and less film thickness. This allows the center section of the sails to be ~20% lighter. 

Back in the day, Hurricane Sails was, more than likely, the first Gorge sail loft to design custom materials laminated exclusively for their sails. The Hurricane Super-Nuker had two custom laminated materials from D-P.

What deliverables do the custom materials and all the design changes bring to the sails? 

Hurricane Sails are now lighter weight with increased durability and are faster spinning and with overall improved performance.

How is this achieved?

The Kevlar uni-directional and Spectra X-Ply fibers in the laminate contribute to the sails performance, by aligning with many of the load paths with in the sail, while at the same time delivering an un-matched level of tear resistance/durability to the sails. Moving forward, every piece of laminated material in the sails includes Spectra X-ply, of two different styles, and either Spectra or Kevlar warp-oriented tows.

The new, lighter-weight material is central to overall weight reduction for the sails. The shortened clew length allows the boom to be set shorter resulting in reduced swing-weight and a core element to having the sails feel lighter on the water. 

The sail design, outline, shaping, luff curve, and material changes resulted in Hurricane Sails feeling lighter, both on the beach and on the water, be even smoother throughout their range, and they spin faster during turns.

The collective of the new materials and design changes allows the Hurricane sailor to have more FUN when out ripping. Isn’t that what life is all about? FUN!

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