Published: Wednesday, 20 November 2013
Mike Fulton

The New Zealand-based sail maker was nominated for a DAME award at the recent Marine Equipment Trade Show (METS) for its Straits ICE sail fibre.

Doyle Sails Nominated For Mets Award 1

This is the first time a truly new fibre has been introduced to sail making in recent years. Other advances have normally seen new applications of existing fibres. ICE is the first realistic alternative to using carbon in performance racing sails.

While Doyle Sails did not actually develop the technology behind this new fibre, it successfully negotiated the exclusive rights for the material for use in the marine industry. Doyle has spent four years perfecting the special adhesives and application techniques to turn this extraordinary fibre into durable sail material.

The manufacturer and supplier of the product is still a closely guarded secret; suffice it to say that it is used for producing bulletproof vests for the military and also mooring lines for large offshore support vessels because of its incredible strength.

Doyle Sails Nominated For Mets Award 5

It is a unique Ultra High Molecular Weight Polyethylene (UHMWPE) fibre, which is much stronger and more durable that any other sail fibre on the market. It has several significant advantages for use in the marine sector, amongst them: its infinite flex life, its light weight and strength, its high resistance to stress fatigue, its furls very well and is easy to manage on board, sails composed of this fibre retain their shape much better, it is very thinner but very durable.

Doyle is carrying on more R&D to see what other uses they can put ICE to in the marine sectors and is involving it in many of their other projects. So far, market response has been very good.

Doyle Sails Nominated For Mets Award 6

As Managing Director of Doyle Sails, Chris McMaster, said “Being a finalist at the DAME Awards is a wonderful opportunity to showcase the latest sailing technology coming out of New Zealand. It acknowledges the effort and innovation that New Zealand puts into the global marine industry."

Doyle primarily developed ICE to improve the performance of superyacht sails. For superyachts of 50 metres and more the sails got heavier with high loads associated with them. As such, the corners of the sails and the laminates required needed to be very thick. ICE has resulted in much lighter and thinner sails for these large vessels.

Doyle Sails Nominated For Mets Award 4

Team Australia, the trans-oceanic record-breaking team, uses Doyle sails extensively on its boats. Doyle supplies to sail makers in some 80 countries around the globe.