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World Speed Record

Communiqué de presse

Kempen, 6. février 2009

Vendée Globe: the winner is D4® Membrane Technology!

In the 2008-2009 Vendée Globe, the world's most gruelling yacht race, the winner put his trust in sails made of DIMENSION-POLYANT sailcloth. The majority of his competition, for whom it was important just to reach the finish line after 27,000 nautical miles under sail, opted for sailcloth from the world market leader as well.

The Vendée Globe, a non-stop single-handed race around the world, is regarded as the most difficult sporting contest under sail, punctuated by the large number of failed circumnavigations in this, the fifth edition. Considering that only 11 out of 30 starters are set to cross the finish line off the French town of Les Sables D'Olonne, with the majority of competitors having succumbed to storm conditions and treacherous seas, the full extent of the stresses on man and materials becomes clear and this is what will be remembered.

What will be impossible to forget after this years edition is the amazing winning pace of Michel Desjoyeaux who established a new record of just 84 days and three hours, the second time this exceptional French sportsman and extreme sailor has won the race. After initial difficulties with on board systems delayed his departure, he went on to leave the rest of the fleet behind in his 60-foot racer Foncia.

It should be noted that the sailcloth supplier, DIMENSION-POLYANT (DP), counts as one of the true winners of this 27,000-mile race as well. The particularly high quality of the sailcloth and laminates form the sailcloth market leader not only secured victory but assured the Vendée Globe sailors who put their trust in DIMENSION-POLYANT products that their sails would finish the race.

Michel Desjoyeaux and the yachts arriving after him secured their good finishing places with the aid of high-tech membrane sails from DIMENSION-POLYANT. They chose D4®, a highly effective and particularly robust membrane material made by DP. D4® sails are built from customised laminates that offer durability fit for overcoming storms while still optimally powering the boat onward in the calmest conditions.

The secret of D4® lies in the high-tech fibres laminated between layers of films and taffetas, each laid to take into account dynamic sail loading and customised in accordance to the specifications of use by the sailmaker. Each D4® sail is a custom design in which the yarns accurately follow the load lines in the sails and ensure that they align perfectly and can be subjected to greater loads. This is also true for individual reef reinforcements, structurally placed throughout the sail to minimize distortion and wear in the heaviest of winds.

In comparison to other membrane laminates, D4® sails are characterized by substantially better adhesion based on years of in-house resin and lamination development. This is made possible because the DP membranes are manufactured in flat form so that an even high pressure can be applied during lamination, ensuring the adhesive resin achieves the highest possible bond.

It is not just high-tech fibres such as Aramid, PEN and Vectran, which provide the long-lasting performance characteristics of the DP membrane sails, but also the patented UV protection. This helps make D4® the material for winners, particularly in the world's most demanding yacht race.

Every competitor in the Vendée Globe is a winner, and participants whose older yachts meant from the outset that they had less chance to win also put their trust in DIMENSION-POLYANT's sailcloth. One of them is the Austrian sailor, Norbert Sedlacek. He commissioned sails made of DP’s Hydra Net® radial, a Dyneema®/Polyester woven blend. Hydra Net® radial is an extremely tight weave which achieves superior shape retention with a pleasantly soft hand. Hydra Net® radial is particularly suited for low stretch sails which require the durability of Dacron cloth, but where laminates with PEN, Aramid, Vectran, Carbon or Dyneema® are not desired.

DIMENSION POLYANT is the world market leader in the manufacture of sailcloth and keeps cruising sailors, regatta sailors and surfers in motion with its wide variety of sailcloth. The 225 employees manufacture up to 300 styles of sailcloth at several sites worldwide. The headquarters and main production site lies in Kempen near Krefeld, which 200 years ago was the centre of German silk weaving. Specialisation in sailcloth made of synthetic fibres began 40 years ago. Right from the beginning the sailcloth of Polyant proved its superiority on the market and this was particularly obvious in regatta sailing. The products of Polyant GmbH, which up to 1998 was a subsidiary of the Krefeld Verseidag Group, won over sailmakers and yachtsmen alike. This was the beginning of a spectacular success story, which has seen DIMENSION-POLYANT grow from zero to the world market leader within 40 years. This success was, and still is, founded on reliability, accuracy and care. DIMENSION-POLYANT is still setting the performance bar worldwide and leads the industry in the innovative production of top-class sailcloth.

In 1991 the company merged with US based Dimension Sailcloth to form the present company structure as DIMENSION-POLYANT, an important union for the future of both companies. Beside Kempen, Germany DIMENSION-POLYANT maintains production facilities in Putnam, USA and Somersby, Australia.

Additional information
Speefeld 7
D-47906 Kempen-St. Hubert
Tel.:   +49(0)2152 / 8910
Fax:   +49(0)2152 / 891123