Cowes Day 5: Black sails then colour
By Wednesday 3rd August I was getting fed up with photographing the larger racing yachts with their ugly black sails! If my memory is correct, black or at least grey sails started being used when mylar sails reinforced by black carbon fibre were introduced. The full-size mainsail for my Lightning 368 dinghy “Seabee” was constructed that way. I actually preferred using the smaller Dacron sail which had more “give” when hit by a gust. I still have that white Dacron sail and use it on my Seafly in it’s “Sealightning” guise.
Now it seems the fashion is for totally black sails, although I was told at the boat show that performance sails can be made in a lighter colour using Dyneema or aramid fibres. But people even buy Dacron sails which have been dyed black because it is fashionable and looks expensive.
Black sails are certainly not photogenic, particularly if the day is dull and misty. It is a relief when the spinnakers appear and add a little colour, although there now seems to be a trend for these “coloured sails” to be created in plain white!