Woven goods come in different styles and there are not ‘bad’ fabrics and ‘good’ fabrics, rather there are correct fabrics for specific applications and some not so right for a given job. A good example of this would be the Challenge Sailcloth 8.03 low aspect / high modulus fabrics versus their 8.3 high aspect / high modulus fabric. The 8.03 will make great cruising sails in part because of the balanced nature of low aspect fabrics which get a lot of bias (off threadline) stability from the mechanics of the weave (and not relying on resins as much) and because the yarn types in both directions are of similar size, they present a balanced rate of U.V. degradation. While the 8.03 may have a bit more stretch over time, they will last for years and years in the harsh U.V. conditions they will be exposed to. The 8.3 on the other hand is a very unbalanced product, with yarn sizes in a 3.3:1 ratio. The larger yarns are in the fill direction (along the leech of the mainsail for example) which makes for great strength and stretch resistance, but the warp yarns, which encapsulate the fill yarns, are 3 times as small…and these yarns see the brunt of U.V. and chafe. The result is a great fabric for a high aspect club racer, but not really a good fabric at all for a world cruiser. This knowledge of fabric construction, finishing and use, will be outlined and understood by a good sailmaker. They will work to direct customers to the right fabric…not just for budget, but for the practical long term interest of the sailors.