is a product marketed and developed by the Cuben Fiber Corporation
as a high-performance base fabric for yacht sails.
The name Cuben Fiber was coined by the press in reference to America3
(pronounced America Cubed
), the winner of the 1992 America's Cup
. During the 1992 Cup, that yacht reportedly used sails made from precursors to the currently available commercial product. In late 2007, the Cuben Fiber Corporation was acquired by North Sails. North Sails maintains they will continue to supply the materials to competitors on an as available basis.
Cuben Fiber is a laminated fabric constructed from plasma-treated Ultra High Molecular Weight Polyethylene (UHMWPE
) fibers and monofilament polyester film. Cuben fiber is sometimes confused with carbon fiber
, a fiber used as a reinforcement in some Cuben Fiber sails. UHMWPE fiber products are marketed as Spectra or Dyneema
; they are thermoplastics
as opposed to Carbon Fiber
fibers such as Kevlar
The material is used in yachting
, performance sailing, windsurfing
, and, increasingly, ultralight backpacking
. Similar to sails made from traditional woven sail cloth, Cuben Fiber sails are constructed from panels that are bonded and sewn together, as opposed to 3DL sails that are laminated over a mold. The material is reportedly more durable than laminated sails of comparable strength while being lighter in weight. UHMWPE
has excellent resistance to ultraviolet
light and is less prone to disintegrate from repeated flexing than either Kevlar
or Carbon Fiber
While the UHMWPE fiber has great breaking or ultimate strength, its elongation or creep under consistently high loads causes deformation of a sail. The patented treatment of the Cuben Fiber is said to minimize this elongation.