North Sails vs Hyde Sails - Myths & Facts There has been much debate over the years about the 'differences' between North and Hyde Laser sails, most of which is myth. We've sold thousands of Laser sails in the last 14+ years and worked with sailors around the world, so here are some things we've learned.
Myths about Laser Sails
Hyde Has More Resin - There are some small physical differences between the two sails. The question is what is 'perceived' different, and what is actually physically different. If you feel both sails side by side, the biggest difference is that, generally speaking, the Hyde sails feel more 'slick'. The rumor is that there is more resin injected into the cloth, so the sail holds a shape better and is more durable.
Hyde Sails Have a Tighter Leach - The Laser sail is very low tech compared to any modern sail design/cut/manufacturing. With that, there are some variations observable over a batch of say... 40-50 sails. The panels are uniform, but there could be small variations at the edges of each panel as it is cut. Additionally, as the panels attached to each other, there is a small margin for error that can sometimes be seen.
Hyde Cost More, so they must be better - Hyde and North probably cost about the exact same to manufacture. Hyde sails just seem to have a longer distance to travel as they go through the UK before coming to the US. There was a rumor that the VAT tax added to the price, but that cost should be removed once a product is exported from the UK.
The Facts About Laser & ILCA Sails (Real World Experience)
Many of our customers swear by Hyde for serious racing because they last longer and have a better shape. The flip side is that some of our customers prefer the initial 'setup' of the North, even if it is perceived to have a slightly shorter lifespan. Keep in mind, we are dealing on the fringes of what is real and what is perceived. Top level sailors will go fast with either sail and intermediate sailors get a big boost from a new sail no matter what the brand. If you care for each sail the same, keep it clean and be careful not to flog it needlessly at the dock or while sailing, either brand should deliver solid and very similar results over its lifespan.
Sounds credible. The key line is, "we are dealing on the fringes of what is real and what is perceived"