Shade sails offer many advantage for business, the main one being that they give customers a cool, shady place to relax in. That means they are still close to your business so there is more chance of getting a sale from them. However, unless you choose the right shape sail it is highly likely that it won’t provide the shade you expected, so the investment will be wasted.
We see many triangular shaped sails around these days, but do they offer the kind of shade that is needed? In many cases the answer is no. This is because of the way sails are cut out. When looking up at a sail, you may think the sides were cut straight, and it is the tension that makes them look curved. This is not correct. All sails are cut with curved sides, so many triangular sails lose a good portion of material from all three sides, leaving just a spot in the middle to throw shade. You’ll get next to no shade from a triangle.
Very often when there is a large area to cover you may see a rectangular sail. The trouble again is that the longer the rectangle, the more curve there must be. The end result in most cases will be a long, skinny shade that disappoints everyone. Of course, you may only want a long, thin shade if it is meant to shade a row of windows, but it is virtually useless for anything else.
However, rectangles that are not excessively long and narrow can provide a lot more shade. For instance, a 7×3 metre sail is not good, but a 7×6 metre one would be okay.
Squares are the best shape for a sail. The curve taken out of the sides is not accentuated by the shape as it is with triangles or narrow rectangles. But it still has to be installed correctly.
It’s all in the installation
The ideal kind of design and installation is called “Hypar Design” in the shade sail industry. It combines a square sail with four posts where the diagonally opposite posts of the square are low and high, which creates a 3 dimensional twist effect. From the side, it looks like two triangular sais have been installed, but it is only one sail. The tension is even across the whole structure and it gives shade where it is needed.
Even squares or ‘fat’ rectangles can fail to give proper shade if they are not installed properly. For instance, if you order a sail that is the same size as the area between the fixing points, you won’t get enough tension on it so it will sag in the middle. Then it will flap in the wind and water will pool in the middle.