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A History of Innovation

Founded in 1917 as Howe and Bainbridge, Bainbridge International is one of the longest established sailcloth manufacturers in the world with over 85 years experience in developing and manufacturing sailcloth. Originally the business served commercial sailing ships, supplying sailcloth for traditional sailing vessels. Over the years, we became progressively more focussed on the needs of the leisure sailing market, but also diversified into many other none marine markets.

1917 - Howe and Bainbridge was founded as a partnership, a wholesaler of textiles to the marine textile and awning industries.

1920's - Howe and Bainbridge weaved very long, stapel Egyptian cotton fabrics for the sailcloth industry on special modified looms.

1930's - Synthetic fibres are developed to the point of commercial feasibility. Howe and Bainbridge produced the first experimental synthetic mainsail cloth using Cordura nylon, which was used by 'Ranger', the American boat that successfully defended the 1936 America's Cup.

1953 - High tenacity polyester yarns became readily available and Bainbridge effectively re-invented sailcloth. Dacron quickly replaced cotton as the fibre of choice. Bainbridge optimised Dacron with their unique resin stabilised finish.

1965 - Bainbridge announced the ultimate in bias stability with 'Yarn Tempered Stabilised Dacron Sailcloth.'

1970 - Short and Norville was formed at Stoke Poges, just outside London, England. The company produced a unique composite sail batten from fibreglass and invested extensively in proprietary tooling and steadily expanded its range of sailmakers hardware.

1974 - Bainbridge pioneered Stabilkote, the first acceptable nylon ripstop spinnaker material, coated for improved tear resistance and porosity characteristics.

1976 - Bainbridge became a division of the Dexter Corporation, a Fortune 500 company that manufactured specialised materials and chemicals.

1978 - 18 out of 18 Olympics yachting medals were won using Bainbridge Stabilised Sailcloth.

1980 - Bainbridge introduced Temperkote polyester film-laminated fabrics. 'Freedom' carried a Temperkote Mylar 3.4oz Genoa in her defence of the America's Cup.

1981 - Bainbridge introduced the Bermuda range of woven sailcloth. Coated Dacrons for cruising applications.

1981 - Short and Norville form Aquabatten Inc. to serve the American Market.

1982 - Bainbridge's state of the art Kevlar weave laminates are offered for sale.

1982 - Bainbridge advanced the science of woven sailcloth with the introduction of the High Aspect Mainsail range of fill oriented Dacrons with fibre selection and constructions engineered for greater threadline strength.

1983 - 'The Keels were Different but the Sailcloth was the Same' Both 'Liberty' and 'Australia II' used Bainbridge Kevlar weave laminates to fight for the America's Cup.

1983 - Bainbridge polyknits were introduced, and reduced Kevlar fibre prices helped bring Mylar/Kevlar laminates into the reach of all sailors.

1985 - Bainbridge/Aquabatten was formed by merging Howe and Bainbridge with Short and Norville and Aquabatten.

1987 - The US reclaimed the America's Cup using Bainbridge sail materials: Kevlarweaves and Stabilkote.

1989 - Bainbridge introduced Parallel Plus Laminates, based on new scrim technology, offering 'trans-directional' strength.

1990 - John Short, President of Bainbridge/Aquabatten under the Dexter Corporation purchased the company, returning it to private ownership.

1990 - Bainbridge/Aquabatten introduced tubular full-length batten technology for increased cruising performance and sail handling ease.

1991 - In response to the increased use of computer-driven plotters and cutters, Bainbridge introduced wide width sail fabrics.

1991 - Bainbridge CL Cruising Laminates are developed and introduced the combination of Parallel Plus scrims and polyester taffetas push cruising sails into the modern age.

1992 - Bainbridge Spectra Cruising Laminates (SCL's) are engineered with Spectra 1000 to meet the demands of the growing super yacht market.

1992 - Bainbridge/Aquabatten purchase 'Yachtspeed', wholesalers to the UK Chandlery Trade and with this came the sole UK distribution for Ronstan Deck Hardware.

1993 - DIAX High modulus Kevlar-49 racing laminates set a new stand for fabric performance and stability.

1994 - 'Yamaha' and 'New Zealand Endeavour' won their respective classes in the Whitbread Round the World Race. Both boats carried full inventories of Bainbridge PW and PW Offshore laminates.

1995 - Following extensive research and development, Coverguard® was introduced to the Bainbridge portfolio. Coverguard, Flame Retardant Temporary Protection Systems, used during new building, refurbishment, maintenance and outfitting.

1996 - The name was changed to Bainbridge International in 1996, to reflect the worldwide nature of the business.

1998 - AIRX Spinnaker was developed and launched. This redefined the standards in spinnaker fabrics, with the combination of strength, performance and durability.

1998 - Sailman Full Batten Systems were developed in conjunction with the Challenge Business for the BT Global Challenge Race.

2000 - AIRX Spinnaker fabric was present in 'Team New Zealand's' sail inventory when she successfully defended the America's Cup.

2001 - Michel Desjoyeaux's on board PRB won the 2000 - 2001 Vendee Globe using Bainbridge SCL Spectra Laminates.

2001 - AIRX Spinnaker fabrics features on board Kingfisher as Ellen McArthur sailed into the history books with her momentous 2nd place in 2000 - 2001 Vendee Globe.

2001 - Bainbridge International launched a new range of woven sailcloth for the cruising market, OCEAN and HSX were launched.

2002 - Bainbridge International Ltd were appointed as sole UK Distributor for Lewmar Marine Equipment.

2002 - Volvo 60's, 'Illbruck', 'Assa Abloy' and 'News Corp' all chose to include AIRX Spinnaker fabrics in their inventories and finished the race in 1st, 2nd and 5th respectively.

2003 - Bainbridge develops carbon fibre scrim laminates and a new multi-purpose spinnaker nylon, MP-70.

2004 - Bainbridge International Ltd and Aqua-Marine International Ltd merge to form one of the largest marine distribution businesses in the UK.

2005 - Bainbridge launches AIRX-400N - a 26gsm spinnaker fabric specifically for the America's Cup.

2005 - Bainbridge agrees to sponsor the Gipsy Moth IV campaign by donating the sailcloth. The aim is for this historic boat to retrace the steps of its original voyage with Sir Francis Chichester some 40 years later.

2006 - ABN AMRO wins 2006 Volvo Ocean Race with AIRX spinnaker fabric.

2007 - Bainbridge International introduces new DIAX2 Race range of Performance Laminates. Diax2 Race takes the DIAX concept to the next level by incorporating multiple layers of fibre with two DIAX scrims combined with a fill orientated 0/90 base layer to provide six primary threadlines. This allows fibres to be aligned to load paths without the cost or complexity of tri-radial panel layout or flipping luff panels.

2008 - Bainbridge International introduces new Ocean Premium Plus at METS after an extensive development programme culminating in successful sea trials. We are excited to announce the arrival of a new concept iin woven polyester sailcloth. Ocean Premium Plus has been designed specifically for the discerning boat owner who requires durability, high performance and a prestigious look, all in one package.