Local company builds new sails for RayJay pirate ship
TAMPA - For the first time in 14 years, Sail Technologies is making sails for a ship that won't move. The St. Petersburg company's work will adorn the Buccaneers pirate ship in the north end zone at Raymond James Stadium. President Tom Barry grew up in Tampa and was excited for the opportunity. He said he's been a Buccaneers fan since the beginning. This is the first time the Buccaneers sails will be made in Florida. It is an honor the staff has taken to heart. With the completion of the sails, they are finishing a three-month journey.The 50-feet wide, 30-feet tall, 3-year-old sails are tattered and worn. Barry said they have been looking for the best materials possible. They tested colors for the Bucs red, mixed colors for the Raymond James Stadium blue and debated colors to make the sails look distressed. Typically, Sail Technologies doesn't make their sails out of mesh, but in this case they had to make an exception. Wind needs to be able to flow through the sails. "We don't want the ship at the stadium sailing off," Barry said. The sails are also fire resistant, so fireworks, pyrotechnics and other hazardous conditions won't affect them. Michael O'Bryant, who does large format graphics, worked to make the sails look distressed. Barry said they were trying to be period specific, which dates somewhere around the 18th century. With eight sails spanning 3,300 square feet it seems as if the ship could actually sail away. In preparation for building the bigger sails, they built smaller ones first. "We built a smaller,10th [of the] scale, of the main sail, which is the red one with the Jolly Roger," Barry said. "After we produced it we were very proud of what we were able to do." The tallest sail will display the words Raymond James Stadium. Another sail will feature the Buccaneers Jolly Roger and a third sail will say 2002 World Champions in the official Buccaneers script. Even though they are making this sails for a ship that won't move, Barry said most of the production was the same. "I guess I can't say they are real fast sails, I just hope they win a lot," he said. The sails will be ready for the first pre-season home game on Aug. 18 against the New England Patriots. "The best part is going to be standing in the stadium on opening day and seeing all the work me and my employees have done for everyone to see and enjoy," he said.