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New 'JX' J109 Jib Tested By UK Sailmakers Ireland on Dublin Bay, Bringing New Technology to Irish Sailing

6th April 2018
The first results of testing a new UK Sailmakers light Jib (JX) for the J109 class have been very encouraging, says the Cork–based sailmaker The first results of testing a new UK Sailmakers light Jib (JX) for the J109 class have been very encouraging, says the Cork–based sailmaker

Leading the charge with the design of a new J109 'JX' jib – tested for the first time on Dublin Bay last week – UK Sailmakers are hoping for a return to a 'golden era' for Irish sailmaking. 

For many years, Ireland was a hotbed of technology and development for the sailmaking industry. With Hood Sailmakers weaving America's Cup winning cloth in Clonakilty, Ron Holland designing Half Ton Cup winning yachts in Crosshaven, and John and Des McWilliam designing and building championship winning sailing out of their Crosshaven Loft – it was an exciting and golden time in Irish Sailing.
However, in recent years this 'buzz' has all but disappeared writes UK Sailmaker Graham Curran who believes it is time to put the Irish sailor back at the fore of testing and development.

“Irish sailors have always been at the forefront of the sport", says Barry Hayes, Head of Development at UK Sailmakers International and Director of UK Sailmakers Ireland – “It’s about time the sailors in one of the most competitive IRC fleets in the world had something new to play with. Something exciting. To be part of something bigger – and progress the sport.”

Barry Hayes UK Sails 1015Barry Hayes, Head of Development at UK Sailmakers International

Sailmaking is an ever-evolving industry with new materials, designs, systems, and software requiring extensive testing and validation. The waters of Ireland are the perfect proving ground with all variety of conditions and a deep pool of talented sailors to draw from.

UK Sailmakers International, in conjunction with UK Sailmakers Ireland, have committed significant resources to FSI (fluid-structure interaction) and CFD (computer fluid dynamics) analysis to develop new shapes and moulds for popular modern IRC racing yachts. The initial focus of this development programme is on sail plan improvements for the J109 class in Ireland. The first result of the programme is a new light Jib (JX). The initial results, after an extensive day of testing in Dun Laoghaire, have been very encouraging.

'The initial results, after an extensive day of testing in Dun Laoghaire, have been very encouraging'

Hayes and Curran promise to share the full details and results of the testing in a future article but to whet appetites they describe the Dublin Bay test session below.

J1 light jib J109 0830Mark Mansfield aboard John Maybury's "Joker II" to leeward with Barry Hayes and Graham Curran aboard the INSS’ “JEDI” pacing close to windward

Kenneth Rumball of the Irish National Sailing School was kind enough to allow us the use of JEDI for the afternoon. John Maybury generously provided both his time and Joker II for a perfect day of close quarters two boat testing and tweaking on Dublin Bay.

J1 Jib j109 1154After a quick sail transfer, both boats lock back in for another round of testing. Joker II using UK Sailmakers JX jib

J109 Jedi New sailsJEDI's Uni-Titanium mainsail complimented nicely by the test JX jib. Computerised FSI testing is a crucial element of modern sailmaking

uksails topper

About the Loft

UK Sailmakers Ireland brings modern professional sailmaking to Irish Sailing.​ Formerly known as McWilliam Sailmakers; the company was started 47 years ago to bring the latest technology to Irish sailors - we continue this mission today.

Under new leadership in 2018; our loft is dedicated to fulfilling the needs of all Irish sailors. ​As sailmakers, we do not just design sails for boats. We design and build sails for your boat. Our extensive and versatile product line allows us to produce sails to suit your requirements and expectations.   

​As a core loft within the UK Sailmakers Group, we are uniquely placed to draw from a worldwide pool of knowledge and experience - these ties have been recently strengthened with the return of Barry Hayes and Claire Morgan from Hong Kong. ​Barry held a key role in our primary production facility on Hong Kong Island for the past fifteen years. With their return comes a renewed focus on technology R&D on Irish waters.  

​With a wide variety of sailing conditions and an impressive pool of talent, the Irish cruiser racing fleet is the ideal testbed for new technologies.​ 

​As with all things in sailing; the secrets will be closely guarded - but for the first time in decades Irish sailors will be at the forefront of sail technology development.​

Although much has changed; some constants remain. The same great sail and customer service we have provided in the past will continue, as does our commitment and passion for growing the sport of sailing all over the country. 

Barry Hayes [email protected]

Contact Information:

UK Sailmakers Ireland

Hoddersfield Mill


County Cork

P43 EY26

Republic of Ireland

Tel: +353 21 4831505

Fax: +353 21 4831700

Email: [email protected] Team

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