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.”
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.
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.