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George Sisk's Farr 42 WOW! Gets a Makeover for 2018 Sailing Season

8th May 2018
George Sisk and some of his key crew, the Farr Design office and Barry Hayes from UK Ireland Sailmakers have redeveloped the Farr 42 WOW! for the 2018 season George Sisk and some of his key crew, the Farr Design office and Barry Hayes from UK Ireland Sailmakers have redeveloped the Farr 42 WOW! for the 2018 season Photo:

Royal Irish Yacht Club Skipper George Sisk has had the Farr 42 WOW! for nearly ten years so there was a feeling that it was time to look at a new boat for his Dublin Bay and Irish yacht racing campaigns. But WOW! has been a great boat for him over the years. In particular in 2015, when he won both the ICRA Nationals in Kinsale and also won his class and overall at Dun Laoghaire Regatta. These outstanding results culminated in the ICRA Boat of the Year accolade for 2015.  

George briefly flirted with a J111 but the draw of the Farr 42 was never far away. So a decision was made at the end of 2017 to see if WOW! could be brought more up to date, improve areas of weakness and see if she could live with some of the fancy new kit coming out these days. Mark Mansfield of UK Sailmakers Ireland reports on these latest developments.

A team of 'knowledgeable heads' looked at the boat to see what could be done. These included George and some of his key crew, the Farr Design office and Barry Hayes from UK Ireland Sailmakers. Some areas for improvement were identified:

  • WOW! was a bit slow out of tacks and a bit difficult to keep in the groove. A decision was made that a more IRC friendly fin keel would be a better option to the fin and torpedo that she had. This deeper more straightforward keel was relatively rating neutral.
  • WOW!'s asymmetric spinnakers were too tall and not wide enough due to her having masthead spinnakers. With the size of chute that was best on IRC, it was felt that a lower halyard exit would allow her spinnakers to be less tubular and a better, more correct shape. Barry Hayes then designed her new downwind sail wardrobe with this change in mind. The results, shown in the photograph below, are evident. The asymmetric sail now floats perfectly to windward and sits there allowing WOW! to sail deep and fast, with less sheet movement. Also her new Code 0 can now have a fully taught luff to allow the sail to be used to its best advantage, due to the lowering of the halyard exit and also because of the advances in sail technology. This Code 0 utilises a top down Ubi Maior furler, which has a cable in the luff allowing it to be furled and deployed easily. 

WOW Spinnaker 1WOW! with George Sisk on the helm showing off her new UK Sails Uni Titanium moulded mainsail and A2 running spinnaker Photo:

The next identified area for improvement was gybing the main in strong winds. The solution was a new pair of electrically operated winches, Organised again through Barry Hayes in UK Sailmakers through their Harken winch and hardware agency, so that the main could easily and quickly be centralised.

"a solution to improve gybing the mainsail in strong winds was a new pair of electrically operated winches"

Only time will tell if these changes will make a difference. A new suit of UK Uni Titanium–Grand Prix Molded upwind sails was also selected, taking advantage of technology changes over the past few years. 

WOW upwind 1WOW! with her UK Sails Uni Titanium Molded main and J2 Jib Photo:

Initial testing in Dublin Bay last weekend was very promising as WOW! blasted around the DBSC course. Barry Hayes and I were on hand to initially set up the rig and then to assist in the sail trials followed by competing in the DBSC race.

The sailing plan for WOW! is still being finalised for this year and may include some or all of: the Round Ireland Race, Cork Week and Wave Regatta. What will happen for sure is WOW! will, as she has always done, be a regular competitor in the DBSC series in Dublin bay, which is a firm favourite for George and his crew.

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

About The Author Team

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