Allianz and Afloat - Supporting Irish Boating

Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

UK Sailmakers Ireland Win Big Boat Sails Orders

10th March 2019
XP44 "Maestro" – 1st place Corinthian Division at the 2018 ORC European Championships XP44 "Maestro" – 1st place Corinthian Division at the 2018 ORC European Championships

Recent orders from some of Ireland’s largest racing yachts have made for a busy winter period for the UK Sailmakers Ireland team writes Mark Mansfield. Last year the Farr 43 “WOW” and the new J121 “Jackhammer” were feature boats for UK Sailmakers Ireland; both taking a full suit of Uni-Titanium molded upwind inventory, in addition to Matrix spinnakers and Code Zero and Flying Jib packages. The 2019 season brings further big boat customers to the team. Chief among the new additions is a new “WOW” – an XP44. She will be the latest addition to a long list of previous yachts of the same name. Based out the Royal Irish Yacht Club, the team are awaiting the imminent arrival of their new project and are very excited for the sailing season ahead.

“We are delighted to be involved with such a motivated and passionate team” - explains UK Sailmakers Ireland’s Barry Hayes – “these guys just love sailing. Whether it’s at the bar, on the dock, or out on the water, they give 100% all the time. Fun and just the right amount of seriousness. The most important thing is for the crew to enjoy the time afloat while going fast – that’s where we come in.”

The new XP44 will sport a Uni-Titanium moulded upwind inventory and Matrix downwind spinnakers off an extended fixed bowsprit. She will also carry furling masthead Code Zero and Uni-Titanium Flying Jib packages to improve her offshore and coastal racing prowess.

sydney 43Sydney 43 "Christopher Dragon" with her Flying Jib deployed outside her J1

Also joining the UK Sailmakers Ireland team are the Dun Laoghaire based Beneteau 44.7 “Lively Lady” and Beneteau First 50 “Mermaid IV”.  Lively Lady will fly an X-Drive Carbon upwind sail inventory. She will also carry a Code Zero package using an Ubi Maior top-down furler. Mermaid IV – winner of the 2017 Turkey Shoot – is kicking up a gear for her racing 2019 season. She has opted for a Titanium moulded mainsail and all-purpose furling jib. Her team has been extremely busy over the previous two months maintaining and upgrading her systems for the upcoming sailing season. Her energetic and social crew are counting the days until her rig is re-stepped and her new upwind package is put through its paces around Dublin Bay.

Mermaid Beneteau 50Mermaid IV returning from a trip around the Muglins during the 2018 Turkey Shoot series

Down South in Kinsale – the Salona 45 “Meridian” has ordered a new X-Drive Carbon mainsail to accompany his X-Drive Carbon J3. Staying in Kinsale; the Beneteau 44.7 “White Tiger” has also opted for a X-Drive Carbon upwind inventory for his 2019 season.

White Tiger and Lively lady, both near identical Beneteau 44.7s have opted for a non-overlapping headsail setup in order to optimise their IRC ratings. This setup has been used to great effect on similar models such as 2017 RORC Yacht of the Year “Lisa”, skippered by Dun Laoghaire’s Michael Boyd.

Fig 4Beneteau 44.7 "Lisa" with her non-overlapping headsail configuration

As recently reported by, Ireland’s newest addition to the J109 fleet, Richard Colwell and John Murphy’s, has also chosen to join the UK Sailmakers team. Outrajeous will also sport a Uni-Titanium upwind sail inventory and Matrix downwind sails. UK Sailmakers Ireland has run an extensive development programme with the Outrajeous team over the past four months. This programme will culminate in the delivery of her inventory in early April – after which the entire team will test, tweak, and refine settings to ensure she is at peak performance for the 2019 season. The entire UK Sailmakers team has been busy over the winter months. 2019 marks the second full year of operation since Barry and Graham took over the sailmaking dynasty from Des McWilliam.“We are delighted with the new additions to our growing customer base” - says Barry Hayes, commenting on recent developments - “The ‘sails’ market is a very competitive environment and we are attracting some of the best boats around to join our team and represent our brand. Our product range is both affordable and versatile to match the needs of all sailors, and our wealth of experience at all levels of sailing enables us to fulfil our customers’ requirements with pinpoint accuracy.”

Fig 5L-R The UK Sailmakers Ireland team of Mark Mansfield, Graham Curran, and Barry Hayes aboard "Outrajeous" during December testing

“Having Mark Mansfield as part of the team is plus for our customers” – comments Graham Curran - “as an Olympian, Mark’s knowledge of performance racing is unquestionable. This is of huge benefit to our customers for getting their boats and sails to absolute peak performance. Sharing this knowledge with sailors throughout the country is very important to us as a company. Our educational and instructional article shared through have been very well received and will be available to sailors for years to come. "We have a busy season ahead of us looking after our customers, both old and new. Our job is to ensure they are enjoying their sailing to the fullest. The time we get to spend afloat these days is short – you need to make the most of it. We provide an unparalleled professional service backed up by operational manufacturing and servicing sail loft and an experienced passionate team.”

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]

Mark Mansfield

About The Author

Mark Mansfield

Email The Author

Four-time Olympian Mark Mansfield is a Professional Sailor. He is Irish Agent for Key Yachting Ltd, the sole U.K. and Irish agent for J Boats, Grand Soleil, Nautitech Catamarans and the Tofinou range of boats. More on Mark here

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