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Greeting sailors from North Sails Ireland. It's too early to say "seasons greetings" but we're not far off it!

Much has been written about 2020 to date. So let's add to it by reflecting on and acknowledging the wonderful achievements of our customers in this, the strangest of sailing years.

Our fantastic clients flew a huge range of North Sails products this year to power themselves to victory. At the top of each class, inshore, offshore and one-design, we saw winners flying everything from 3DI RAW to cross-cut NPC NorDac (North Dacron), from Helix cabless load-sharing Code Zero's and flying jib tops to little Norlon (North Nylon) symmetrics, on boats ranging from Water Wag dinghies to the largest Cruisers 0 IRC offshore race boats - and almost everything in between.

DBSC winner 'White Mischief' flying her 3Di Main and Code 1 Jib Photo: Maurice O'Connell/North SailsDBSC winner 'White Mischief' flying her 3Di Main and Code 1 Jib Photo: Maurice O'Connell/North Sails

What was especially gratifying was the podium performances of many of our customers who were flying North Sails products that were many seasons old - a sure testament to the longevity, durability and true long-term value that North Sails delivers.

It was a big move for us organisationally too, with my colleague Shane Hughes taking over the NS Ireland service operation. Shane started with NS in 1998 and is a vastly experienced sailmaker, as well as being a top sailor too. It is fair to say that his new loft in Wicklow has been a "game-changer".

Maurice 'Prof' O'Connell setting up the 3Di's onboard Mustang 30 'Peridot'Maurice 'Prof' O'Connell of North Sails Ireland setting up the 3Di's onboard Mustang 30 'Peridot'

Nigel, Shane and I have been on the water all over the country in our short season, supporting our clients. When you need us, we are here and we love to talk boats! So do pick up the phone for a chat or email us anytime to see how we can help make you go FASTer for LONGER.

Please click on the link below to see our 2020 Victory List and HUGE congratulations to all sailors for your efforts this year around the country.

2020 North Sails Ireland Victory List here

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North Sails 3Di is leading the way on more and more race winners in Ireland. Working with Royal Cork's Denis Byrne and the crew of the Trapper T250 Cracker has been a rewarding experience watching the crew develop and improve over time.

In 2019, Cracker won the Royal Cork Yacht Club’s 'boat of the year' award.

“It is unusual for a small boat like Cracker to win such an award in the biggest yacht club in the country,” said a proud Denis. In 2020 with the same inventory, he’s continued his winning streak. Cracker took her class and the overall win in the annual Cove to Blackrock Race, winning the coveted Moonduster trophy.

Royal Cork's Darragh Connolly (left) presents the 'Moonduster' award to Cracker skipper Denis ByrneRoyal Cork's Darragh Connolly (left) presents the 'Moonduster' award to Cracker skipper Denis Byrne

I keep talking about the trickle-down effect from the largest Super Yachts down to the smaller Club racers......3Di has all angles covered.

This is another great example of a real-life trickle-down tale. Read more about Cracker's success here

Sail FAST into 2021

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This year's Vendee Globe is going to be a fascinating race to follow. North Sails have been working with the IMOCA Class for many years now and all of the hard work and effort is paying dividends with seventeen of the boats being 100% North Sails and another eight boats with one or more North Sails in the inventory.

It all started back in 2001 when Bruno Dubois the manager of North Sails France worked on the sails with Dame Ellen MacArthur and her IMOCA 60 Kingfisher, in that race North Sails only had one or two boats using our products.

Great to see the 3Di product dominating the class and amazing to think that most of the North Clients in the race are using our top tier race product 3Di RAW looking for the fastest lap of the planet.

This is the same 3Di RAW product that has become so popular in the Irish Race market and has dominated the results in Ireland for many years now.

Episode 5 - The Women of the Vendée Globe

A record of six women is included on the 33 skipper roster for the Vendée Globe 2020. This is historic, considering only seven women have participated, and six have ever completed the race since its inception in 1989. This trend is a reflection of what we’re seeing elsewhere in sailing, as more women take on leadership positions and compete at the highest level of the sport.

See Episode Five in the North Sails Vendee Globe Series below.

Not long to wait for the start.....

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As fans gather for the Vendee Globe Race and to be captivated by the next generation of IMOCAs, North Sails has produced its own video series on the solo non-stop round the world race.

The series is narrated by one of the race founders, French navigator Loïck Peyron who lends his voice as narrator in a six-part video series. He offers his perspective on this legendary race by telling the story of the exceptional skippers who dare take on the challenge.

Here are the first three episodes of six below:

Vendée Globe Special – Episode 1 – Thus was Born the Vendée Globe

Peyron offers his perspective on this legendary race by telling the story of the exceptional skippers who dare take on the challenge, the passion that drives them, and the quest for open-ocean adventure

Vendée Globe 2020 – Episode 2 – The IMOCA Takes Flight

The Vendée Globe is a race exclusively reserved for the IMOCA, a 60-foot monohull machine built for racing. The open rule gives the naval architects great freedom of design when imagining the next generation of boats.

Vendée Globe 2020 – Episode 3 – The Spirit of Adventure

More than a race, the Vendée Globe is the ultimate adventure. The skippers hunger to get out of their comfort zone and exceed their limits, and it is their story that fascinates the spectators

Click the North Sails site for the next episodes

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Sailmaking is a very enjoyable career and it offers a great opportunity to sail all types of boats and meet all sorts of interesting people.

April 2021 will mark my 40th year in the industry and over that time I have had the privilege of sailing with some really cool people in some amazing locations.

One of my favourite things is to work with teams that are really keen to learn and get the very best out of their boats and sails at any level.

Prince of Tides with North 3dI sailsPrince of Tides racing in Cork Harbour Photo: Bob Bateman

One of these teams that have just started working with North Sails is Prince of Tides, the Grand Soliel 37.

The link below will take you to their story told by Frank Caul and John Molloy.

They were interviewed just recently by our marketing team and you can read their story here.

I hope you enjoy the read.

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With the current Covid restrictions and other protocols in place, credit must be given primarily to the RstGYC, Jonny O'Dowd and the Irish J80 class for putting the event together and running it in compliance with these regulations. A fleet of 14 boats was a very healthy showing in these circumstances.

I think for all of us competing; it was a great relief to get back to some quality one design racing finally. Allied to this we got lucky with two super sailing days that offered a variety of sailing conditions from day one, sailed in 15-25 knots to day 2 in 5-12 knots. Whilst the relatively stable conditions (as much as possible in Dublin Bay!) provided a great platform to run racing; special mention must go to Michael Tyrell and the race management team for turning around the seven scheduled races in a very efficient manner. Such an essential component of any successful One Design regatta.

APi-2 3Di Jib flying on ‘Red Cloud’ Photo: Shane HughesAPi-2 3Di Jib flying on ‘Red Cloud’ Photo: Shane Hughes

For this year's Nationals, I sailed onboard 'MoJo' with Pat O'Neill and his Howth YC based team. There was a Greystones tint to the team with myself, Aaron Jones and Conor Cleary all active Greystones SC members. Pat has sailed at a good level in the J80 over the past few years competing at World and International championships, so not a newcomer to these events. Indeed, we benefited on the first day from having spent some time sailing in windier conditions on the lead up to this event.

Day one provided some exhilarating conditions with full planing mode going downwind. We were pleased with our speed upwind but especially downwind in these conditions. Consistency in terms of sail and boat balance is critical in these conditions. Keeping heel angle under control and keeping a right balance of power and twist in your sail plan to allow the boat to power through the chop but not over heel is easier said than done but our latest generation 3Di APi-2 jib performed beautifully in these conditions. The stability of the sail shape even with the sheet eased provided us with a platform to balance the boat from. Also being active easing the jib in co-operation with the mainsail in the gusts/chop was really fast on the upwind legs.

We saw the benefits of the North Sails set up throughout the fleet with ourselves, Jonny O'Dowd and Dan O'Grady all going really well, with the three boats filling 11 out of 12 podium positions on the day. The benefits of the sails and set up speaks for itself.

Winning boat ‘MoJo’ taken from Committee Boat Photo: Therese Tyrell(above and below) winning boat ‘MoJo’ taken from Committee Boat Photo: Therese Tyrell

J80 Irish Championships results

Day 2 brought very different conditions with lighter winds from the West, so trickier and maybe slightly more manageable conditions for some of the newer fleet entrants. The racing was very close as a result, and there was a lot of place changing and action on the course. We saw other teams step forward and take the race wins. Dan O'Grady took a great win in race one and had the best day overall with a 1,3,2 scoreline. Ryan Glynn and the Headcase team took the second race win, while Daragh O'Connor steering Norbert Reilly's 'Red Cloud' took a great race win in the last race by a comfortable margin.

Overall results show the top four boats using exclusively North Sails. All four boats using the T6-R radial mainsail, the 3Di APi-2 Jib and the MR-5 Asymmetric. So a very positive reflection of the work we have done over the past couple of years in updating our J-80 sail offering.

J80 MojoJ80 Irish Championship results

All of us at North Sails would like to thank and congratulate all of our clients on these super results.

We are currently running our Autumn One Design discount (runs until October 9th), so please get in touch with us to discuss how we can help speed up your team for the 2021 season, where hopefully we will see more J80 events like this one!

Published in North Sails Ireland
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North Sails Ireland are pleased to announce that our Seasonal Savings promotion has started for all of our One Design Classes.

Now is the very best time to order your race-winning sails ready for the 2021 season.

For more information or to get a quote please do not hesitate to contact us and we will be delighted to take care of you. North Sails wins more One Design regatta's every year than any other sailmaker. If you are looking for speed, reliability and performance, we have you covered.

We look forward to hearing from you.



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Whilst we were all heading up to Blackrock on Saturday the National 18 Class were holding the Irish Nationals from the RCYC. Reduced numbers this year due to our friend C-19 but no let-up in the racing. Talking to some of the sailors after the event on Sunday this was one of the hardest fought Championships in many years.

North Sails have been heavily involved in the class since 2004 and we had a very intense period again in 2015/16 with the development work on the new Morrison Ultra 18. That was great fun out in the freezing conditions with Colin Chapman and many of the other sailors trialling the new designs and working out the new class rules for the sails with my old friend David Chivers.

Colin Chapman3rd overall - Colin Chapman, Eric Lyons and Morgan O'Sullivan Photo: Bob Bateman

Out at Roches Point, the fleet enjoyed some lovely racing on Saturday under the leadership of the one and only John Crotty. Lots of compliments were coming his way after sailing inside the harbour on Sunday, well done John for taking such good care of the fleet on the water.

After the eight-race series, I was delighted to learn that North Sails clients had taken the top three spots overall in the 2020 Irish Nationals.

Congratulations to all the winners:

  • 1st Overall Nick Walsh, Rob Brownlow and Eddie Rice on 13 points.
  • 2nd Overall was Alex Barry, Andrew Woodward and Grattan Roberts on 19 points.
  • 3rd Overall was Colin Chapman, Eric Lyons and Morgan O'Sullivan on 22 points.

2nd Overall was Alex Barry, Andrew Woodward and Grattan Roberts2nd Overall - Alex Barry, Andrew Woodward and Grattan Roberts

2020 South Coast Champs

Back at the end of August, the class enjoyed their Southern areas and North Sails customers had another clean sweep of the podium.

Congratulations to Alex Barry, Sandy Remmington and Richard Leonard for taking the win. 2nd overall this time was Ewen Barry, Stanley Brown and Dion Barrett and third overall Nick Walsh, Rob Brownlow and Eddie Rice. Very close racing again which is one of the big draws for the National 18 class.

Congratulations again to all the North clients performing so well with our sails, we are proud to be a part of your success.

Our 2020 Autumn Savings Deal is currently running so now is a great time to buy your new One Design Sails ready for 2021.

Please do not hesitate to give us a call.


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North Sails Ireland clients demonstrated the power of 3Di at the weekend in the Cobh to Blackrock Race taking a clean sweep across all the classes.

In fact, we had performance in depth with the top two boats in each class using 3Di upwind sails! Congratulations to all the winners, we are very proud to be your sail suppliers:

  • 1st Overall IRC Spinnaker 1 Nieulargo, Denis & Annamarie Murphy
  • 2nd overall IRC Spinnaker 1 Miss Whiplash, Ronan Downing
  • 1st Overall Spinnaker 2 Cracker, Denis Byrne
  • 2nd Overall Spinnaker 2 Luas, Sean Hanley
  • 1st Overall White Sails Prince of Tides, Frank Caul
  • 2nd Overall White Sails Magnet, Kieran O'Brien

This year's race was a really quick one with the leaders in all three classes setting a record pace. It was my first ever Blackrock Race, I was lucky enough to be sailing with Frank Caul and John Molloy on Prince of Tides the Grand Soleil 37 from the RCYC. Prince of Tides had the fastest elapsed time of all the classes at just 57mins 18 seconds, hard to compare with Spin 1 in reality as we started 10 minutes after them but even so a great performance from the Team.

North Sails got involved with the Prince of Tides Team back in November 2019 and helped them with a few key bits and pieces and pieces over the winter. Then in the Spring of 2020, we added two 3Di Endurance 760 sails with a third one on the way. The old sails were very tired and it was really hard to keep the boat in the groove upwind, flat at the front and round in the back, not a great combination.

The new sails mixed with the boat modifications over the winter have resulted in a complete change of performance from the boat. Honestly, it's like sailing a different boat and we can thank Mark Mills for his help and advice as well as the new North Sails, thanks a million, Mark.

Nieulargo uses 3Di Endurance 760 sails for their upwind inventory and the race winning sail for them this year was the Helix Xi Aramid Code ZeroNieulargo also uses 3Di Endurance 760 sails for their upwind inventory and the race-winning sail for them this year was the Helix Xi Aramid Code Zero Photo: Bob Bateman

Back in Spinnaker 1 Class Nieulargo are continuing their winning ways, so cool to see the family all sailing together and the helming being shared 50:50 between sisters Molly and Mia. There is nothing better than family sailing and it's very nice to be a part of it. Congratulations to the Murphy Family for another Trophy race win. Keep up the good work.

Interesting to note that Nieulargo also uses 3Di Endurance 760 sails for their upwind inventory and the race-winning sail for them this year was the Helix Xi Aramid Code Zero. Talking to Denis after the race back in the RCYC he said the new Zero had won the race for them. They flew the sail from the start of the Fota Channel almost right up to the Blackrock Castle. It's one of those sails, when the wind angle is right they are unbeatable...

Denis Byrne and the Trapper TS250 Cracker Photo: Bob Bateman 

I could not finish the report without a shout out for Denis Byrne and the mighty Trapper TS250 Cracker.......Denis has been getting faster and faster in that little boat and although he could be a long way back on the water you can never write him off from the podium! The Blackrock Race was no different this year and Denis not only won Spinnaker class two overall he also won the coveted Moonduster Trophy, congratulations Denis, great work from you and your crew.

For more information about North Sails unique 3Di product please check out the website or call us on the numbers below. See you on the race track...



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The UK J109 class ran their UK Nationals at the Landsail Tyres J-Cup in Cowes last weekend.

Here in North Sails Ireland, we watched this event closely because NSI led the charge in the UK & Ireland J109 sail development programme. The Irish fleet were the first to move en masse to non-overlapping IRC jibs with Pat Kelly and his "Storm II" team purchasing their first 3Di Code 2 jib in late 2012. They have enjoyed massive success over the years since then and are now on their 3rd generation 3Di upwind sails. The 2012 jib, eight years later is still going strong though which is a testament to the remarkable longevity that our 3Di sail manufacturing process delivers.

Over the years our North Sails Ireland R & D programme has developed our J109 sails a lot since then...

Andrew Craig's "Chimaera" flying her 3Di RAW 780 Mainsail and Code 1 jib Andrew Craig's "Chimaera" flying her 3Di RAW 780 Mainsail and Code 1 jib - Pic Maurice O'Connell / North Sails Ireland

The Landsail Tyres J-Cup was a three day event with very strong winds on the Friday, light airs on the Saturday and medium airs on the Sunday - perfect!

In recognition of the cv19 status in the UK, crew numbers were limited to to 6 crew vs. the usual 8 with socially distanced prizegiving etc. In spite of all this, in the J109 class winner Simon Perry's ("Jiraffe") words, "the regatta had the familiar festival feel of past J-Cups."

PRO supermo, former Etchell's and TP52 World champion and Finn Olympian Stuart Childerley ran an excellent event despite these challenging conditions.

North Sails provided event support also with my colleagues from NSUK on the water in the NS RIB every day.

My colleague and friend Jeremy Smart from North Sails UK raced as tactician about Tony Mack's "McFly" in the J111 class. Here he is about to karate chop Tony,,,,,,,,or maybe he is checking the layline..............

Jeremy Smart from North Sails UK and Tony Mack aboard the J111 "McFly" - Photo: Landsail Tyres J-Cup/Shaun RosterJeremy Smart from North Sails UK and Tony Mack aboard the J111 "McFly" - Pic: Landsail Tyres J-Cup / Shaun Roster

The J109 class had a fantastic family feel to it with five of the seven crews racing with family members aboard - great stuff guys. It is wonderful to see the younger generation of sailors enjoying the action!

1st overall in the J109's, flying their 100% North Sails inventory was Simon Perry's "Jiraffe", with Simon's children Tom and Alice (and their godfathers) aboard........

Simon Perry's "Jiraffe"Simon Perry's "Jiraffe"

Second overall, flying their 100% NS inventory was 2019 champion John Smart and his team on "Juke Box"  

"Juke Box" flying her North Superkote A2 Spinnaker and 3Di 780 Mainsail"Juke Box" flying her North Superkote A2 Spinnaker and 3Di 780 Mainsail: Pic: Landsail Tyres J-Cup / Shaun Roster

3rd overall was Dave Richard's "Jumping Jellyfish" racing with his daughter onboard.

"Jumping Jellyfish" flying downwind with her North Sails Superkote A2 and 3Di mainsail "Jumping Jellyfish" flying downwind with her North Sails Superkote A2 and 3Di mainsail - pic: Landsail Tyres J Cup /

Congratulations to all the J109 sailors, organisers and volunteers at the Landsail Tyres J-Cup. It looked like TREMENDOUS fun.

The final DBSC Thursday night race will be tonight - should be great J109 action.

See you on the water soon everyone and sail FAST.

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The Irish Cruiser Racing Association (ICRA) Information

The creation of the Irish Cruiser Racing Association (ICRA) began in a very low key way in the autumn of 2002 with an exploratory meeting between Denis Kiely, Jim Donegan and Fintan Cairns in the Granville Hotel in Waterford, and the first conference was held in February 2003 in Kilkenny.

While numbers of cruiser-racers were large, their specific locations were widespread, but there was simply no denying the numerical strength and majority power of the Cork-Dublin axis. To get what was then a very novel concept up and running, this strength of numbers had to be acknowledged, and the first National Championship in 2003 reflected this, as it was staged in Howth.

ICRA was run by a dedicated group of volunteers each of whom brought their special talents to the organisation. Jim Donegan, the elder statesman, was so much more interested in the wellbeing of the new organisation than in personal advancement that he insisted on Fintan Cairns being the first Commodore, while the distinguished Cork sailor was more than content to be Vice Commodore.

ICRA National Championships

Initially, the highlight of the ICRA season was the National Championship, which is essentially self-limiting, as it is restricted to boats which have or would be eligible for an IRC Rating. Boats not actually rated but eligible were catered for by ICRA’s ace number-cruncher Denis Kiely, who took Ireland’s long-established native rating system ECHO to new heights, thereby providing for extra entries which brought fleet numbers at most annual national championships to comfortably above the hundred mark, particularly at the height of the boom years. 

ICRA Boat of the Year (Winners 2004-2019)


ICRA Nationals 2021

The date for the 2021 edition of the ICRA National Championships is 3-5 September at the National Yacht Club on Dublin Bay.

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