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I am delighted to share the latest report from Shane Hughes and our North Sails service team here in Ireland.

2020 gave us the opportunity to start a new operation in Newcastle, Co Wicklow close to the biggest sailing centres in Ireland and it has been flying from the start.

Please follow the link here to read all the latest news from Shane and please do not hesitate to contact any of the North Sails Team if you are in need of sail service.

Shane Hughes of North SailsShane Hughes of North Sails

I hope you enjoy the read.

Published in North Sails Ireland
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Calling all One Design Sailors, this is your last opportunity to make a nice saving on the World's Fastest One Design Sails in 2020.

If you have been promising yourself an early Christmas present then now is the time!

Check out the North Sails link for more info here and request a quotation or a call back.


From your Team at North Sails Ireland

Published in North Sails Ireland
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Want to know how to optimise your J/111?

Join North Sails experts Seadon Wijsen, Jack Orr, Jeremy Smart and Allan Terhune for a full hour of J/111 performance tips this evening, Tuesday 5 May.

The panel will also be taking questions in a Q&A session after their presentation in the special Zoom webinar from 8pm IST/BST.

For details of how to sign up for this webinar, click HERE.

Published in North Sails Ireland
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Hosted by East Antrim Boat Club as part of their hugely successful Mid-Week Sessions programme of illustrated talks, the ‘Prof’ Maurice O’Connell himself will be on stage from 7.30pm next Wednesday 6 March to present North Sails Ireland’s popular upwind trim seminar.

Event organiser Tom Jobling says: "When one hugely successful event meets another hugely successful event … get there early and not only for the posh seats, because this promises to be a big night — we’re expecting a full house at EABC."

Using North U Sail Trim simulation and supporting software, the Prof will be demonstrating the theory and practice of upwind sail trim and how to optimise your set-up for differing winds and sea states.

He will also be delivering techniques on how to escape from starts, and hints on how not to lose time on the race course.

At the previous Mid-Week Sessions night in mid February, Olympic 49er athlete Matt McGovern provided a captivated dinghy audience at the Larne Lough club with tips, for example, on how to explode from a crowded start, too. The Prof will be taking questions at the end of his already famed presentation.

“It’s going to be the event of the year,” said an enthused EABC Commodore Steven Kirby. “As with all the Mid-Week Sessions events this, too, will be no charge and open to non-members.”

For more information see the new EABC website and Facebook page, or call Tom Jobling on 07809 691585.


Published in North Sails Ireland

#NorthSails - On the North Sails website, sail designer Mike Marshall outlines the development of North Sails’ 3Di inventory for the new Melges IC37 class.

When his design team were notified that North Sails would be the official sailmaker for the new one-design yacht, designed by Wicklow-based Mark Mills, Marshall knew it would be a challenge to cover the entire wind range with an inventory of just three sails — one main, one jib and one spinnaker.

“It was clear from the outset that 3Di was the only option for sails that could take the loads of a 37-foot boat yet perform well in winds anywhere from 5 to 25 knots,” he says.

“With 3Di, tapes are oriented in the direction of the loadings, giving outstanding stretch resistance, and Aramid and Dyneema fibers provide exceptional durability. So the 3Di decision was an easy one.”

Fabric is one aspect, but sail shape is something else, and Marshall and his team set about a painstaking development process to model the Melges IC37 sails in a variety of wind conditions and with a range of mast properties.

North Sails has much more on the story HERE.

Published in North Sails Ireland

#NorthSails - As previously reported, North Sails celebrated a record-smashing year for offshore yachting titans competing with its 3Di performance sails.

But clients of the sailmaker — with a longstanding base in Myrtleville, Co Cork — also had a big year across the One Design classes around the globe.

In the Etchells class, Stella Blue helmed by Steve Benjamin won the 2017 Worlds in San Francisco at an event where fellow North Sails clients Senet Bischoff and KGB took the Corinthian title and finished third overall.

Elsewhere, in Toronto, Rossi Milev’s Clear Air sailed into first place at the J/24 Worlds, the same event where Lizzy McDowell’s U25 Howth Yacht Club team Scandal finished a respectable 42nd amid the mammoth international field.

Fellow Howth sailor Laura Dillon on Cloud finished 33rd in the Dragon World Championships in Cascais last June, which saw North Sails powering clients into first (Provezza Dragon, Andy Beadsworth), third (Alfie, Lawrie Smith), fourth (Desert Eagle, Hendrik Witzmann), fifth (Rocknrolla, Dmitry Samokhin), ninth (Louise, Grant Gordon) and 10th (Jeanie, Jens Rathsack) places overall.

And Spanish sailor María Perelló, using North Sails’ Radial R2, won the girls division at the Optimist Worlds in Thailand last July, where Ireland enjoyed had a strong showing in team racing.

North Sails is the world’s leading sailmaker for One Design classes with more national, world and Olympic class victories than all other sailmakers combined.

Published in North Sails Ireland

#NorthSails - North Sails Ireland is looking back on a record-breaking year in 2017 for the global sailmaker's offshore clients, all of whom were using its 3Di performance sails.

Last January, Armel Le Cleác’h sailed Banque Populaire VIII around the world solo in the Vendée Globe in 74 days, 3 hours, 35 minutes and 46 seconds, breaking the solo (monohull) round-the-world record.

That same month, Francis Joyon with his IDEC Sport crew took the Jules Verne Trophy for the fastest global circumnavigation ever: an incredible 40 days, 23 hours and 30 seconds.

During the summer, records were falling so fast that North Sails had a hard time keeping up: Team Concise in the Round the Island; Mighty Merloe and Comanche in the Transpac; Joyon’s IDEC and Thomas Coville’s Sobeto Ultim in the Transatlantic Outright; Prospector in the Marblehead to Halifax.

Come November, Coville did it again, in tandem with Jean-luc Nelias on Sodebo in the Transat Jacques Vabre. Indeed, taking in his solo circumnavigation record in December 2016, he must hold a personal record for the most sailing records broken in a single 12-month period.

What’s more, North Sails estimates that Coville’s 3Di Endurance mainsail had 75,000 miles (the equivalent of three times around the world) logged when he broke that singlehanded east-about circumnavigation time.

More recently, in December, Christmas came early for Francois Gabart when he and his MACIF took the outright solo around-the-world record by lapping the planet in 42 days, 16 hours, 40 minutes and 35 seconds. (The team also set a new 24-hour distance mark to beat in November.)

The final record of 2017 went to LDV Comanche, who set the pace for future Rolex Sydney Hobart Races with a time of 1 day, 9 hours, 15 minutes and 24 seconds.

With that results in the books, North Sails Ireland in Myrtleville raises a toast to its offshore clients who continue to push its products to the limit.

Published in North Sails Ireland
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#NorthSails - North Sails has paid tribute to Terry Kohler, owner of the company from 1984 to 2014, who died at his home in Wisconsin on Tuesday 20 September, aged 82.

Part of a business and political dynasty in his home state, Kohler was still at the helm of the company when it began supplying the sailing wardrobe for the Volvo Ocean Race. North Sails is now the exclusive sail supplier for the Volvo Ocean 65.

As a graduate of MIT, Kohler – who bought the company from Lowell North on the latter's retirement – saw the potential in marrying the latest technology with tried-and-tested deck knowledge to produce market-leading sails.

But he was also just as passionate about wildlife conservation, with he and his second wife Mary dedicating efforts to protect vulnerable marine species such as trumpeter swans, whooping cranes and Siberian cranes.

The North Sails website has more HERE.

Published in News Update

#VOR - The Volvo Ocean Race has appointed North Sails to be the exclusive official supplier of sails to the Volvo Ocean 65 one-design fleet in 2017-18.

North Sails supplied the sail wardrobe for the last Volvo Ocean Race, which saw the first ever one-design Volvo Ocean 65 fleet finish in June 2015.

According to VOR organisers, the durability of the Volvo Ocean 65 has already become a byword in the industry for its reliability – and North Sails' 3DiTM product has developed a similar reputation for its durability, powering six teams over 40,000 nautical miles in the last race with a "ground-breaking" limited sail wardrobe.

Nick Bice, who heads The Boatyard maintenance centre at the Volvo Ocean Race, explained that the success of North Sails in renewing their partnership with offshore sailing’s leading event was no foregone conclusion.

“North Sails was chosen against a lot of different criteria and not necessarily because of a long history in ocean racing and the Volvo Ocean Race,” he said.

“Many elements have contributed to the final decision, including the simple fact that the North Sails 3DiTM product is very good. The company has a strong commitment to the next edition of the race, not only from a product but also a personnel point of view.”

North Sails president Ken Read, added: “The Volvo Ocean Race has been and remains a big part of my life having participated in three editions. North Sails also has deep roots in this race, powering eight of nine race winners since Steinlager 2 in 1989.

“Performance and durability are a prerequisite for every part and piece of the new one-design boats. Proven as the highest performing and most durable sails ever made, North Sails’ patented 3Di product fits the bill perfectly.”

The next step is to finalise designs for the sail wardrobe, which will be carried out once the 2017-18 route is confirmed by mid-2016. After that comes the manufacturing process, followed by the delivery of the sails to the 13th edition teams in April 2017.

Currently, practicing crews may use new or used ‘generation 1’ designs for independent training as well as two-boat testing. Race rules will not permit two-boat testing when the new inventory is delivered next April.

“The idea is that all teams will match up for the first time on the start line in Alicante, all with the same amount of knowledge,” said Bice.

As for what improvements can be expected with the next generation sail wardrobe, he added: “The sails will continue to be reliable, that is a big factor. There will be improved flying shapes based on what has been learned about the boats and a customised wardrobe depending on the race route.”

Published in Volvo Ocean Race

North Sails will today officially open their new UK sail loft based in the maritime South Coast hub, Gosport. The loft will incorporate many global departments under one roof: North Sails 3Di and Superyacht finishing, One Design sail production and Certified Service. It is the first loft of its kind to specialise in superyacht sails and boasts the largest raised finishing floor in the world at 1,950M2. Once again pushing the boundaries of sail technology, innovation, and manufacturing, this will be North Sails' European flagship facility.

The 110 meter long main loft floor is complemented by state-of-the-art equipment, all of which will assist production teams in producing and finishing sails faster and more efficiently than ever before. While continuing to design, manufacture and service current customers, the new space allows for work on special projects and custom finishing, especially larger projects.

Today in Gosport, President of North Sails Group, Ken Read, will join European COO John Welch as well as Peter Dubens, Managing Partner of Oakley Capital and Chairman of North Technology Group, as they open the doors to allow invited guests to see the revolutionary sail loft and what it means for sailors around the globe.

"Production has begun in all departments," said European COO John Welch. "North Sails Gosport is a response to the ever-increasing size and demand for superyacht sails, and represents a positive consolidation of our many departments. We are excited about the space we now have and the opportunity to serve our customers with greater speed and efficiency. North Sails' continued commitment to design and development is at the forefront, enabling us to keep pushing forward in all areas of sail manufacturing."

Divided into two manufacturing bays, the main finishing floor has been specifically designed for superyacht finishing. The 101x30M space allows for two J-Class headsails and a mainsail to be laid out at the same time. The floor has an overhead gantry with a 3.2 ton load capacity, five rotating sewing machines and two traveling sewing machines - where the machine moves atop a belt the length of the finishing floor, stitching the luff or leech without moving the sail. In a neighboring bay, Gosport houses three plotters and two separate raised floors for One Design and Certified Service.

"The Gosport manufacturing loft reflects North Sails' commitment to professional sailmaking and our ambition to remain on the cutting edge," said North Sails president Ken Read. "I'm excited for the opportunities ahead and would like to congratulate the local team for pulling it all together and creating something truly unique in the sailmaking world."

Published in Marine Trade
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The Half Ton Class was created by the Offshore Racing Council for boats within the racing band not exceeding 22'-0". The ORC decided that the rule should "....permit the development of seaworthy offshore racing yachts...The Council will endeavour to protect the majority of the existing IOR fleet from rapid obsolescence caused by ....developments which produce increased performance without corresponding changes in ratings..."

When first introduced the IOR rule was perfectly adequate for rating boats in existence at that time. However yacht designers naturally examined the rule to seize upon any advantage they could find, the most noticeable of which has been a reduction in displacement and a return to fractional rigs.

After 1993, when the IOR Mk.III rule reached it termination due to lack of people building new boats, the rule was replaced by the CHS (Channel) Handicap system which in turn developed into the IRC system now used.

The IRC handicap system operates by a secret formula which tries to develop boats which are 'Cruising type' of relatively heavy boats with good internal accommodation. It tends to penalise boats with excessive stability or excessive sail area.


The most significant events for the Half Ton Class has been the annual Half Ton Cup which was sailed under the IOR rules until 1993. More recently this has been replaced with the Half Ton Classics Cup. The venue of the event moved from continent to continent with over-representation on French or British ports. In later years the event is held biennially. Initially, it was proposed to hold events in Ireland, Britain and France by rotation. However, it was the Belgians who took the ball and ran with it. The Class is now managed from Belgium. 

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At A Glance – Half Ton Classics Cup Winners

  • 2017 – Kinsale – Swuzzlebubble – Phil Plumtree – Farr 1977
  • 2016 – Falmouth – Swuzzlebubble – Greg Peck – Farr 1977
  • 2015 – Nieuwport – Checkmate XV – David Cullen – Humphreys 1985
  • 2014 – St Quay Portrieux – Swuzzlebubble – Peter Morton – Farr 1977
  • 2013 – Boulogne – Checkmate XV – Nigel Biggs – Humphreys 1985
  • 2011 – Cowes – Chimp – Michael Kershaw – Berret 1978
  • 2009 – Nieuwpoort – Général Tapioca – Philippe Pilate – Berret 1978
  • 2007 – Dun Laoghaire – Henri-Lloyd Harmony – Nigel Biggs – Humphreys 1980~
  • 2005 – Dinard – Gingko – Patrick Lobrichon – Mauric 1968
  • 2003 – Nieuwpoort – Général Tapioca – Philippe Pilate – Berret 1978

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