Bruce Pierce of Mimico Cruising Club shares his process of creating the optimal sail inventory for Hooligan, a J/122, to race on the Great Lakes.
Bruce, Can you walk us through the thought process in terms of deciding on the sail inventory?
When we bought the boat, three and a half to three years ago, we had an existing inventory that was purchased with the boat. We made an evaluation kind of with North Sail Toronto's help, we made an evaluation of the existing inventory and then put a plan together in terms of what was good, what we could continue to use and prioritized sail inventory. At that point in time we prioritized a new main for the boat, and we did that in the first year as we bought the boat because we were putting a new mast on.
Would you say it's performance has been what you expected? Or would you say it's been above expectations?
Well, I hold North Sails to high expectations, so it's performing exactly the way it should. But I'm very comfortable with the quality of sail. Since then, when we bought the first 3Di, we then we bought my second one. My buddy who has the J160 out West, we were sailing on his boat, and I said to Dave, I said "You guys, even just cruising you need to go to a 3Di because you're gonna reduce onboard weight and minimize sail handling."
How would you say the sails have aided with the performance of the boat? You're doing a lot of the racing around here and then last year you went down to the U.S. as well.
Subsequently, we've been buying one sail a year for the last three years. We put a new main on, came back and bought a new light-medium jib which replaced one of the existing sails we had which was a panel sail. We knew it wasn't going to be in the best shape but we also took that sail and made it a jib top for us. We replaced the J1 and then we looked at our spinnaker inventory and started evaluating. Pierce also purchased a new A2 Asymmetric AirX spinnaker and a medium-heavy 3Di RAW jib.
How do you think the crew has been with the new sails? Has their sail handling improved with the sails? Or was there a big change compared to the old boat and the older sails?
Certainly the performance in the sails is significantly different. What led us to the change in the J3 to a medium-heavy what was its weight, we had a panel sail that was ballistic. It's interesting, Brian and I were on the boat in the Chicago Mac race, and when you look at the Naval Academy sail up with the main, it doesn't slot properly. You can see that when you look at the 3Di inventory, the main and jib fit really well together.You can trim so you get the same shape and the same drive and the sails were meant to be operated together. When we had the old J3 up, it was a different shape, a little flatter, ballistic. It will probably go on for ten years, if we use it every week because it's just hardened. But it was really tough to get the same shape, therefore you're not getting the same performance out of the boat. We're thrilled to see what the new shape looks like but we're confident because we built it similar to the light-medium and I know we'll get the same performance out of the boat.
What prompted you to go do the Chicago Mac last year? Was it always on your bucket list?
Yup. We did Transpac almost four years ago now, and personally I enjoy a lot of offshore racing and Transpac was one of those things where I was either going to finish the race and love it or hate it. I wasn't sure until we got to Hawaii and when I got off the boat in Hawaii it was like “Damn, I love that."
What other races are on the horizon for you? What motivates you guys to keep going out and keep racing?
Passion for the sport motivates to keeps us out there racing and you know what, we'll probably look to do the Caribbean 600 and likely Newport Bermuda in the future as well. Maybe not in this boat but we'll certainly do it in the future.What's your biggest piece of advice for people that are thinking about upgrading their sails?Probably just having a plan in terms of what do you want to do. Not many people can afford to put out the price for three or four sails in year one. It's looking at your existing inventory, trying to figure out how you put it together and what's the plan. I think that's what we did. We sat down and said “Okay, what's our strategy going to look like?” Each year we went back and re-evaluated it and said “Okay, does this still make sense?”I think we moved one of the sail purchases around, we accelerated the spinnaker because we didn't like the shape we were getting out of it once we had seen it in action after we had the boat long enough.
Upcoming Regatta Repair Schedule
North Sails Certified Service Experts will repair your sails overnight. Our Service van is on-site at select events, offering regatta venue pick-up and drop-off. Tears happen, but they shouldn’t leave you without a key piece of race inventory. Look for our North Sails Certified Service Experts at the following regattas this season. *All pickups will be 4:30-5:30pm and drop offs will be 7:30-8:00am.
NYYC ANNUAL REGATTAJune 9-10 | Sail Newport, The Alofsin Piers
BLOCK ISLAND RACE WEEKJune 17-22 | Block Island Maritime Center
SAIL NEWPORT REGATTAJuly 8 | Sail Newport, The Alofsin Piers
ORC ECC / IC37 NATIONALSJuly 14-15 | The Alofsin Piers
12M WORLDSAugust 1-4 | IYRS Pier
SAFE HARBOR RACE WEEKENDAugust 11-13 | Safe Harbor Newport Shipyard Pickup
NYYC INVITATIONALSeptember 9-16 | New York Yacht Club Harbor Court
IC37 NORTH AMERICANSOctober 6-7 | Sail Newport, The Alofsin Piers
Talk To A Service Expert
North Sails-powered TP52 Crush is victorious in the 700 nautical mile Fremantle to Exmouth Race.
David Davenport’s North Sails powered TP52 Crush has added a third race record to their long list of achievements in 2023, with the latest line honors win taken in the Fremantle Exmouth Race and Rally along Australia’s iconic western coast. North Sails Expert Andrew Harry commended the team’s efforts in the complicated race, “it was a great race for a lot of our clients. It’s the first time that the boat has done this race, and they add another race record to their names.” “Previously this year, they set a new record for the Bunbury return, which is 180nm, and the Cape Naturaliste and Return race which is 210nm, so three race records this year for the team, and all have been standing for quite some time. They won IRC overall in the race as well, which is part of our Bluewater Pointscore and secured the overall win for them this year in the series, so it’s a great win for the guys.” There was another win for North Sails customers in the long-distance race, with Alan Stein winning both the Overall PHF and Division 1 titles in his Pogo 40 called Fat Bottom Girl. “North Sails Expert Kyle Dodds onboard with Alan for the race, as he used to work in the Perth loft and sail with him before moving over to Sydney.” Andrew highlighted the development the team has worked with Alan on recently, saying, “Just three months ago, we put new sails on the boat, including all new 3Di inventory, and it really has transformed the boat. Alan’s really loving the sailing, and in this race, he won PHF, and he was fourth across the line as well. He’s stoked and really happy with the boat’s progress!” Unfortunately for Andrew and the crew on Obsession, they weren’t able to finish the race to Exmouth. “It wasn't the greatest for us, we got 100 nautical miles in and in a bare headed change, the breeze increased to about 35kts and we destroyed our headfoil, so therefore it gave the rig a bit of a shake, so we had to turn around. But the team and I all made our way up to Exmouth so we’re all here to support the rest of the fleet as they come in!” commented Andrew. “The first six hours of the race was really fresh, with easterly breezes between 18 to 38 knots, giving the fleet great power reaching conditions straight up the coast. As they got further north, there were a lot of shutdowns in the breeze, and it got a little trickier and more complex tactically. There was some great sailing going on out there, and everyone had fun with a big smile on their face as they arrived, so all in all, a successful race!” “It’s a great race. It's only the third time it’s been run, so over the last 30 years, it’s typically a long-distance race with a 1500nm around Bali, but as things changed over the past few years, it got moved to the beautiful Exmouth.” See full results from the 2023 Fremantle to Exmouth Race and Rally here.
Fun For Sailors Of All Ages
The Dutch Shoe Marathon is almost a 5-mile race, a long-distance race in the world of 8-foot dinghies. The race starts in between San Diego and Southwestern Yacht Clubs and finishes at the Coronado Yacht Club. Every year almost 200 jr and sr. sailors come to race this fun race. For most of the Jr. sailors ,this will be a challenging and difficult race to complete. We asked rockstar coach Jon Rogers and last year's winner Ronan Servais for some tips.
How do you help prepare competitors for a race like the Dutch Shoe?
It's a long race. The first thing I do is to remember that it is as much an experience as it is a race. I triple check everything during the week before to try and ensure nothing breaks. I also check the weather forecast and tide so that I know what point of sail I will be on mostly on.
Why do you like the T6 mainsail?
The T6 is a good sail to cover all the conditions that we experience. It is especially good in events that have lots of boats and the related disrupted wind and chop that come with that. The T5 is a great sail, especially for smaller kids, but once the conditions get chopped up, the T-6 has a little more power to deal with it.
What is your advice for fuelling up for such a long journey?
I always remind competitors to bring a good amount of food, snacks and something good to drink. It can be a long race and all those little “pick me ups” help keep the mind focused. I tell kids to always bring something sweet that they really like. For me, it’s a frozen Snicker bar. Previous 2022 Dutch Shoe Winner Ronan Servais shares his tips on how to prepare for the race and what he likes most about the North T6 mainsail.
How do you prepare for a race like the Dutch Shoe? It's a long race!
It's a long race, so I get my snacks, fill up my water bottle and make sure my boat is ready to go. Last year my Dad and I reviewed my boat checklist the week before, which included a trip to North Sails, to inspect and pick up my new T6. I also suggest trying to get a good night's sleep and eat a big, healthy breakfast.
Why do you like the T6 mainsail?
I like the T6 mainsail because I go really fast with it. I have two hiking straps in my sabot so I can hike out farther and handle the power of the T6.
Do you bring any snacks with you for such a long journey?
Yes. I like cookies, candy bars and root beer.
What are your sabot sailing goals in 2023?
My sabot sailing goals for 2023 are to move up to Sabot A Fleet, and get a podium finish in an A fleet regatta. I’d also like to compete in the Dick Sweet Team Race for the first time with my SDYC teammates.
What are your future goals in sailing?
I’d like to learn to sail the C420 very well and then win a regatta in the Class.
Stop by the Dutch Shoe Marathon this year at San Diego Yacht Club where you can enter to win a North Sails Pace SUP. Must be present to win. The winner will be drawn and announced at the awards ceremony on July 21st, 2023 at Coronado Yacht Club. Don’t forget, order now and save 15% on Sabot sails plus have your new sail delivered before the Shoe!