We checked in with him to learn about his new role supporting the local Grand Prix market
Dick grew up in Hobart and lived in Sydney for 10 years, so "I’m pretty familiar with it." His English wife and two daughters, though, have had to adjust to "the spiders and snakes and all that." But now that they’ve been there six months, they’re making friends and settling in and "it’s starting to be pretty good."Dick first joined North Sails Sydney in 1987 and worked there for ten years, until European sailing adventures called. But he returned to the southern hemisphere during the off-season; "I’ve had a lot of summers and not that many winters, actually." In 2001 he joined the OneWorld America’s Cup challenge, and then worked with Emirates Team New Zealand from 2005-2007. He rejoined North Sails full-time in 2007, based out of the UK, and started a family. Last year, they decided it was the right time to return to Sydney full-time. In addition to carrying on his design work, Dick is helping the local sales team service the Grand Prix market. "They do a lot of sailing in Australia, especially Sydney. You can find yourself a boat race every day of the week pretty much." Most of his customers are racing offshore, and he says their year-round focus is the Sydney Hobart Race. "You talk to customers and it's all about the buildup for the Hobart, what we need to do, what sails and crew. It really is a big deal down here."His primary sailing is on TP52s. "They're just such awesome boats. I love sailing on them. They're just the right size, not too many people which is quite nice. I really enjoy sailing them so I try to do as much of that as I can." This winter, he’ll race the Fastnet and Middle Sea races in addition to local events and Hamilton Island Race Week. When talking with customers, Dick says he keeps his explanations technical. "I just try and work on the facts. Clients don't necessarily need to be talked in to anything, if you can explain well enough exactly what's required. I tend to look at things more pragmatically, and at the whole project. A customer may say, ‘look, you know I've only got a certain amount to spend on sails.’ So it's a matter of trying to work out how best to spend that money. Whatever the sum might be."
Dick's primary sailing is on TP52s
Steering clients toward what will provide the biggest benefit to their program is a fringe benefit of more personalised selling, he says. "A customer might say, ‘I need to buy a new J2 jib.’ And you might sit down and have a heartfelt conversation and work out that what he actually needs is a new J3 or a new spinnaker. Looking at the whole sailing program rather than just selling an individual sail is the way I like to work."On the design side, Dick is excited about Helixand its potential across a wide range of boats and markets. He’s also continuing to help build the library of sail shapes for Desman, part of the proprietary North Design Suite. "All the designers around the world now use that bit of software," he says. "It takes a lot of the grunt work out of design. North Sails has built so many sails now that the actual shape is actually the easy part. Getting the sizing right, the geometry right, is the most challenging - and the most enjoyable."Since he first started with North Sails in 1987, Dick says the biggest change is the company’s global unity. "It feels like a big multi-national company being run by some guys who know how to run a big company, as opposed to a small bunch of franchises being run by sailors. So, it's certainly a different beast that's for sure." The software and products are always improving too, he adds. "3DL, then 3Di- we certainly changed the industry."One thing that hasn’t changed? He still loves getting out on the floor. "I get quite involved with re-cuts, trying to get a bit more life out of an old tired sail, which is a big thing in Australia. They tend to run their sails for a lot longer than the Europeans, trying to get the most out of their product. They'll hang on to a sail for four or five years and keep re-cutting and improving it, so we do a lot more re-cutting of sails down here than Europe. I really enjoy that side of it. It's sort of a black art; get the stick out and fair it up and see how it looks."Currently Dick’s work week is divided between global design work, Australian design work, and helping out with various projects. "I can design from pretty much anywhere really, because the company is so global." Once he wraps up a few projects, he plans to do more to support the local sales staff. "They have so many customers that it's hard to service them all."When he’s not working, Dick goes sailing on an NS14, which he describes as a small Taser. "Rotating ring, no spinnaker. I'm going to start sailing that with my girls as well." His two daughters have been learning to sail at the Avalon Sailing Club and will move into Manly Juniors next season. He also enjoys taking the family out on a small motorboat, "swimming and hanging out with the kids."Looking ahead, Dick’s excited about the future. "Certainly 3Di has a massive advantage over the competition. Delamination of string sails is just such a common problem when you get into the warmer climates, Asia and Australia, the sails just don't last. 3Di gives great value for customers; ultimately you just get so much more life out a 3Di sail verses a string sail, that is a real mantra down here for sure."When asked about any regatta wins he was particularly proud of, Dick has to stop and think. "With this line of work, all your goals seem to be your customer's goals, not necessarily yours. I haven't won Hobart, haven't won Fastnet, haven't won the Middle Sea Race. So there's a lot to do, still."
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!