After a year of construction and the launch in Port-la-Forêt (Britany, France) last week, CORUM L’Épargne, French skipper Nicolas Troussel’s brand new IMOCA, made her first tacks on last Saturday equipped with North Sails to reach her home port of Lorient la Base (Britany, France). The latest foiler designed by Juan Kouyoumdjian and built by Michel Desjoyeaux’s Mer Agitée will soon be fitted with its foils. Nicolas Troussel is looking forward to starting the reliability phase, getting up to speed and familiar with his new boat. Here are the first impressions since the launch.
A Colorful Grand Prix Monohull
“The launch of CORUM L’Épargne was both a great moment and a relief, as we were keen to move on to a new stage in our campaign, to finally be able to sail and test the boat’s performance once the foils are fitted,” expressed Nicolas Troussel, the two-time winner of the Solitaire du Figaro (2006 and 2008), and one of the 37 candidates to take part in the 9th edition of the Vendée Globe. “The boat is in line with what was expected in terms of cockpit ergonomics, deck shape and maneuvers.”
“We’re proud of this boat,” adds Greg Evrard, Director of CORUM L’Épargne project. She is singular, her colors are beautiful and harmonious. There’s not much that hasn’t been thought out in her design. Nicolas was involved in all phases of the project, from hull construction to sail design, to create a boat that resembles him. From the outset, we considered strong biases to respect Nicolas’ choices.
“There’s nothing that has not been thought of for this boat.”
This launch represents a beautiful chapter in our project, which is coming to an end after one year of construction,” continues Greg Evrard. We’re going to write a lot of other pages now. The next essential step is to spend as much time on the water as possible, with priority being given to the boat’s reliability and the validation of the technical choices, including the final inventory of sails by the end of June.”
Also, in June Nicolas will have to complete his qualifying course for the Vendée Globe, a 2,000-mile course off the coast of Brittany, which has to be validated by the race organizers. This will be followed by a first race on the water at the start in Les Sables d’Olonne on 4th July, which should bring together all the racers entered in the Vendée Globe.
Fully Suited with North Sails
CORUM L’Épargne is the latest new generation IMOCA boat to be launched, the eighth since the previous Vendée Globe and the seventh to be equipped with a complete 3Di wardrobe from North Sails. With five and a half months to go before the start of the Vendée Globe, nothing should be left to chance for Nicolas and his team to make the most of this precious time. That is why, right from the start, the team has incorporated a strong time constraint into the project with the aim of strengthening its ability to adapt and its agility. “As far as the sails are concerned, it’s a real upstream preparation work which was done in the initial phases with strong choices made,” explains Evrard. “We anticipated the sailing part, taking into account this time constraint. This first set of sails will enable us to tackle the following stages with serenity.”
The shape of the sails, a crucial parameter for the balance of the boat
Nicolas Troussel has been actively involved with Nicolas Lunven, sailing and boat performance project manager for CORUM L’Épargne in the design of the sails. The first exchanges with Quentin Ponroy and Gautier Sergent of North Sails started a year ago. “Sail design is a subject that interests me and is an integral part of the performance as well as the feeling of the boat when sailing,” says Nicolas Troussel. Even though the boat was still under construction, we used our experience and the tools put in place by the designers. We tried to project our ideas and imagine ourselves on the boat to come up with an inventory of sails that meet all the sailing conditions. It also had to be in line with my sailing style and the Vendée Globe program. All the choices were made with that in mind.”
With the addition of foils, which accelerate the boat, the shape of the sails has become an even more important parameter than before for the boat’s balance,” explains Nicolas Troussel. For the moment, the first impressions are in line with the specifications. The triangulation as well as the shape of the sails are satisfactory. We’ll have to confirm our initial choices with numerous sessions on the water to perfect the sail trim and consequently the boat’s balance. And this selection phase remains tricky even if the set of sails is limited to eight (including the storm jib) and it is all the trickier for downwind sails, which require more complex thinking,” continues Nicolas. Indeed, there are many compromises to be made. Sometimes they are small details, but 10, 20 or 30 meters squared difference between the sails can change the game. It’s on the water that we will definitely validate our selection. We will still have the possibility to adjust, but without considering major modifications.
In the approach to sail design for CORUM L’Épargne, the goal was not to create radical sails that involve a long development on the water,” confirms Quentin Ponroy, designer at North Sails. It was necessary to set a framework to design an efficient first set of sails based on our expertise and know-how.
Serenity, Reliability and Performance
For the moment, Nicolas is feeling rather serene and is looking forward to racing on the water. “I’m not apprehensive, the stress will rise soon enough, and that’s far from being the case today. I’m surrounded by a very competent and quality team, which is reassuring for the preparation for the Vendée Globe. I can’t wait to try out the boat with its foils and get a feel for its behavior, as last year, I sailed on a daggerboard boat, Jean Le Cam’s IMOCA. The sensations are inevitably different.
“During my training sessions with Jean Le Cam, we talked a lot about sail trimming. He had just acquired a set of sails, also designed by North Sails, which enabled me to explore different configurations, reefing, how to handle the sails single-handed and the particularities of sailing in a Vendée Globe. We also focused our attention on the small details that can quickly get out of hand if you’re not careful. It was an enriching learning experience.”
The next few days will be dedicated to structural, systems and gauge testing. Then Nicolas will begin the performance and technical phase alongside experts, Nicolas Lunven for sailing and boat performance, and Sebastien Josse and Thomas Rouxel for technical and sports training.
“Time on the water is the key to this preparation for the Vendée Globe,” concluded Greg Evrard. To date, the start of the Vendée Globe is still scheduled for 8th November and two thirds of the fleet taking part in this solo round the world race without assistance are equipped with North Sails.
World’s Leading Sailmaker continues its support of the Fast Growing, Owner Driver One Design Class
North Sails is proud to have worked closely with the Cape 31 Class since launching the first boat in 2017, developing the optimal sail wardrobe for One Design and IRC racing. The Cape 31 is a high-performance grand prix design, asymmetric boat designed by internationally renowned yacht designer Mark Mills. The boat has proven itself as an exhilarating one design boat that planes downwind in over 13 knots and rates well under multiple rating systems, making it attractive to many sailors.
The Cape 31 Class began racing beneath Table Mountain in Cape Town, SA but has taken the global sailing scene by storm in the last two years. With over 30 boats racing in the UK and several heading to the US, the Mediterranean, and Hong Kong, there are now worldwide class calendars forming for 2023 and beyond.
David Lenz, North Sails designer, notes;
“It’s awesome to have been involved with the Cape 31 class in the UK since the start. Picking up from the excellent work done in Cape Town, we had a great starting point for the sail designs. Since then, as with any new class, there has been tremendous progress as we work to understand what makes these boats go fast and how to use our technology, experience, and passion to produce the fastest sails in the fleet.”
David Lenz is not only a Cape 31 designer but has also been very successful racing in the class, including winning the 2022 Race Circuit overall on Russel Paters’ Squirt. Additionally, the class is filled with North Sails designers and experts, which results in theories being tested firsthand with developments and advancements being made weekly.
Commenting on the partnership, Tor Tomlinson Cheney, of Cape 31 Class, shares;
“North Sails has worked closely with the class since its inception and has been a major factor in the success of the class in the UK. Their support is invaluable, and we are pleased to extend our partnership with North Sails to an International level.”
The North Sails Cape 31 inventory is fully optimised for handicap and one design class racing and consists of one all-purpose 3Di Raw Carbon Square Top Mainsail and three 3Di Raw Helix Jibs. All 3Di sails have carbon leech battens and come ready to race. Downwind there are four spinnakers which all use a string drop system: an A1, A2, and A4 for running, plus an A3 for reaching.
As the class expands globally, North Sails is working to ensure that the best sail package can be provided to teams worldwide. Get in touch with North Sails expert Ben Saxton, Cape 31 class leader at North Sails, to learn more about the class and available sail options.
RUARIDH WRIGHT WINS INAUGURAL RICHMOND AWARD
North Sails introduced this award in memory of Sam Richmond, who passed away in 2022 after a tragic yachting accident
Ruaridh Wright, based at our Gosport, UK loft, is the recipient of the inaugural Richmond Award. North Sails introduced this award in memory of our friend and colleague Sam Richmond, who passed away in 2022 after a tragic yachting accident. The Richmond Award is peer-nominated and given in Sam’s honor to a North Sails employee under 35 who exudes many of the same traits as Sam.
Wright was selected for this year’s award from 42 candidates.
The selection committee included North Sails CEO Richard Lott, President Ken Read, COO John Welch, Grand Prix Leader Paul Westlake, and Sam’s wife, Colette Richmond.
North Sails COO John Welch commented:
“For those lucky to work alongside him, Sam was the best of North Sails and an example of confidence and leadership in the loft and his community. He spotted Ruaridh early in his career and brought him into our sales team.
Ruaridh always goes beyond expectations to help out customers and colleagues alike, whether it’s working through the night to repair a sail or driving across the country to a yacht club. He’s been a fantastic addition to the NSUK team. and it seemed fitting that the first recipient of the award had close ties to Sam.”
Colette Richmond on the meaning of this award and Sam’s legacy:
“Sam was immensely proud to work for North Sails, and whilst he had earned his achievements through hard work, he was grateful to the role models and mentors who had supported him throughout his career. Sam found it highly fulfilling to do the same for others and motivate those around him. He thrived off other people’s energy in all areas of his life. It was these supportive and aspirational characteristics that were reflected in Ruaridh’s nominations that made him stand out to me.
I hope the Richmond Award continues to inspire the younger employees of the business as Sam would have done and maintains his legacy of championing others. I found all the nominees extremely impressive and think Ruaridh is a worthy winner. ”
Ruaridh Wright’s passion for sailing began at age seven when he first raced with his dad on a Swan 44 in Largs, Scotland. He has since gained valuable experience from Sydney Harbour and San Francisco Bay to his current home on the Solent. Wright joined North Sails in 2018 after graduating with a degree in Naval Architecture. He started as a Laser Plotter Operator and later moved onto the loft floor as a sailmaker, working in both Production and Service. In 2019, after a summer of professional sailing on TP52s, Fast 40s, and a Z86, Wright moved to Sydney, Australia to work as a Service Sailmaker at the busy North Sails loft in Mona Vale. Whilst out there, he also raced some noteworthy events onboard the JV62 Chinese Whisper, including a fifth overall in the Sydney to Hobart and Port Lincoln Race Week.
In 2021 Wright returned to North Sails Gosport as a sailmaker and by September he was asked by Sam Richmond to join the sales team. Wright is now focused on the club race segment and is very active in the Solent sailing community. Wright now manages the Performance 40 class and races in the Grand Prix 0 and Cape 31 classes. He also competes offshore in the RORC series as well as the Volvo 65 class.
Ruaridh Wright on the honor of being named winner of the 2023 Richmond Award:
“I am shocked and deeply grateful to receive the Richmond Award. Sam was someone who looked after me wherever I went. Whether I was working for North Sails in Gosport or Sydney or traveling around the world sailing on various boats, he always kept an eye on me. He encouraged me to throw myself at whatever challenge lay ahead. He brought me back into the Gosport loft as a sailmaker after the pandemic and eventually brought me into the sales team. I now find myself in a job that I love at the heart of a great company. In repayment, I hope that I have gone some way to emulate those good qualities Sam embodied.
I hope this award might encourage those eligible to win it and everyone within North Sails to continue to work with each other as a team. To compete with each other in the most positive way, and to push each other to be better than we were yesterday. Thank you to my colleagues for this nomination and the selection panel, especially Sam’s wife, Colette. This really is an honour.”
About The Richmond Award:
North Sails is proud to introduce the annual Richmond Award in memory of our friend and colleague Sam Richmond, who passed away after a tragic yachting accident. The award will be given annually to an under-thirty-five-year-old employee within any division of North Sails companies who showcases passion and expertise and has exceeded expectations. The Richmond Award highlights our brightest young stars who exude confidence, dedication, hard work, and leadership on or off the water- all of the attributes Sam carried with him.
North Superyacht Expert Quinny Houry reflects on a recent trip to Minden, Nevada, and reinforces why 3Di is light years ahead of the competition.
It’s a long way from Minden, Nevada to the Spanish island of Palma de Mallorca. “It’s a 26-hour flight,” Quinny Houry told me, when we talked about the trip from Palma to the western edge of North America’s Great Basin. They may be geographically far apart, but the two places are inextricably linked; Minden is home to North Sails’ 3Di manufacturing hub. And Palma is often cited as the center of the Superyacht world, a world being turned upside down by the landscape-altering sailmaking technology coming out of the Minden facility.
It’s something that Quinny Houry knows all about both as Director of North Sails Palma, and one of a small group that coordinates the North Sails Superyacht products. “I always knew that 3Di sails were good and I knew that molded technology was better, but I questioned how much better it was… And then the last four years have completely converted me to North Sails, by way of understanding the engineering, and the North Design Suite software that’s used by our sail designers. I already understood how far ahead it is compared to what other sailmakers can offer, but it wasn’t until I went to Minden and saw the molds and saw the process firsthand, that I understood that North Sails is lightyears ahead of the other guys. Our competitors have got a long way to go to get there.”
📸 Atilia Madrona / North Sails
Quinny started out rather more humbly, doing his apprenticeship in Portsmouth, on Britain’s south coast. He quickly rose through the ranks, working as a designer and head of production at lofts in Palma and then New Zealand. He returned to Palma to start his own business, eventually joining North Sails in 2018 when he merged his loft into the North Sails group.
The 3Di construction process starts when pre-preg 3Di tapes are taken from an industrial fridge. And at that moment the countdown begins, as the thermoset resin begins to cure. “I’ve watched it go from raw fiber to filaments to a molded composite, ready to go onto the curing floor, all in one day. The speed that the sail structure moves through the factory is the most surprising thing about building a 3Di sail,” commented Quinny.
The tapes are loaded into the tape heads, which track back and forth, printing the sail’s designed structure. The process blends the materials in a precise configuration that’s been engineered by the sail designer to match the loads in the sail.
“The utopia is to have every filament being load-bearing, with no weight that’s excess to what’s required – so no extra weight to hinder performance, and no unnecessary materials such as Mylar film that’s added solely to hold the structure together. When you go to the 3Di factory and you see the filaments being spread into the thin ply 3Di tape, you realize that each filament is being laid specifically to do a job and that there’s nothing else.”
After the sail’s structure has been created by the tape machines, the sail is inspected and then rolled up, for transport to the 3D mold. On the mold, infrared heat is applied to kick the chemical reaction to consolidate the composite structure and set the sail shape. The completed sail then sits for seven to ten days until it’s cured before moving over to the finishing floor.
“When it goes over the mold it gets vacuum bagged and cooked into the shape of the sail, and you realize that there’s no guesswork as there is with 2D sails… The shape we design is the shape that comes off the mold. The fiber is mapped to the modulus that you require, and the elasticity or the movement that you require, and the stability that you want to build up. And that’s where the software is incredible, it’s so refined about exactly what modulus is required in every part of the sail, and to calculate the angle of the tapes and the stiffness of the tapes, the resistance, elasticity,” explained Quinny.
The potential for the Minden facility to build every 3Di sail precisely to the needs of an individual sailor and their yacht has led to the introduction of a bespoke new Superyacht product. There are no longer categories for Superyacht 3Di sails that define cruising or racing sails, there is just North Sails 3DiSY. A custom sail that’s engineered to be exactly what the client and their yacht needs.
Quinny explained, “In this segment of the industry there isn’t a single part of a yacht that’s off-the-shelf. The sails should be the same, and so the 3DiSY product precisely matches the client’s requirements. A matrix of performance versus durability is created using the fiber blend and layout, the sail’s shape and the surface finish to match the client’s expectations. This is done with the client in a conversation that is unique in the sailmaking industry.
“The conversation starts with, ‘How do you want to sail your boat?’” explained Quinny. “Where do you want to sail it? What’s fun for you? What’s the most enjoyable part of the whole program of owning a Superyacht? Once we know that, we will make a sail to suit. We will make the best possible sails, defined by our team in discussion with the client’s team – their captain, their manager and all their decision-makers – and then we’ll make the sails that perfectly suit their needs.
“If you’re going to go cruising in Antarctica or the Arctic, then we’re going to have heavy duty surfaces that are highly durable, that weigh a lot more. We’re going to be putting a low modulus material in there to allow the sails a lot of elasticity, so it’s not transferring loads instantly to your boat and potentially pulling blocks off the deck.
“Or if you’re doing regattas, we’re going to use high modulus 3Di tapes. We’re going to create flat-backed sails. We’re going to create light surfaces. We’re going to do everything to transfer the load to your boat as fast as possible so that you accelerate as fast as possible. And that’s essentially what North Sails 3DiSY is – a conversation between the client and ourselves to determine and then produce the best possible sails for the yacht.” And all enabled by the unique 3Di manufacturing process tucked away in the Nevada desert. It’s a long way from the marinas and sail lofts of Palma and the Mediterranean, but going there and seeing it was, for Quinny Houry, believing.