MIGHTY MERLOE SETS TRANSPAC MULTIHULL COURSE RECORD
MIGHTY MERLOE SETS TRANSPAC MULTIHULL COURSE RECORD
HL ENLOE AND MIGHTY MERLOE MAKE TRANSPAC HISTORY
Mighty Merloe Sets Transpac Multihull Course Record, finishing three hours ahead of Thornburg’s Phaedo 3
When HL Enloe brought his Orma 60, Mighty Merloe, to California, he set a new bar for speed that was not only striking but rather inconvenient. “In the beginning, we convinced race committees to let us enter, and not surprisingly we’d reach the finish line days ahead of the fleet. With no witnesses present, we called in our finish time and that was that,” recalled Steve Calder, a long-time crew member on Mighty Merloe and a sail designer at North Sails.
Now five years later, the SoCal offshore racing scene is fully onboard. Under yesterday’s afternoon sun, Mighty Merloe sailed the last hundred miles to Hawaii to finish the 2017 Transpac Race first in a class of five maxi trimarans, setting a new elapsed time-to-beat for multihulls: 4 days, 7 hours, 3 minutes and 30 seconds.
“The enthusiasm Enloe has put into this program really opened a door to multihull sailing in Southern California,” said Patrick Murray, the North Sails Expert in San Diego, who manages the inventory for Mighty Merloe.”
“This is an important record because it will be hard to break, but also because the team has put in so much these past few years. The Transpac Record has been an important goal for everyone.”
Together, Patrick and Steve Calder spend time sailing with the crew and then use the North design tools to maximize the Orma 60’s performance potential.
A new set of 3Di RAW upwind sails (mainsail and one new headsail) and a 3Di FORCE Gennaker were added to the inventory this year. “Transpac was the goal, so we did quite a few regional offshore races early in the season to prepare,” said Patrick. Enloe and crew broke the Socal 300 record last month and put forth a strong performance in the Newport – Ensenada Race, ceding the win to Lloyd Thornburg’s Phaedo 3 just before the finish.
For Transpac, offshore names you may have heard before (Loick Peyron, Jacques Vincent, and Franck Proffit) all brought onboard a lot of multihull expertise. Combined with Enloe’s steadfast team, the well prepared – and optimally tuned – boat scored the most important race win of the season.
In true Transpac fashion, the course was brutally rough for the first 24 -36 hours, until the fleet reached the trade winds and could head south. “We had no idea we would get a record – it started as a race against other boats,” Steve explained, referring to tough competition from MOD 70s Phaedo 3 and Maserati.
“We knew to push hard against the 70s in those early reaching conditions, and that would leave us in good shape for the tradewinds.”
In the end, preparation was key; Steve said their pre-racing planning and weather routing was spot-on. “We sailed very much to our own race, knew what to look for and played our cards as best we could.” The crew kept their heads out of the boat when things got tricky, being selective on maneuvers and jibing when it was appropriate. “We jibed six times. From what we gathered, the other guys jibed double digits we think because they stayed farther south. It was a tough call for us to stay to the North, and in the end, we stuck with our routing and the original plan paid off.”
Phaedo 3 finished close behind Mighty Merloe, with Giovanni Soldini’s Maserati in third. Two other multihulls (Gunboat 62 Chim Chim, and the 60’ Jeanneau Trimaran LoeReal) are currently still racing, yet very much in the mix on corrected time.
North Sails provided sails for the entire 2017 Transpac Multihull fleet. The majority chose 3Di RAW and 3Di ENDURANCE for their core qualities of performance and durability.
Steve and Patrick both expressed appreciation for being part of such an influential program. To learn more about Enloe’s story, check out The Multihull Maverick, an article published by Sailing World in 2014, which quotes project manager Nat Iyengar:
“Enloe is a trailblazer. He has put himself out there to experience something significant, which in his case, is extreme speed.”
Transpac 2017 winning crew on Mighty Merloe:
HL Enloe, Steve Calder (Main Trimmer), Jay Davis (Bowman), Artie Means (Navigator), Loïck Peyron (Helm), Franck Proffit (Helm), Will Suto (Grinder), and Jacques Vincent (Co-Skipper).
Located just east of Lake Tahoe, Minden, Nevada, may seem like an unlikely spot for North Sails’ 3Di manufacturing hub, a sailing industry flagship center. However, it is true that is home to North Sails’ cutting-edge 3Di technology.
NORTH SAILS RENEWS INTERNATIONAL PARTNERSHIP WITH CAPE 31 CLASS
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.