A NEW BEGINNING WITH NORTH SAILS
Refitting A Classic With New Technology
Matthew Bitterman shares his journey to refitting his Hans Christian 38 MKII.
We made it to Boston, sailing through Mexico then eventually deciding to ship the boat overland the rest of the way to get back to work. We've been testing your sail here in the freezing weather on occasion, so far so good. We seem to be one of the few nuts that still take their boat out in the winter. I have been enjoying learning more about the physics of sail trim and it is great to have the tools to see the difference now.
Working with Pete McCormick and North Sails Sausalito
was the highlight of our multi-year refit of our 80's era heavy-displacement Hans Christian cruising boat. This process gave a new meaning to the saying that 'nothing breathes life into an old boat than new sails'. The boat now sails 10° closer to the wind, heels significantly less, and we are able to sail in less than 10 knots of wind efficiently - all of which translated into an entirely different approach charting passages with more sailing, less motoring, and greater safety.
Pete and the designers at North Sails worked tirelessly to maximize the flexibility of our more traditional cutter rigged sailplan (off a bowsprit), increasing all of the sail-area sizes by firstly nailing the max available dimensions of the track lengths and triangles where previous sailmakers had not, and employing tricks such as vertical battens in the staysail to maintain stiffness and shape, while reducing flogging and wear in the leech. The balance between the headsails and main through every reef point is masterful, not only for helm balance but also the little aesthetic notes such as seeing the head of the main under two reefs align perfectly with the head of the staysail; the eloquent marriage of form and function.
Pete and the designers at North Sails worked tirelessly to maximize the flexibility of our more traditional cutter rigged sailplan.
Another testament to the professionalism Pete and his team took throughout, was seen not only in nailing the delivery date to the minute, but when we destroyed the tack of our A-sail offshore I had two emails from their team delivered in the middle of the night with a plan of action to repair the sail at one of their global branches. I cannot recommend working with North Sails