Local North Sails expert Drew Mitchell sat down with Matthew Henderson, owner of C&C 29 MK2 Mariah, to discuss her new sails and the impact they've had.
In the last 18 months you have purchased a full set of upwind and downwind sails off North Sails for Mariah. Why did you choose North Sails over other sail makers and how was the experience?
North Sails and Drew Mitchell were recommended to me by Dave M on Boondoggle (J/160). Being my first set of sails on my first boat (which I had only owned for a year) I was still figuring out what I wanted from new sails and how I was going to be using the boat long term. Drew helped explain some materials, construction, PHRF size limits, battens, etc. rather than just turn around a quote like some others and it earned my business. I was very happy with the upwind sails and chose North again for two new kites a few months later. I’m very happy with the new sails and the difference they make.
With the current state of the world people are sailing with less crew. You are a racer/cruiser that is usually sailing short handed, how have you set up your boat differently than say a full time racer/cruiser that sails with a full crew?
Fortunately the boat was well setup for singlehanded sailing when I bought it: Nice 40 speed Andersen self-tailors, traveller and mainsheet easy to reach from the wheel, and all control lines led aft. Being a bit of a tender boat I’ve focused a lot on mainsail control. I’ve added temporary means to add tension to the babystay, added a Cunningham, and led the Vang aft to the cabintop. I’ve also focused on sheet leads with inhaulers, barberhaulers, and tweakers to get a bit more out of the sails I’ve got up and avoid a peel.
When switching from cruising to racing does much change on the boat?
If I happen to have some casual crew I tend to do very little. If I’m single-handing or with crew that cares I give the bottom a scrub and unload everything I can: 200ft of anchor chain and the primary anchor, the two 10lb propane bottles, crab traps, cockpit cushions, tools, spares, 600ft of stern line, barbeque… the list goes on.I follow you on instagram and it seems like you are out on the water all time. How many days have you got out this year and how do you manage to get out so often?As of November 8th I’ve been off the dock 102 days this year with 400 hours underway. 65 days were single-handed. With working remotely all spring/summer using the boat just became habitual with every sunset sail after work, morning coffee on the hook, and hoist of the sails reinforcing it. There’s plenty of daylight after work all summer and the Espar works well when it’s cold. I can’t understand why marina’s aren’t empty every weekend.
What was your longest trip this year and where did you go? What is your favorite part about cruising in the PNW?
I had three big trips this year; 10 days in Desolation in early July and 10 & 20 day trips throughout the Gulf Islands. Swimming in the dark with phosphorescence glittering over my entire body is definitely a favourite.
What was your favorite cruising moment this year?
The dinghy shenanigans were certainly memorable. Took the 8ft inflatable through some 10kt rapids in Von Donop Inlet and got four dinghies lashed together up on plane just to name a couple.
What races have you done this year and what is your favorite part about sailboat racing?
I did the unofficial round Bowen, Great Gambier Gallivant, Big Breakfast Bonanza, RNSA, Jack & Jill, and a couple other unofficial laps. I enjoy comparing my skills and boat performance to everyone else and learning as much as I can. Learning all of the local tactics with respect to tides and winds helps me stay sailing while cruising longer and get to my destinations faster.
Every sailboat owner is always working on his/her boat. Do you have any projects on the go or planned for the near future for Mariah?
I’m hoping to replace all of my running rigging over the winter with some higher tech stuff, I’ve got new clutches and deck organizers to install, new v-berth hatch to install, a transmission to rebuild, and some lights I want to replace.
If you had a choice of any racer/cruiser to race and cruise in the PNW which boat would you choose and why?
I’ve had a big crush on the J/112e lately. Modern rig and sail inventory, great performance uphill and downhill, moves in light air, it isn’t trying to be a floating apartment, and I’d be happy to take it to Hawaii and back if I can get the time away from work.
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!