LOCAL SPOTLIGHT: NIRVANA GETS A NEW NORTH SAILS WARDROBE
New Zealand Team Upgrades to 3Di for Winter Series Wind-Up
While most of us are sweating it out during the summer months, local sailors in New Zealand are gearing up for coastal racing later this season with the RNZYS Winter Series.
Nigel Hendy and his super crew on Dufour 45e Nirvana kicked off their sailing season with the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron Winter Series, where they just finished the third weekend of racing with their brand new 3Di RAW sails. Launched in 2012, this racer/cruiser team has been sporting North Sails for eight years now and decided this year they would upgrade their 3DL wardrobe to 3Di to help them reach their performance goals this 2020 season.
Before upgrading to 3Di, Nirvana carried the now-retired North 3DL string laminate, which was used to its full extent, hoisted over 200 times before officially retiring from the program.
“I upgraded because I realized I’d have a better shape over a longer period, which would extend the life of my sails. Our new sails are just great.” Says Nigel, “They are customized to fit my mast and boat, which has made all the difference. We went with a larger overlapping genoa this time around, which has also increased our power upwind, which was exactly what we needed. The shape of 3Di is fantastic–it’s just perfect.”
“It’s lighter air this season, so it was a true test for the sails over the last few weeks to show us how much power we had been missing out on. After three weekends getting familiar with our new set up, we’ve now got the sails locked in, traveler mid-ship, using a bit more vang when we need to. We can control the main a lot better, as before we were only using about 50% to keep us on our feet. The new 3Di sails allow us better control and much easier trimming.”
“The boat has everything it needs, including downwind. It’s options galore. We’ve got three asymmetrical sails, and three symmetricals. The genoa we keep on the furler, which helps when there are new crew members on board. The new sails are much lighter in general, he remarked. “They are the perfect fit. I am a happy customer.”
North Sails Service & Support
Nigel has been working with Andrew Wills, sail expert in Auckland, New Zealand for many years. The relationship-building aspect was something he didn’t know he would be guaranteed after purchasing sails. “I didn’t just buy a sail,” he said. “I bought a whole package of support, sailing, friends, and crew. It’s a lot of fun going to the loft. It’s like going to a toy shop. To me, the North Sails customer experience has been just fantastic.”
Every part of the service and support aspect was covered thoroughly by the team in New Zealand, and Nigel can’t thank his sailmaker enough for providing top-notch support all around.
“The advice on the rig set up and tuning, it just keeps going. You invest in a sail, but you really get so much more than you would think. You become part of the North Sails family. The way they make you feel like you are part of a team, part of a network; the way they care has made it a positive experience.”
“I bought a racer/cruiser because my wife enjoys the cruising aspect mostly in the summer. We’ve got the dining room table set up, all the cruising amenities; she’s a great boat for that. But once the real racing season picks back up, we take out the dining table and fill Nirvana with all the sail inventory options one could ever need to race and be competitive. Nigel picks up additional crew here and there that come from small boat dinghy racing clubs. In many ways, Nirvana is a vessel to get more sailors out on the water.
“Nirvana is fully capable of any type of racing. She’s got everything she needs to go for it. We are 100% Corinthian crew, all amateurs on board, and the nucleus of my crew I’ve known for years through our children growing up together. We are quite competitive and we’ve shared many victories together.”
Nigel usually sails with 12 crew and since New Zealand has officially been cleared of Covid-19, Nigel is looking forward to having his full crew back and having the right weight on the rail.
“We recently sailed a 50nm race and did very well. We finished second across the line. Every series we’ve entered, we’ve won at some point, in some corrected time fashion. We’ve been Club Champs, Commodore’s Cup Champs; We don’t always win on the line, because we race with a handicap–but we still obtain excellent results when we show up to compete.”
“Traditionally, it’s not very windy in New Zealand in the winter months, which is June through August. In the spring and summer, the breeze turns on. We could get 25-35 knots every day easily during that part of the season. I prefer the longer races, and there’s a lot of those on our calendar. It’s easier to find crew for those too, rather than weeknight one-off sailing. It takes a big commitment for the team, and myself so we do what we can.”
The next big gig for Nirvana is the Yates Cup, which is a 230nm race that goes up the coast of New Zealand in July. After that, the team plans to sail the Coastal Classic, a 110nm race from Auckland to Bay of Islands. “We are looking forward to seeing how our new 3Di sails will maximize our sail power this season, said Nigel. “We can’t wait to see how she goes.”
🎥 Video courtesy of crew on Nirvana during a White Island Race edition, hosted by Royal Akarana Yacht Club.