North Sails participation pivotal in the fleet's success
The third season of Cape 31 Class racing has emerged as arguably the most competitive Grand Prix racing in the UK since the Farr 40 days. A total of 29 teams, representing 9 different nations, engaged in fierce competition across six events this year. While Cape 31s have attracted some of the world's best sailors, the class rules, which limit the crew to three professionals, also create an environment where owner-drivers race with friends and family.
Ben Saxton, an Olympian and a Class expert from North Sails Gosport, plays a crucial role in the ongoing development of the class. Sailing aboard Chaotic, Saxton has made significant contributions to the continuous growth and success of the Cape 31 Class to date. “I’ve been sailing with the class since it came to the UK three years ago, first aboard Fanatic, then with Tokoloshe, and, this year with Chaotic. It's fantastic to work with great teams, go racing, and win. Increasing the boat’s appeal is the ability to also race successfully on handicap, which I got to do on JOLT in Palma. It’s never dull, and I am looking forward to sailing again soon.”
Since the inaugural Cape 31 Class UK season in 2021, the dedicated team of North Sails Experts sailing in the fleet has been committed to ongoing development. Proudly collaborating with the Cape 31 Class since launching the first boat in Cape Town, North Sails Experts have developed the optimal sail inventory tailored for both One Design and IRC racing. In close partnership with the class, North has hosted numerous workshops and training days to ensure continuous improvement and development. It comes as no surprise that, in the 2023 season, an impressive 21 out of the 29 participating teams were powered by full North Sails wardrobes.
This year, a total of 16 North Sails experts demonstrated their unwavering dedication to the Cape 31 Class through active participation. Ian Walker, the General Manager of North Sails, further exemplified this commitment by racing with Tokoloshe in the recent European Championships. Reflecting on the team's enthusiasm for sailing, Walker expressed, “North Sails staff are passionate about sailing, and if you are into racing, then the Cape 31 class is increasingly the place to be. We also have numerous valued clients racing Cape 31s whom we enjoy supporting. The healthy rivalry among our team in the Gosport loft, with salesmen, designers, and production staff all participating in the class, fosters an environment conducive to sparking new ideas and advancing our sail designs. We are eagerly anticipating some exciting plans for 2024.”
In the UK this year, North Sails demonstrated remarkable performance in the class. Powering Russell Peters to win the European Championships and securing 25 race wins from 38 races sailed all year. Reflecting on another successful year, Dave Lenz, the lead sail design expert sailing with Tokoloshe, shares his insights: "With the class rule imposing restrictions on the number of jibs allowed on the water, achieving a broad range from each jib becomes crucial. Through the 3Di process and the Helix philosophy, we've successfully developed sails with a structure that is not only exceptionally lightweight but also highly adaptable across a wide range. This adaptability shines on days with highly variable wind speeds, showcasing the versatility of the package. As a designer actively sailing in the fleet, it's great to personally use these sails and useful to observe how other teams choose to use them as well. I've also noted how well the sail shapes are maintained throughout the season, underscoring a significant advantage of the Helix structure."
The North Sails team is eagerly anticipating the 2024 season, and the dates are now available. To explore how you can leverage developments in the Cape 31 Class, regardless of the boat you are sailing, reach out to your local North Sails Expert.