Proud Supporters Of A Team Set On Protecting Our Planet
North Sails are proud supporters of the Zer°emission project; a project aiming to use the sailing world to influence the cleanliness of the Earth with a particular focus on sea pollution.
The Finnish team began marketing this project in 2018, spurred into action by the realization that we need to start making real actions if we want the next generation to be able to enjoy the planet and climate.
Making up the team is a combination of World Champion one design keelboat sailors and those who sailed onboard the 100ft Maxi Leopard which set the new ARC Atlantic Crossing Record in 2014. In November 2018, the group acquired a modern TP52 which had a complete refit to become ready for the 2019 racing season.
The sailing world is a relevant way to push their sustainable message, not only because everyone in the team is an avid sailor, but because communicating climate and marine emissions through a sport that is powered naturally by the wind seems fitting. As explained by C.E.O. Samuli Leisti, the project chose to partner with North Sails because “it is one of the world’s strongest companies in sailing and we need strong partners to be able to deliver the message and create actions against emissions globally. It soon became clear that we shared the same ideology as North Sails, helped by the fact we have friends at North Sails Finland and Sweden.’’
Working with a diverse range of host cities including Palma, Sydney and St Tropez, Samuli explains that being involved with the biggest events and regattas in the world enhances their visibility: “It was very natural to start from our ‘home’ sea which also happens to be one of the most polluted seas in the world, The Baltic. Working with these cities, we clean up trash onshore and use the Seabin to clean the harbor. These actions alone are not enough, but they are enough to get people’s attention. This year we have met a huge number of people through events, as well as reaching millions through various media channels.’’
The Seabin is a hugely effective way of capturing debris, in fact, the team’s Seabin captures a mind blowing 1.4 tons of trash per year! This is facilitated by the catch bag which can hold up to 20kg before it needs to be emptied. Made from recyclable materials, the bin has a running cost of three dollars per day.
When asked what the highlight of their season was, it could not be whittled down to just one. A very memorable moment for the team was meeting Greta Thunberg who stopped to take a photo with the boat during the ÅF Runt race in Stockholm. Another highlight was after the Hanko Regatta in Finland when the team left the harbour the cleanest they had ever seen it. But their best sailing achievement of the season was finishing second at the ORC Europeans in August. “We arrived a week before the regatta started and worked for over ten hours each day on the boat refit which made the performance of our sails even more crucial. After so many hours of getting the boat in shape, using worn sails just doesn’t make sense. Our North sails have kept us competitive, and we will invest in new North sails to prepare us for next season.’’
The team sail with a full North inventory including four mainsails, J0, J4, and storm jib, an A0 and A4 kite and staysail. Their most recent purchase was a 3Dioffshore mainsail which fueled them through 50 knots at the ÅF Runt in Sweden where the team finished with an impressive third place.
Sail designer Dave Lenz explains how the design of this offshore mainsail was developed using knowledge from North Sails’ involvement in the TP52 fleet around the world: “Because the boat is an older generation hull racing under the ORC handicap rule, we ran various in-depth size configurations through our TP52 velocity prediction program (VPP) model to stimulate performance in different wind speeds. Using our experience of the TP52 fleet in which we are very developed, we tailored this knowledge to the needs of the Zer°emission project.’’
The boat will move to storage for maintenance over the winter and in February she goes to the Helsinki Boat Show, the biggest show in the Nordics. After this, the 2020 season begins. “Next year,” says Samuli, “we are aiming for even bigger and look forward to racing in the biggest regattas in the Mediterranean, finishing the year sailing the legendary Sydney – Hobart Race in 2020.’’