North Sails NEWS

August 10, 2015

It was a fantastic year for North Sails-powered teams in the 48th edition of the Transpacific Yacht Race, a 2,225-mile biennial race from Los Angeles, CA to Honolulu, HI. Winning 8 of 11 classes – including Division 1 winner Wild Oats XI, who beat the 2nd place boat on both elapsed and corrected time; overall winner James McDowell and crew on his Santa Cruz 70 Grand Illusion; and first-to-finish honors earned by Harry Zanville and his crew aboard his Santa Cruz 37, Celerity – North Sails-powered teams dominated the leaderboard and took some pretty enviable trophies home at the conclusion of the race.

Historically, the Transpac has had predominantly downwind and/or reaching conditions but this year served up more upwind racing due to a wet southerly breeze. Starters in the first fleet, on Monday, July 13, saw windy, more traditional conditions but by the third start five days later on Saturday, July 18, an adjacent tropical storm drove the fleet north to find more wind. “Early in the race tropical depressions ruled the routing!” said Zack Maxam of North Sails in Costa Mesa, CA who sailed onboard the TP52 BOLT owned by Craig Reynolds, and winner of Division 2. “Some teams dove south aggressively and early, only to get skunked as the tropical storm fizzled. The next move was to bite the bullet and blast north to gather the more traditional gains above the resident high pressure system,” Maxam continued. “Now I’m no weather expert, but I know that the shortest distance between two points is a straight line and crossing well above and below rhumbline better be worth it…maybe it wasn’t, but it was worth a shot!”

Winning Division 3 and taking home the King Kalakaua Trophy for the third time was the Grand Illusion team. Awarded to the boat with the bestoverall corrected time, Grand Illusion raced with three new sails: a 3DL mainsail, 3DL medium #1 and a North asymmetric spinnaker complementing the rest of her North Sails inventory. Sailmaker Bill Herrschaft has worked closely with the Grand Illusion team for many years. “James McDowell and his team know the Transpac course maybe better than anyone and did a bang-up job winning Division 3 and the overall trophy once again,” Herrschaft said. “Congrats also to navigator Patrick O’Brien who won the Chuck Ullman trophy for providing guidance to the overall winning team.”

North-powered teams benefitted from internal collaboration between sales, sail care and design teams based throughout North America. And while customized speedsters typically seem to take center stage and attract the lion’s share of attention these days, classically- styled Marjorie, a 59′ gem designed by Stephens Waring and built by Brooklin Boat Yard in 2007, won Class 8, following in the wake of another classic, Dorade. “Marjorie is a beautiful yacht and I really enjoy working with owner Gardner Baldwin and his crew starting with the build of the boat in Maine in 2007 to now winning her class in the Transpac,” said longtime North Sails representative and president of North Sails Graphics John Gladstone. “This year, we worked with Greg Stewart at Nelson-Marek Designs and our own sail designer Mark Taylor to be sure the sail sizes fit the split rig ketch perfectly and optimized her performance rating as we did with the 2013 Transpac overall winner (and longtime North Sails customer) Dorade. We built a new mizzen spinnaker (very cool by the way!) which ended up being Marjorie’s money sail for this year’s race,” Gladstone continued. “We all know that the bigger/faster boats usually get the most attention but the North Sails team works hard for – and we are very proud of – all our customers, regardless of boat size or type.”

“Racing onboard BOLT was a blast with the father and son team of Craig and Carson Reynolds and our rock star amateur navigator Chris Lewis, who helped get us to Hawaii in 8.5 days and win our class,” Maxam said. “We were the oldest of the three TP52s but we were equipped with a new set of North Sails including a spectacular A2.5 spinnaker designed by Chris Williams. We turned in a great performance and finished 3rd overall but, most importantly, we finished with very happy owners, which makes it all worthwhile,” Maxam continued. “I wouldn’t have had the confidence or knowledge onboard without the help and advice from several North Sails team members including fellow salesmen and Transpac veterans Eric Doyle, Bill Herrschaft, Kevin Miller, Jon Gardner and Patrick Murray, who all gave me advice they thought I could use during the race. I am also thankful to sail designers Chris Williams and Rich Bowen who answered dozens of my questions about sail selection charts and spinnaker options,” Maxam said. “But most importantly, our local sail care team absolutely dominated the pre-race preparation with Dolph Gabeler adding spinnaker stop tabs and safety orange at any hour of the day. Dolph reminded me many times that we succeed as a team by sticking to our strengths and executing our maneuvers and guess what? We didn’t have a single sail issue!”

Congratulations to all North Sails customers for another awesome showing on the 2015 Transpac leaderboard.

Full results, photos and more can be found online at: