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The Jenga crew is led by two brothers, Sam and Mark Richmond. An avid sailor and Londoner, Mark owns the boat and skippered throughout the weekend. Sam, a North Sails expert out of Gosport, UK was onboard as trimmer. Despite the difficult IRC competition at the annual RORC Easter Challenge, the team had a great weekend on the water and appreciated the opportunity to work in their new sails. Following, as Sam takes a sailmaker’s perspective to review the new sails, Mark uses his experience on the helm to recount how 3Di RACE helped push the boat to its fullest potential.
Since Jenga raced in IRC for the Easter Challenge, their new 3Di RACE sails fell outside of class rules. “For this event, we needed slightly modified sails to get us up to speed with our competition,” said Sam, who coordinated delivery of the sails a few weeks prior. “There are lots of custom IRC boats that have been tweaked for years, but for us it was about seeing what we could get this boat to do. We used a bigger jib, a mainsail with a smaller head, and a lighter weight spinnaker and Code Zero.” The Code Zero is a furling sail, perfect for tighter, off-the-wind angles. “The race with a reaching start, followed by a two mile first leg, was our best result,” he recalled.
Having trimmed the mainsail on Jenga all weekend, Sam reported positively on the readability of 3Di RACE sails. “They have a ‘stiffness’ that allows for perfect shape once trimmed, and still allows the full range of tuning in a smaller boat with a bit more mast bend such as the J88.
“3Di RACE is the latest rendition of North Sails’ proprietary 3Di technology, and is designed to be very adaptable to any boat, making the sails a ‘go-to’ option for racing clients. “The sails held their shape perfectly with our Selden mast, and we could easily adjust our sail controls as the pressure built to maximize power as the mast bent. Overall, I was impressed.”
Mark remarked on the boat’s increased performance with new sails, and the work done to tailor the sails specifically for the J/88. “In over 12 knots the boat went much quicker downwind, especially wing-on-wing, which was a competitive move for us against the symmetrical spinnakers.”
“Smoothness of the sails was impressive. Trimming was significantly easier too, simply adjusting jib halyard tension and moving jib cars had an amazing effect through the transition period, while the wind built and died down. The sails worked well in wider wind ranges, the minor adjustments easing us through the transition while maintaining boat speed and power.”
Sam further remarked on the adjustments made within North Sails, between the design and sales teams, to refine the IRC inventory for the J/88. “We had a lot of work to do on the rigs when we first made J/88 sails. We’ve come a long way since then, which says a lot about the designers and development that’s been progressing which has really made it all come together for this boat. I lifted RACE main and jib onboard before racing and was really surprised with how light they were together. I was super impressed with how they performed after the fact.”