North Sails NEWS

December 4, 2017


Experts collaborate in two-day design meeting at North’s 3D headquarters in Minden, NV

© Nico Martinez / Martinez Studio

Earlier this month the North Sails Design Team hosted a collaborative Grand Prix racing debrief at the company’s 3D sailmaking headquarters in Minden, NV. Attendees brought a range of expertise to the discussion, including the TP52, RC44 and Maxi 72, as well as emerging classes such as the Melges 40 and ClubSwan 50. The two day agenda also covered discussion in complementary fields of software development and product engineering, led by North Sails Lead Programmer, Michael Richelsen.

Strength in design has kept North Sails ahead of the curve in providing the fastest sail shapes for clients throughout the sailing world. The design brief is an example of how the North Sails global team works together to secure a common foundation and commitment to technical excellence. As a result of the meeting, North Designers and stakeholders worldwide will receive a “Trend Report” for key classes and sail types with reflection on how these can affect designs for the wider market.

Per Andersson was recently appointed as head of North Sails 3D. His experience as a sail designer will ensure he has a hands-on role in the merging the processes of sail design and production. Beyond Per’s valuable contribution to the design discussions, he also hosted the group at his “home”, North’s largest 3D loft in Minden Nevada.
Paul Westlake, VP and North’s Grand Prix sales leader who together with Per Andersson hosted the group in Minden. In addition to his sales responsibilities, Paul provides first-hand feedback from the field through his various sailing commitments.
JB Braun inspects finishing details on a 3Di sail. JB provided the group with lessons learned in 2017 and updates to the North Design Suite as well as development news on everything from small boat one design through the 37th America’s Cup. As Head of Sail Design to a team of 80+ experts, JB is responsible for turning the meeting ideas into projects and providing focus to North’s design team.
Steve Calder, the lead designer for downwind, ran the debrief on Grand Prix downwind development and looking ahead to new concepts for 2018.
Magnus Doole led the group in a discussion on “Engine Above The Deck; ” a term coined by Terry Kohler, former owner of North Sails. Engine Above The Deck is used to describe integrated sail, rig and hull analysis and design.
Grant “Fuzz” Spanhake is the coach for Alegre and provides an “outside view” of North Sails performance during the 2017 season. Feedback from coaches and sailors is imperative to continued development and innovation within the Grand Prix design team.
Casually referred to as “the smartest people in North Sails,” Burns Fallow and Michael Richelsen are user and developer of North Design Suite. Burns, a lead designer for Superyachts and Grand Prix programs, has most recently been helping ETNZ with the AC75 rule. Michael is North Sails Lead Programmer who writes the proprietary software that runs North Design Suite. In addition to sail design; NDS makes the “Engine Above The Deck” concept possible.
Mickey Ickert provided a design debrief on the TP52, RC44 and Maxi 72. His debrief included design analysis of all teams, in all classes. The analysis gives North’s design team insight on what designs are delivering results and areas for improvement.
Juan Garay is a sail designer for TP52 Azzurra and oversees the continued development of North’s Virtual Wind Tunnel, a tool within the North Design Suite. VWT models air flow on downwind sails and the sail designer to visualize and analyze sail shape, sail forces, shape stability and ease of trim in the computer at 100% scale. Juan briefed the group on VWT updates and developments planned for 2018.
Shane Elliott, designer for TP52 Phoenix 2 and Grant Spanhake, watch as 3Di tapes are loaded into a tape head. The use of spread filament tapes used in conjunction with full-size 3Di molds is what give North 3Di its unprecedented combination of performance and durability.
Images © Nico Martinez / Martinez Studio
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