North Sails NEWS

November 4, 2018


Fast Sailing, Foils and High Expectations Across The Fleet

📸Alexis Courcoux / 2018 Route du Rhum

The Route du Rhum is a prestigious offshore event and an example of single-handled ocean racing at its best. First sailed in 1978, the Route du Rhum was a transatlantic race introduced to overthrow conventional wisdom; monohulls sailing alongside multihulls, pro sailors racing against amateurs. The first edition of the race featured 38 entries and the winner finished in 23 days. In 2014, Loïck Peyron set a new course record of  7 days, 15 hours, 8 minutes and 32 seconds. 

Four year later, 123 sailors and thousands of North Sails across six classes will hit the start line in St Malo, France, and set off 3,542 miles for Guadeloupe. The 2018 Route du Rhum represents 130 new sails and some 6,000 hours of work for North Sails, and specifically, the Vannes-based loft.

“The diversity of projects in this race is something which is important for us,” commented Greg Evard, country manager for North Sails in France. “Responsiveness is essential; listening, understanding and acting in the shortest possible time when necessary, with the goal to ensure that those who trust us do not lose any time sailing.” The key to success lies in the integrated teamwork between design, production and service.

Greg’s team efforts on the ground combined with the global design and product expertise has paid off; evidenced by growing market share for North Sails across the Route du Rhum fleet. Gautier Sergent, the Head of North Sails R&D, based in France added. “The advent of foiling has forced us to redesign our sails for the IMOCA and Ultim classes, because with the foils, everything changes: speed, apparent wind angle, torque, geometry, deck plans…”

With 3Di™, North Sails has a technology that perfectly matches the new challenges imposed by these out of the ordinary machines but still allows every level of sailor in this race to have the best possible suite of sails. It is going to be an exciting race and as is ever the case, when a fleet of boats leaves the dock, anything can happen.

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