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North Sails NEWS
WINNING IS A TEAM EFFORT FOR RC44 CHARISMA
Chris Hosking and Ross Halcrow Reflect on Their Team’s Success In 2018
Nico Poon’s RC44 Charisma was named 2018 season champ in November, taking the coveted overall trophy in one of sailing’s most competitive “Big Boat” one-design classes. The core of the Charisma team has been a unit for four years, and as with most Grand Prix race programs, winning results are a collective effort; both onboard and onshore. “Charisma has great boat speed. Our tactician Ray Davies does a great job of putting us in ideal positions on the race course,” commented headsail trimmer Ross Halcrow (NZL). “This team approach carries through our work with North Sails and how we evolve our sail package.
“We work closely with Mickey Ickert on the design side at North Sails; one of the grand master’s of sail design,” remarks mainsail trimmer Chris Hosking (AUS). “Mickey uses the North Design Suite to show us the optimum balance of sail shape, strength and weight with a great deal of accuracy.”
Ross and Chris are responsible for providing our North Design team with feedback from the water. The feedback loop often begins during the RC44 events, where Mickey and a handful of the North design team are present to receive feedback on the ground. For Ross, direct comms with Mickey is a relationship that dates back to the early 90’s.
“Working with the sail designer is my forte,” Ross explains. “Mickey and I have worked together for a long time, and we’re on the same page when it comes to style designs, style shapes, engineering, etc. It’s like we are speaking the same language. Our rapport makes it easy to get what I’m looking for incorporated into the sail design.”
One of the questions we asked Chris and Ross during their post-win debrief was how does sail performance impact overall boat performance? “Sails provide propulsive forces via a combination of lift and drag, depending on their apparent wind angle,” explained Chris. “We work with Mickey and the North Design Suite tools to achieve what we think are the optimal flying shapes for those sails in the varying wind conditions. If those shapes aren’t fast, our boat doesn’t go fast!”
As most sailors know, shape is the holy grail of sail design. For North Sails, scientific design coupled with continued development of 3Di produces sails that maintain their shape longer. “In the RC44 Class, we have a strict sail limitation, so our sails have to maintain their optimum flying shape over the course of a season. I think we have proven that 3Di can deliver those objectives in one of the toughest one-design fleets.”
“We have to get through an entire season with the same sails. We did 55 races this year, and the higher carbon content versus total sail weight of RAW 880, meant our sails retained their optimum flying shape for longer than any other sail on the market.”
Charisma were early adopters of 3Di RAW 880, the highest performance tier of 3Di, and a product Ross pushed North Sails to explore. The RC44 class has sail limitation rules, and Charisma were the first to transition to 880, the highest carbon-spec sail in an effort to maximize their sail card strategy. “I’ve seen the evolution of 3Di on the 44 since 2010 when we had the first 3Di styles on the Oracle boats,” explain Ross. “I’ve been pushing for a higher carbon sail like 880. The 880 is the latest product the higher carbon putout for quite some time. We’re very happy to have it on the boat this year.”
“Everybody knows that one of the keys to winning is consistency, and that’s something we didn’t do too well in 2018,” remarked Chris. “Although we won three of five tour events, we faltered with a sixth-place finish in Portoroz and then again at the Worlds in Cascais. Lucky for us though, one of our main adversaries had a seventh in Portoroz, which gave us the tour victory.”
With the 2018 season behind them, Charisma has already put their title defense campaign in motion. “The planning never stops, and we are already into 2019 sail planning, winter boat work, and a couple of crew changes”.