North Sails NEWS

Story Contributors: John Bowden


3Di Raises the Stakes in the 41-Boat Fleet

melges 24 sailing upwind
© IM4CA/©Bill Crawford,Harbor Pictures Company.

North clients took two podium spots in the Open Division at the 2019 Melges 24 North American Championship in Traverse City, Michigan. Travis Weisleder’s Lucky Dog/Gill Race Team scored only one race out of the top 4 to win the regatta by one point. Kevin Welch’s Mikey finished third.

In the Corinthian division, clients swept the podium. Fraser McMillan’s Sunnyvale won the division by 14 points and took 5th overall. In second place was Mike Dow’s Flying Toaster, and rounding out the podium was Marty Jensen’s Zig Zag.

After light air the first two days, the breeze came on stronger for the last day but continued to be quite shifty. North Sails expert John Bowden, onboard Lucky Dog, has been sailing with Travis for six years, but only one team member had sailed in Traverse City before. “We focused on sailing our own race,” he explains, adding that a great boat, great sails, and a great team proved more important that local knowledge. “Travis does a good job of surrounding himself with talented sailors, and makes sure the boat and sails will never be an excuse for failure. It all led to a great result in the end.”

melges 24 sailing downwind
© IM4CA/©Bill Crawford,Harbor Pictures Company

The team keeps the North tuning guide handy, but they also pay attention to the feel of boat and helm. “If you’re overpowered, you’re probably not tight enough.” He also explains that their 3Di sails don’t stretch like paneled sails do, so they have to be trimmed a little bit tighter. “Other than that, everything else is the same.”

The team used an Mi-1 and the new Ji-2, developed with North designers Mike Marshall and Per Andersen. “We really love them,” John says. “We were very happy with the AP-3 and J-7 paneled sails. They were certainly the standard for Melges 24’s. But there is always room for improvement. When we had the opportunity to switch to 3Di and help with the development process, we jumped at the chance. It’s nice to see all of the top teams running the 3Di sails. We have all been extremely happy with them.”

melges 24 sailing champions
© Bill Crawford, Harbor Pictures Company

Story Contributors

Lucky Dog Wins Melges 24 North Americans headshot
John Bowden

Sail Expert — Charleston, South Carolina

John started sailing very young and was a competitive youth sailor in Texas where he grew up. He started working for a sailmaker at 16 in Austin, TX. He went to college at the College of Charleston graduating in 2004....