North Sails NEWS
COUNTDOWN TO ROLEX TP52 WORLDS
North Sails Designer Mickey Ickert’s Insight on the Next Big Event
The 2019 52 Super Series has been one of the most competitive to date. At T-minus one week to the Worlds, there are just 17 points separating first from fifth after three of five events, and not one team is clearly running away with the big prize right now. Nine of the eleven boats competing are powered by North sails, including Azzurra who is currently at the top of the leaderboard. We’re excited to see how this final event unfolds.
Mickey Ickert is a veteran North Sails designer who specializes in Grand Prix sail design with a specific focus on TP52 development. We sat down with Mickey to get his take on who’s who, how the fleet is sailing, and where we should place our bets next week.
What are your crystal ball predictions for the Worlds?
Palma is very well known and was the location of the first pre-season event. The familiarity with Palma will require teams to focus on subtle differences and fine-tuning. The fleet is so close this year that any of the top five boats could win the 2019 Worlds. The one wildcard could be Sled, who had an impressive pre-season showing at Palma Vela in May.
How do you see the North sails stacking up for the expected conditions in Palma?
Speed is king for getting off the start line to the first shift, and our 2019 3Di structures are proving to have an edge. Typical Palma conditions will call for using the light main with the light-medium jib. We’ve been focusing on pushing the sail weight down to maximize the advantages of 3Di against string sails, and maximizing the crossovers between the light and AP mains. Jib-wise, the new Raw 890 light-medium jib should excel through all the puffs and lulls.
People, product and practice are all factors that play into a successful season. What do you see as the game changers in 2019?
People are a real game-changer this level of sailing. Provezza’s new afterguard gelled well and sailed the most pre-season, giving them confidence. Bronenosec is winning races with the addition of Sîme Fantela as the strategist. My observation is the younger sailors in the fleet are pushing the boats harder, racing is more dynamic, reaction times are faster, and sail changes are happening more quickly.
Product-wise, I am expecting the newly developed 3Di Raw 890 has given our teams more sail card options through the Worlds and then heading into the final event of the season. So far it’s hitting our design targets; better shape-holding, and cleaner aesthetics.
What’s 2020 going to be like?
The new venues have already been announced and we know South Africa will be more breeze. We’ll fully review that plan at our global design meeting in November, but for now, all eyes are focused on the 2019 Worlds—and after that, the final Super Series event in Porto Cervo.