North Sails NEWS

September 6, 2019


New AC75 Launches the Next Generation of Sailing Evolution


The defense of the next America’s Cup began the day Emirates Team New Zealand won the final race in Bermuda, and the team just passed a huge milestone with the launch of their new AC75. North Sails, Southern Spars, and Future Fibres are all working with Emirates Team New Zealand to bring the designers’ vision to life and to help power these boats up onto their foils. It’s a bold step forward, and the next Cup is going to be like nothing the world has ever seen.

At North Sails, both our experts and our software have been on a development fast track to accurately model the twin skin mainsail and understand the mechanics of this new technology. “Historically, an America’s Cup cycle marks the next generation of sailing evolution,” North Sails President Ken Read says. “This time is no exception. We’re about to witness one of the biggest transformations our sport has ever seen.”

The joint efforts of Emirates Team New Zealand and North sail designers, together with North in-house developers, has resulted in a leap forward for our proprietary North Design Suite software in order to model and design the twin skin mainsail. “How it twists, how it supports itself, how does the weather side affect the leeward side and vice versa,” Read explains. “And how does it adapt to the mast and rigging from Southern Spars? These boats are like nothing we’ve ever experienced.”

Burns Fallow, the North sail designer who’s embedded with Emirates Team New Zealand, says it’s been great to finally get a full scale view of what’s been on their computer screens for eighteen months. “This is the most researched boat I have ever been involved with,” he says,  adding that a huge number of simulations have been performed. “I am so grateful that North Sails put the effort in early on to develop the analysis tools I need (via Membrain) to test ideas for this new double-skinned mainsail system. It is an exciting time, and the next few weeks will be a process of verification and learning.”

Emirates Team New Zealand skipper Glenn Ashby agrees. “Without doubt, we are making history and pushing boundaries that were once thought impossible. The rig and aero package is already extremely well developed, but the learning curve will be near vertical for all of us over the next few weeks. I feel very comfortable with our pathway and the collaborative efforts of North Sails and Emirates Team New Zealand. The development work done by the rig and sail team has been immense, and I can’t wait to sheet on, in full scale, in the very near future.”

All sails for Emirates Team New Zealand will be finished locally at the North loft in Auckland.“Our fantastic staff are certainly getting excited about the development of the boats and the trickle-down effect it could have,” comments Richard Bicknell, General Manager for North Sails New Zealand. “You can feel the buzz around the waterfront, knowing this is the first step of a couple of busy years.”

The Cup will bring plenty of other work to the loft as well. “We’re expecting a lot of boats and a lot of people to come to New Zealand, and they will utilize the Kiwi ability to maintain, fix, and make their boats better,” Bicknell explains.”We’re already getting a lot of questions from owners of medium, large, and very large boats about what to expect in New Zealand. Whether it be new sails, sail upgrades, or service, North Sails are prepared to deliver a world class experience. And this extends to our other NTG brands as well, Southern Spars and Future Fibres. We know the entire marine industry in New Zealand is going to flourish because of this next Cup. And we are preparing daily to make sure that we are at the forefront of this movement.”

Ken Read is excited about an even bigger picture. “The 36th America’s Cup has implications well beyond the sailing world,” he says, “because people stop and take notice of things outside the norm—and AC75 is going to be just that. Sailors and non-sailors alike will look at this next Cup and say, what the heck is going on with the sport of sailing? They’ll be wondering, “What’s going to happen? how is it going to fly?”

“The bold companies are going to come out ahead,” Read predicts, “and when you come out ahead in the America’s Cup, you come out way ahead. The bold are going to win the next Cup, just like always. So at North Sails, we think Emirates Team New Zealand’s new design is a huge deal, and we’re excited at the opportunity of this next Cup cycle propelling North Sails innovation forward.”

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