North Sails NEWS


North Sails Hosts Two Seminars To Prep for 2020 Newport Bermuda Race

120 sailors attended a two-day Performance Seminar ahead of the 2020 Newport to Bermuda Race, which starts next June. Hosted by North Sails, with special guests Peter Isler and Chris Bedford, topics included weather, sail selection, and setting up your team for both safety and success. The presentations helped sailors make a plan, set realistic goals, and start thinking about preparations for boat, sails, and crew.

Two locations

The seminar began in Rhode Island with our Portsmouth loft team on Friday evening and continued Saturday morning in Milford, Connecticut. Peter Isler served as master of ceremonies, sharing his own vast offshore experience and fielded questions to the North Sails experts about how to optimize a sail inventory for the 635-mile blue water classic. 

Historical weather

Weather guru Chris Bedford ran polars for five different boats, based on eight years of weather data and 248 race simulations, for the two weeks before and after the start date (June 19). Understanding the weather helps determine what sails to take on the race, but because different boats have different polars, optimizing your boat requires a unique sail combination.

Sail selection

While the sail allowance for the Bermuda race is generous, optimizing performance by taking only the sails that you know you’lll need is an important aspect of the race. Historical weather and a thorough review of your current inventory will help you identify the best fit for the 2020 race, and also look at what additions you’d want to make with plenty of advance time.

Besides understanding the special sail requirements for the race, the big takeaway for sailors was that a Tweener can definitely help performance because a Tweener is a more efficient sail compared to a 75% mid girth sail.  

What’s a Tweener? Also known as a large roach headsail,  a tweener is an off the wind sail that has a mid-girth of less than 75% and fits in between a jib and a traditional 75% mid girth Code sail. Tweeners do impact ratings, though generally lightly in ORR. The latest advancement to this multi-purpose sail is the North Helix Luff structure, which relies on Load Sharing Technology and eliminates the need for a heavy anti-torsion cable. For more details, talk to your North Sails expert to learn how to optimize your boat and team.

Team preparation

A 635-mile race requires several overnights, and with half the crew off-watch it’s important to optimize human performance. That means making a solid plan with a watch system, as well as food and clothing. Navigation is also very important because crossing the Gulf Stream complicates the race track. 

What you can do right now

Seven months before the start, you should already be making preparations. For sails, make sure to have them serviced before they go into storage for the winter, and also check your inventory for any possible holes. It’s also a great time to put together your sail repair kit; ask your local North Sails expert what should be included.

Thanks to this Performance Seminar, over a hundred sailors are now better prepared for a race that starts next June. Let us know how we can help you get your boat, sails, and crew ready for next year’s bluewater classic.


Download Presentation


  • #GoBeyond