North Sails NEWS

Story Contributors: Mike Marshall


Quality Assurance Production With North Sails

📸Drew Malcolm / M32 World

Consistent Shape

How does North Sails make sure that the new M32 sails are consistent in shaping?

The process starts with the layout. For the 3Di mainsail, each sail is machine-taped from the same file so it is identical. For the paneled gennaker, sails are cut on a laser plotter using the same cut file, in a humidity- and temperature-controlled room.

3Di sails for one design classes are molded to the exact same shape. When more than one sail is made at a time, they are put on the mold one right after the other. Assembling paneled sails is done by the same experienced team, with each member of the team specializing in one specific job (eg., sticking the seams).

The level of detail in the molding is such that when repeat sails are made at a later date, the same mold is used and the same shaping file is used to adjust it. This means that even if a sail is made 6 months later, it is molded to the same shape.

Minden NV North Sails 3Di
📸Raphael Demaret

Consistent Finish

How does North Sails make sure that the new M32 sails are consistent in finishing?

To ensure that finishing on all the sails is the same, the full order of sails is added to the same work ticket and once again a team of experts completes the job. The work ticket specifies every detail of the finishing, including the length of the webbings, the position of the batten boxes back from the luff, and the location and size of the reef patches. It even specifies the stitching pattern and thread.

For example, a set of templates locate the batten boxes in exactly the same place on the sail. This ensures that the boxes are the same distance back from the luff and at the same angle, on every single sail.

📸Raphael Demaret

Consistent Size

How does North Sails make sure that the new M32 sails are consistent in sizing?

Once the sails are finished, they are all measured to make sure they’re within class tolerances. The rare sail that doesn’t measure correctly is either fixed or rejected. Measurements include perimeter dimensions, girths, batten lengths, batten boxes, luff offsets, and several other details.

Once sails pass inspection, they are packaged and shipped to the distribution site where they are checked again. The battens are installed before they are shipped to the end user.

Update for 2020: While the luff lengths for all the sails are identical, the specifications for luff tape and bolt rope tensions are going to be further refined to be within 5 kg of each other. Additionally, the batten pocket end finishing is going to be changed from cuben fiber to 3Di utility cloth for smoother finishing and increased durability. At the request of the class, the sail shapes are going to remain unchanged.

📸 Drew Malcolm / M32 World

Story Contributors

M32 Class Sail Consistency headshot
Mike Marshall

One Design Expert, Sail Designer — Portsmouth, Rhode Island

Mike won the 2016 J/22 Worlds, which led to a Rolex Yachtsman of the Year nomination. He has also won the J/22 North Americans and finished top ten at multiple J/24 Worlds, North Americans, and Nationals. He graduated with a degree in Geophysics from Connecticut...