North Sails NEWS

Story Contributors: Brian Janney, Eric Heim


Sails, Support, and Service Go the Distance

📸 Mark Albertazzi

Point Loma native, Morgan Dene Oliver (Dene) started sailing when he was eight years old on his North-fitted Sabot out of Mission Bay Yacht Club. “I was thrilled when my dad bought me a Sabot. I’ll never forget it. Since then, I’ve owned six different sailboats from 35-62 feet, and all of them have had a North Sails wardrobe.”

Dene was in the market for a different type of boat this time around. He wasn’t going to be racing, purely focusing on enjoying his time on the water.

“This time I wanted something different,” said Dene. “But not a racer. Something for ultimate day sailing in San Diego. I found this extraordinary boat built at the Morris yard in Northeast Harbor in Maine. It’s the largest boat but also the most sophisticated model Morris has ever built. Commissioned four years ago, the engineering team collaborated with Sparkman Stephens and Ted Fontaine to did a fantastic job. She’s like the prettiest girl at the prom. No matter where I go, everyone wants to see her. Everything is a push-button; Up and down, in and out.”

My idea of the perfect sail consists of sailing straight out into the Pacific from San Diego, CA. I could go for 24 hours or so, then turn around and come back. Throw in an 80-mile downwind or broad reach with a nice swell behind me; that’s what I’m all about now.”

NS San Diego- Morris 52
Dene Oliver, excited for another great day on Solutions II in San Diego!

The big delivery

Dene acquired his Morris 52 Solutions II in January. She got a new paint job in Camden, ME, where she was safely stored for the winter season at Lyman Morse. Solutions II was then trucked across the country from Camden, ME to San Diego, CA, in February. “Imagine a 52-foot sailboat with an 82-foot mast (that’s 20 feet sticking out behind the trailer!). Boy was that a sight to see!” said Dene. “She arrived here in San Diego, and because of the state shut down for COVID, I had to wait a month and a half to get her in the water. She was launched in the beginning of May, as the team at North Sails in San Diego went above and beyond to get her ready to sail, and I’ve spent as much time as possible with her since. Solutions II is a work of art on the water.”

Expertise, sail service, support, and friendships

“My experience working with North Sails has been a great one,” says Dene. “To me, it’s about the people you meet and the relationships you develop. With North, I’ve always been taken care of, treated fairly, respected; there’s trust in our relationship. Feeling important and knowing I am in good hands is what I like best about the whole deal. The team here in San Diego is a team I can rely on–hands down.”

Dene explains, “My service expert Eric Heim, with the help of sail expert Brian Janney, Marnie Jenkins, and John Gladstone quickly supported my new program once Solutions II made it to the West Coast. I can’t thank them enough for their help.”

NS San Diego- Morris 52
Longtime friend, sail expert, and now boat broker John Gladstone enjoying the sail testing with Dene and the North crew.

John Gladstone is now Dene’s boat broker (Fraser Yachts) and has played an intricate role in helping Dene not only find the best boat, but help the San Diego team coordinate to find sail solutions to suit Dene’s needs.

John explained, “Although I am working with Dene from the other side of the industry these days, I still find myself supporting him with the whole package. Time has gone by, but we’ve worked together for so many years. It’s just as fun and rewarding as it was back then. My first interaction with him was in the 80s as his primary North sailmaker on several of his earlier yachts. Dene has always done things well, first-class– and all with a contagious passion. We are having a blast with his latest addition, Solutions II, the most exquisite Morris 52 you’ve ever seen. Solutions II is not your average day sailor!”

The value of seasonal service

“When you buy something,” says Dene, “you aren’t investing in the asset alone, you are investing in the care of the asset, and you have a program plan to keep things running smoothly. Like all features of the boat, the hull, through-hull fittings, your sails–these things need attention. Tweaking here and there is part of normal maintenance, but most important, having your sails inspected regularly ensures you have a good day on the water, every time.”

📸 Mark Albertazzi

That #firstsailfeeling

Once the boat left the dock, the mainsail and jib were deployed. John said, “I anticipated that when we got the sails up, he may be in the market for replacing them, knowing they were a bit old. Unbelievably, his 3DL sails still look amazing! That goes to show not only how well the previous owner and now Dene takes care of things, but how involved Dene was in finding the perfect boat that had top-notch gear. He was looking to add more excitement to his off-wind sailing, which is where the idea for an optimized downwind sail came into play.”

Solutions II is now equipped with a new G1 top-down furling gennaker. With the top-down function, Dene can set it all up before he even leaves the dock. He can hoist it and have it ready to deploy at the touch of a button. Powered winches allow for easy furling and unfurling, all leading back to the cockpit. The advantage of his new sail addition is that it’s a ready-made system. When he’s done using it, he furls it and then drops it into a zipper bag on deck to safely store for next time. It fits perfectly in the custom length bag without being folded or compressed into the forward storage locker..

“I don’t mind a little challenge here and there, but I need to have options that work best for my type of sailing,” said Dene. “Many reasons led me to add a more performance-based sail option to my inventory, like this hot new downwind sail. It’s added significant speed off-wind, and it’s unbelievably easy to use.”

NS San Diego- Morris 52

Why top-down? John commented, “We knew he needed something big enough, but also something he was comfortable using shorthanded, which is most of his sailing these days.”

“By adding the new G1 to Dene’s inventory options, Solution II’s performance downwind has increased tenfold!” said John. “Working with Dene is always a great experience. Just being able to get out on the water, let alone on such a beautiful yacht with an appreciative owner, is such a treat.”

Client support is key to any sailing program. “Dene likes to know that his best interest is at the top of the list. Having trust in his longtime sailmaker enables him to make the best decisions so he can enjoy his sailing which is the most important thing. Dene has exquisite taste and appreciates perfection, and everyone who’s worked with him appreciates that about him too,” said John.

NS San Diego- Morris 52 © Mark Albertazzi
📸  Mark Albertazzi


Story Contributors

Sails, Support, and Service Go the Distance headshot
Brian Janney

Sail Expert — San Diego, California San Francisco, California

Brian holds multiple National and North American titles in the Melges 24, Melges 32, 1D35, Snipe and Capri 14.2 classes. Other titles include: US Sailing Championship of Champions Farr 40 World Championships (Corinthian) Two time member of Congressional Cup winning team World Match...

Sails, Support, and Service Go the Distance headshot
Eric Heim

Service Manager — San Diego, California

A lifelong waterman, Eric grew up in the beach town of Dana Point, California. His mother was a State Champion in the outrigger canoe and pioneer windsurfer. His dad was a designer and builder of high performance beach catamarans. It...

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