North Sails NEWS
CRACKER GAINS PERFORMANCE BOOST WITH 3Di RAW 330
Local Sailing Team Embraces the Power of their New Wardrobe
Denis Byrne’s Trapper T250, Cracker, was built in the early 1980s in England. Not only is she nearly 40 years old, but she’s also the smallest boat on the starting line in the local racing fleet at the Royal Cork Yacht Club in Ireland. Now she’s winning races, thanks to her new sail inventory.
It all started in 2018 when Denis decided to upgrade his sails to be more competitive. “Denis was looking for high-performance club racing sails, said North Sail expert Nigel Young. “He bought the first part of his inventory in January of 2018 and has had nothing but great results.” In 2019, Cracker won the Royal Cork Yacht Club’s club boat of the year award.
“It is unusual for a small boat like Cracker to win such an award in the biggest yacht club in the country,” said a proud Denis. In 2020 with the same inventory, he’s continued his winning streak. Cracker took her class first and the overall win in the annual Cove to Blackrock Race, winning the coveted Moonduster trophy.
Winning the Moonduster trophy against much bigger competition was a real thrill for Denis. “It’s a lovely trophy dating back 20-some years. The Moonduster is arguably the most famous boat built in Cork Harbor and won the Round Ireland race a number of times, setting the official record at the time. It’s special to win a trophy like this.”
Denis is the third owner of Cracker and hasn’t made any changes to the hull—though the boat did come with a brand new mast. “She’s still the same color; all I’ve done is add new sails. The entire boat concept is modern for its age. It is quite different from many of the other boats built in the 80s. It’s well suited for IRC racing.”
Cracker’s Winning Inventory
Denis is pleased with how much of an impact his new 3Di RAW 145% genoa makes. “When the boat gets going, especially in relatively flat water and breeze– wow, is she powerful! Even when the breeze picks up into the 15-17 knot range, we can still carry it with confidence, and the boat goes like a train. It is effortless to trim. The larger boats would step down to a #2, and we could easily carry our #1 longer and still be competitive.”
Cracker’s new mainsail has excellent shape. Denis adds, “We took Nigel’s recommendation to move to a slightly bigger roach and larger sail. The shape is just beautiful. It brought up the handicap, but that paid off in terms of overall boat speed without question.”
“Comparing 3Di to standard sail materials, 3Di is easier to trim. Before, I found it tricky to visualize the sail’s shape at the top-end when trying to distinguish the draft and how that relates best with sail controls, like the cunningham. Now it is much easier to see, and the sail looks cleaner. It’s easier to tell what you need more of, whether it’s vang, cunningham, outhaul, etc. What I like about 3Di is that it’s one solid piece with no joints. The sail is smooth and clean, and as a result, easier to trim.”
Denis says the sails make sailing easier, and he also loves the fact that they are easy to maintain. “They aren’t heavy. They can take a lot of punishment. They are durable. I was pleasantly surprised when the mainsail arrived; it was very light.”
“Nigel designed us a symmetrical spinnaker that was slightly larger than the one that came with the boat,” Denis explains. “It’s a general all-purpose and really pulls us forward and reaches effectively. I didn’t want to carry multiple kites because the boat is so small, and we don’t have a large crew for sail changes. The AP symmetrical Nigel provided us is all we’ve needed, all season long.”
The Value of North Sails Expertise
“Nigel has sailed with us quite a bit. He showed us how to trim and how to adjust our settings according to condition changes. It wasn’t just about selling me sails and me going on my way. He has worked with us during regattas and in between, helping us fine-tune and better our maneuvers. Techniques for sailing with less crew and even better hoisting methods, dropping and packing the spinnaker. It’s the entire package of support we’ve received, not just sails.”
With no previous sailmaker experience, Denis was impressed with how things came to be. “Nigel was straightforward. He sold me a product that was right for my boat. He didn’t try to oversell me on a different product; he said, ‘this sail would be the right fit for your size boat and the loads on the rig.’ I am thrilled with my decision, and it’s nice to know Nigel had my best interest at heart. I am looking forward to a new race season in 2021.”
Cracker typically sails with four crew, though in under 12 knots, Denis says three is fine. “Five would be a lot. Any more than five would be a crowd! We carry just what we need, and we get around the corners just fine.” Cracker’s crew is composed of a variety of experience levels. “What’s great is that everyone can understand what Nigel is saying,” says Denis. “And he was happy to spend the time, not just with the more experienced crew members, but with everyone, providing tips and tricks to make things flow. Many people you meet in the sailing world have jargon or terminology that can go right over your head if you are not used to it. Nigel speaks a language we can all understand. Nothing flowery; how he describes things makes it easy for everyone to pick up on.”
From us at North Sails, we wish Denis and the Cracker team the best of luck!