North Sails NEWS
NORTH SAILS NAMED SAILMAKER FOR THE 49er & 49erFX CLASSES
The highly competitive one design class chose to adopt 3Di, the most modern sailmaking technology available
North Sails, the world’s leading sailmaker, was recently named the supplier of choice for the 49er and 49erFX class mainsails and jibs in the lead-up to the 2024 Olympic Games.
After an intense, months-long bid process of rigorous sail testing, North 3Di Technology was the unanimous choice of a selection panel including Olympic medalists and coaches, the 49er and 49erFX Class measurers, a builder’s representative, and the copyright holders.
The class was motivated to evaluate their one design sails by the sailors, who requested improvements in sail consistency, longevity, and durability. After months of sail-testing comparing 3Di head to head with the most current products from other sailmakers, the class chose to adopt 3Di, the most modern sailmaking technology available.
“This is a very exciting development,” says 49er Champion and America’s Cup Defender, Blair Tuke, a two-time medalist on the selection committee. “It’s a first for an Olympic Class to be able to select equipment that optimizes performance, consistency, longevity, and has a positive environmental impact, all in one package.”
After an exciting 36th America’s Cup, Tuke has become quite familiar to the power of 3Di, especially after Emirates Team New Zealand’s successful defense of the Auld Mug. Three teams (Emirates Team New Zealand, Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli, and INEOS Team UK) trusted North Sails tools, design expertise, and technology to power their AC75s.
The decision is a testament to North 3Di’s versatility and adaptability across a wide range of boats and sail types. Specialty-sourced raw materials for 3Di tapes and perfectly consistent shaping on a full-sized 3D mold have moved 3Di a generation ahead of the traditional paneled construction used by other sailmakers; this includes both woven sailcloth and the Mylar-based string sails. The precision engineering of proprietary 3Di molded construction makes it possible for North Sails to produce repeatable one design sails in both shape and detailing. This is both a huge cost savings and a performance upgrade for 49er programs that previously had to purchase and test multiple suits to find sail they liked.
Beyond material choice, North Sails deployed its scientific approach to understanding the baseline and then engineering an optimized solution for the one design 49er class.
49er and 49erFX teams will use 3Di mains and jibs for both training and regattas in the lead-up to the 2024 Olympic Games. For much more detail about the intensive development path North Sails took to optimize sails for the 49er and 49erFX, read the case study.