North Sails NEWS
2021 OPTIMIST NATIONALS REPORT
The Scoop on the New V-Series
by Tom Sitzmann
The 2021 Nationals had very light and unstable winds and only 7 races were completed over four days. Sailor Annie Sitzmann used the new North V-2 brand new from Japan. She was the only sailor at the event using the new sail, and despite the fact that she had zero testing time prior to the event, she took on the challenge and is getting better and better each day learning how to properly tune and rig her new sail.
I also worked with Ashton Perkins, who used a North MNR-2. Initially lining these two up, Ashton was higher for sure; the MNR entry is very straight/flat, Ashton is very small/light so he can get away with trimming a little tighter. As the event went on, we seemed to dial in the new V-2 sail. Annie even won a race, which shows that the sail can definitely perform even if in beginner’s hands. With more time on the water and testing, and also testing a few different spar sets, this sail looks very good and makes a great option for the North Sails Optimist inventory. Based on what we observed over the course of the event, I found the outhaul and vang to be extremely important for this sail, and am still learning proper rake and sprit combinations.
Optimist National Championship Report & Interview with Ashton Perkins
The Optimist class US National Championship was held this year in Norfolk, VA and the wind gods sure seemed to team up to confound the event. While the Girls National championship (a one-day event at the beginning of the week) had good winds, the four-day National championship event could only muster seven races total, and that included three on the last day just to get there. So, the event was left to be determined through qualifying rounds only, with no gold fleet races.
North Sails is very excited to announce our new Optimist sail, the V-Series. This sail reflects the culmination of a great deal of testing, hard work, and expertise by North Sails one-design experts and sail designers, and we are confident that this sail offers great speed, pointing ability upwind, and shape durability.
In hot, sticky weather, with so many variables, at times extremely light, shifty, unstable and unsettled winds, sailors were challenged to post any type of consistent scores. Young up-and-coming sailor Ashton Perkins used a North Optimist sail, and Ashton showed blazing speed upwind in this regatta. If it weren’t for a UFD penalty, Ashton would have posted his best-ever regatta finish in the top 10 overall! We caught up with him after the event to get his take on things.
First, congratulations on your performance at the US Optimist Nationals! This was a difficult event with very light unstable winds for sure, and you seemed very fast throughout the regatta. If not for your final day UFD you’d have been in the top ten out of 260 boats! Let’s get to know you. Where do you live, what grade are you going into this fall? How long have you been sailing? What do you like about sailboat racing?
A: I live in University Park Maryland and I am entering the 6th grade. I have been sailing for 6 years. Sailboat racing is great for me because I love thinking about strategy and being on the water.
In this regatta specifically, what was most challenging?
A: Catching the wind shifts.
What was most important? (current, shifts, starts, etc.)
A: They were all really important.
What worked well for you, and what are you most happy with?
A: Except for my U flag and one other start my starts were good. I played the big shifts and I was usually faster than most other boats.
What do you like about the North Optimist Sail?
A: I used to use a J Blue. With the North I am able to point higher while keeping the same speed.
What trimming advice do you have for anyone using this sail?
A: In light air trim just within the corner and in heavy air pull it in slightly tighter.
What’s next? Where will we see you again?
A: New Englands and New Jersey States. I am excited that I qualified for team trials, I also look forward to that this coming Spring 2022.