North Sails NEWS

Story Contributors: Marie Fabre

TAKING SERVICE ON THE ROAD

Regatta Repair with the North Sails Team

Bacci Sgarbossa takes us behind the scenes of the pop-up Regatta Repair loft – a mobile network the North Sails Italy Service Manager knows well, having run the Italian operation for 14 years.

From Capri to Sardinia, the blue container traveled along the entire Italian coastline to make it to the key regattas this season. Just this September in Porto Cervo, Bacci’s team repaired 110 sails and logged 360 hours of work during the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup alone – before getting ready for the Swan Cup starting a day later. 

His Regatta Repair loft is a sizable operation, with up to six sailmakers working almost exclusively at night, and hundreds of material types stored in the container alongside the sewing machines and wooden floor beams. There is a truck and a crane to move the sails from the boats to the temporary loft, and, if necessary, a rental tent. 

“Our set-up differs depending on the boat size,” says Bacci, who’s based in Carasco, near Genoa, when he isn’t on the road from April to September. His Italian team often gets mobile support from North Sails Palma, too. “The container goes everywhere and can act as a loft. But for the Maxi yachts for example, the container isn’t big enough, so we rent a big tent, bigger than 300 square meters, to lay the big sails on the floor. And sometimes, the sails are so big that we can’t pick them up. So, we go to the boat with the sewing machine and repair the sail directly on deck.”

This year, North Sails Regatta Repair lofts were available at the St Barth’s Bucket, various Swan One Design races, the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup, Hamilton Island Race Week, the Swan Cup, ORC World Championships, and at Les Voiles de St Tropez – among others. It’s a service pulled together by different North Sails teams worldwide, and having a Regatta Repair team at each of these major international events ensures every North Sails client is supported with overnight turnaround for their racing sails. Service teams can also work on cruising and delivery sails when they have some spare time.

“We’ve been running our service for 35 years,” explains Bacci. “If I don’t already know the place, I need to look into it, visit it ahead of time, contact the race organizers and figure out if they want us there. That’s usually the case because we offer a service that doesn’t exist otherwise.”

“[Our workload] depends on the weather conditions – when there is a lot of wind, gennakers are first to break. Mountains of sails, a lot of mess. We manage to get it all done, we always keep our clients happy, but we often see the sunrise.”

There’s the logistic side of it, the effort involved in making it happen at all. But it’s not just about executing repairs quickly and on location – it’s about offering the North Sails expertise and ensuring that those sailors have the equipment they need to perform at their best, too. It’s about fixing those sails how they should be fixed – including the North Sails 3Di technology.

“Close racing in the J-Class Fleet during the windy Rolex Maxi Worlds this year pushed the limits of durability and reliability of all equipment on these majestic monsters,” says North Sails Sales Leader Paul Westlake. “Knowing that Bacci and his team are only a phone call away with their flat-bed truck and hydraulic crane, ready to spring into action after a long day on the water, will never be underestimated by the sail trimming teams!”

“All the regattas we attend are high-level races,” explains Bacci. “That means the participants probably all have spare sails. We don’t perform repairs during the night because they need them to race the day after. But they want that sail because it’s the newest one, the better-performing one. It’s a really high-level repair.

We don’t just hand a sail back. If we can, our job on-site doesn’t differ from our job back in the Carasco sail loft. The goal is to make the same level of repairs. In some cases, we don’t just repair the sails, but we modify them, too. Clients ask for a different shape, a change on the leech or on the foot of the sail…”

“What we do in the space and time we have on-site is amazing. I’m proud of the work done.”

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