North SailsExperts

Shane Hughes headshot

Shane Hughes

As Ireland’s steady economic recovery looks set to continue into 2017 North Sails Ireland is strengthening its sales and service line-up ahead of what promises to be a strong year for the Crosshaven-based company.

Renowned international yachtsman Shane Hughes joined the team in January 2017 working alongside North Sails in Ireland founder Nigel Young in Crosshaven and Prof O’Connell in Dublin.

Since Young started the business in 2004 North Sails in Ireland has grown into a major force in the Irish yacht racing and cruising markets. Since joining the company in 2007 O’Connell has established a loyal client base in the clubs and marinas in and around the busy Dublin Bay sailing area.

Now, with Ireland set for an extended period of economic growth, Young believed the time was right to bring Hughes onboard to help deal with what he expects to be a busy year in Irish yachting.

“Ireland is emerging from the tough economic times of the last few years and I’m delighted that Shane will be joining Prof and myself as we begin 2017. Shane brings an unrivaled level of expertise as a racer and equally importantly is somebody who is highly-respected and well-liked.”

Hughes was born in Dublin and began his racing career at the age of nine at Howth Yacht Club. He competed nationally and internationally in Mirrors and 420s and began racing keelboats at the age of 15.

When Hughes was 20, Nigel Young invited him to become a member of the famed North Sails “1720 crew”. Soon after Hughes joined North Sails UK as a sailmaker. He went on to run the company’s service floor before being recruited to the sales team.

This resulted in many years competing at the highest level in the UK and international regatta circuits but Hughes also found the time to graduate with a business management degree from Southampton Solent University.

His talented sail trimming skills and keen tactical smarts kept him very much in demand and he quickly earned a reputation as an expert across a range of high-performance one-design classes. Hughes was selected on several occasions by Oman Sail for the grueling Tour Voile marathon race around Europe and similarly won the 2015 Sailing Arabia The Tour event as part of the EFG Bank Monaco crew.

As the project manager and trimmer for several years with prolific British sailing team, ‘Red’, Hughes secured victories at the Melges 32 European Championship and in the Farr 400 and Farr 280 classes at Key West Race Week. Hughes works with new and existing Ireland-based clients all across Ireland but will have a special focus on developing relationships along the east coast of the country.

“I can’t wait to get started,” Hughes said. “I have always believed that North Sails development and production capabilities set them head and shoulders above the competition and I’m thrilled to be back home working in the Irish sailing community.”

“Nigel, Prof and I have all been good friends and crew for a long time. They have created a wonderful crew here and I’m honored to be able to become a part of it and help them grow to see it excel over the coming years.”

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