North Sails LOFT NEWS
CELEBRATING OVER 35 YEARS
A Thank You To Our Service Managers
Both joining in 1985 as young ambitious gents, Domiciano (or Kid as he’s more well known) and Dennis have grown into their service managers roles with invaluable depths of skill and knowledge. Both have become staples in their local lofts and the go-to caregivers for sails; Kid runs the Toronto loft and Dennis heads up the Vancouver loft on the West coast.
For 35 years now these two individuals have been providing expert repairs, maintenance and advice to cruisers and racers alike. Their dedication to North Sails and more importantly, their clients, is something we all at North Sails would like to say Thank You for, as we know we couldn’t do it without them.
Kid joined North Sails when he was well, a kid. He began at North Sails Toronto in January 1985 in manufacturing. During his 35 years here, Kid has gone to Sri Lanka and all over the United States to teach people about sailmaking, manufacturing and repair techniques. He is the first one in the door in the morning and often the last to leave, never liking to leave a project unfinished. He is always committed to getting the job done, meeting customer deadlines and doing a good job.
Larry MacDonald recalls, “I remember clearly Domiciano arriving for his first day at North Sails, and being introduced to him by the production manager. Then like now, he looked less than his years, was small and knew very little English. What he lacked in experience or ability to communicate, he more than made up with his attitude and work effort. He was a fast learner, and within a few years, saw his career take off becoming assistant floor manager and never looking back. His youthful appearance earned him his nickname “Kid” which he has proudly accepted for now 35 years.”
One of his favourite parts about sailmaking is that “Everyday is a new opportunity to learn something new. I know how sailmaking allows me to connect with customers in terms of their needs, whether it’s cruising or racing.” His skill and craftsmanship speaks for itself. We are proud and quite lucky to have him a part of our team. He is the engine that keeps our service team chugging along in Toronto.
Dennis is another gem that has bled blue for over 35 years now, joining the sailmaking world just after high school. Local sales expert Ross MacDonald shares “Dennis Lefeaux is one of North Sails most hard working, joke cracking, ever-creative employees – he’s also may have the most ‘experience’, having started sail making just after high school back in 1979!”
Then and now, Dennis was known as one of the best sailors in the area. A reputation he earned through constant wins on the race course onboard his father’s boat and all the assistance and tips he provided to all the other sailors.
Ross continues, “After beginning work at North in Dave Miller’s loft in Vancouver, Den quickly picked up the skills for all sail repairs and in short order was able to build sails on his own. As one can imagine he’s also very handy at canvas work and creating bags or custom pieces that look like they came from Milan! Some of the notable bits he’s pulled off include Canada’s largest flag, giant architectural canvas work used in BC Place stadium and working with the sail making team with Canada II during the 1987 America’s Cup in Perth, Australia.
Today Dennis looks the same! And he’s faster and more productive than ever. We are fortunate to have his knowledge, skills, wit, and try to follow his work ethic. Leading by example, he continues to inspire many of us.”
Vancouver loft manager Drew Mitchell is also a big fan of Dennis. He details how Dennis is the ultimate co-worker. “Since the first day I met him I have looked up to his knowledge and work ethic. He is the first into work everyday and during the busy season the last to leave. He is very humble. I remember the first day he was showing me the “fast route” from the loft to RVYC and he just casually mentioned he was a sailmaker with the Canada 87′ Americas Cup Team. As any young sailor would, I then started to bombard him with questions about the team and regatta.”
Drew tries to soak up as much as he can from Dennis as he is one of the best sailmakers he knows. Drew states, “he has probably gets tired answering 20 questions a day from me but I always want his advice when I am not sure about something. Dennis is known in the sailing community not only as “the best” sailmaker but as one of the best sailors in the PNW. I have been lucky enough to race on the same boat with him, and just like in the loft, I try to listen to what he has to say and figure out why he does certain things.”
“After a very deep finish in a distance race I was speaking to a competitor who did very well and I asked him how we knew where to go. His response was “It was easy, I just asked Dennis on the dock before racing which way to go!” I now make sure to check in with Dennis before any race to get his opinion on what might work that day. I think the last time his response was “lead off the start and don’t let anyone pass you.” I have never heard someone say a bad thing about Dennis, I consider myself and the entire North Sails Team very lucky to have someone who has worked for North Sails as long as he has. I look forward to the many years we have left working together.