North Sails LOFT NEWS

September 27, 2018


Francois Drouin & His Family Sailed to Toronto with Their New 3Di Sails to Compete in the Lake Ontario 300


A family adventure to sail 300NM around Lake Ontario was the goal for Francois Drouin and his family, who originally hail from Quebec but traveled to Toronto to participate in the Lake Ontario 300. With his new 3Di RAW Square Top Mainsail and 3Di RAW furling Jib, the family was ready to race on their Beneteau First 30. He shares with us his experience with the new boat and the new sails.

What prompted you to do the Lake Ontario 300?

When I first bought the boat, I understood that it was more for long distances rather than short distances. In our region, we don’t have many long distance regattas or races. Since I’m racing with my family and they’re my crew, they needed to be able to do these kind of races. For me, I’ve been doing offshore race since the 1980s, but for my children it was their first time, so we went into the regatta with the thought process that it was the next step in the progression of our crew and our boat.

One thing that is also important when it came to competing in the 300 was having a co-ed crew. It’s a sport for both men and women, not just for guys. From our point of view, this race was new and interesting; providing an experience for everyone onboard.

It looked like you guys were having a fun time out on the race course!

We were but it was also interesting as well. It’s was a challenge for me because I’m from another generation, sailing with people who are younger so we have to adjust a bit. For me, it was very important to have this kind of transmission though, because sailing was a passion for me since I was young and now as an adult being able to sail with my sons is great fun. For them, the fun was to be part of the decision in the way they would run the boat; they gained confidence in what they were doing.


What was your motivation behind upgrading your sail inventory?

In the beginning when my family was still learning, having brand new sails wasn’t necessary. Now that they’ve learned more and become more comfortable, it then made more sense to upgrade our inventory to the best product where we could our new knowledge and sailing together to race the boat to its potential.

If you look at the beginning, using the spinnaker was too complicated, we only used the asymmetrical. Now I think it’s the time that we are ready. This is the first thing. The other thing is that when I’ve been looking around for these new sails, I was not sure how easy it would be for the crew to have them. When I looked for the performance going up though, I decided it was the time to change. I expected what made a big difference for us was mainly how the sails can have their design, the shape, a lot more than what I have seen. Formerly, I used to have the little 36.7 with my brother and we had used the 3DL sails on that boat too but I think the 3Di sails are a lot better because the 3DL were a bit more complicated to adjust.

Another thing that was useful for me was, the information from the Volvo Ocean Races; even with a lot of miles going on, they will be still in quite very good shape.

What were your first impressions? Did they play out to how you were expecting them to perform or above expectations?

They performed above expectations because they don’t weigh much. The main thing though is the way they, even if it’s light air, mid air or more heavier air, keep their shape all the time. So, you don’t have that much adjustment to do with it; it’s a lot easier. It’s also a lot easier for the main sail trimmer to do its job right now with these sails than it was formerly.

What’s next on your adventure list for the family?

Here in Quebec City, we have club races and regional races but we pretty much do all the races in the area. Sometimes, we have very good results and sometimes, we have fair results. The purpose for us is not always winning but rather to get better each time. What is good is that this investment in new sails is that we have a lot better results now!


Francois & his family placed second in Main Duck Course – PHRF – Full Sails – Fully Crewed – 3!

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