North Sails LOFT NEWS

Story Contributors: Drew Mitchell


Customer Spotlight: Matthew Henderson

mariah new sails

Local North Sails expert Drew Mitchell sat down with Matthew Henderson, owner of C&C 29 MK2 Mariah, to discuss her new sails and the impact they’ve had.

In the last 18 months you have purchased a full set of upwind and downwind sails off North Sails for Mariah. Why did you choose North Sails over other sail makers and how was the experience?

 North Sails and Drew Mitchell were recommended to me by Dave M on Boondoggle (J/160). Being my first set of sails on my first boat (which I had only owned for a year) I was still figuring out what I wanted from new sails and how I was going to be using the boat long term. Drew helped explain some materials, construction, PHRF size limits, battens, etc. rather than just turn around a quote like some others and it earned my business. I was very happy with the upwind sails and chose North again for two new kites a few months later. I’m very happy with the new sails and the difference they make.

With the current state of the world people are sailing with less crew. You are a racer/cruiser that is usually sailing short handed, how have you set up your boat differently than say a full time racer/cruiser that sails with a full crew?

Fortunately the boat was well setup for singlehanded sailing when I bought it: Nice 40 speed Andersen self-tailors, traveller and mainsheet easy to reach from the wheel, and all control lines led aft. Being a bit of a tender boat I’ve focused a lot on mainsail control. I’ve added temporary means to add tension to the babystay, added a Cunningham, and led the Vang aft to the cabintop. I’ve also focused on sheet leads with inhaulers, barberhaulers, and tweakers to get a bit more out of the sails I’ve got up and avoid a peel.

 When switching from cruising to racing does much change on the boat?

If I happen to have some casual crew I tend to do very little. If I’m single-handing or with crew that cares I give the bottom a scrub and unload everything I can: 200ft of anchor chain and the primary anchor, the two 10lb propane bottles, crab traps, cockpit cushions, tools, spares, 600ft of stern line, barbeque… the list goes on.

I follow you on instagram and it seems like you are out on the water all time. How many days have you got out this year and how do you manage to get out so often?

As of November 8th I’ve been off the dock 102 days this year with 400 hours underway. 65 days were single-handed. With working remotely all spring/summer using the boat just became habitual with every sunset sail after work, morning coffee on the hook, and hoist of the sails reinforcing it. There’s plenty of daylight after work all summer and the Espar works well when it’s cold. I can’t understand why marina’s aren’t empty every weekend.

What was your longest trip this year and where did you go? What is your favorite part about cruising in the PNW?

I had three big trips this year; 10 days in Desolation in early July and 10 & 20 day trips throughout the Gulf Islands. Swimming in the dark with phosphorescence glittering over my entire body is definitely a favourite.

mariah new sails

What was your favorite cruising moment this year?

 The dinghy shenanigans were certainly memorable. Took the 8ft inflatable through some 10kt rapids in Von Donop Inlet and got four dinghies lashed together up on plane just to name a couple.

What races have you done this year and what is your favorite part about sailboat racing?

I did the unofficial round Bowen, Great Gambier Gallivant, Big Breakfast Bonanza, RNSA, Jack & Jill, and a couple other unofficial laps. I enjoy comparing my skills and boat performance to everyone else and learning as much as I can. Learning all of the local tactics with respect to tides and winds helps me stay sailing while cruising longer and get to my destinations faster.

Every sailboat owner is always working on his/her boat. Do you have any projects on the go or planned for the near future for Mariah?

I’m hoping to replace all of my running rigging over the winter with some higher tech stuff, I’ve got new clutches and deck organizers to install, new v-berth hatch to install, a transmission to rebuild, and some lights I want to replace.

If you had a choice of any racer/cruiser to race and cruise in the PNW which boat would you choose and why?

I’ve had a big crush on the J/112e lately. Modern rig and sail inventory, great performance uphill and downhill, moves in light air, it isn’t trying to be a floating apartment, and I’d be happy to take it to Hawaii and back if I can get the time away from work.

mariah new sails

mariah new sails

Story Contributors

New Life With New Sails headshot
Drew Mitchell

Sail Expert — Vancouver, British Columbia

Drew Mitchell grew up sailing at the Lunenburg Yacht Club in Nova Scotia. He has raced on and coached high performance one design for nearly 20 years. Drew races in the Melges 24, Farr 30 and the TP 52 PNW...

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