North Sails LOFT NEWS


We’re proud to welcome new team members in Auckland. Welcome to North Sails!

Matt Kelway, Salesman and Richard Bicknell, General Manager

The Westhaven sales office will definitely be a quieter place with the departure of Josh Tucker, who has taken a leave of absence to sail around the world with his family. Josh remains a part of the North team, however, and will still be available by email for advice and updates.

Joining the sales team is Matt “G” Kelway, who originally came to North nearly 10 years ago. He originally joined the company after finishing his business degree in 2007, working on scheduling and logistics, then spent several years overseas sailing on the RC44 circuit and with Gavin Brady’s Beau Geste programme. Kelway grew up sailing at Bucklands Beach, where he was coached by North Sales and Marketing Manager Andrew Wills — with whom he now sails on an Etchells.

Kelway has been working with North on a new enterprise resource planning (ERP) system for its lofts worldwide, but has decided to join the Auckland-based team in a sales role.

“It will be good to be more front-of-house, dealing with clients. I’m looking forward to getting out there and dealing with the local sailors, getting around the country to some of the smaller clubs and letting them know that we’re here to help,” says Kelway. “With the America’s Cup coming back here, it’s really important to get people excited about sailing again.”

Supporting and managing the Auckland team will be Richard “Bicky” Bicknell, who has taken on the role of General Manager. He will also continue handling sales to superyacht clients.

Bicknell recently competed at the Loro Piana superyacht regatta in Porto Cervo, Italy, aboard Farfalla, before sailing the J Class America’s Cup regatta in Bermuda, then returning to Palma in the Mediterranean for another superyacht event. Next he will be off to the J Class world champs in Newport, Rhode Island, then to the Monaco Boat Show and superyacht regatta in Saint Tropez, before finishing the year doing the Sydney-Hobart race aboard Rantan.

“My role to supply cohesion to the loft and keep all the parts working together, and with the other lofts around the world,” says Bicknell. “There’s been a bit of change, but it’s all starting to come together. The team we’ve got now is very exciting.”

Joining the team at the North Shore loft are two other well-known faces: Ben Costello, who has nearly 20 years’ experience as a sailmaker and on big boats, and Casey Bellingham.

Costello, who has been freelancing for the past few years, has come to the North team full-time to take on the role of Service Manager. He will be dealing with sails coming in for service or recuts, organising parts, and taking care of the neds of visiting superyachts.

“We’ve got a great set-up here, with a Hiab and forklifts and plenty of storage, and this summer we already know of seven or eight superyachts that will be here and need assistance,” says Costello.

Bellingham, also an experienced sailmaker who originally hails from the Bay of Islands, has come to the loft as Master Sailmaker, overseeing the production quality of upwind sails, in tandem with Ben de Fluiter, who looks after downwind sails. He will also oversee the training of new apprentices.

“Even though sailmaking has changed a lot, it’s really important that they have the skills and understand the principles of how the fabric behaves and can be used.”

Ben Costello has come to the North team full-time to take on the role of Service Manager.
  • #GoBeyond