North Sails LOFT NEWS
NORTH SAILS TAKE TOP HONOURS AT THE BAY OF ISLANDS SAILING WEEK
A record-breaking number of boats turned out for the 2019 CRC Bay of Islands Sailing Week, with yachts carrying North Sails taking top honours in many divisions.
A total of 116 yachts entered this year, up from just over 100 in 2018, and an extra Island Racing division had to be created to accommodate all the entries.
The biggest winner of the regatta was local boat Kia Kaha, skippered by Chris Hornell, an older TP52 which took out the South Pacific PHRF Championships trophy with a local crew and an inventory including many North sails. Division A was won on line by TP52 Mayhem, with a full North Sails wardrobe.
But everyone was a winner who got to spend three days sailing around one of New Zealand’s most beautiful bays, enjoying near perfect conditions with 8–12 knots and sunny skies every day.
North Sails designer Magnus Doole, sales and marketing manager Andrew Wills, loft manager Guy Hewson and master sailmaker Casey Bellingham raced on different boats in the highly competitive B division. Doole and the crew on Ker 40 Icebreaker came out on top, winning on line, PHRF and general handicap, after taking out every race on line.
Doole says conditions were perfectly suited to Icebreaker, which was utilising a new North 3Di mainsail and number 1.5 jib.
“The 1.5 design is based on the latest-generation TP52 Super Series mould, and we definitely had a noticeable VMG gain in its range,” he says. “We decided that with the configuration changes we had made to the boat, we wouldn’t get a new number 1, but get a 1.5 and focus on having a great result in this regatta, where we knew conditions were often in that 8–12 knot range.”
There was a slight hiccup on the last day, when Icebreaker started prematurely and had to go back, but they quickly managed to get back out in front, before the first mark.
“We had boat-speed to burn when we needed it,” Doole says, adding that the Bay of Islands “is a pretty great place to go yachting.”
Also in the B division, Stomp 38 Titanium (now owned by Bellingham and his brother) finished second and Clockwork (with Hewson aboard) third on PHRF, while Soto 40 Alegre, with Wills in her crew, finished second on line.
Boats with North sails also took honours in the various Island Racing divisions, where yachts sail longer courses around the beautiful Bay. Ran Tan, with North general manager Richard Bicknell on board, won Island Racing A on PHRF and general handicap, with Bull Rush third on general; First Picasso took out general handicap in Island Racing B; Rattle n Rum was first on PHRF in Island Racing C, and Black Magic first on PHRF in Island Racing F.
The sportsboat division provided some close and exciting racing, with pro sailor Stu Wilson and his crew on Shaw 7 Angry Dragon, using North sails, taking out line and handicap honours. North One Design manager Derek Scott steered Magic 25 w-8 Up to second place on general handicap.
There was also tight racing in the Young 88 division, where North Sails expert Matt Kelway sailed aboard Flash Gordon, using a North Sails main cut to the new radial design.
“We had a really great week, doing two windward-leewards and a harbour race each day,” he says. “It was all tied up going into the last day and we had close racing the whole time.”
Kelway says it’s great to see Bay of Islands continuing to be so well supported by local sailors, with the fleet this year reaching record numbers in the event’s 17th year.
“It’s fantastic that there were so many boats, and so much interest in the island racing divisions. You can do windward-leewards anywhere, but people want to get out and see the islands and what the Bay has to offer.”