North Sails LOFT NEWS

TP SEASON KEEPS GLENFIELD LOFT BUSY

It’s been a busy winter for the team at North Sails New Zealand’s Glenfield loft, with more than 6 tonnes of new sails heading out the door

TP 52 ‘Phoenix’

Head sailmaker Casey Bellingham, who specialises in upwind sails, says the loft has been busy making race sails for the northern hemisphere TP 52 Super Series, which has seen an intense season of racing in Spain, Portugal and Italy. The NZ loft alone, has finished nearly 100 TP sails this year, including all the sails for Hasso Plattner’s Phoenix 11 and Phoenix 12 and the Sled, Bronenosec and Alegre teams, as well as producing sails for IRC TP 52s such as Hooligan, Ichi Ban, Team Hollywood, Envy Scooters and Beau Geste, and Pacific 52s Invisible Hand and Rio. North Sails made sail inventories for all, but two boats in this years Super Series.

“Every team requires small custom details, and that is what we do well”, Bellingham says. 

The majority of the TP sails are made from North 3Di RAW 880 cloth, a blend of carbon, aramid and Ultra PE fibres, which provides a high level of shape stability and strength in a lightweight sail. 

“This is a product that North has been developing over the past few years,” Bellingham says. “Everything superfluous has been stripped out of the structure so these sails are much lighter, which is what every sailor wants. It’s not only an advantage on the water but also makes them much easier to handle in the loft.”

For example, the 3Di RAW 880 headsail for Fast 40 Team Hollywood, on which North Sails sales and marketing manager Andrew Wills sailed at Hamilton Island, weighed 10% less than our previous 3Di headsail, but had even more useful structure.

At the conclusion of the end of this season, designers and sailors will have a performance review, working out how the concept can be refined for even more gains.

The team is now working on major orders in preparation for the Sydney–Hobart race in December, and the superyacht season. Among them are sails for Wild Oats and Black Jack, and a suit of sails for the 34 metre Sassafrass, including a mainsail with a 37 metre luff, in preparation for January’s Millennium Cup event in the Bay of Islands.  

Wills says having Bellingham’s nearly 30 years of expertise in the loft has made the busy production season run smoothly.

“Casey has such a wealth of experience, and he really takes the young sailmakers under his wing and teaches them a lot,” Wills says. “It’s great for everyone that he and the other highly experienced sailmakers here are able to share that knowledge and pass on their passion for making great sails.”