North Sails LOFT NEWS


The North Sails team in Australia rallied for a successful week at Hamilton Island Race Week – both on the water and in the service loft! We polled the crew on their experience at this years’ race week in paradise, and this is what they had to say.

© Andrea Francolini

Billy Sykes (Swish, Ker 44, Winner of IRC Racing Div. & Passage Div. 1)

Steven Proud put together a fairly young team for the event. Leading up to the regatta we put on a larger mainsail to optimize the yacht for light air, as well as a new headsail and A1.5 spinnaker.

«Surprisingly the larger mainsail was also very fast in moderate to fresh conditions both upwind and downwind.»

After winning the regatta with a day to spare, the team decided to go for a fun cruise around Lindeman Island, though we were careful to stay out of the way of competitors who were still racing!»

© Andrea Francolini

Michael Coxon (R/P 100, Wild Oats XI, Winner of Line Honors)

«It was a pleasure to race on Wild Oats and observe two famous Maxi Yacht rivals, Wild Oats XI and Black Jack, come head to head again at Hamilton Island Race Week. The two yachts last raced each other in the 2009 Sydney to Hobart when the now named Black Jack was Neville Crichton’s Alfa Romeo, which I was racing on, with Alfa gaining the upper hand.

Wild Oats has remained in the Oatley family and last week the tables turned in her favor; however she did not have it all her way with Black Jack taking two impressive line honors with her new owner, Peter Harburg.

Both maxis commissioned new 3Di RAW 3-reef mains for the regatta in preparation for the 2017 Sydney to Hobart Race, when they will battle super-maxi Comanche for line honors. The weather will likely play a big part in that fight, as each of the three maxis have been optimized for, and impressed in, different conditions: Black Jack in the light, Wild Oats medium, and Comanche fresh.

© Andrea Francolini

Mark Bradford & Vaughan Prentice (R/P 100 Black Jack)

The Black Jack team was on a very steep learning curve at Hamilton Island Race Week, with their relaunched boat going head to head with semi-sistership Wild Oats XI. Despite limited practice time, the enthusiastic crew of 20 were certainly up for the challenge of this new addition to the Black Jack family.

«As expected, our recent changes to the RP 100 and new 3Di sail inventory saw us very competitive in the light winds with line honors victories, and an IRC 2nd and 3rd in races 2 and 3 of the regatta.»

This leaves the team with the challenge of finding a click of speed in the moderate to heavy air conditions, before their next major match up with Wild Oats XI in the 2017 Sydney to Hobart.

Paul Westlake, (R/P 66 NANOQ, winners of IRC Race Division)

«I had the pleasure of sailing onboard the immaculately prepared Nanoq – the name HRH Prince Frederik of Denmark uses for all his yachting activities. Nanoq is the Greenlander’s word for polar bear.

«HRH Prince Fredrik steered Nanoq throughout the regatta under the tactical guidance of Iain Murray, and a fantastic blend of Danes and Aussies in the crew. With a large range of wind conditions and sea states (less than five knots and flat water right through to 20 knots and wind against the tide), it was a challenge to hit the right rig tune to match with sail combinations. We were able to keep Nanoq sailing to its IRC rating against tough competition from the sister ship Alive, and also keep an eye on the TP 52 and the two 100 footers.»

«The 3Di RAW jib inventory and 3Di Endurance mainsail enabled us to make gains upwind, and aggressive driving put big smiles on Frederik’s face as he learned the Aussie slang terms of ‘low hooks’ and ‘big sails win big races’.”

© Andrea Francolini

Nick Beaudoin, North Sails Australia Certified Service Manager

Nick had a very busy week with sail repairs! Not only did he coordinate the service loft on the island to handle all the torn spinnakers and keep everyone on the water throughout the week; he also sailed with four North Sails clients:

Day 1 (CNB 76 Charlotte, 2nd place Cruising Division 1)

Nick began the week onboard Ervin Vidor’s gorgeous CNB 76 Charlotte. The race started downwind with 25 knots of breeze through Dent passage, followed by the spinnaker run of the week across Whitsunday Passage and then a beat back to the finish in a dying breeze.

«The yacht’s 3-year-old 3Di Endurance Main and Furling jib were set up perfectly.»

Day 2 (Azuree 46, Kayimai)

Nick joined Rob Aldis and his team for the second day of racing. With a lighter forecast, the crew was ready for the tour around the Whitsundays.

«The strong tide pushed us along downwind to the first turning mark before a series of reaches back and forth in Whitsunday Passage. The new Code Zero excelled in these tricky conditions. The race ended on a shortened course as the breeze faded later in the day.»

© Andrea Francolini

Day 5 (Dehler 38 Rocksalt, skipper Anthony Bishop. 1st Place Cruising Division 4)

«Today we saw more classic HIRW conditions as the breeze picked up and funneled down Dent Passage for the second to last day of racing. It was another windy downwind start for all the fleets as we ran North to the first island turning mark.

«With her new 3Di RAW sails, Rocksalt excelled in the upwind transition as we worked our way through the many islands and against a strong incoming tide.»

For more information, contact your local North Sails Expert for the latest in 3Di products.

North Sails would like to thank our clients for the opportunity to contribute and participate in such a variety of programs, it’s a pleasure to accommodate service needs while witnessing on-the-water performance. We already look forward to next year’s HIRW!

SAILING – Audi Hamilton Island Race Week 2017
20/8/2016 – Hamilton Island, Queensland
ph. Andrea Francolini

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© Andrea Francolini
© Andrea Francolini
© Andrea Francolini
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