North Sails LOFT NEWS


North clients Dave and Mary Ellen Tortorello feel the power of teamwork on J/111 Partnership

We caught up with Dave and Mary Ellen Tortorello, owners of J/111 Partnership and long-time clients of North Sails. Having competed in a large variety of regional regattas, including coastal and inshore PHRF, the pair are pleased with everything they have been able to accomplish, given all the right ingredients. Mary Ellen shared their story with us and we enjoyed hearing her explain how the experience has been so much fun. Through collaboration and new-found friendships, Partnership has defined a sailing experience that allows their team to perform at a higher level.

Before switching to the J/111, Dave and Mary Ellen enjoyed racing a J/122 out of Mary Ellen’s home club, Black Rock Yacht Club, in Bridgeport, Connecticut. Their experience racing the J/122 instilled skills and best practices that apply well to the new program on Partnership. Both boats were outfit with complete North Sails inventories, the other constant being a focus on great crew, teamwork and exceptional preparation. « Every crew member brings a valuable skill set, » said Mary Ellen. « Some like short course racing, others were great at distance racing. Most important is creating a supportive atmosphere, we back each other up 100% ». Every sailing experience is one-of-a-kind. From an outsiders perspective, Partnership is a well-oiled machine, outfit with cutting-edge products and a great group of people onboard.

While Dave is the skipper, Mary Ellen brings a lot to her team while trimming the headsail and managing the pit. Her sights were set on Block Island Race Week, where they would take first place in PHRF 1 after a fun-filled week of exciting racing. « When you get her above 12 knots, she planes and it’s so much fun going downwind. »

The Vineyard Race, a distance race out of Stanford Yacht Club and around Martha’s Vineyard, would be the next test for Partnership. While Dave prefers short course racing these days, he sat this one out while Mary Ellen led the crew to finish first in their division and seventh overall.

« Honey, I’m going to put together a fantastic crew & we’re gonna go out there and bring it! »

Partnership’s season rounded out with an overall win in PHRF division at Black Rock Yacht Club during the Wednesday night series. At the AYC (American Yacht Club) Fall Series in Rye, NY they took first in their division and first overall in PHRF. Partnership is equipped with North Sails 3Di and the Tortorello’s have pinned down a ‘plug and play’ set up they can tune easily. They notice the benefits and capability of their inventory, and continue to learn.

“The encouragement we get from the North Sails team and service crew has contributed to our success over the years. We couldn’t be happier with their support.”

The Tortorello’s have trusted North Sails for 10 years now, and have built a strong relationship with their sales team member, J/111 Expert Jack Orr, who has been there for them every step of the way. “I just want to thank Jack for being a terrific person, and for always representing North Sails in a professional manner. He always made sure we had the right sails for the season and kept us in the loop on the new products. He’s such a great friend”. Another key North Sails contributor to the Partnership program is sails designer David Hirsch. His designs skills are amongst the top in the industry. Dave shared his wealth of knowledge in sail design & sailboat racing throughout the years to continually help us improve. We value his time, talent & friendship.

The Tortorello’s and the Partnership team enjoy regattas for many reasons. They love to be challenged, enjoy racing, and most of all, enjoy sailing with friends who share the same passion for the sport.

“I’ve met some incredible people over the past 10 years racing Partnership, meeting other racers after regattas, making friends, trading stories, all good fun! »

All the best to the Tortorello’s, and props from all of us at North Sails for offering an example of hard work, dedication and spirit making all the difference.

Click here for more information on North Sails J/111 products, or to speak with an expert.

Dave and Mary Ellen accepting their trophy at American Yacht Club for winning the spring series
Partnership at Block Island Race Week, securing their class win

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