North Sails NEWS
Story Contributors: Dick Parker
#NSVICTORYLIST: ICHI BAN
Winners of the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race 2019
North Sail experts Rob Greenhalgh and Dick Parker were onboard Matt Allen’s TP52 Ichi Ban, the 2019 Sydney Hobart overall winner. Here’s what they had to say about the importance of preparation and choosing the right sail inventory.
“This year’s Sydney Hobart was all about being able to transition through the weather conditions as soon as possible,” explains trimmer Dick Parker. “We did it well the first night. Our navigator positioned us well, especially since we didn’t have much heads-up on what the weather was going to do. Fortunately we got through that transition period without stopping and it set us up perfectly for the next phase of the race, which was a reach to Tasman Island.”
Another transition awaited at Tasman, and after a few anxious hours the thermal breeze arrived. “We ran up the Derwent River and straight to the finish in Hobart,” continues Rob Greenhalgh, the main trimmer for the race. “We made big gains due to our sail choices and being critical about trim. Matt drove the boat well too.”
Ichi Ban carried only 11 sails for the 628nm marathon. “Main and two jibs were all RAW 870,” Dick says. “The genoa staysail was RAW 760, and we had a paneled spinnaker staysail. The kites were all built from various weights of Superkote.”
Together, the A1.5 and A4 covered the full range of VMG, Rob says. “Having those two great options allowed us to free up space for another sail. It was key to have every option we could ever need. We worked very hard to get our sail inventory exactly how we wanted.”
Ichi Ban won the 2017 race just three months after launching, but owner and skipper Matt Allen knew that every program had stepped up their game. “Working closely with Matt helped to evolve new sail concepts,” Rob says. “We were always asking how we could get the program that much better than before.”
The team also made several modifications to the boat. “We added a new offshore rudder,” Dick Parker says. “And our new inshore mast from Southern Spars was the perfect fit.”
This excellent preparation made their victory possible, but Rob says it was far from easy. “We were always in sight of our closest competitors. All the TP52 teams brought their A-game to the race. There was no excuse to make a mistake. Being fast is key, so if you are a trimmer, you had better be happy to trim for hours on end!”
Ichi Ban is off to a great start in 2020 with an overall IRC win at the Australian Yacht Championships. Up next is the Port Lincoln Yacht Race in February.