North Sails NEWS

Story Contributors: Ronan Grealish, Mike Henning


SORC Kicks Off with the Covid Shakedown Regatta

Peter and Duncan Bacon’s Sunfast 3300 Sea Bear 📸 Rick Tomlinson

Single and doublehanded sailors took to the water for the first time in months last weekend for the Solent Shakedown Race organized by the Solo Offshore Racing Club.

36 participants took to the Solent, welcomed by warm weather and a building sea breeze. Every sailor was happy to finally get out on the water to enjoy the sport they love.

With North clients claiming the top seven places in Class 1 Solo IRC, it was Richard Palmer’s JPK 1010 Jangada who took the overall win, made even sweeter as it was the boat’s first outing since returning from the Caribbean at the end of May. We spoke with Palmer to find out how it felt to return to racing on home waters:

“With winds building from 8 to 14 knots throughout the day, the conditions were ideal for checking the rig set-up. Starting with the J1.5 and staying in the tide off Gurnard, I had slightly over-stood the first layline, which actually put me in a position to control the fleet. I used the S2 to the next mark, soaking low to avoid having to jibe. I then took the call to hold onto the J1.5 in the building breeze, twisting the leech open slightly to help me depower. Despite many thousands of miles, my North sails are holding up well and I am still competitive. I am very pleased with the results.’’

North expert Ronan Grealish with Nick Lee’s Projection 920 Wee Bear

North expert Ronan Grealish was on the water in the North Sails RIB, offering coaching, sail trim tips, and support to all. Based on our experience last weekend, we’ve come up with three key tips for shorthand sailing:

Sail Trim:

Optimize your sail controls so you can control the mainsail and headsail from the same position. Cross sheeting the headsails is a good option to allow both sails to be trimmed from the windward side. It is important to have your sheets marked for average upwind trim so you can quickly pull them to the mark before fine-tuning once settled on your new tack.

Planning Ahead:

Thinking two steps ahead will mean you are always ready and anticipating the next manoeuver, reducing the likelihood of sailing past a turning mark. Sailing the shortest distance will pay more than keeping the sail up until the last moment.

Having an Autopilot:

A good autopilot is crucial, allowing you to concentrate on sail trim which powers the boat and gives you the best speed. Keeping your head out of the boat to look for changing conditions and tactical decisions will pay dividends when paired with effective sail trimming.

Did you miss our doublehanded webinar with renowned offshore sailor Armel Le Cléac’h and phenom Clarisse sur l’Atlantique? The duo joined North Sails President Ken Read for an inside look into the trials of doublehanded sailing and the grit it takes to race shorthanded. Watch here.

Winner of Class 1 Solo IRC, Richard Palmer’s JPK 1010 Jangada 📸 Rick Tomlinson
Ole Bettum’s Grand Soleil 34 Almara IV sailing against an impressive backdrop 📸 Rick Tomlinson
The fleet of single and doublehanders on the downwind leg 📸 Rick Tomlinson
James and Charlie Owen’s J/99 Jet 📸 Rick Tomlinson
Sam Cooper sailing the J/88 Tigris 📸 Rick Tomlinson


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Story Contributors

Shorthand Sailors Take Over the Solent headshot
Ronan Grealish

Sail Expert — Gosport, United Kingdom

Ronan specialises in optimising sails in order to get the best out of a rating and also spends time working with double-handed crews around the UK to develop effective sail inventories. He started in the industry in 2007 and joined...

Shorthand Sailors Take Over the Solent headshot
Mike Henning

Sail Expert — Gosport, United Kingdom Cowes, United Kingdom

Mike joined North Sails UK a decade ago after four years in the sailmaking industry. He grew up racing dinghies in Guernsey, won several titles for the University of Southampton, and then followed to the Melges 24 class around Europe....

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