Please select your home edition
Edition
Wildwind 2016 728x90

Etchells Winter Championship - Michael Coxon talks new sail technology

by Tracey Johnstone on 28 Mar 2014
Despite advances in sail technology, the basic sailmaking skills are still required on the loft floor North Sails
North Sails Australia’s Michael Coxon was the first skipper to enter the Mooloolaba’s 18th Etchells Australasian Winter Championship to be held from 5th to 8th June 2014.

His team will be an all-North Sails team with Coxon’s business partner Richie Allanson and their production manager Andrew Gavenlock hoping on board for the regatta.

Coxon’s name at the top of list is not surprising for those in the know in the Etchells class. Coxon and his North Sails co-workers are avid Etchells class supporters both as competitors and industry suppliers to the class.

While the North Sails team members are often on the podium at the top Etchells events, in the background they continue to push the boundaries on materials and sail shape to achieve better Etchells class sails.

Coxon took time out this week to discuss North Sails latest sail development work which will be on display at the 18th Etchells Australasian Winter Championship.

The principle focus of the North Sails program at the moment is the Newport World Championship. This program is being led by Vince Brun in the USA.

'We are very pleased with the class results leading up to the Newport worlds with North Sails recently winning the Jaguar Regatta, taking seven of top 10 places and just last weekend won the North Americans. In fact, we took the first five places and had eight teams in the top 10.

'The number one goal is positioning our clients so that hopefully they can take out the next worlds which our clients have achieved in the previous seven worlds. The last world’s Norths didn’t win was in 2006 when Judd (Smith) won in Perth,' Coxon said.

On a longer time frame development process North Sails are working on full radial upwind sails which are radially constructed right through. They have been working on that process for over a year and with 2012 Etchells World Champion skipper Tom King and his crew on the project.


'We have been developing these in conjunction with Tom and now Vince is also testing these designs. We have developed the mainsail mould and are working on light and medium heavy jib moulds. Once we have the consensus mould for each design, we can very accurately refine design concepts, reproduce and test. At a recent on-water testing session we photographed seven different designs, then we used the North Advanced Sail Analysis (ANA) software to record the flying shapes which allows accurate design comparisons. Those are analysed in our Skype debriefs which we also use to gain input from our team in various locations around the country and globe.'

Coxon has been using the test sails for about year including when he won the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron Milson Silver Goblet earlier this year. He then lent his development main to fellow Sydney Fleet member Matt Whitnall, who promptly won the next race, ordered the radial main for the NSW Championships held the next weekend where he finished an impressive third with other North Sails clients taking first and second.

'The radial construction is where we see the future of the sails going, for two reasons. One, there is now available in the marketplace a suitable warped orientated Dacron. What that means is the strength of the cloth goes along the roll rather than across it. That means we can utilise the radial construction to better align with the sailing loads to make sails that will hold their shape better and last longer. Both important factors when working within the class sail limitations and budgets.

'In the past some people have dabbled with radial construction, including ourselves, but to be honest, it was more fashion than function because what we were using wasn’t warped orientated cloths. They looked nice, but they didn’t necessarily meet all the performance requirements.

'In layman’s terms, with sail cloth you have either the strength focused across the roll, called the fill of the cloth, or along the roll called the warp of the cloth. So you have stronger fill threads or warp threads. The stronger yarn in the weave will run the direction of the load. So if you make a cross-cut sail, which is traditionally what Etchells and one-design Dacron sails are made of, you have in the past used fill orientated cloth with the strong weave running across the roll.

'Due to North Cloth Department investment in specialised warp weaving equipment we are now developing One Design quality warp Dacrons to meet the Etchells class rule. Warp is more difficult to weave because you are controlling the continued length of the fabric where with fill you are only controlling for a metre across the fabric,' he said.

The new moulds for the mainsails and jibs have been developed and are already available to clients alongside the existing proven World Championship winning cross-cut sails.

North Sails will have the warp orientated, stronger, more durable sails, out on the water at the Mooloolaba Winters in June, carried by Tom King, Matt Whitnall and on Coxon’s boat, No Star.

For all event information including the Notice of Race and online entry, click here or here.

Hamilton Island LuxuryEnsign 660Barz Optics - Melanin Lenses

Related Articles

2016 SB20 World Championships - Hobart SB20 sailors ready for action
Three Australian crews are taking on some of world’s best sailors when they contest SB20 World Championship in Portugal 2016 SB20 World Championships - Three Australian crews, two from Tasmania and one from Victoria, are taking on some of the world’s best sailors when they contest the Cascais 2016 SB20 One-design Sportboat World Championship in Portugal, with competition starting tomorrow, 30 August.
Posted today at 4:42 am
Spring into summer with NCYC’s Inner Spring Regatta
Entry is open 2016 NCYC Inner Spring Regatta to be held over the 10th and 11th of September. Entry is open 2016 NCYC Inner Spring Regatta to be held over the 10th and 11th of September. With six on the entry list in the first 24 hours this will be a regatta not to miss.
Posted on 24 Aug
A sporting future for the Broadwater
More than 70 industry, community and business leaders, stakeholders and media met last week at Southport Yacht Club More than 70 industry, community and business leaders, stakeholders and media met at the start of August at Southport Yacht Club on Queensland’s Gold Coast to discuss the topic “Unlocking the potential of the Broadwater through Sport”. Hosted by Sports Gold Coast, the non-profit organisation funded by its local business members to foster and grow pathways from grass roots to elite level.
Posted on 20 Aug
2016 Hamilton Island Race Week - Accommodation deals
Have you booked your accommodation for Hamilton Island Race Week 2016? Have you booked your accommodation for Hamilton Island Race Week 2016? Due to some last minute cancellations we still have some great properties available!
Posted on 17 Aug
PredictWind - One stop shop
PredictWind have taken the bold step of adding government provided forecasts to their award winning forecasting software PredictWind the world leader in forecasting believe that more is better, and have taken the bold step of adding government provided forecasts to their award winning forecasting software.
Posted on 15 Aug
DSS Winter Series - Coopers’ winter win with new SB20
Brett and Jacinta Cooper yesterday sailed their brand new boat, Aeolus, to a win on its first day of racing 2016 DSS Winter Series - SB20 one-design sportsboat enthusiasts Brett and Jacinta Cooper yesterday sailed their brand new boat, Aeolus, to a win on its first day of racing in the Derwent Sailing Squadron/Cascade Winter Series on the River Derwent.
Posted on 15 Aug
Dateline Rio - Boulevard of Broken Dreams or the Stairway to Heaven?
The Mixed Zone at the Rio Olympic Regatta was certainly true to its name this evening The Mixed Zone at the Rio Olympic Regatta was certainly true to its name this evening, with some of the sailors passing through having seriously improved their regatta, and for others a steep climb to the podium just got steeper.
Posted on 14 Aug
Hamilton Island Race Week 2016 - Last minute accommodation
Have you booked your accommodation for Hamilton Island Race Week 2016? Have you booked your accommodation for Hamilton Island Race Week 2016? Due to some last minute cancellations we still have some great properties available!
Posted on 12 Aug
Marine Resources job updates
Marine Resources specialises in providing expert recruitment services to the leisure marine industry worldwide. Marine Resources specialises in providing expert recruitment services to the leisure marine industry worldwide. Jobseekers register your CV now to receive the latest vacancies and be matched to your ideal job. Employers choose from a variety of recruitment options which include a full consultancy service as well as a unique job advertising package.
Posted on 11 Aug
2016 Hamilton Island Race Week - Best accommodation options
Have you booked your accommodation for Hamilton Island Race Week 2016? Have you booked your accommodation for Hamilton Island Race Week 2016? Due to some last minute cancellations we still have some great properties available!
Posted on 9 Aug