by Zoe Hawkins
North Sails are a sponsor of Bay of Islands Sailing Week
The world’s largest and most reputable sailing brand, North Sails, is setting up shop in the Bay of Islands, and the operation will be headed by one of the industry’s most experienced sailmakers, Roger Hall.
Opua is the first port of call for over 400 cruising yachts a year, has a thriving race scene, and hosts the annual Bay of Islands Sailing Week.
'Opua needed its own sail loft because most of the work was being directed to Auckland,' says Roger Hall, manager of the new North Sails Bay of Islands Loft, which is located adjacent to Opua Marina. The 250 berth marina is undergoing significant development and improvement, and can accommodate boats of up to 50m in length.
Hall, a Northland resident who has worked in sailmaking for 27 years, says that the loft will be able to cater for any size boat, and undertake repairs and recuts, and new sail design and builds will utilise the facilities in Auckland.
'North Sails are renowned for providing durable, well made cruising and race sails that provide better value for money and hold their shape over many years,' says Roger, of the company that is supplier to teams in America’s Cup, Olympic classes, and ocean racing.
'The Bay of Islands loft will add to the world’s largest international network. Our customers generally want the very best for their boat, and the expertise and attention to detail in the North Sails product is one I have a lot of faith in. Being on the ground in Opua will mean we can turn repairs around quickly and provide a great service and very high quality product.'
North Sails Marketing Manager Andrew Wills says, 'We are excited to have someone with as much experience as Roger, representing North Sails in the Northland area. We will give him as much support as possible from the Auckland hub, and we believe that the North Sails brand will be welcomed by the large international cruising market that frequents the Bay of Islands.'
The loft will open its doors on 1 September and North Sails New Zealand is also a major sponsor of Bay of Islands Sailing Week.