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North Sails NZ - the year in review -1

by Zoe Hawkins - North Sails New Zealand on 24 Jul 2008
Jeff Crow/ Sport the Library © http://www.sportlibrary.com.au

Over the past 12 months there has been plenty of action emanating from North Sails loft in downtown Auckland, New Zealand. In the first of a two part series we feature some of the projects in which they have been involved - including Dan Slater's Finn campaign for Qingdao, Bay of Islands Sailing Week, Hugo Boss, Mediterranean Cup, RC44s, Kiwis at Opti Worlds and more.

Dan Slater confirmed for Beijing Olympics


Finn sailor Dan Slater, who is supported by North Sails in his pursuit of Olympic gold, was named as one of the early definite members of the New Zealand Olympic Team. Dan, who placed eighth at the Sydney games, was ranked third ranked in the world in the Finn class and had a number of top 10 finishes at prominent regattas this year, including a win at prestigious Kiel Week. He has been training off Takapuna in preparation for the Worlds in Melbourne, in which he was the silver medalist after leading for much of the regatta. He has also been sailing his catamaran Line 7 (formerly Frantic Drift), in which he placed second in the 119nm HSBC Coastal Classic.

Bay of Islands Sailing Week


Bay of Islands Sailing Week is NZ's biggest must-do regatta with three days of intensive racing from 22-25 Jan 08. North Sails was proud to be there - providing the main marquee, which is party central throughout the week. www.bayofislandssailingweek.org.nz

Middle Sea Race


Only 15 boats out of 53 starters completed the Rolex Middle Sea Race in 2007, and Richard Bicknell and Josh Tucker were aboard the second place getter, the JV66 cruiser-racer, Rubino. Described as one of the world’s great classic offshore races, the Middle Sea Race is 606nm long, starting and finishing from Malta, taking the island of Sicily to port. This year’s race offered up to 50 knots and for many was an exhausting, emotional race, which included the sinking of the 60’ Australian entry Loki after loosing her rudder. All crew were safely rescued.


Hugo Boss


British solo sailor Alex Thomson and crewmate Andrew Cape from Australia were well into their circumnavigation, in November, for the two handed, non-stop Barcelona World Race. The boat showed impressive early speed, and after three weeks of racing the first eight boats were within 200nm of each other. For more details see the race website, http://www.barcelonaworldrace.com/.


Artemis wins Mediterranean Cup


With owner Torbjorn Tornqvist on the tiller of the 2007 Judel Vrolijk design, and at least six past or present America’s Cup winners amongst the afterguard and crew, Artemis won the 2007 Breitling MedCup by just eight points after 32 windward-leeward races and six coastal races over a five series regatta.

Tactician Russell Coutts told the MedCup website, "Five different winners in five different regattas show that winning this has certainly not been easy… I hear that there is nine new boats for next year and the competition is going to be very tough again next year."

Artemis raced with both upwind and downwind sails from North Sails’ Auckland loft.


Newcomer wins RC44 regatta with sails from Norths NZ


RC44s are strictly identical boats - except for the sails, that is. While the hull and spars are constructed by a limited number of licensed builders, only the sails offer room for experimentation.

North Sails New Zealand was very pleased to provide sails to the winner of the fleet racing event in September’s SLAM Cup, particularly given that the campaign was put together at last minute.

The boat was only launched a few days before the race, and the owner-driver, sailing under the close guidance of James Spithall, was a rookie helm, with a crew, a mix of four professionals and four amateurs, assembled just before the event.

Despite this, Igor Lah’s Team CEEREF won the team racing event on the Liguarian Coast, in an exciting regatta run by Yacht Club Italiano.

“We had a month to design and deliver the sails to Europe,” says North Sails designer Gautier Sergent, who worked alongside America’s Cup sail designer Mickey Ickert, and Stephane Fauve on the project. “We provided three 3DL™ jibs, one 3DL™ mainsail and two gennakers.

“It is an owner-driver class, but for this owner it was his first ever regatta. He had five intense days sailing with James Spithall calling the shots for him,” Gautier explains.

“The class is very competitive. The crews are all 50/50 pros and amateurs. People like Russell Coutts and Cameron Appleton race in it, and even the amateurs are very good sailors.”

“It’s an Interesting project and looking very promising for next year. We are looking forward to doing more in that class.”

Hugo Boss 3rd in Fastnet


Just a few weeks after the new Open 60 Hugo Boss was launched, and with less than 100miles on its log, she placed third one of the world’s most prestigious ocean races, the Fastnet. Designer Gautier Sergent attended the boat to assist with fine-tuning. Now the boat is being checked over before traveling to Germany for the official launching ceremony with its sponsors, and Alex Thomson started the Barcelona World Race – a two handed around the world non stop marathon - on 11 November. “The boat showed some early good form and Alex is over the moon with the overall performance of the boat,” says Gautier. www.alexthomsonracing.com


Three out of three for Kiwis and North Sails at Opti Worlds


North Sails New Zealand played a big part in the New Zealand Optimist Team's buildup to the Optimist World Champs in Sardinia, 2007. North Sails contributed to on sail design, set up and tuning, and all members of the Kiwi team sailed with North Sails sails, made in New Zealand. Chris Steele from Wakatere Boating Club, was the new world champion and the first New Zealander to win the event. His team-mate, Alexandra Maloney, was the first girl and third over all. Other New Zealand team members to excel were Logan Dunning Beck, placing 9th, James Turner at 34th and Sam Mackay at 83rd.New Zealand also won the trophy for best team. NZ Coach and North Sails representative Andrew Wills traveled to Sardinia with the team. North Sails New Zealand congratulates the whole NZ team on an amazing result and is heavily involved in their 2008 World Championship international championship campaigns.

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