sail-world.com
 
 
News Home Cruising Photo Gallery Video Gallery
Sail-World.com : The Professional - Part 3 of a conversation with Ken Read
The Professional - Part 3 of a conversation with Ken Read


'Skipper Ken Read drives Mar Mostro through a frontal system off of Cape Horn. PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG during leg 5 of the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12, from Auckland, New Zealand, to Itajai, Brazil. (Credit: Amory Ross/PUMA Ocean Racing/Volvo Ocean Race)'    Amory Ross/Puma Ocean Racing/Volvo Ocean Race©    Click Here to view large photo

Ken Read (52) has been commanding sailing headlines for the past thirty-plus years, starting with his collegiate days at Boston University where he was a three-time Collegiate All American and the Intercollegiate Sailing Association’s College Sailor of the Year (1982), through his time as a J/24 and Etchells champion and a respected sailmaker in his hometown of Newport, Rhode Island. Along the way, Read amassed a fine record of more than 40 wins in National, North American and World Championship regattas, and he was twice named U.S. Rolex Yachtsman of the Year (1985 and 1994).

Dennis Conner shoulder tapped Read to serve as his helmsman during the 2000 and 2003 'Stars & Stripes' campaigns, and Read has also served on the afterguard of plenty of high-profile big-boat campaigns, including George David’s all-conquering 'Rambler'. More recently, Read served as the skipper of Puma Ocean Racing’s entries in the 2008-2009 and 2011-2012 editions of the Volvo Ocean Race (VOR), where the team finished in second and third place, respectively.

Additionally, Read has worked in various capacities for North Sails since 1996, and in January of 2013 he was promoted to the high-profile role of President. I recently caught up with Read to get his pulse on sailmaking in an modern era that features wingsails in the Cup, One Design in the VOR and a heavy Grand Prix focus on sport boats and smaller keelboats.

Let’s talk about the 3Di project. Are you still at the point of learning its strengths and virtues, or are you fully in production mode?

It’s fully in production mode, but we learn more about it every day. Like all highly technical products, especially revolutionary products, you learn about it every single day. We just had the 12 sail designers into our Newport offices.

They were all parts of the Aero teams for the four America’s Cups programs, and for three days and we did a debriefing. A three-day debrief on the sails that they built for their Cup projects, and it really turned into a 3Di download, talking about their taping layouts, the materials they used, how they dealt with baton pockets, the fact that there are no patches on the corners anymore.

All these incredible features that the smartest guys in our industry worked on for three and a half years all got dumped into one big basket. It’s such an advantage for us.

Every Cup program and every Volvo program we have these downloads and it is part of the deal with the teams that we get to download the information and then we get to start from scratch so much further ahead next time around because of what we learned.

Skipper Ken Read. PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG during leg 4 of the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12, from Sanya, China to Auckland, New Zealand. (Credit: Amory Ross/PUMA Ocean Racing/Volvo Ocean Race) -  Amory Ross-Puma Ocean Racing-Volvo Ocean Race©   Click Here to view large photo


You guys has made a lot of press with the 3Di sailmaking process. Has anyone started building hulls using this technique?

The process is called Thin Ply Technology. It’s kind of a sister to the 3Di process. The only hull that has ever been made out of TPT are Groupama’s hull, which just won the little America’s Cup. The process could be good for boat building, but because of its nature it would be very expensive.

The tiny little hulls on the C Class boats where perfect for it. It is really made for other industries. I think they are looking at other industries outside of the sailing for TPT. For example, we have made parts for Formula One racecars, and we have made golf shafts. We have made all kinds of intricate, really detailed pieces and I have a feeling that’s where TPT is going to go.

Oracle Team USA made quite a bit of news by teaming up with Boeing for a carbon-fiber recycling program. Is this something you guys are looking into, given all the carbon that goes into 3DL and 3Di sails?

We’ve been looking for ways to recycle sails for a long, long time and anybody who has any ideas - we’re all ears. We understand that [a sail] is a big hunk of plastic, and we want to do it right.

Do you have any secret fibers in the works or should sailors be content with the 3Di for the time being?

I maintain that 3Di is a bigger jump in the sailmaking world than 3DL was at the time, so we’ve got a nice little lead right now. Our answer just right now is to continue to make 3Di better.

There has been a lot of talk of foils making their way onto ‘normal’ boats. What kind of possibilities of foils on regular boats open for North Sails?

Foils are certainly a buzz word right now, but I can’t see a bunch of boats swinging around on their mooring balls in Newport Harbor with wing masts. Foils don’t have to pop a boat out of the water. Foils can help reduce displacement, whether it’s on monohulls, multihulls, whatever, so we haven’t seen the last of foils, that’s for sure.

But are my wife and I going to hop on my M32 and go foiling around Newport Harbor? I doubt it. You are going to have to be pretty talented and pretty switched on because when it goes bad at those speeds, it goes bad in a hurry.

Skipper Ken Read on the helm. PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG during leg 3 of the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12, from Abu Dhabi, UAE to Sanya, China. (Credit: Amory Ross/PUMA Ocean Racing/Volvo Ocean Race) -  Amory Ross-Puma Ocean Racing-Volvo Ocean Race©   Click Here to view large photo


Do you still have an internal company called North Performance Design Group?

It was called PRG, Performance Resource Group. It has all broken down really into Design Services now and JB Braun is in charge of the whole design team at this stage. He was one of the lead guys with the aero package for Oracle. He was an obvious choice as he’s one of the smartest guys in the world when it comes to the engine above the deck. I guess technically the group is still called PRG but we haven’t used that term in a long time.

Can you tell me about this group? Is it the kind of thing that Joe average sailor could interact with them, or is it more the kind of thing that yourself, in your former role as skipper of Puma, would work with them?

Well, your average sailor is interacting with them without ever knowing it. Here is a great example. J/70s. So the Johnstones came to us and said that they were going to do this new little boat called the J/70, and they said they wanted us to design a package that works with the boat from the deck up.

This is the unbelievable part-these guys are within a half a turn of rig tune numbers right out of the block, just put the sails on and sail away.

Then, of course, the Grand Prix guy comes in and says ‘I’m building a boat that I want to break this, this and this record with’, so we set up a completely custom package for them.

How much of your business is white sails or one design sails versus string sails or fancy design surface projects?

As revenue the larger, fancier sails [generate] the most amount of revenue we do, but as far as sheer numbers of sails, the smaller whiter sails and the One Designs make up far more sheer numbers of sales, there but obviously the dollar figures are in the big sails.

Ken Read at the helm. PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG during leg 1 of the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12, from Alicante, Spain to Cape Town, South Africa. -  Amory Ross-Puma Ocean Racing-Volvo Ocean Race©   Click Here to view large photo


What exactly is the Newport Sailing Mafia and are you the Don of this family?

Oh Boy. Who put you up to that one? [Laughs]

We were very fortunate in 1996. Dan [Neri] and I had a nice little company in Newport. We were Shore Sails and we were Sobstad Sails, and then Tom [Whidden] came in one day and bought our company and we joined forces with North. Dan and I got to go on the board right away, and it was pretty exciting times for our facility in Newport.

We had some really talented people and it just so happens that those people have stuck with the company and have spread out all around the country and around the world.

Dan has run the 3Di and 3DL plant forever. Jeff Holden is the head of scheduling worldwide and Peter Colby is the head of service worldwide, so you can go through the company and there is plenty of Rhode Island influence, but I like to think it’s because we were pretty lucky back then. We had some pretty talented people and those people have stuck with it.

Anything else you'd like to add?

Well, I think you can’t emphasize enough that we all need to get together and make the sport grow a bit more. We can talk about our sails and products all we want, but if there aren’t people there to buy them then we’re just wasting our time.

A big part of what I do every day is try to figure out ways to help people get more enthusiastic about the sport and to enjoy it. But we, as opinion leaders in the sailing world, have to take on a more aggressive role in getting people into the sport.

More from North Sails at www.na.northsails.com


by David Schmidt, Sail-World USA Editor

  

Click on the FB Like link to post this story to your FB wall

http://www.sail-world.com/index.cfm?nid=116302

9:20 PM Fri 1 Nov 2013GMT


Click here for printer friendly version
Click here to send us feedback or comments about this story.

Click for further information on
2012 North Sails Australia

Related News Stories:

31 Oct 2013  The Professional - Part 2 of a conversation with Ken Read
27 Oct 2013  The Professional-part one of a conversation with Ken Read
22 Oct 2013  Predictwind: Beat them in a Nor-Wester - 2013 PIC Coastal Classic
06 Sep 2013  North Sails NZ seasonal discounts are back with 25% off
28 Aug 2013  North Sails Bay of Islands opens its doors
08 Aug 2013  America's Cup - Insider's view: Close enough to touch
20 Jun 2013  North Sails claims 7th consecutive Etchells World title
17 Jun 2013  Christoph Burger to be on board of North Sails Switzerland
20 Mar 2013  North Sails Australia - Common denominator
07 Mar 2013  Marine Industry – Job Opportunities - North Sails Australia Recruiting
MORE STORIES ...




News - USA and the World

The first of the iconic Great Capes has been passed in the Barcelona World Race with Cheminées Poujoulat rounding the Cape of Good Hope earlier this morning. Bernard Stamm and Jean Le Cam passed 20°E around 400 miles south of Cape Agulhas – the southernmost tip of Africa – at 0935am (UTC) today and have begun the Indian Ocean leg of their race around Antarctica. ... [more]  

The Classic 18fters were racing again on Saturday on Sydney harbour. Michael Chittenden caught the action from a shore vantage point. ... [more]  

When race leader Dongfeng rounded Singapore 60+ nautical miles ahead of the chasing pack, it looked like the final 1200 miles of Leg three would be a procession but over the last day, the Volvo Ocean race leg from Abu Dhabi to Sanya China appears to have tightened incredibly. ... [more]  

US Sailing and Rolex USA announced last week that the 2014 Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year is Stephanie Roble. Her accomplishments on the water last year were recognized by the selection panel for her versatility; her accomplishments as a skipper and as a crew; and her competitive successes on a variety of platforms, sailing against both men and women. ... [more]  

Barcelona World Race - The first of the Great Capes is fast-approaching, with the leading boats in the Barcelona World Race expected to pass the longitude of the Cape of Good Hope at the tip of South Africa tomorrow. As they pass 20°E, the Atlantic Ocean will deliver its verdict – did Cheminées Poujoulat’s east-bound track or Neutrogena’s southerly gamble pay off? ... [more]  

Mardi Gras may not be for another month but US Sailing’s National Sailing Programs Symposium (NSPS) kicked it off early for Oakcliff Sailing this year. This evening, Oakcliff received The Captain Joe Prosser Award, given to an organization that has made an exemplary contribution toward improving the quality and safety in the training or instruction of sailors. ... [more]  

The 35th St. Maarten Heineken Regatta has already attracted entries from 20 different countries: Antigua, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Dominican Republic, Estonia, France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Lithuania, Netherlands, Norway, Puerto Rico, Russia, St.Maarten, Uruguay, USA and the US Virgin Islands. ... [more]  

The world is watching. Can Dongfeng Race Team hold onto their 57 nautical miles lead to China for what will essentially be the ultimate home victory? Or will another team get desperate and make a bold decision that could cost Dongfeng their win? ... [more]  

Most of the marque classes at Quantum Key West Race Week 2015 came down to the last day of the regatta, which delivered the toughest conditions of the week. Howling winds and rough seas challenging the competitors on Friday, forcing the top contenders to raise their game in order to claim overall victory. ... [more]  

Barcelona World Race - Sport met science today on the Barcelona World Race when the pairs of skippers took the first opportunity to deploy their data monitoring Argo beacon which was given to them in Bareclona prior to the start. ... [more]  

2015 Quantum Key West Race Week - It really wasn’t our week. Two races were held today in very nice conditions and we finished third in both. Bella Mente won both races to win the class. ... [more]  

The Mount Gay Round Barbados Race Series, incorporating three days of coastal racing and the Mount Gay Rum Round Barbados Race concluded last night at a sumptuous, Mount Gay Rum-fuelled prizegiving dinner and party. The final 300-mile Ocean Race to Antigua to tie up with the Superyacht Cup starts on Saturday. ... [more]  

Photographer Ingrid Abery was on the water again today at 2015 Quantum Key West Race Week, and provided this gallery of images from day five ... [more]  

Volvo Ocean Race 2015 - With a solid 17-20 knots from the north east, reducing the possibility of a distance sapping park up, the likehood of the Leg three leader the Chinese boat Dongfeng getting the gun in Sanya just 640 nautical miles ahead continues to strengthen. ... [more]  

The 2015 ISAF Youth Match Racing World Championship set to be held in Swinoujscie, Poland from 15 – 19 September 2015 Notice of Race has been released. ... [more]  

Currently doing scheduled maintenance. Some elements of site may not be visible at the moment. ... [more]  

On 2nd January 2015, Team Vestas Wind announced that skipper Chris Nicholson had been tasked to review the team during the month of January. The objective is to ensure the right team for the come back to the race, which is now, for this team, of a different nature than the scheduled original route from Alicante to Gothenburg. ... [more]  

Beau Outteridge has compiled a video of highlights and interviews from the 2015 McDougall + McConanghy Moth Worlds completed recently in Sorrento, Melbourne ... [more]  

Former Oracle Team USA team member, Matthew Mitchell has issued a media release stating that he has lodged a complaint with the International Sailing Federation over the actions of a fellow crew member, Simeon Tienpont, and inaction by the International Jury for the 34th America's Cup, in San Francisco. ... [more]  

Photographer Ingrid Abery was on the water at 2015 Quantum Key West Race Week, and provided this gallery of images from day four. ... [more]  

2015 ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami - Along with the rest of the 848 sailors from 63 nations currently training in Florida ahead of ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami, Presented by Sunbrella (January 26-31), US Sailing Team Sperry Top-Sider athletes and coaches have entered a period of intense focus ahead of the first major Olympic and Paralympic event of 2015. ... [more]  

2015 Quantum Key West Race Week - It probably won't be a late night on Duval Street for the sailors competing on Division Two and Three at Quantum Key West Race Week 2015. After doing three races in strong winds on Thursday, there are no doubt a lot of sore muscles, aching bones and tired bodies. ... [more]  

Children’s heart health continues to benefit from Team Alvimedica’s online auction now underway for two unique experiences during the Volvo Ocean Race stopover here. The Chinese Agape Foundation Inc. will be the recipient of funds raised for these unique team experiences in Sanya, the next stopover port of the global ocean race. ... [more]  

Lauderdale Olympic Classes Regatta overall by John Payne, Fort Lauderdale
The Lauderdale Olympic Classes Regatta was held January 17-19 in the Atlantic Ocean off of Dania Beach in Ft. Lauderdale, FL. Open to Finns (it’s their Midwinter Championship), Lasers and Laser Radials, competitors came from twenty countries and Puerto Rico. They range in age from 14 to 79. ... [more]  

Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15 Leg 3 update from Dongfeng Race Team: All hands on deck as Chinese crew suffer damage to their boat as the tack line of an important sail (J1) broke suddenly sending the 132 m² sail shooting up the forestay in a matter of seconds. The team have managed to set up a temporary replacement but the reality is, this is a rude awakening of how far away the finish line is. ... [more]  

The city of Cagliari , Sardinia - Italy, will inaugurate the 2015 – 2016 America's Cup World Series, the regattas preliminary to the 35th America's Cup. The event will take place in the Gulf surrounding the island's capital from June 4 to 7, 2015. ... [more]  

Based off early morning forecasts, it appeared a lay day might be in the cards for competitors at Quantum Key West Race Week 2015. Some sailors might have already been making plays to play tennis or go fishing during an hour-long dockside delay. ... [more]  

Bay of Islands photographer, Steve Western was on hand to catch the action on the on the first Day (and with a couple from Day 2) of racing at the Millennium Cup and Bay of Islands Sailing Week. The two events are being conducted in the picturesque Bay of Islands, Northland, NZ. Five superyachts are competing along with round the world race winner Steinlager 2. ... [more]  

Despite generally light airs with winds reaching no more that 15kts, three teams have won their skipper’s weight in rum for breaking records in the 79th Mount Gay Rum Round Barbados Race. ... [more]  

2015 St. Maarten Heineken Regatta - There is no straightforward regatta 'formula' and many events around the world strive to improve the experience that participants have year after year. For the St.Maarten Heineken Regatta it is no different, and this year they are listening to the regatta sailors when it comes to on shore venues and locations. ... [more]  

Photographer Ingrid Abery was on the water at 2015 Quantum Key West Race Week, and provided this gallery of images from day three. ... [more]  

Sailing in light winds of under 10kts, five superyachts enjoyed the first day's racing at the Millennium Cup sailed in the Bay of Islands, in Northland, New Zealand. Five superyachts are competing Silencio, Silvertip, Bliss, Janice of Wyoming and Sassafras. Three of these designed by Ed duBois, who is attending the regatta. ... [more]  

Volvo Ocean Race - Up up and away by Rob Kothe and the Sail-World Team
Volvo Ocean Race 2015 - The nightmares of the Malacca Straits behind them, leg three leaders Dongfeng Race Team have now well and truly entered the South China Sea, clearing Singapore without too many problems on the way to Sanya. China, a little over 1000 miles away. ... [more]  

Barcelona World Race - 'Haves' and 'Have Nots'
Volvo Ocean Race Leg 3 update from Jack Bouttell onboard Dongfeng
ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami - Game time!
Extreme Sailing Series™ 2015 – Ninth year ready to rock!
Foiling GC32s Key West Race Week images by Ingrid Abery
Mount Gay Rum Round Barbados Race - Crews prepare for big race
2015 Quantum Key West Race Week - Day 2
2015 Quantum Key West Race Week - A challenging day
America's Cup: Spithill leads Oracle reconnaissance team in Bermuda
Extreme Sailing Series announces new teams and venues for 2015
Barcelona World Race - Leaders enter the fastest section of the course
Martinique Surf Pro - Must attend event in the world surfing circuit
New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup preview
RORC Caribbean 600 proving irresistible
18ft Skiffs: Images from NSW Championships - Race 2
Volvo Ocean Race – Malacca Nightmare – now it’s a boat race again!!
2015 Annapolis to Newport Race - Battle for Surflant Prize
2015 Quantum Key West Race Week - Off to a great start
Volvo Ocean Race: Team Alvimedica - Enter the Dragon + Video
Mount Gay Round Barbados Race Series - Day 3
World Match Racing Tour's title sponsor goes into administration   
Kieler Woche 2015 promotes Olympic sailing competitions   
Trofeo S.A.R. Princesa Sofía – Kiteboarding and Dragons return   
ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami preview   
Audi Melges 20 Class - Miami Winter Series   
Barcelona World Race - The South is looming.   
Island Water World Grenada Sailing Week announce new one design class   
Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15 Leg 3 position report for 19th January   
Pape Chevrolet North American Championships - Register today!   
Volvo Ocean Race: Sally Barkow - from the Olympics to the Volvo   
Volvo Ocean Race Leg 3 - The big casino *Feature   
C&C 30 Javelin makes West Coast Debut   
Quantum Key West Race Week - Flurry of activity   
2015 Mount Gay Round Barbados Race Series - Day 2   
Volvo Ocean Race Leg 3 - Entering the Malacca Strait   
McDougall+McConaghy Moth Worlds: More Alex McKinnon images   
Quantum Key West Race Week - GC32 class joins the action   
Mount Gay Round Barbados Race - Racing underway in classic conditions   
Barcelona World Race - Matched up for a Duel in the South   
McDougall+McConaghy Moth Worlds: Final day's action and Interviews   


For this week's complete news stories select    Last 7 Days
   Search All News
For last month's complete news stories select    Last 30 Days
   Archive News





Sail-World.com  


















Switch Default Region to:

Social Media

Asia

Australia

Canada

Europe

New Zealand

United Kingdom


http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/Twitter_logo_small.png http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/FaceBook-icon.png  http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/RSS-Icon.png

United States

Cruising Northern

Cruising Southern

MarineBusiness World

PowerBoat World

FishingBoating World

 

Contact

Commercial

News

Search

Contact Us

Advertisers Information

Submit news/events

Search Stories/Text

Feedback

Advertisers Directory

Newsletter Archive

Photo Gallery

 

Banner Advertising Details

Newsletter Subscribe

Video Gallery

Policies

 

 

 

Privacy Policy

 

 


Cookie Policy

 

 



This site and its contents are © Copyright TetraMedia and/or the original author, photographer etc. All Rights Reserved.  Photographs are copyright by law.  If you wish to use or buy a photograph contact the photographer directly.
XLXL NEW US
LocalAds   DE  ES  FR  IT