North Sails have been selected to provide one design sails for the 2014/15 Volvo Ocean Race, complementing the one design hulls and one design rigs being supplied by North's sister company Southern Spars.
In keeping with the multi-national supplier theme of the 2014/15 Volvo Ocean Race, the sails have been designed and tested in New Zealand, built in USA and finished in France
The Volvo Ocean 65 sails will benefit from the experience and technology of the world’s leading sailmaker. North Sails works with a very advanced 3Di technology – a 3D moulding technique giving the sails a flying shape.
In 2014-15, each one-design Volvo Ocean 65 will race around the world with just 12 sails, a major reduction in the inventory from previous races and another significant cost saving introduced as part of the project. Just eight race sails are allowed on board, with no (non-repair) re-cuts and only four replacement sails. With the exception of the A3 and the storm jib, all sails will be built to varying deniers using North Sails’ 3Di process, using pre-impregnated tapes made of black Twaron Aramid and clear Dyneema SK75 fibres.
No carbon is allowed in the sail material as it blocks the signals to and from the satellites essential for communication and data transfer.
Production and delivery will be carefully controlled and a Pre-Race set of sails will be built and made available as the boats come off the production line every seven weeks.
Race sails will also be built in batches so that the same mold is used for the production of eight sails of one type. Each sail type will then be finished in the same loft by the same team in one go to ensure an identical shape and production quality.
Jack Lloyd, Volvo Ocean Race Director: 'We are very pleased with our agreement with North Sails and we are confident we have a good solution for our One Design sail package. We realised early that it would be too complex to keep the One Design sail project as part of the One Design boat project. So we removed it and dealt with it as a separate product. With North Sails, I believe we have a true One Design sail solution.'
Mainsail: fully-battened, three reefs J1: good for 8-15 knots upwind, has hanks and battens J2: good for 13-25 knots, on a furler with vertical leech battens J3: good for 22-35 knots, also on a furler with vertical leech battens Fractional Code 0 spinnaker (affectionately dubbed the ‘fro’): used in a broad range of angles, sheets to the outrigger Masthead Code 0: used in 0-6 knots upwind, or downwind in more breeze Masthead A3 gennaker: the only dedicated downwind sail, typically used at true wind angles of 120° and above J4: good for 35 knots+ as a storm jib, and also as a staysail
An additional four sails to choose from the above can be used during the race. An outrigger will extend 1.5m outside the hull either midships for the jibs or aft near the stern for the MH0, FR0 and A3.
The sail designs were a team effort of previous North Sails VOR designers led by North Sails New Zealand’s Gautier Sergent. In addition to racing with North sails, all Volvo Ocean Race boats will also race with Southern Spars masts and EC6 rigging from Composite Rigging. The engineering for the sails, mast and rigging were all done using the North Design Suite (NDS) as a shared platform.