Global leader in sailmaking and performance clothing, North Sails, is the Official Sail Supplier at the Ocean Race 2022-23. The Ocean Race is the ultimate test of sailing prowess, covering 32,000 nautical miles over six months and visiting nine ports around the world.
Fewer people have circumnavigated the earth by sail than have climbed to the summit of Mount Everest. Widely considered the most physically and mentally demanding competitive ocean-going event, The Ocean Race demands apparel and equipment that can withstand the most extreme conditions – upwards of 55,000 nautical miles and four equator crossings.
North Sails: designed for fast, engineered to last
North Sails’ expertise in sailmaking has allowed for an unmatched level of performance, reliability, and durability to help teams navigate the most challenging conditions. The relationship between this storied race and North Sails goes back decades. Many within North Sails have sailed onboard various teams and have won the race, while numerous designers and sailmakers have supported the technical side of programs in their quest to finish first around the world.
Collaboration between North Sails and Ocean Race teams has resulted in breakthrough technologies, including North 3Di, which made its around the world debut in 2010 in response to skipper requests for reliable shape-holding, durability, and lightweight performance sails. In this edition of the Ocean race, four out of five of IMOCAs in the race opted to use North 3Di Helix sails, highlighting the brand’s continued innovation and performance in the world of sailmaking.
3Di Technology – North 3Di sails not only lead the industry landscape in terms of high-performance, but also outstrip the competition in terms of reliability and longevity. The technology is ground-breaking because of three components; the use of spread-filament tapes; a sail shape set on a full size 3D mold, and, most significantly, the elimination of Mylar film.
Helix Structured Luff Sails – Helix Structured Luff technology is a breakthrough sail design philosophy, using the sail structure to improve its aerodynamics and in many cases reduce the load on equipment. Exclusive to North Sails, Helix Headsails utilize 3Di composite structures in a new way to radically improve camber control, while Helix Code Sails reduce loads on any free-flying sail, creating improved aerodynamics while reducing the load on boats and masts.
Official Sail Supplier to the VO65 fleet and the preferred sailmaker to the majority of the IMOCA programs participating, North Sails’ innovation in sailmaking elevates the race to unprecedented levels of excitement and competition.
North Sails Performance Clothing
For the first time at The Ocean Race, Nigel Musto, whose innovations have led the marine performance clothing industry for over 35 years and who has developed the entire foul weather line for North Sails, will also see an entire high-performing team outfitted in its Performance apparel. Each member of Team Holcim-PRB is outfitted with North Sails’ technically-advanced foul weather gear range, designed, constructed and tested by industry experts using the best performing materials and highest quality components.
The Performance Clothing range delivers race-primed gear with unparalleled protection. It is the only performance gear on the market that features North Sails’ pioneering 4DLTM and TightWeaveTM technology, plus a GORE-TEX® pro construction – a membrane offering ‘superior durable’ waterproofing and breathability.
4DL – four-layer durable laminated reinforcement patches present extremely robust reinforcement with no water absorption. The technology is 30 percent lighter than the norm when dry, with even more significant weight savings in wet conditions – reducing bulk and weight of the garments for streamlined performance.
TightWeave – with thinner threads and tighter weaves, this fabric construction is designed to reduce water absorption and penetration whilst providing high-abrasion resistance, designed for an optimum mix of capabilities in the different race environments. In addition, it won’t leach toxic chemicals into the environment.
Nigel Musto said: “North Sails Performance Clothing uses the best materials and best design, without compromise. It’s exciting to see the entire Holcim-PRB team, for the first time, kitted out in our cutting edge range, and putting the gear to the ultimate test.”
North Sails’ Champions of The Ocean Race
For decades, this race has proven the ultimate test, with North Sails meeting the challenge with superior products that allow teams to push their boats harder and faster each edition. On the North Sails leadership team, president Ken Read has competed in this race three times, and Ian Walker, Northern Europe Sales Manager, is also a multi-race veteran who won the race in 2015.
This year, skippered by North Sails Performance Clothing ambassador Kevin Escoffier, Team Holcim-PRB has been flying on foils across four oceans with North Sails Performance kit on their backs for the first time. The team remains in a strong position to win despite a setback in leg four.
Charlie Enright – a North Sails employee of 15 years who has been integral to pushing offshore sail development for the company to new levels – is also skippering 11th Hour Racing. His team won leg four into Newport and is in overall second place.
“The Ocean Race is the ultimate test of sailing, and it’s fantastic to see many different arms of North Sails come together for the event. Our sails and Performance apparel have been developed and tested to withstand the toughest offshore conditions. We are the only brand who’s able to cover so many bases in The Ocean Race, creating sails and gear that is optimized for high-performance and durability, setting teams up for success in multiple aspects of the race,” said Ken Read, North Sails’ President.