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North Sails 60 Years

In 1957, decorated American sailor Lowell North started a small sailmaking company in a room at San Diego’s B Street Theater.

“It was a little dusty and dirty,” he recalled, “but big enough to build a Star boat mainsail.”

Sixty years later, North Sails has grown into the world’s leading sailmaker, with seven wholly owned manufacturing sites in six different countries, 1,500 employees worldwide, and tens of thousands of sails hoisted on harbors and oceans around the globe each year. Founded in a decidedly scientific approach to sailmaking, North Sails remains rooted in the core values that led Lowell North to success: in-house analysis and development of materials, performance-led design, quality craftsmanship and customer service. This year, dive into 60 Years of Sailmaking with a series celebrating North’s instinct to push the limits of nature, sails, and self. Stories that bring back memories and inspire the next generation of innovators to Go Beyond.


1957

1957

THE PURSUIT OF BETTER SAILS

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An interview with Lowell North. “If I started a sailmaking company, would you buy a sail from me?” That’s what Lowell North asked his friend John Shoemaker, one afternoon in 1957, while seated at the bar of San Diego Yacht Club. To kick off our series 60 Years of Sailmaking, we caught up with Lowell North at his home in Point Loma, California, and asked him to tell us the story of how it all started.

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