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North Sails NEWS

Rewind to January 2014 | A new suite of 3Di sails has arrived on the finishing floor at the North Sails loft in Vannes, France. The sails will be hoisted for the first time on maxi trimaran Banque Populaire VII (ex Groupama3), to fuel the pursuit of transatlatic speed records under the helm of Armel Le Cleach, both solo and crewed.

The main, J2, reacher and Gennaker™ powered Loick Peyron (filling in for injured LeCleach) to win the Route du Rhum that year. The sails were used for the delivery from New York to France, and back to France from the Caribbean. The inventory included a North Sails 3Di ENDURANCE mainsail and J2, complemented by a 3Di RAW reacher and NPL SPORT gennaker. The sails saw a thrilling first run with LeCleach, and that was only the beginning.

Early 2015 | North Sails designers are back on the loft floor prepping the sails for a Jules Verne attempt, this time under its new name IDEC Sport. Legendary french sailor, Francis Joyon, will challenge the record with a crew of five. They will use the same sails that were built for LeCleach. The designers are scratching their heads. Fully crewed round-the-world sailing was not in the picture. Lower loads were specified, minimum weight was the goal.

“We really pushed for the weight to be light and we succeeded in that for the solo trip.” recalled North Sails designer Gautier Sergent. “To shift gears for round-the-world sailing, we ran the numerical models again for the new constraints. We reinforced the sail mainly only with flat tapes, and added chafe protection in the exposed areas.”

“Yann Regniau and myself also designed a new J1 to complement the existing sail robe and optimize the boat performance now sailed by a crew. We made a new J3 to replace the old cuben J3 from the Groupama3 era.”

November 2015 | The team’s intention to sail around the world had given the designers reason for pause. They applied the best solution available by adding minimal post-production structure to increase load capacity. The sails were ready, Joyon was happy. IDEC Sport sets off from Ushant with no time to waste.

December 2015 | Now over half way around, IDEC reaps the benefits of their risky dive South – an attempt to make up time. Sailing past icebergs at high speeds, they made up close to 1000 miles on the record pace. They are back on track as the boat appraoches Cape Horn.

January 8, 2015 | IDEC Sport finishes their lap around the world. They clocked another 29,000nm on the boat’s 3Di sails, and set the 3rd fastest time in history. The six men celebrate. The designers rest.

One of North’s experts, Quentin Ponroy, joins the delivery crew for the sail from Brest to La Trinité. They clean up the boat and inspect the equipment. Ponroy assists in derigging the sails and checking for wear.

Last Week | Ponroy reports to Sergent back in Minden. The sails are in very good condition and Joyon does not plan on buying new ones anytime soon. He did seem to indicate another attempt for the Jules Verne record this fall…