sailmaking through the eyes of a landlubber

Forbes magazine does a decent job at this look at the art, er, science of sailmaking (with a heavy asisst from North)…
Making sailboats blast across ocean waves with speed and efficiency embodies more than just a fixation with adventurous zeal. The process is advancing computer software and robotics, revolutionizing hull and sail technologies and integrating—with choreographed precision—all players in the design and construction process.
On a recent trip to Saint-Tropez in coastal southern France I visited the Société Nautique, a seemingly casual beach locale near the west side of the port. Within minutes inside this microcosm I met a parade of accomplished individuals, including a former King of Spain, a vice-president of Chelsea Football Club and a previous owner of one of the top five wine châteaux in Bordeaux. I also met sailor Ken Read, an American who understands the technology that radically altered the paradigm of how sails are produced. We pulled beach chairs through sand to the water’s edge to speak.
The engine that drives any sailboat is a sail, which transforms wind energy into a propulsive force. Techniques to design and produce sails have altered dramatically in the past decade and a half. Read summarized how.
“Sail making went from a bunch of people on a floor cutting and sewing, to robotics. Overnight. This was 12 years ago.”
Read on.