We are pleased to have North Sails Performance onboard, and here is some info on their new gear
The news of North Sails’ first-ever range of foul weather gear for performance sailing and long-distance cruising immediately created a stir in the industry. Nevertheless, given the company has successfully diversified well beyond its core business over the past decade, creating a line of technical clothing intended to set a new bench-mark for foul weather gear was a logical move.
Starting from scratch, albeit with a considerable depth of industry knowledge, has allowed unconstrained thinking that has resulted in the best possible combination of new materials and garment design.
Nigel Musto worked with North’s team of talented engineering and technology PhDs with the aim of creating the world’s best marine clothing bar none. The result is four ranges of technically advanced clothing that’s lightweight, hardwearing and offers unrivaled performance.
The ranges are constructed in TightWeave, a new face fabric that utilizes thinner threads packed into a much tighter weave. This unique fabric construction means the kit is more naturally water repellent and durable than traditional fabrics coated in Durable Water Repellent (DWR).
‘The trouble is that with DWR, the coating that is applied to stop water absorption doesn’t last for more than a couple of days offshore. The kit then starts wetting out which makes it heavier, less comfortable and reduces the fabric’s breathability.’ Says Nigel Musto.
The kit also features a GORE-TEX® Pro membrane, Nigel Musto continued “In 35 years of designing, making and testing foulies on offshore and ocean races, Gore-Tex pro has proven itself to be the only membrane that’s durably waterproof and breathable enough to take the abuse our sport throws at it.”
An important innovation for the Ocean and Offshore specification gear, as well as the Inshore Race Trousers, is the lack of traditional heavy reinforcing patches in areas of high wear such as the seat and knee. Nigel was frustrated by hearing sailors complaining that they had a damp backside. ‘It’s an age-old problem,’ Nigel explains. ‘Your gear might not be leaking but you’ve constantly got a damp backside. There are a number of reasons for this.’
‘The Cordura patches that people have frequently used on foul weather gear hold a lot of water when they’re wet. They also create a pocket between the foul weather gear and the patch which can’t dry out once it’s got wet. So, we developed 4DL which is a four-layer durable laminate.’
The Ocean line offers the most breathable, waterproof and durable smocks and salopettes. It has already been thoroughly tested in the harshest possible conditions by Vendée Globe and Ocean Race sailors.
Those who compete in the classic 600 mile offshore races or cruise serious distances will be well served by the Offshore range. This retains waterproofness and durability, but with improved comfort, lighter weight and a more attractive price point. This line offers a choice of smocks for serious use, or an offshore jacket for maximum comfort and flexibility.
Choices widen further in the Inshore line, which includes smocks, a jacket and an innovative hybrid product that combines the best attributes of both, including a full front zip and an effective neck seal.
The GP Aero line prioritises performance and light weight for ultimate performance when racing inshore at the highest levels. For this range the design team looked beyond the sailing world for inspiration, incorporating lessons learned from cycling and other high intensity sports. As a result, the GP Aero Waterproof Jacket weighs only 300 grammes, while the range also includes both waterproof and fast-dry trousers and shorts, plus silk weight fast dry shirts.
Finally, there’s a line of mid-layer products designed to work with all the outer layers. These are available in different grades, to suit cooler or warmer conditions. Significantly they don’t have an external shell layer, as these inevitably impede breathability, which eventually results in damp inner layers after extended use.
North Sails Performance – we can’t wait for you to try it, and even better we can’t wait for you to sail in it. Visit www.northsails.com/Performance to view the full range.