North Sails 3Di (part one)


North Sails 3Di jib
North Sails 3Di jib
First there were yarns, now there are fibres
For the last couple of years North Sails have been working on a development that looks set to be every bit as great a step forward in sail technology as 3DL was when it was introduced in the early 1990s. Compared to 3DL, 3Di sails are stiffer, making for an aerodynamic improvement over 3DL and as the product is developed could ultimately end up representing a weight saving of 10-15%. Development 3Di headsails are already being used on some race boats in the TP52 fleet, on Mini Maxis such as Ran and Alegre, the regularly raced Wallys Magic Carpet and J-One and Peter Harrison’s Farr 115 ketch, Sojana. Origins Unusually, like 3DL, 3Di was spawned in the small but creative sail making enclave in Geneva, Switzerland. There Gerard Gautier developed the product with long time partner Edouard Kessi. The duo that started 3DL, Luc Du Bois (subsequently with Alinghi) and Jean-Pierre Baudet, started their sailmaking careers with Gautier Sails. Baudet and Dubois then went on to sell their idea to North, while Kessi and Gautier sold their sailmaking business before moving on to concentrate on another business making handgliders and paragliders. Gautier and Kessi came up with the idea of 3Di, and received some early development help from the ETH technology college in Zurich. They got money to develop the product from Alinghi’s Ernesto Bertarelli who ended up effectively owning the product – the mysterious ‘black sails’ trialled on the Swiss defender’s Version 5 boats prior to the America’s Cup in 2007, but in fact never used during the event itself. Above: Artemis TP52 Following the 32nd America’s Cup the technology was sold to North Sails who since then have been developing not only the product, but also the complex machinery necessary to build it. Gautier and Kessi continue to work on 3Di but spearhead their

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