Master of the 'voiles françaises'


 
We talk to Bruno Dubois, head of North Sails France, about his latest product for the Open 60s and ORMA trimarans
When it comes to the sails for Open 60s and large multihulls, there are few people with more experience than Bruno Dubois, head of North Sails France. When North Sails Europe took back the French franchise four years, Dubois was appointed as the new manager and this spring the company moved into new premises in Vannes' Parc du Golfe, better known as the home of Multiplast and soon to become the location for the new offices of yacht designer Groupe Finot and van Peteghem/Prevost. The new North France loft has been purpose build with a table that measures a useful 50 x 40m with no posts. There are offices on the top of the building and even a little apartment where project managers can stay to over for as Dubois describes their facility is geared up for one-off projects such as Volvo and America's Cup as well as their standard fare of Open 60 and large multihull sails rather than one design sails. To date North Sails France make sails for all the leading Open 60s including Virbac, Arcelor Dunkerque, Ecover, Bonduelle, VMI, Skandia and Hellomoto, while Sill, PRB and Bernard Stamm's boat remain with the Incidences lofts in Brest and La Rochelle. Among the 60ft trimarans they are also strong with the complete wardrobe on Foncia, Sopra Group, Sodebo, Gitana XI and Banque Covefi and they have some sails, including the extraordinary mainsail on Franck Cammas' new Groupama. North Sails France has become dominant in the Open 60 class following the last Vendee Globe when Ellen MacArthur's Kingfisher went around the world with a set of 3DL sails uniquely protected by a Taffeta outer shell. "For the Vendee is like a life insurance policy," says Dubois of the Taffeta. Originally Laurent Bourgnon had used 3DL sails with mylar both

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