North Sails LOFT NEWS
CUSTOMER SPOTLIGHT: HOOLIGAN
New Boat, New Suit Of 3Di
Bruce Pierce of Mimico Cruising Club shares his process of creating the optimal sail inventory for Hooligan, a J/122, to race on the Great Lakes.
Bruce, Can you walk us through the thought process in terms of deciding on the sail inventory?
When we bought the boat, three and a half to three years ago, we had an existing inventory that was purchased with the boat. We made an evaluation kind of with North Sail Toronto‘s help, we made an evaluation of the existing inventory and then put a plan together in terms of what was good, what we could continue to use and prioritized sail inventory. At that point in time we prioritized a new main for the boat, and we did that in the first year as we bought the boat because we were putting a new mast on.
Would you say it’s performance has been what you expected? Or would you say it’s been above expectations?
Well, I hold North Sails to high expectations, so it’s performing exactly the way it should. But I’m very comfortable with the quality of sail. Since then, when we bought the first 3Di, we then we bought my second one. My buddy who has the J160 out West, we were sailing on his boat, and I said to Dave, I said “You guys, even just cruising you need to go to a 3Di because you’re gonna reduce onboard weight and minimize sail handling.”
How would you say the sails have aided with the performance of the boat? You’re doing a lot of the racing around here and then last year you went down to the U.S. as well.
Subsequently, we’ve been buying one sail a year for the last three years. We put a new main on, came back and bought a new light-medium jib which replaced one of the existing sails we had which was a panel sail. We knew it wasn’t going to be in the best shape but we also took that sail and made it a jib top for us. We replaced the J1 and then we looked at our spinnaker inventory and started evaluating. Pierce also purchased a new A2 Asymmetric AirX spinnaker and a medium-heavy 3Di RAW jib.
How do you think the crew has been with the new sails? Has their sail handling improved with the sails? Or was there a big change compared to the old boat and the older sails?
Certainly the performance in the sails is significantly different. What led us to the change in the J3 to a medium-heavy what was its weight, we had a panel sail that was ballistic. It’s interesting, Brian [crew member and fellow sailor] and I were on the boat in the Chicago Mac race, and when you look at the Naval Academy sail up with the [old] main, it doesn’t slot properly. You can see that when you look at the 3Di inventory, the main and jib fit really well together.
You can trim [better] so you get the same shape and the same drive and the sails were meant to be operated together. When we had the old J3 up, it was a different shape, a little flatter, ballistic. It will probably go on for ten years, if we use it every week because it’s just hardened. But it was really tough to get the same shape, therefore you’re not getting the same performance out of the boat. We’re thrilled to see what the new shape looks like but we’re confident because we built it similar to the light-medium and I know we’ll get the same performance out of the boat.
What prompted you to go do the Chicago Mac last year? Was it always on your bucket list?
Yup. We did Transpac almost four years ago now, and personally I enjoy a lot of offshore racing and Transpac was one of those things where I was either going to finish the race and love it or hate it. I wasn’t sure until we got to Hawaii and when I got off the boat in Hawaii it was like “Damn, I love that.”
What other races are on the horizon for you? What motivates you guys to keep going out and keep racing?
Passion for the sport motivates to keeps us out there racing and you know what, we’ll probably look to do the Caribbean 600 and likely Newport Bermuda in the future as well. Maybe not in this boat but we’ll certainly do it in the future.
What’s your biggest piece of advice for people that are thinking about upgrading their sails?
Probably just having a plan in terms of what do you want to do. Not many people can afford to put out the price for three or four sails in year one. It’s looking at your existing inventory, trying to figure out how you put it together and what’s the plan. I think that’s what we did. We sat down and said “Okay, what’s our strategy going to look like?” Each year we went back and re-evaluated it and said “Okay, does this still make sense?” I think we moved one of the sail purchases around, we accelerated the spinnaker because we didn’t like the shape we were getting out of it once we had seen it in action after we had the boat long enough.