Sailmaker North Sails is opening today a new sail loft in the UK. Located in Gosport, South Hampshire, the loft incorporates many global departments under one roof including North Sails 3Di and Superyacht finishing, One Design sail production and Certified Service.
The company says in a statement that the new manufacturing facility is the first loft of its kind to specialize in superyacht sails and boasts the largest raised finishing floor in the world at 1,950sq m. This will be North Sails’ European flagship facility.
The 110-metre long main loft floor is complemented by state-of-the-art equipment, all of which will assist production teams in producing and finishing sails faster and more efficiently than ever before. In addition, the new space allows for work on special projects and custom finishing, especially larger projects.
Ken Read, president of North Sails Group, will join European COO John Welch as well as Peter Dubens, managing partner of Oakley Capital and chairman of North Technology Group, as they open the doors of the new facility today to allow invited guests to see the new facility.
Commenting on the opening John Welch says: “Production has begun in all departments. North Sails Gosport is a response to the ever-increasing size and demand for superyacht sails, and represents a positive consolidation of our many departments. We are excited about the space we now have and the opportunity to serve our customers with greater speed and efficiency. North Sails’ continued commitment to design and development is at the forefront, enabling us to keep pushing forward in all areas of sail manufacturing.”
Divided into two manufacturing bays, the main finishing floor has been specifically designed for superyacht finishing. The 101×30 metre space allows for two J-Class headsails and a mainsail to be laid out at the same time.
The floor has an overhead gantry with a 3.2 ton load capacity, five rotating sewing machines and two travelling sewing machines – where the machine moves atop a belt the length of the finishing floor, stitching the luff or leech without moving the sail. In a neighbouring bay, Gosport houses three plotters and two separate raised floors for One Design and Certified Service.
North Sails is the largest division of North Technology Group. The company holds the patent for 3Di, a unique composite construction process that produces high-performance sails that approach the shape holding of a rigid foil.