Arrived at the Nautic, it is time to take stock of the nautical year. How would you qualify 2017 for the North Sails sailmaker?
Greg Evrard: We could call 2017 the year of the big gap! There was a great activity as much in offshore racing as in yachting. The year started with Thomas Coville's solo round the world record and if all goes well will end with François Gabart's. (Editor's note: The skipper of the trimaran Macif had not yet completed his round the world at the time of the interview.) There was also the Vendée Globe and the Volvo Ocean Race. Meanwhile, we launched the 3Di Nordac, a material specially designed for cruising sails, a market that North Sails no longer cared much about.
To give a global vision, North Sails delivers today 33 000 sails in the world every year, of which 15 000 monotypes for the dinghies and the keelboats of sport.
What is the trend since the launch of 3Di Nordac? Are you satisfied and what are the objectives on these sails?
Greg Evrard: The launch is very successful. Since the first deliveries in July, more than 1500 sails have been delivered worldwide within 6 months. Next year, the objective would be to reach 5000 to 7000 sails in the world and to exceed 200 in France.
Are you targeting the original equipment market with the 3Di Nordac?
Greg Evrard: Today North Sails does virtually no OEM and that is not our goal. The logic of 3Di Nordac is not that of low-cost, but to make 3Di technology accessible to cruising. This is still tailor-made, tried on the boat and designed according to the boater's sailing programme. OEM pricing constraints prevent us from making a product where we are proud to put our logo. There is a brand image not to be compromised. Nevertheless, we are in contact with more and more sailing shipyards for enlightened amateurs.
What are the future developments for 2018?
Greg Evrard: The implementation of the research and development cell in Vannes with Gautier Sergent is continuing, with the aim, in particular, of popularising the wings and thick profiles, working on the finishing of the sails and the connected sails.
On the Nordac side, technical solutions are being considered to propose the material with larger P (luff) values. It will probably no longer be 100% polyester, but a mix of materials to better manage the stretch of the sail.
More information will probably follow at the beginning of the year...