North Sails opens largest sail loft in Europe
by Philip Reynolds
North Sails has opened what it says is the largest sail loft in Europe and the first of its kind to specialise in superyacht sails.
Conveniently located at its Gosport base in Hampshire, England, the loft will be North Sails' European flagship facility.
It will incorporate many global departments under one roof: North Sails 3Di and Superyacht finishing, One Design sail production and Certified Service.
North Sails, the largest division of North Technology Group with over 100 lofts in nearly 30 countries, said that as well as specialising in superyacht sails, the loft boasts the largest raised finishing floor in the world at 1,950 square metres.
Photographs by Ian Roman, courtesy of North Sails
A spokesman for North Sails said the 110 metre long main loft floor is complemented by the latest equipment, all of which will assist production teams in producing and finishing sails faster and more efficiently than ever before.
The new space allows for work on special projects and custom finishing, especially larger projects, while at the same time continuing to design, manufacture and service current customers.
John Welch, the European chief operating officer of North Sails, said: "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."
Divided into two manufacturing bays, the main finishing floor has been specifically designed for superyacht finishing. The 101x30 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, the Gosport loft houses three plotters and two separate raised floors for One Design and Certified Service.
Ken Read, president of North Sails, said the company had created something “truly unique in the sailmaking world”.
He added: “The Gosport manufacturing loft reflects North Sails' commitment to professional sailmaking and our ambition to remain on the cutting edge. I'm excited for the opportunities ahead."