A FAMILY AFFAIR

Morten Ullmann, owner of UK Sailmakers Denmark has been specializing in one-design sails for years. When his son Jonas became active in the Optimist Dinghy, Morten not only coached Jonas and his friends, he developed race winning sails that are still being used throughout Denmark. When Jonas aged out of the Opti and moved on to the Europe Dinghy, Morten brought his sail design and sailmaking skills to bear on that class. The following was written by Jonas about working with his father to develop a Europe Dinghy sail that in 2018 won the European Championship, the European Masters, was third at the Worlds, took all the podium positions at the Danish Youth Champion as well as all the podium positions at the Danish Championship.

“When I started sailing the Europe Dinghy three years ago, my dad and I decided to develop a high-performance sail for my specific boat and my specific sailing weight and how I sail the boat. It was a long, iterative process which required commitment, focus, and patience; but it was also incredibly interesting from a technical perspective and very educational in terms of refining a research and development process. I learned a lot during the testing, especially when it came to trimming and shaping the sail. Now I really understand the importance of having a sail that fits the mast perfectly and is reflective of the style and skills of the person sailing the dinghy. On our Europe Dinghy ‘Team UK,’ we are sailors in different weight categories, which has given us the opportunity to develop four basic sail designs. The challenge was to fit the sail to the bend characteristics of each individual masts’ distinct curve. To overcome that hurdle, my dad came up with an algorithm that creates the optimal luff curve for each mast. For me, it has been a great experience to be in the middle of this R&D design process and to have benefited from the speed improvements on the race course as well.”