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In Canada, front-line health and rescue workers are getting honored as “heroes” with signs where a heart replaces the maple leaf in the Canadian Flag. UK Sailmakers Northwest’s customer Vern Lhotzky took that heart/flag idea one step further. When ordering a spinnaker from UK Sailmakers for his Dufour 34P INVICTUS, Vern asked for the heart/flag across the belly of the sail. “When I asked about the heart/flag graphic on my new spinnaker, UK Sailmakers’ Joy and Stuart Dahlgren said ‘Of course, but only if UK could pick up the cost of the graphic as UK’s way of acknowledging Canada’s heroes.’ Thanks frontline workers and thanks UK Sailmakers.”
But that’s not all Vern had to say about his sails and UK Sailmakers. When asked if he purchased a full suit of UK Sailmakers sails in 2019, he said, “Heck, I bought a whole wardrobe of sails…not just a suit. I bought upwind sails, downwind sails and probably some sideways sails. I’ve got them all and I couldn’t be happier. After using them for a dozen races or so, and I know my boat, I’m sailing easily a knot-and-a-half faster upwind. I like to say, we are ‘ugly fast.’”
Vern’s original intent was to purchase a bigger boat, but he fell in love with the Dufour 34P. That left a few dollars in his wallet just waiting to be spent. So Vern called Stuart from whom he’s bought a sail a few years earlier. Stuart presented a quote for the sails that couldn’t be beat.
A love story has developed between Vern and UK Sailmakers Northwest. First, he’ll tell you that, although Stuart is the face of the loft, it’s his wife Joy who is the heart and soul of the loft. Every week Vern swings by the loft with a box of donuts just so he can chat boats and sails with the sailmakers. “I said to Stuart that I need another sail so I have an excuse for coming by and continue sharing more donuts.”
“My success is due very large part of these fast UK sails; but I’m fortunate to have one of the best crews in this area. When I got my new UK main, it was delivered just before we left for a big race. We raised it to look at to see if we should use it right out of the bag. My tactician, a tough critic, looked at the main after it was up for ten minutes and said he couldn’t believe it looked that perfect. We went off and won the race.”
One final note about Vern and INVICTUS, his area has the Southern Straights Race held each April. It’s 100+ challenging miles and draws over 100 boats in racing under PHRF. The last time it was held in 2019, Vern won his division by 2.5 hours and took first overall in PHRF. “In that race, we zigged when we should have zigged and zagged when we should have zagged; it also helped that we got an extra 1.5 knots of upwind boat speed with our sails. After a full season of sailing, they still look great.”