59º NORTH SAILING is an offshore sailing academy with a fleet of four boats ranging in size from 34 feet to 65 feet. Their largest boat, FALKEN, is a Farr 65 which was newly purchased and refit. Part of getting her ready for a life of teaching offshore sailing was a new set of X-Drive sails sold and designed by UK Sailmakers Sweden, built by UK Sailmakers Hong Kong with some finishing work by UK Sailmakers England. It was a true group effort.
Andy Schell, Director of 59° North, said the following about how he and UK Sailmakers Sweden’s Oskar Skoting got together on these sails: “I met Oskar through my friend, Ludvig Hammarberg, who is the lead technical designer at Rutgerson Marine in Sweden. Ludvig used to work for UK Sailmakers Sweden. Oskar and I started working together when he designed and built the sails for SPICA, my family’s boat in Sweden, a classic 1977 Norlin 34. I wanted durable cruising sails, but also sails that could be raced. Oskar designed X-Drive sails for SPICA and a couple of spinnakers. We ended up finishing seventh overall in our first shot at the Gotland Runt Race in 2021, a race for which this particular boat was actually built.”
“That led to us naturally working together on FALKEN, the Farr 65 we’ve just refitted,” Andy continued. “The design brief was similar, but more focused on ocean cruising. We needed sails that would stand-up to 10-15,000 ocean miles per year, in all weather, with an amateur crew in a sail-training context. Being that FALKEN is a performance-oriented boat, we wanted fast sails too, and after our initial sea trials, I think Oskar nailed the design. The sails chosen to handle this relatively tough job are again X-Drive double taffeta sails with Spectra laminate and carbon loadpath fibers. These sails need to perform day-after-day for student sailors in the open ocean.”
Plans for FALKEN in 2023 are to sail around the North Atlantic starting in Portsmouth, England with stops in Portugal, the Canary Islands, Antigua, Bermuda, Annapolis, Nova Scotia, Greenland, Iceland, and Ireland. Berths for most of legs are “wait list” only. Any day that the boat can’t sail because the sails are in the loft for repairs, 59° North loses money.
UK’s Oskar noted, “FALKEN will carry a limited cruising inventory, but one that should cover all points and all weather – a jib topsail for reaching and heavy running where the jib would sheet to the spin pole; a flatter cut AP jib for upwind work; a triple-reefed mainsail; a Dacron staysail for heavier upwind work, and to fly in combination with the jib top when fast reaching; and an AP spinnaker for lighter downwind work and for training their crew on spinnaker handling.
As you can read on their website (www.59-north.com), “59º NORTH SAILING was founded on a simple, strong vision — to explore the world’s oceans and landfalls in safety and style on cool boats and with cool people. 59º NORTH takes people ocean sailing. We’re passionate about following our own dreams and providing both the inspiration and the platform to allow other people who share our vision to follow their dreams too.”
“We love talking about seamanship, we are passionate about traditions of the sea, and we enjoy sharing our love for the philosophical aspect of ocean sailing with our eclectic crew. There’s much more to THE STORY HERE — but that’s us in a nutshell.”
Andy’s final note, “As I write this, FALKEN is about a third of the way across the English Channel with her first paying crew onboard, close-reaching in 25 knots of wind and putting that heavy-air sail plan through its paces. I’ll be sailing FALKEN to Ireland next week on our first destination passage and can’t wait to get the boat further offshore!”