Heather Mahady (front row right) has been named UK Sailmakers International’s new General Manager. Heather has been a sailmaker at UK Sailmakers Northwest for five years and is expanding her responsibilities, transitioning into the General Manager position as she takes over from Adam Loory who is retiring after more than 30 years at UKI. Mahady brings to UKI her hands-on knowledge of the sailmaking industry and a solid marketing and social media acumen. She will assume full General Manager responsibilities upon Adam’s departure this April.

UK Sailmakers International’s President, John Bennett, commented, “I am pleased to announce that Heather will be our next General Manager. She has earned this promotion based on her understanding of our company, our customers, our industry, and general business best practices. I look forward to working with Heather in the same seamless manner that I have with Adam Loory, who we will miss after all these years.”

Heather Mahady first tried sailing by chance at a summer camp run at her local club, the Canadian Forces Sailing Association (CFSA). Heather said, “Looking back, I didn’t know anyone who sailed, and I remember dragging my feet about attending this camp that my parents had signed me up for. Day one it was decently breezy, and we had turtled the boat within an hour of leaving the docks. When I was clambering up on the slippery hull, I found that I couldn’t stop grinning. That was when I realized that I was absolutely hooked.” 

Within a year Heather and her friend, Claire Brady, were  campaigning a Club 420 on and off Vancouver Island with CFSA and the Royal Victoria Yacht Club (RVicYC), later topping the podium for the BC Circuit and placing second twice at Canadian Youth Nationals. With the RVicYC, they tried out a few different classes including sailing 29er, and the pair really enjoyed the added speed and excitement of skiff sailing. 

Heather joined the University of Victoria Sailing Team, which races FJ dinghies, and enjoyed further success and many regatta wins on the ICSA circuit. Heather said, “The experiences I had at the UVic Sailing team helped to bridge the gap of time between transitioning from mostly dinghy racing to primarily racing keelboats, and I had a lot of fun while doing it”. 

A familiar face around the Victoria-based yacht clubs, both as a racer and a local sailmaker Heather said, “Working with Joy and Stuart Dahlgren, the owners of the UK Sailmakers Northwest loft, and racing with their team and co-owner Marc Vincent on the SC70, WESTERLY, has been a formative experience. They have built a great team both in the loft and onboard, and it’s a pleasure to be a part of it all.” 

Heather Mahady CM1200 2

ABOVE: Heather trimming on the CM1200 JACK RABBIT. BELOW: Heather driving the Santa Cruz 70 WESTERLY.

Heather Mahady named UK Sailmakers General Manager

Heather is a frequent crew member aboard WESTERLY, as well as another PNW darling, the CM1200 JACKRABBIT, which is owned by long-time UK Sailmakers Northwest client, Colin Nichols. She is looking forward to the 2023 JACKRABBIT campaign, which is shaping up to be a full season of PNW events including the Van Isle 360. Heather said, “I get a thrill out of big-boat racing, but I also have a soft spot for small keelboats that I can drive around like I’m still dinghy racing.” 

Heather is passionate about sailing, sailmaking and racing. Growing up in the Pacific Northwest, Heather said, “I feel so lucky to have nature at my doorstep here, nothing is better than a day spent sailing on the Salish Sea or hiking in the temperate rainforest among incredible old-growth trees. I’m really passionate about the UK Sailmakers initiative for Supporting Sustainable Sailing because I care about protecting the natural environment for generations to come. I believe what we are doing regarding reducing waste during production and sourcing recycled materials from Challenge Sailcloth is an important step in the right direction. There’s a great future ahead for UK Sailmakers, and at the recent managers meeting in Dun Laoghaire, Ireland, our lofts proved that the company is continuing to support the development of new technologies and promote sustainability worldwide.”

Adam Loory made the point that Heather is just about the same age as he was when he started with UK Sailmakers back in 1989. “I hope she enjoys the same longevity with the company as I had, which will be equally good for the company and for her. Besides making great sails, the sailmakers who work at the UK lofts around the world are a family who are a great team to work with and be a part of. Best wishes to Heather and the group.”

UK Sailmakers International is the parent company for the UK Sailmakers group that consists of more that 40 lofts and service centers around the world. The group was founded in 1946 when Charles Ulmer started his loft in City Island, New York. His son Charles “Butch” Ulmer took over the loft in 1968 and in 1975 expanded Ulmer Sails into a group of lofts. In 1984, Texas loft owner John Kolius became a partner, and the company changed its name to Ulmer/Kolius. When John left sailmaking, the company name was shortened to UK Sailmakers.

Adam Loory
Adam Loory

Adam Loory is a lifetime sailor, who worked as the General Manager of UK Sailmakers International for 34 years. He is based in Port Chester, NY and regularly sails his custom Rodger Martin-designed 40-footer Soulmates on the Long Island Sound.

Articles: 27

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