ISLAND GIRL before her refit that included new topsides.

If the family that sails together stays together, the Burkhart family are clearly staying together. When Frank Burkhart bought the Islander 36, ISLAND GIRL, he had limited experience and no crew. Twenty-four years later, the Burkharts and ISLAND GIRL are a regular sight among the sailboats on San Francisco Bay and the surrounding waters.

However, she wasn’t always a family bay-cruiser. Although Frank had some basic sailing skills when he bought ISLAND GIRL, he decided the best way to improve quickly was to race. So he entered the boat in the Offshore Yacht Racing Association (OYRA) series, which is a series of ocean races across local waters such as California's Half Moon Bay, Drakes Bay and the Farallones. “Putting a crew together took time, but ultimately I had a crew that made me look good,” said Frank.

By 1996 Frank and his crew were serious contenders in the OYRA and managed second place in their division, as well as receiving the South Tower Demon award for “having broached way too many times under the Golden Gate Bridge.”

The crew did improve and by the following year found themselves in first place. This was also the year that the future Mrs. Burkhart, then known as Lynn Langford, joined the boat and began to impress everyone with her sailing skills, and her boat-food skill, producing what Franks described as the “best food on the Bay.”

Soon after, Frank and one of his crew were invited to join a boat in the 1998 Pacific Cup (San Francisco to Hawaii). Following the PacCup, ISLAND GIRL and her crew relaxed a little with “less serious ocean racing and a lot of beer can racing an, a lot of casual sails.

A few years later the Burkhart boys, Will and Luc, were born and sailing took a back seat to everyday family life. However, the twins were not going to stay onshore forever. Today the teenagers are an integral crew on ISLAND GIRL ,enjoying beer can racing out of Sausalito Yacht Club and regular weekend sails all over the Bay.

This past summer Frank and the boys gave ISLAND GIRL a much-needed make-over. “As with any boat, maintenance and upkeep is constant. With the boat being used only occasionally while the boys were growing up, there were multiple tasks and upgrades needed.”

Together they sanded her wood bare and applied 6 coats of varnish, sanded the deck, painted and applied new non-skid, and hauled the boat to have the hull topsides sanded and painted. “ISLAND GIRLis now looking like a new Islander 36 ,” Frank said.

Frank remembers one recent night sail across the Bay that stands out. “One son caught a ride home from Alameda by car, so my other son and I decided in the middle of the night to sail home. Leaving Alameda at 2am, we had the typical beautiful views of San Francisco, past Alcatraz and finally into Sausalito. Winds were definitely up, mostly above 20 knots with 30+ knots gusts coming into Sausalito. To say the least, the boat worked hard and had water pouring over the decks most of the way home.

“It was fun listening to the discussions between ship captains on the route they were taking and to watch out for a sailboat crossing the shipping channel. At least we knew, that we had been seen as we were the only sailboat on the Bay.” (For anyone who hasn’t experienced San Francisco Bay at night, it can be very black and contain numerous large ships!)

And as Frank and his family become saltier and even more experienced, what will their sailing future hold? “More racing, maybe back to OYRA. And definitely many more days on the Bay with family and friends,” Frank said.

What a great testament to love of family, boat and sport!


Santa Cruz 52 Sin Duda 2019 Mac.jpg

UK Sailmakers interviewed Lindsey Duda (Chicago Yacht Club) who skippered her Santa Cruz 52 SIN DUDA! to victory in Section 2 of the Chicago-Mackinac race. For Lindsey and her crew, this win was keenly gratifying as the boat “has a lot of furniture” and was racing in light air against many newer, lighter speedsters. Here’s our conversation:

UK: Lindsay, before we get started, give me your single overall take on the race.

LD: We had moments of high speed, but mostly light air. I've done Mac races where we have sat for 12 hours going zero knots, but this was not one of those. I was surprised that we would do so well in a light air year.

UK: Tell us about the competition in your Section.

LD: MAIN STREET (a J/145) was our toughest competitor and they finished over an hour after us. She is very fast, and we had eyes on them the whole time. (There was a big mix of boats in their 16-boat section. Third was the Nelson/Marek 46 SKYE, another UK Sailmakers customer, fourth was the Ker 43 ABRACADABRA, the old Christopher Dragon carrying many UK Sailmakers sails and fifth was the Soto 40 ARMA. This was a wide span of boats many of which could have done well in a light air race.) Since we have a lot of furniture, I was surprised that we won this race in the conditions that we sailed in. I always thought the race we would win would be a heavy air one.

UK: How were the conditions...besides light?

LD: We saw a lot of different directions We started with the Code Zero and then sailed with slightly cracked off with the Light No. 1 for a while until the wind shut off and then clocked around. We did lots of sail changes between our light No. 1, Code Zero and A1 (all from UK). 

We were pretty keen on fleet management, trying to stay in between our competitors and where we thought the wind was going to fill. Looking at the forecast, we expected the wind on the Michigan shore would die out, so we stayed further out in the Lake, the western most boat in our section. We were pretty confident that when the wind filled in, it would be stronger in the west and in the middle of the Lake it seemed to work out.

UK: Tell me a little about your crew composition.

LD: We sailed with 9. At the start Matt Knighton was aboard as media person to document the start. Not long after getting the video shot of our start, he gathered his gear and jumped overboard and was recovered by a RIB. He just walked past me and jumped off the stern without saying goodbye. It was pretty funny. I was on the Mac Committee this year working closely with the communications team and having Matt aboard was just one way we worked hard to get good images to share. He put the camera on our bowman’s head to get the footage of our start and the unfurling of the Code Zero.

UK: You said you did a lot of sail changes, but mostly between three sails. Tell me more:

LD:  I love the Code Zero and we used it quite a bit. We did a last-minute audit of our inventory and left the heavy one and Jib Top on the dock. It was nice to have a smaller inventory since it made sail decisions a bit easier. 

We had a brand new main, A1 and A2. The A2 got very little use this race, but the new (Titanium) main is excellent. Having UK’s Pat Considine on the boat is always a great asset. Great sailor, very calm & quiet.

UK: Lindsey, how about one final comment?

LD: I think this was one of my favorite Macs, not just because we won. The race was challenging and the whole fleet was close together the whole time.

UK Sailmakers followed-up with our own Pat Considine (UK Sailmakers Chicago) who was aboard SIN DUDA! for the win. Here are Pat’s comments:

As for sails, we had a year-old UK Code 0 that we had optimized for light air, making it bigger than normal. We also had a 155% light No. 1 genoa and, with all the jib-reaching that we did, that gave us an advantage over many of the newer, lighter boats who don’t jib reach well (the tops of the sails twist off and they lose power). Heck, we didn’t use the new UK No. 3 or A2 at all; but we did use the new A1.

The boat had a new UK Titanium main that replaced a five-year-old Uni-Titanium main. The old sail had a lot of miles on it and had served SIN DUDA! well as the boat traveled around (Transpac, Caribbean 600, Jamaica Race, Cabo San Lucas Race, Puerto Vallarta Race and 3-4 Chicago Mac races).

But mostly we used the light No. 1 genoa, A1 and Code 0. We didn’t do a traditional jib-to-jib headsail change the entire race, and with the Zero on a roller furler, it was a breeze to set and furl.

Going into the race it looked the new light boats would prevail. We didn’t know how we would handle the boats in a light air downwind race. As it turned out, the race was a lot of jib reaching and, as the largest boat in the section, our waterline length and overlapping genoa helped us.

SIN DUDA! is a good boat with good sailors and good sails. That’s always a winning combination.

Reefing Downwind in 30 Knots

Here’s a great video taken in this year’s Race to Alaska that shows the crew of SHUT-UP AND DRIVE reefing their main while blasting down waves. The boat is a Figaro 2, which is a 33-foot one-design created for shorthanded ocean racing. The wind was blowing a steady 30 with puffs up to 40 knots. Take a look and note the following details:

  1. All three on deck were wearing PFDs – a good thing.

  2. With the wind pressing the luff of the sail against the shrouds and spreaders, a downhaul had to be attached to the reef point so they could pull the reef tack down to the reef horn on the boom.

  3. The driver was doing an amazing job of keeping the boat flat despite having a chute up in following seas and experiencing unpredictable puffs.

  4. At about 1:35 into the video, the driver gets the boat accelerating down a wave, which lowers the apparent wind. This reduced the pressure of the main against the shrouds and spreaders making it a bit easier to lower the main. She then continued to sail a little high to reduce the load on the main during the reefing process, all the while keeping the cleated spinnaker full.

  5. The reef was finished in under five minutes. Good seamanship, boat handling, and nerves of steel.

Zoom, Zoom!

For a good article on how to reef properly, go to the Learning Center of the UK Sailmakers website, click here.


Shown above is a video of a new X4.6, a 46-footer by X-Yachts with a new set roller/furling X-Drive Carbon cruising sails.

X-Drive® performance cruising sails are perfect for cruising sailors who like their boats to sail well. X-Drive is a two-part construction system. The first part is a lightweight laminate that is cut into cross-cut panels that when put together give the sail its designed 3D shape. UK Sailmakers refers to the joined panels as the “sail skin.” Next the sail skin is reinforced by bonding hundreds of continuous high-strength, low-stretch fibers that run between the sail’s three corners. This construction system is similar to how buildings are built; the steel skeleton provides structure while the glass curtain wall creates the shape. In the X-Drive construction the sail skin is like the glass curtain wall, which creates the shape.

There are many combinations of fibers and laminates to make sails based on the requirements of strength, performance and cost. Fibers can be Carbon, UHMPE (generic for Spectra) or S-Glass. All the laminates UK Sailmakers selects from for cruising sails have a taffeta layer and can have an internal fiber structure of aramid, UHMPE or polyester yarns.

X-Drive is the ideal sail construction process for cruising sailors who appreciate a well shaped sail, but who also need to keep control of price. These good looking sails give maximum durability and signature good looks. On the X4.6, the main rolls into the boom and the roller/furling jib has UV covers on the foot and leech. Video footage courtesy Jeppe Ullmann, whose father Morten runs the UK Sailmakers loft in Denmark, where these sails were made.


The S&S 49 HIRO MARU at the start of the 2018 Newport to Bermuda Race flying the same X-Drive No. 1 genoa she used in the Transatlantic race. Notice the partial black taffeta layer on the part the leech that overlaps the mast as well as on the part of foot that comes in contact with the life lines. Click on the picture to enlarge it and you’ll see Hiro driving while smoking his signature pipe.

Hiro Nakajima's HIRO MARU scored an incredible come-from-behind win in IRC Class 3 in the 2,960 NM 2019 West to East Transatlantic Race. Nakajima and crew raced his aluminum S&S 49 that was originally launched in 1971 as SCARAMOUCHE. Nakajima and crew finished the race with an elapsed time of 17:02:21:40 to beat Rives Potts’ venerable CARINA, the grand dame of the fleet by nearly five hours on corrected time.

CARINA had led the class for most of the race, but Nakajima believes the race turned in his favor when they passed to the south of the Isles of Scilly (off the southwestern tip of England) while CARINA passed to the north.

HIRO MARU approaching the finish line off the Royal Yacht Squadron’s castle on the Isle of Wight.

HIRO MARU’s crew celebrating after winning IRC 3 in the 2019 Transatlantic Race.

“We did not go as far north as CARINA. They followed the weather,” said the 62-year-old Nakajima, a retired architect. “We stayed closer to the great circle route. I think we enjoyed slightly better breeze that allowed us to really close the gap. Everyone’s just excited, very ecstatic.”

Hiro driving past Castle Hill after crossing the starting line off Newport, R.I.

When asked what the key was to the win, Hiro shared the following comments: “The race was fantastic. The key moments for us were when we realized that we were chipping away at CARINA's lead every day. Each watch competed against the other to claw back CARINA's lead one mile at a time. We also got some lucky breaks with wind along the way.

“Watches began with, ‘Where's CARINA?‘ or ‘How many miles did we get back during the last watch?’ Our navigator, Mark D'Arcy, was the best and he gave us the best guidance and overview of options available. We could not have done this without him.

“I have to say the UK Sailmakers A3 was one of the best sails ever. We had it up for days on end. It suffered abuse from us and the elements, yet it never faltered. The UK #1 (X-Drive Carbon) was the second most used sail and it performed like a champ as well.

“I never would have believed we would win our class, which has made our win even more rewarding for me and the entire crew.”

Congratulations to Hiro and the whole crew of HIRO MARU from everyone at UK Sailmakers.


Here’s a simple solution to a complex tactical leeward mark situation. We’ve all been there and done that: approaching a leeward mark but your line is too high to do a desired wide-and-tight rounding. You’d love to do a Mexican (left gate, left turn); but you’re too high and sailing lower with an asym is, in a word, slow! What do you do? You really have only two options.

Choice one is to throw in a last-minute gybe. That will get you to the mark with proper VMG; but it will move you down the popularity ladder with your crew...not to mention creating huge opportunities for chaos at the rounding.

Here’s another option: sail wing-on-wing straight downwind towards the mark and be ready for a great left gate rounding. Have someone stand on the leeward rail and hold out the spin sheet while you turn down and someone flops the boom to windward. Downwind you go! Get your jib up and you’re all set for the perfect Mexican port rounding. (note to self: in big winds, you’re probably better doing an early drop and jib reaching into the mark for the final few boat lengths as shifting the boom may be problematic if under load.)

The top photo shows UK Sailmakers Fremantle’s Geoff Bishop’s King 40 CHECKMATE sailing wing-on-wing in order to make a leeward mark in a recent race. Gybing just the main allowed him to sail dead-down-wind. While you will not be sailing at target speed, sailing wing-on-wing for a short distance can be faster than throwing in a gybe or two and getting the crew tied in knots.

Sailing wing-on-wing is also a good tactical move in crowded fleets. You can use this maneuver for a few boat lengths to get away from a wall of bad air from boats behind you.

Like any maneuver, to sail well wing-on-wing with an asymmetrical spinnaker your crew needs to practice keeping the spinnaker full. Once mastered, you'll find it a good tool in your tactical toolbox.


Adam Loory’s custom 40-footer SOULMATES. All photos by

In late June I returned from sailing my ninth Block Island Race Week; this year turned out to be a totally different experience than the preceding eight. Why? Because instead of racing two or three races per day with a full crew, I opted to sail in the Performance Cruising Class. What a difference that made! Let me tell you why I feel this way.

Most people attend Block Island Race Week as their vacation. However, after racing multiple windward/leeward races I would always come off the water exhausted. This year in the Performance Cruising classes, each day we sailed a single long race around government marks. Even so, we finished earlier than the drop-buoy classes, which meant we had more time to enjoy the Island, our families, and friends. For the first time, this really did feel like a real vacation.

Racing into a fog bank off the southwest corner of Block Island.

Also, with a smaller crew aboard, I didn’t have to deal with issues between crewmembers that always seem to develop in a larger crew. An added benefit of a smaller crew is that we all got to do everything on the boat. No one felt like rail meat.

Many sailors snicker at boats sailing the navigator courses; but our races were just as serious. I gave a loud whoop as we crossed the finish line in first place after Thursday’s light and fluky race. We worked hard to sail toward where the sea breeze would fill in and then worked just as hard to get in front of the bulk of the fleet that stayed near the Island, then watched our COG to make sure we didn’t sail extra distance to the mark that was in two knots of current and on the way to the finish we played the shifts to keep away from the island’s bluffs that created wind holes on the rhumbline. Net result for our efforts – a horizon job on the fleet.

My class was made up of fast boats that could have sailed in any of the higher rating classes, but the owners chose not to. Our class included a J/125, a Farr 395, a custom Schumacher 50, a J/44, a J/120 and the scratch boat was a 60-footer that rated -72 PHRF. My custom 40-footer, the Farr 395 and the Schumacher 50 sailed with five people and we were competitive with the fully crewed boats. My only suggestion going forward (being a marketing person by trade) is to rename this style of sailing “Coastal Racing” so that people don’t get the impression that these are just ham ‘n egg sailors. I look forward to more Coastal Racing where boats don’t need to be staffed tons of crew.

SOULMATES getting rolled by the -72 rater in her class on the way to the finish of the Around the Island Race.

Photos by

UK Sailmakers Customers Finish First in Four of Eight Classes

UK Sailmakers customers stood out at the 2019 Sovereigns Cup sailed out of Kinsale Yacht Club in southern Ireland. Of the eight classes, UK customers finished first in four.

• IRC Class 1 was taken by John Murphy and Richard Colwell’s J/109 OUTRAJEOUS.
• The Coastal Class was won by George Sisk’s XP44 WOW
• The White Sails Class 1 went to Shane Statham’s GK34 SLACK ALICE
• The 1720 one-design class was taken by Ross & Aoife McDonald’s ROPE DOCK – ATARA

The J/109 OUTRAJEOUS sailing with her symmetrical spinnaker nearly dead downwind.

The OUTRAJEOUS team held their nerve to claim victory in IRC Class One after bouncing back from a DSQ inflicted by a boat from another class. The nine-boat IRC class consisted of eight J/109s and an X34. Racing was tight; in the last race of the four-day six-race regatta the corrected times for Class 1 varied by only two minutes between first to sixth place.

OUTRAJEOUS is a new boat to the fleet and her owners worked with UK Sailmakers Ireland to optimize the boat’s downwind performance by switching her sail plan from asymmetrical spinnakers flown off of a six-foot sprit to symmetrical spinnakers flown from a traditional spinnaker pole. Look for a story about the trade-offs they considered in our next newsletter.

George Sisk’s XP44 WOW won the IRC Coastal Class. WOW won with a perfect score of three firsts. She beat a fleet of seven other boats including the XP50 FREYA. The Coastal Class is part of a growing demand of offshore sailors who desire to sail one long race per day around navigational marks that offer multiple points of sail instead of multiple windward leeward races each day.

WOW sails with Uni-Titanium Liteskin upwind sails and UK Sailmakers Matrix spinnakers. For reaching she had two deadly weapons that included a Code Zero and a Flying Jib flown from her sprit as part of a double-headsail rig. According to crew member Red Power, “The flying jib was the key on the last reach of the second race. With it we sailed higher and faster than with our zero. WOW had the only flying jib in the fleet and it was noticed.”

The XP44 WOW showing how perfectly smooth her Uni-Titanium sails are.

Third place in the Coastal Class went to Dan Buckley’s J/109 JUSTUS. When the Irish performance-based handicap system, ECHO, was used to score the class, the positions flipped and JUSTUS was first and WOW moved to third. Either way, UK Sailmakers and their customers had a good showing.

SLACK ALICE sailing upwind with her seasons-old Tape-Drive silver main and genoa.

Shane Statham and Trudy O’Leary’s GK34 SLACK ALICE claimed victory in White Sail Class 1 with four wins in the four races. Shane and his crew opted for the white sails class for competitive racing while also being friendly to the flexible crew roster throughout the four-day series.

Aoife and Ross McDonald’s ATARA successfully defended their 1720 European Championship. The class’s European Championship was incorporated within the 2019 Sovereigns Cup. The nine-boat fleet had tight racing, but ATARA manged to score two firsts and three thirds to win the series by three points over LUVLY JUBBLY.

ATARA successfully defended her 1720 European Championship title.


One of the biggest challenges cruising sailors face is how best to sail downwind with only your white up-wind sails set. The jib bangs against the mast and gets beat up and doesn’t provide much power. You turn on the engine and you then must put up with exhaust blowing across the boat. Neither are very attractive options. For years, UK Sailmakers has taught that cruising spinnakers were the solution to this sailing dilemma, but not everyone has come onboard with that philosophy.

Setting a spinnaker with the aid of a dousing sock still requires someone to go forward to raise the dousing sock and some cruising sails feel leaving the cockpit is a real P-I-A! You can’t set it at the beginning of the sail and just have it “set” until you are ready for it.

The EasyFurl Code D’s straight luff is the reason the sail can be rolled easily. Here the Code D is shown on a Berckemeyer LA28. On this boat,the furler is electric and remotely controlled making the Code D “push-button” easy.

The EasyFurl Code D’s straight luff is the reason the sail can be rolled easily. Here the Code D is shown on a Berckemeyer LA28. On this boat,the furler is electric and remotely controlled making the Code D “push-button” easy.

Now there’s a much better alternative!

UK Sailmakers has developed the Easyfurl Code D, a cruising spinnaker that can be pre-set and is easy to release and furl from the safety and comfort of the cockpit. The Easyfurl Code D is a cruising spinnaker with a nearly straight luff that furls from the bottom up, just like a genoa. With a regular, continuous line furler, it’s easier to use than a Stasher system and less expensive than top-down furlers.

X4(3) CodeD and X-DriveLS main.jpg

The Code D gets its name because its shape, a straight luff and round leech, makes it look like the letter "D." However, because this cost-effective cruising spinnaker is so easy to furl and unfurl from the cockpit, maybe we should have named it the Code “E.”

Don’t be afraid of cruising spinnakers any longer! Hoist your Easyfurl Code D before leaving the dock or mooring, and then leave it furled until you are ready to sail downwind. When ready, unroll it and cruise in comfort, safety, with speed.

UK Sailmakers has succeeded in developing an asymmetrical spinnaker that performs well from 80-degrees apparent wind angle to nearly dead downwind. It will even fly well wing-on-wing with or without a whisker pole. Thus it is truly an all-purpose sail for cruisers and daysailors. These all-purpose asymmetrical spinnakers are made out of any nylon, which allows you to be creative with colors. If you want to cruise better this summer, talk to your local UK Sailmakers loft for more information on the Easyfurl Code D.

Shown on the right is an X-Drive Carbon Liteskin main and jib and an Easyfurl Code D on an X-Yachts 4(3).