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Sails, Support and the 52 Super Series

by North Sails 20 Sep 2018 12:00 BST
Phoenix during Puerto Portals 52 Super Series Sailing Week © 52 Super Series / Studio Martinez

Morgan Trubovich is upwind trimmer and sail coordinator for Phoenix, a TP52 sailing in the 2018 52 Super Series. The 52 Super Series is known as one of the most competitive racing circuits in sailing, and the 2018 season has upped the ante with many America's Cup teams using the series as a training platform.

The TP52 boats fall into a box rule, which features a deep slender keel and powerful sail area. "TP52s racing in the Super Series are all very even as different boat designs and equipment selected have gotten closer together," explains Morgan. "Sail performance is critical, and it may be the difference that sets you apart from the fleet at a critical moment in the race."

"The sails are the engines of the boat," says Morgan. "If your sails aren't good, your speed isn't good. If your speed isn't good, your day won't be good!"

As sail coordinator, Morgan is responsible for ensuring Phoenix's days are good. His job begins pre season with articulating the team's requirements to the North Sails designers, which then rolls into managing the boat's inventory throughout the Series. The class has a limit of 18 new sails each season and during the season Morgan is focused on tracking sail performance and durability.

Phoenix uses 3Di RAW 880, the most carbon-dense sails offered within the 3Di family, and more carbon than any sail on the water. RAW 880 was developed specifically for the TP52 class and its availability is limited to Grand Prix inshore racing where extreme construction is necessary to meet the low stretch, lightweight demands of intense racing. Phoenix was launched for the 2018 season and, so far, Morgan likes what he sees in the North Sails product.

"I have been very impressed by the 3Di RAW 880 product. The sails built using this blend of materials seem to be lasting longer in terms of shape retention than what I have previously used. They also appear to have more dynamic shape shifting when we make adjustments to our controls."

It's commonly said that races are won before a boat leaves the shed, and sails are the end products of many behind the scenes hours. "The support system and the collective knowledge with North Sails set Phoenix up for a great season," Morgan explains. I was able to meet our sail designer Burns Fallow at the loft in New Zealand, as well as the team on the floor finishing our sails. During the Series events we have North designer Shane Elliott onboard as our navigator and Mark Sadler assists me onshore with managing the sail inventory. We also have access to Paul Westlake who provides valuable insight and guidance on our sails from the coach boat."

Phoenix and other nine boats are at their final 52 Super Series of the 2018 season. The fleet is currently sailing in Valencia through September 22. Follow along with the action on on the 52 Super Series website. And a special good luck to Morgan and the Phoenix team.

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