Here at North Sails Ireland, we are blessed with having two of the best sailors in the country on our Team. Maurice O’Connell or “Prof” as most of you know him and Shane Hughes who is also running the North Sails Service loft. Between the three of us, there is nothing that we do not know about in the world of sailmaking and sailing.
We have over 85 years of combined experience in the industry; both Shane and myself are time-served sailmakers, and Prof has over 17 years in the industry plus his vast sailing experience. Prof competes in local competition through to the Olympic classes and, most recently, Melges 24 World Champion trimmer and Round Ireland class winner.
The Black Seal Cape 31 winning at Key West 2024
International coaching is also part of Prof’s workload, and this blend of local and International makes North Sails Ireland so strong in the local marketplace.
North Sails Ireland started back in March 2004 with just myself and a blank sheet of paper to work from. The business has been an amazing roller coaster ride from the dizzy heights of the Tiger days, the 2008 recession, and the rebuild up to 2019, when it looked like the World might end with COVID-19!
The Cape 31 Black Seal with Key West at its very best Photo: Sharon Green
The last twenty years have flown by, and I have really enjoyed taking the business from nothing to where it is today with the help of my two colleagues and the background team looking after the administration. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank all of the clients who have been with us for the full twenty years! You know who you are, and I do not have the room to list you all here! But thank you from us all at NS Ireland.
International sailing and travel have always been a part of my work since I started with North Sails back in 1994; as the years roll by, this is becoming a bigger part of my focus.
2022 and 2023 saw my sailmaking and sailing life change quite a bit, with International competition coming back online, taking me out of the country more and more. Roughly 150 days of sailing and travel for each of those years, and now 2024 is ramping up to be the biggest year travelling for my international commitments.
I am currently involved with two Cape 31 programmes, one in the USA and one in the UK, the Club Swan 36 Mediterranean circuit and the occasional Melges 24 and regatta. All of these programmes are 100% North Sails and take a lot of time to manage and race. With the above in mind, we are having a small restructuring in North Sails Ireland to ensure we service all of our clients in the best way possible.
Nigel Young (left) Cape 31 Class Winners of the 2024 at Key West’s Southernmost Regattas
With my commitments taking me out of the country more and more, it makes sense to spread my local workload out between my two colleagues.
This year, my International sailing is going to keep me out of the country more than I would like, but I will sail in the ICRA Nationals, J-Cup and the IRC Europeans, all being well. Let’s see how the season unfolds, and I look forward to my Irish sailing in 2024.
For Sales and Service please do not hesitate to contact any of us here at North Sails Ireland. I will be on the phone and email as normal and running the business day to day as I have since 2004. The only difference this year is you will not see me as much on the dockside as I will be travelling all over Europe and the US supporting our International clients…..
Thank you again for the support over the last 20 years, and we look forward to seeing you all on the water very soon!
Spring is in the air…..