2016 has been another exciting year for Doyle Sails New Zealand and we are ending the year on a high having worked on a huge number of innovative projects and seen so many of our clients take out racing wins on the local and international race circuits. We are particularly enjoying watching Alex Thomson’s performance on Hugo Boss in the Vendee Globe 2016/2017, with Alex currently sitting in second place having taken out no less than three race records to date, and are very proud to have been involved in Alex’s exciting campaign.
Our big news in the second half of the year was a management change and strategic restructure with Chris McMaster stepping down into a consultative role and Mike Sanderson taking over as majority shareholder and CEO and fellow directors David Duff and Richard Bouzaid increasing their shareholding with Duff appointed Managing Director and Bouzaid as Director of Design.
We’ve continued to invest in our team and significant new additions this year included Stu Bannatyne as Grand Prix Racing Sales & Projects Rep, Chris Blunden as Project Manager, Guillermo Altadill as Grand Prix Race Salesman and most recently Daniel Fong who joins the Design department.
The Stratis plant has been running at full strength with over 60,000sqm of sail membranes made and 3.3 million metres of fibre laid in 2016. To help meet growing demand for Stratis sails the R&D department has developed and built a brand new 10m plotter for the Stratis facility that will be operational in the new year. Faster, more powerful and fully automated with more process control it will increase capacity significantly, helping us to serve our customers faster than ever. Other additions to the loft floor include our new braiding machine for producing our Stratisfurl torque cables range. We have several new products coming in 2017 so watch this space.
The One Design department has had another strong year, with growing market presence and significant support of grass roots initiatives all around the country including our Junior Scholarships and RNZYS Youth Training Programme Scholarship. Our new Optimist sail design is proving especially popular with over 350 sails sold this year and our Finn sails are performing at the top of their game with Rafa Trujillo doing a great job as the face of our Finn range. We are always evolving our One Design range and the team is currently developing and testing new OK dinghy sails. We’ve also been delighted to see so many national championship wins in 2016 using Doyle Sails NZ One Design sails, including the P Class double Tanner and Tauranga Cup, Sunburst, Hartley 16, Jollyboat and many more.
Up at the other end of the scale our superyacht and Grand Prix departments continue to go from strength to strength and we have been privileged to work on a diverse range of projects and race campaigns all around the world. Recent superyacht projects include full new sets of Stratis sails for 33.83m Cygnus Montanus, 37m Pumula and 56m Fidelis and the membranes for 142m S/Y A (with sails made by Doyle Salem), the world’s biggest sailing superyacht. In the race sector Leopard 3 received new ULX ICE sails, winning her division in the Maxi Worlds. New sails have been built for projects including Beau Geste 80 and Chinese Whisper in time for the upcoming Sydney Hobart race, the Pack 52 Invisible Hand which will launch in early January 2017, 100ft supermaxi Scallywag, Bella Mente and of course Hugo Boss. Huge success has been seen for our customers on the race circuit with results including Stratis-powered Bella Mente and Proteus taking 1st and 2nd in the Maxi Worlds and Stratis-powered 72's taking out every Maxi 72 event in 2016, Proteus winning Les Voiles de St Barths and the Caribbean RORC 600, Rio 100’s record race and win in the Pacific Cup, and wins in three of the five classes at the St Barths Bucket,
Our in house rigging, covers and upholstery, and service departments have also had a busy year. Rigging projects included the removal and re-installation of superyacht M5’s boom, the largest boom in the world, service work to old America’s Cup yachts, torsional cables for Scallywag and a wide range of local work including visiting superyachts. The service team also worked on M5’s sails, giving them a full service and mainsail modifications. This was just one stand out project in a year that included servicing the local fleet including the majority of the TP52s, full services for yachts including Shaman and Anarchy ahead of the ANZ Sail Fiji Race, and local and international cruising and race servicing in preparations for summer cruising and Bay Week. The covers and upholstery department have also worked on a wide range of projects, from small boats to superyachts, and bimini covers to custom bean bags.
All in all it has been quite the year and we thank you for your part in it. We are proud to be a fully New Zealand owned company, and to be continuing to take our Kiwi innovation to the rest of the world.
We wish you all a very you a happy and healthy new year and look forward to working with you in the year ahead. Thanks for your all your support.
Please note that the loft is closed from 23 December 2016, reopening on 9 January 2017.
Mike Sanderson, David Duff and Richard Bouzaid - Directors, Doyle Sails NZ