Doyle Sailmakers; wanted by the world

Doyle Sails once again has had numerous Sailmakers head hunted for America’s Cup sailmaking roles around the world, part of the constant ebb and flow of the 4-yearly America’s Cup cycle. 

At Doyle Sails, we focus on managing both the positive and negative impacts of systems, processes, and activities on our people. One of our key social sustainability directives focuses on training and upskilling our team, which includes an option to enrol in the world-renowned Doyle Sails sailmaking apprenticeship. For successful graduates, the sailmaking trade can open an abundance of Grand Prix opportunities for hardworking individuals looking to take their careers further. 

For those that aspire to be professional sailors, an apprenticeship in sailmaking is one of the best points of entry to consider, and there are more opportunities than ever at Doyle Sails.
Unsurprisingly graduate sailmaker and now Doyle Sails CEO Mike Sanderson is passionate about the value of sailing apprenticeships. “An apprenticeship sees you immerse yourself in the sailing world and gives you many opportunities to get on boats,” he explains. “Thinking about boats and the speed and handling of sails – which are the biggest singular component of what makes a boat go fast – is key, and sailmaking also gives you deeper insight into the boats, masts and rigging as well.”

Doyle Sails once again has had numerous sailmakers head hunted for America’s Cup sail-making roles with various teams, part of the constant ebb and flow of the 4-yearly America’s Cup cycle. This past year has been no different, with more teams entering the America’s Cup, which will be held in Barcelona in 2024. 

Sean Paterson, who has successfully held the position of Small Boat Manager with Doyle Sails New Zealand for the last 8 years, was responsible for managing the build of all sails for boats less than 80 feet in length. Recently, Sean was recruited by American Magic not only for his skill in sailmaking, but also his attention to detail and his ability to deliver to a deadline. A role which saw Sean move to Pensacola, Florida to be part of the technical team for the campaign.

Sean has come up through the Doyle Sails Apprenticeship programme here in Auckland, allowing him to develop a strong set of skills both on the tools and, more recently, in managing a team. Managing Director of Doyle Sails, David Duff said, “In late 2021, Sean moved into a department head role which he took to like a duck to water; while it’s always hard to see them leave, we all understand it is completely the right move for him to further his career and continues to show us that the way we build sails and people at Doyle Sails is world-class. We completely support Sean, and will hopefully welcome him back after the cup!” 

Likewise, Doyle Sails New Zealand’s Senior Project Manager, Ben Newton was also asked to take a senior role with American Magic after being a successful conduit between the Doyle Sails loft and team during their Auckland 2021 challenger campaign. Post-match Ben returned to Doyle Sails full-time, however, the draw of being part of another Americas Cup campaign again was too good to refuse and has since returned to Pensacola to head the sailmaking team for the New York Yacht Club entry. 

More so than ever, elite sailing programmes continue to value the support and skill that a sailmaker can bring to any campaign, and not surprisingly, the we continue to work on ideas to help new apprentices into roles at Doyle Sails – there is no doubt that the fine art of sailmaking is still a valuable one. Doyle Sails New Zealand proudly welcomes more than ten new sailmaking apprentices each year, some with a passion for learning the art and refining their skill, others looking to enhance their opportunity to further their career in sailing as Mike did, others to join a profession of like-minded people, who often share a passion for being on the water. 


ABOUT DOYLE SAILS // Around the world, Doyle Sails has over 500 sailmakers in 46 different locations, all equally passionate about sailing – living and breathing our ethos ’Global Leaders and Local Experts.’

As sailors, our obsession with sailing connects us to the water. The water is our playground, a sanctuary where we seek enjoyment, a competitive playing field where we race as competitors; it’s sometimes our home and always a place that unlocks our sense of adventure wherever that adventure might take us. Behind every adventure is a Doyle sailor who shares this same obsession as you. We put your journey at the very heart of what we do to deliver the ultimate enjoyment and performance, powering our constant need to push the boundaries in sail design and innovation, to reimagine sailing.

From dinghies, club racers and cruising yachts through to Grand Prix campaigns and Superyachts, we are your experts. Meet our team here.

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