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Legendary Kiwi sailor and Doyle Sails Grand Prix expert Stu Bannatyne has recently come back from a week in France where first-generation Doyle sails were put to the test for Beneteau Figaro 3 skippers: Alan Roberts, Will Harris, Joan Mulloy and Conrad Colman.

Sea trials took place over a week in Lorient and offered a full range of conditions and the opportunity to trial the entire sail wardrobe. The four Figaros sail inventory included: Stratis Mainsail, two Stratis headsails and panelled Cable-less Code Zero and two gennakers. Leading the design philosophy is Stu Bannatyne who is working closely with Doyle's top sail designers to find the complete package for optimal performance.

Stu comments on the success of the first training session,"The full range of conditions allowed us to play around with the rig tune and optimise the sail set-ups. There's a steep learning curve for everyone involved with the Figaros and there's a lot of potential that has yet to be realised. Overall, I was happy with the performance of version one in terms of what the required sail concepts would be and the crossovers. We have taken that feedback and analysed every detail - version two will be a nice evolution."

Will Harris Hive Energy
© Thomas Deregnieaux / Will Harris - Hive Energy
Will Harris Hive Energy 2
© Thomas Deregnieaux / Will Harris - Hive Energy

Given that Figaro class rules are fairly strict in terms of sail numbers and sizes, Doyle's panelled Cable-less Code Zero has proven to be a wildcard for those looking for an edge over their competitors. Doyle's Code Zero is a light wind genoa which also doubles as a medium air reaching sail.

Stu explains why Doyle's Code Zero is a stand-out, "The Code Zero on these boats will be a really important sail. There are a few different schools of thought on the Code Zero, most of the other ones were more reachy and allround in terms of geometry than our one, which is more focused for upwind and tight angles."

Will Harris Hive Energy 3
© Thomas Deregnieaux / Will Harris - Hive Energy testing Cable-less Code Zero

Will Harris, Joan Mulloy and Conrad Colman will be competing with primarily first-generation Doyle sails this season, however, Alan Roberts is using the "sample set" provided by Doyle and will receive the refined version two in time for the Solo Maitre Coq Figaro 3. The sample set is available for any and all Figaros who wish to test out the sails for themselves and can do so by either getting in touch with Stu or Alan, contacts provided at the bottom. The feedback received from the Skippers has been positive and Doyle is keen to take on more Figaro projects.

Alan Roberts Racing

As the official Doyle Ambassador, Alan Roberts has offered to talk to other Skippers who may be interested in our sail program and has kindly given a testimonial on his progress with the Doyle team and product thus far,

“With the change of boat in the Figaro class this opens up the opportunity to do something different, to search for an edge over the other sailors.

I have been looking to work with Doyle Sails for a few years but have been awaiting the right opportunity. This is it, with a blank page I decided to approach Doyle to do something different as well as offering them a foot into a new market place.

Since then I have been working closely with both Mike (Sanderson) and Stu (Bannatyne) to develop the Figaro sails package. So far it has been very successful, and I believe we have a great product that will improve throughout the year as we move in to second generation sails.

The support from these experienced sailors and sailmakers is great and working closely with them is a fantastic opportunity. We have been doing lots of sailing, it is clear there is a lot to learn and a long way to go before the sails and sailing techniques are perfected. It will make for a very interesting Solitaire this year; the game is very much open, and I believe we have set ourselves up well.

Going forward the focus will be to learn the new sails in time for the Solitaire. Again, with onsite support from Stu we will put a lot of time on the water to understand and analyse what we have done to be as successful as possible in this year’s Solitaire du Figaro." Alanrobertsracing.com

The Doyle team and European loft network will be available throughout the Figaro racing season to provide all sail servicing and repair support.

The next generation of designs are currently underway and will see developments in weight savings and faster sail shapes. If you would like to trial the sample set or if you have any questions, please get in touch. All orders will need to be confirmed by early April 2019.

Stu Bannatyne - stu.bannatyne@doylesails.com

Alan Roberts - alan@alanrobertsracing.com


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