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One Design advice driven by passion, experience and expertise

3 May 2019 Alby Pratt

Noel Drennan

"Noel Drennan"

Photo by:
North Sails

With four decades in sailmaking, Noel ‘Nitro’ Drennan knows a thing or two about sails. A lifelong passion for sailing has made this Irish-born Australian one of the world’s best one design experts, and now his desire to be part of the best one design team has brought him back to North Sails as One Design Manager at North Sails Sydney.

Nitro first started with North Sails Melbourne back in 1983, in a loft owned by sailing legend John Bertrand, AO. He’s a familiar face on top teams across a wide variety of boats: Etchells, offshore trimarans, TP52s, A-Class cats, Skiffs, Finns, won the Volvo Ocean Race aboard Illbruck, did another lap on Movistar, and has also taken part in the America’s Cup.

“Life in One Design never stands still,” Nitro commented. “As soon as you think you’ve got the best product, somebody else will come along with something faster and you are basically left in the dust. So you have to be on top of it, never ever relaxing, which is something I really thrive on.”

Nitro is responsible for One Design sales in Australia, working with class leaders on sail development while simultaneously working with customers to help them get the most out of their sails. He’s also the Etchells class leader, and he’s excited about the possibilities of working within a strong international network alongside experts with decades of experience.

“North Sails is a truly global company,” Nitro says, “giving us access to so many other one design classes around the world. Quite often development in one class benefits another. When I look at the many classes we have in Australia, it is really nice to compare sails and designs used in other classes in Europe. Working for North Sails enables me to do this in a way no other sailmaker can.”

Servicing such an extensive list of classes requires experience, which is why Nitro was welcomed back; there is no better person to be pushing the next phase of innovation and development in sails. To succeed in one design, Nitro says, “You always have to be going flat out. Things are always changing... So you have to keep yourself at the frontline at all times. I like the challenge of sailing a little bit faster than the next guy.”

Welcome back, Nitro.

Alby Pratt
Sales Manager
North Sails

Noel Drennan on the tiller, with Billy Merrington and Lewis Brake during the 2019 Etchells Australian Championship

"Noel Drennan on the tiller, with Billy Merrington and Lewis Brake during the 2019 Etchells Australian Championship"

Photo by:
John Curnow









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