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Editor

the world doesn't stop

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One of the nicest, honest and serious movers in our sport is Tom Whidden, President and CEO of North Technology Group. We thought it would be of interest to see what some companies are doing during this Covid-19 situation. Enjoy.

SA: No doubt, this Covid-19 pandemic is almost unbelievable. In the larger sense, and in this short time period, how has this impacted North Sails?

TW: Pretty Fluid at the moment. Some cancellations and obviously a number of regatta cancellations. But what would you rather be doing and where could you be safer than on your boat on the water?

SA: Assuming that a lot of people who might be considering sails have now put their orders on hold. What will you guys do - discounts, coaching, tuning, etc. - to entice people to buy?

TW: All options are on the table. But so far, not many orders have been cancelled. Our business has always been in large part servicing the sport in any way that promotes the pleasure of sailing. If this turns out to be the worst case scenario people will have other things on their minds and won't need sails.

If we do what Americans do so well and persevere through this challenge, sailing will be a great way to be outside and safe, but most of all to enjoy what we love. It is our responsibility, I believe, to help facilitate that in any way that we can. Coaching, teaching, crewing, promoting, writing, speaking will all be important. My philosophy has always been, we can never stop learning and we can never stop teaching.

SA: Given that no one really knows how long this is going to last, a "let's ride it out" philosophy doesn't really work, does it?

TW: No, this is a new challenge, and I must say, never thought about in our various contingency plans. Luckily we are a global company so we do have some options. But our loyal team comes first, and any decision we make going forward will be considerate of their health, safety and well being. But to "just ride it out" would be irresponsible. Our Executive committee has been having bi-weekly calls since February in an attempt to understand and adapt to the fast changing landscape.

SA: How does "Buy now, pay later" sound as a marketing strategy? 

TW: As I said, all ideas are on the table and that surely could be one.

SA: I am assuming that North already has a backlog of orders, but do you foresee reducing your work force at some point?

TW: I hope not. In the downturn of 2008, in which our order book was suddenly substantially lower, we voted as a team to all take a 10% pay cut from top (me) to bottom, in lieu of any workforce reductions. I was proud of our team to agree to that strategy to save reductions. In the end, we had a decent year, and as a surprise at Christmas we gave them all the 10% we withheld for a bonus. I would rather find a way to keep them all. Our technology lead is important to us, but our people come first!

SA: With so many of your customers owning high profile, full on boats and campaigns, and now that so many regattas are being canceled, do you guys do anything to keep hope alive for them?

TW: Sure, as I said, what could be safer than sailing? Let's keep the regattas going and practice social distancing on the shore. There have been zero CV-19 cases on any of the many bodies of water we all race on!

SA: Does this give you time to spend more time on developing new products? Are there any that you can share with us. Gotta keep people psyched, Tom!

TW: Scot, if I told our guys to save money and stop developing, I couldn't stop them anyway. It is in all of their DNA. Lot's of development today with Helix load sharing technology being used in so many upwind and off the wind applications. And material science is ongoing.

Sails are getting lighter and stronger all the time. Remember, we use monofiliments (human hair thickness) in ultralight composite membranes today. That is how your North sails are made on your own boat. If you asked me 20 years ago if that was possible I would have said no. On the wild idea side, I can imagine spraying a liquid solution in an adjustable mold that forms a firm, but very light, non porous downwind spinnaker material when it cures. Lots of great ideas out there to make sailing more fun and easier. Honestly, the sky is the limit.

SA: Thanks Tom!

TW: Thanks for all you do for our sport Scot. It is time for all of us who love our sport the way we do to be champions for something that we can do safely in the outdoors and on the water. As I said earlier, What would you rather be doing?

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great dude.   Missed him on the gondola this year.

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One fucking comment? This place is about discussion and it would seem that this is discussion worthy. A bunch of businesses in our sport are not likely to make it through this, and  hearing what North is doing isn't of interest?

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Might be of interest, but also quite complete.  What's left to say?  Argument is down the hall.

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I read it and I was interested. I was especially interested because we beat BEQUIA in a race one day while Whidden was aboard. Haha. They guy is a freakin genius though.

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Thanks for posting that.  Not a whole lot to discuss right now about it.  Might be interesting to check back in 2 months and see what they are doing/planning.  Would be interesting to hear from some other companies about how they are dealing or plan to deal with the impact of this.  

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10 hours ago, Editor said:

One fucking comment? This place is about discussion and it would seem that this is discussion worthy. A bunch of businesses in our sport are not likely to make it through this, and  hearing what North is doing isn't of interest?

It’s a little tricky to keep up, only just realised all the threads had been quarantined in a specific Corona forum. 
 

Smart companies will do as North have done if they can, bunker down for a bit, take a pay cut and use the time to innovate and learn. My guys have laptops and CAD training courses to get on with while we’re locked down. 

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I am placing an order for new mast, rudder and sails for my Fareast28R today. Why not put a bunch of coin out now so I can enjoy the boat and time on the water with the survivors!

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20 hours ago, Editor said:

One fucking comment? This place is about discussion and it would seem that this is discussion worthy. A bunch of businesses in our sport are not likely to make it through this, and  hearing what North is doing isn't of interest?

My my, things have changed since I last visited.....

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22 hours ago, Editor said:

One fucking comment? This place is about discussion and it would seem that this is discussion worthy. A bunch of businesses in our sport are not likely to make it through this, and  hearing what North is doing isn't of interest?

You have probably said it yourself. "A nice guy, being upbeat? What is interesting about that?"

Has not been the foundation of this site, never will be. It's accusation, pain, anger, and hurt.

I do appreciate your rant though. Much more interesting than the subject of the post!

 

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22 hours ago, Editor said:

One fucking comment? This place is about discussion and it would seem that this is discussion worthy. A bunch of businesses in our sport are not likely to make it through this, and  hearing what North is doing isn't of interest?

What is there to comment on? Basically he's saying:

  1. We haven't had many cancelled orders, so it's business as usual
    Nice to hear they are doing OK, but of what value is that to businesses that are seeing trade down 80 to 100% or have been ordered to close?
     
  2. We're meeting twice a week to discuss things, but haven't done anything yet
    Nice, but you think other businesses aren't talking and considering options? Most are flat out working out what their options are, negotiating with landlords, contacting clients, implementing safe practices, dealing with financiers, accountants, lawyers, doing their best for their workers, trying to stay afloat …
     
  3. In 2008 we cut wages temporarily by 10% but had a good year so paid it anyway.
    Irrelevant, this event is the GFC x 1,000 plus a global health crisis potentially beyond anything we've seen in 100 years
     
  4. Let's keep the regattas going and practice social distancing on the shore
    And in the process flout government, health and scientific advice that says essential movement only and possibly commit a criminal offence? People and boats don't magically spawn on the water, they have to travel, congregate, get on and off the boat, etc. You can't practice social distancing playing rail meat or hoisting/lowering/changing sails.
     
  5. Sails are getting lighter and stronger all the time. Remember…
    A sales pitch? Yeah, I'm up for that.

So yes, a nice upbeat article. But value as advice to anyone dealing with COVID–19? Utterly ignorable.

 

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On 3/24/2020 at 1:59 PM, Editor said:

TW: Luckily we are a global company so we do have some options.

And those options would be ... what?

This is a global crisis (as reflected by the term ‘pandemic’), and affects all of North’s extended workforce and operations more or less equally. There is nowhere to hide.

On 3/24/2020 at 1:59 PM, Editor said:

SA: With so many of your customers owning high profile, full on boats and campaigns, and now that so many regattas are being canceled, do you guys do anything to keep hope alive for them?

TW: Sure, as I said, what could be safer than sailing? Let's keep the regattas going and practice social distancing on the shore. There have been zero CV-19 cases on any of the many bodies of water we all race on!

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Let’s leave aside the fact that virtually all “high-profile, full-on boats and campaigns” involve large crews who live in multiple households and should not be working in close proximity to each other on their respective boats. And let’s ignore similar on-water concerns with race committee and umpiring teams.

Without major, major changes in the way regattas are run, it would be impossible to “keep the regattas going and practice social distancing on the shore”:

* How does he expect the crews and support teams of all those “high-profile, full-on boats and campaigns” to travel to and from regattas?

* How will the scoring teams operate?

* How will international juries conduct arbitrations and hearings?

* How will OAs cover their costs without f & b?

* How many owners and crews will want to attend sterile events lacking any socializing?

If he wants to argue that social distancing is bad policy or unnecessary, then fine. But he should not pretend that it is possible to achieve it at normal regattas.

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Hes seems to be living in a different world. Sri-Lanka has been under curfew for two weeks, people get arrested for leaving their houses, let alone going to work to make 3di Sails. A lot of countries are locking marina gates, yacht clubs are closed, let alone running regattas.  

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I’m placing a deposit on a new set of sails for the Fareast28R today. Got a great price from a local sailmaker and he needs the work as much as I need sails. I hope most businesses can pull through this and I’m trying to do my part.(insert image of asshole patting himself on the back and looking smug)^_^

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@Editor  Like everybody else, those that live off regattas are very concerned about the depression.   Some ESSENTIAL businesses have to face the choice of closing to conserve cash or risking closing permanently.    Essential businesses can't get cartons to ship biomedical supplies to New York because of disruptions up and down the food chain.   Either they all went to Amazon, or the line is shut down.   Probably both.   Those whose life insulates them from real people living useful lives think the regattas and yacht clubs are somehow important in the scheme of things.    I could see an exception for the Vendee'  if you eliminate all the pre and post events, rigging crews, etc.     Limit departure filming to drones.   The race committee would have to accept the death of any participant that develops respiratory distress during the race, far from help.   You sure won't get him off the boat without putting the rescue crew in grave peril.   It isn't their race.    I expect most of us will have been exposed by November, so that race may still be possible.

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Fuck you and Tommy and his global  business  

there have been Covid19 infections on ‘the waters we sail on’   One of them on one of our aircraft carriers.  What about cruise ships? Retard.   

Look what UK Loft NYC is doing 

think Globally  act locally  

 

While we wait for the COVID-19 virus to ease, everyone here at UK|NY is doing our part.  We have started manufacturing PPEs (Personal Protective Equipment) specifically Isolation Gowns and Face Shields.  We will be delivering batches of each to White Plains Hospital and Elmhurst Hospital Center in Queens.

 

E1984F89-0CA0-4BB1-98DB-8ACA811BCDB0.jpeg

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My watch just vibrated and told me we are numero uno!  Most cases!  MAGA.

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Of course we will have the most reported  cases 

China , Russia, India under reporting intentionally or not. 

We have 5x the population of the other countries. 

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22 minutes ago, hasher said:

My watch just vibrated and told me we are numero uno!  Most cases!  MAGA.

What a fucked Up watch 

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37 minutes ago, Cristoforo said:

While we wait for the COVID-19 virus to ease, everyone here at UK|NY is doing our part.  We have started manufacturing PPEs (Personal Protective Equipment) specifically Isolation Gowns and Face Shields.  We will be delivering batches of each to White Plains Hospital and Elmhurst Hospital Center in Queens.

E1984F89-0CA0-4BB1-98DB-8ACA811BCDB0.jpeg

That is commendable. Much respect.

When this is all over, remember who stepped up and helped out ...

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... and who buried their head in the sand.

North_Sails_logo.jpg

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That’s a good reason, but only another  good reason to buy from UK NY. 

They are top notch!

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On 3/24/2020 at 9:28 PM, Editor said:

A bunch of businesses in our sport are not likely to make it through this, and  hearing what North is doing isn't of interest?

Hearing what North is doing might well have been of interest. Unfortunately, no concrete information was provided in response to the various softball questions. There were just a bunch of vague platitudes, uncritically accepted by the ‘interviewer’:

”Pretty fluid at the moment ... all options are on the table ... serving the sport through any way that promotes the pleasures of sailing ... persevere through this challenge ... our executive committee has been having bi-weekly calls ... as I said, all ideas are on the table ... our people come first ... lots of development ... material science is ongoing ... the sky is the limit”.

Sports-Cliche-Week.gif

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Worthless, tone-deaf interview.  There may be a reason he is not the primary face of the company.  I assume somebody (Read?) is going to be doing clean-up on that pollyanna bullshit.

"Social distancing" while sailing?  Yeah, that works.   Lemmee see.  I've got a crew of thirteen, so if they are properly hiking, excluding the driver and snack-tician. that means I need a minimum of a 66' boat.  Got it.  Uhmm.  No I don't got it.

UK/NY is doing something at least.  Good for them.

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On 3/26/2020 at 8:19 PM, Svanen said:

cvcliche.jpg

That's the case with all Mission Statements.

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