The move to wings for the next America's Cup will be a big setback for sail and spar makers... they said. Well the industry is a little smarter than that, as good firms hunt down the new opportunities. Such as Hall Spars, jumping at the chance to liberate an inner desire for aero perfection...

Given that the next America's Cup will see only very limited use of soft sail technology it was understandable that the knee-jerk reaction of some industry professionals to the change of boat type was, shall we say, less than ebullient. However, a quick look at the realities in 'Cup world' highlights the fact that in terms of sail and spar supply the number of companies directly affected, on the basis of those supplying in size to the last ACC event in 2007 is quite limited.

That said, for those lucky few that did derive a substantial slice of income from the 'old' Cup the potential loss in revenue was significant and needed addressing; and in spite of the fact that we are still only a few months into the new Cup cycle the response has been impressive.

Easily the biggest supplier of sails to recent ACC Cups, North Group may have lost an outlet for moulded mainsails but the company has been quick to promote its wing covering films and, perhaps more significant in the long term, its proprietary Thin Ply Technology (TPT). But North is not the only leading company to be positioning themselves for AC34...

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