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While the storm raged last weekend, something exciting was happening inside the Emirates Team New Zealand sail loft down in Viaduct Basin. The Tucker’s new mains’l was being cut and stitched.

This unusual turn of events was thanks to Ross Blackman, who is not only part of Emirates Team New Zealand but also Chair of  Far North Holdings Ltd,  sponsors of a youth development voyage. When he came on board to meet the youngsters after their 7-day voyage, he noticed the very poor state of our Mains’l. As a professional sail maker he felt compelled to make a comment and generously offerd his expertise. Fortunately, the new sail was on the short term plan as part of this winter’s maintenance programme and thanks to a generous donation from the Wairahi Trust, we had already purchased the canvas and were just awaiting for the sail maker.

Ross realised that with a sail of this size, space for the actual cutting was a major challenge so generously offered the use of Emirates Team New Zealand’s massive sail loft for this job. Fitting into his schedule and their schedule was important and the date was eventually set for the weekend of 4th August.

Ross and our sailmaker, also called Ross (confusing!) started work at 0830 and worked solidly until 1730. They not only cut out the sail but also stitched it using Emirates Team New Zealand’s huge industrial sewing machine which can do triple stitch, a lot more resistent to chaffing than the more regular ziz-zag stiching that convential machines offer.

We’d like to say thanks very much to Ross Blackman for donating his time so generously as well as allowing the use of top notch facilties! We’re looking forward to seeing the new mains’l back on the ship before she goes out on our next batch of youth voyages.