Does anybody here know a certain Lowell North?
- asked Bea to those present as she walked into the Yacht Club. Lowell had asked her to go to sea with him, but before she accepted, Bea wanted to check that he was to be trusted.
So she decided to pay a visit to the San Diego Yacht Club and ask about him. Her question was greeted with uproarious laughter. Lowell was not just anyone, he was the Pope, a nickname he had earned in a bar due to his Olympic victories and unmistakable personality.
He moved to San Diego with his family at the age of fourteen.
Young North was not wildly enthusiastic about this move and so his father bought him a Star.
That was the beginning. Then came the tiny loft where he worked on his sails. Two Olympic medals.
Five Star class championships. Yachtsman of the year in 1968 and 1976.
The point is that Lowell North has always been brilliant.
His desire for action, experiment, improvement - these are the characteristic traits of North Sails.
And there is another, hardly insignificant, detail.
Lowell is an engineer. When he enrolled at the San Diego State College, he built a Star as part of his carpentry course: “I would take the pieces home on the school bus so I could finish it. The other kids complained a bit because I made them sit with their heads to one side to get my frames in”.
This love for engineering was the cipher of his life, which made the real difference
for his growing company, in a period in history when cutting sails was seen as a skill reserved for master sailmakers.
Sailing therefore not as an art and not only a passion for sailing:
he also knew all about the maths involved in the sails themselves. Thanks to the precision of numbers, the best sails could be recreated and further improved, reducing the risk of making mistakes or having to start over. North managed to teach his computer the science of sails, an art dating back six thousand years.
Lowell and his Tigers have built up a company based on the strength of their passion and their minds.
Their motto was: “Do it. If you believe an idea is valid, try it”.
The ideas they tried could today be said to have worked. North Sails runs as fast as Tigers.
And all Lowell North’s sails turned that first small loft in San Diego into the world’s most important sail manufacturing group. And this was just the start.