A visionary sail designer – Gautier Sergent (1977-2024)

Gautier Sergent

Apr 2, 2024

It is with immense sadness that we share the news that our friend and North Sails colleague Gautier Sergent passed away after sustaining a heart attack. Gautier was a brilliant sail designer and an exceptional person. The North Sails team, particularly Gautier’s colleagues at North Sails France, feel this news deeply, and his loss will no doubt reverberate throughout the sailing world.

Bruno Dubois, Managing Director for North Sails France from 1999-2014 and the current CEO of Orient Express Racing Team, recognized Gautier’s talent when they started working together in 2011 during the Groupama Volvo Ocean Race campaign. Together, Bruno and Gautier laid the groundwork for the force that today is North Sails France.

He comments:

“Immediately, I understood that Gautier was the future of what we wanted to develop in France, not only for offshore sailing but also for the America’s Cup. History shows that we made the right choice. Not only a super smart person but an amazing human being.”

America’s Cup, IMOCA, Ultim, and designer-of-record for The Ocean Race; Gautier’s credentials spoke volumes about his capabilities. Furthermore, the teams who worked with Gautier considered him a friend and a vital part of their success. His most recent assignment was as Lead Sail Designer for Alinghi Red Bull Racing’s America’s Cup challenge.

JB Braun, North Sails Head of Design and Engineering and INOES Britannia Lead Sail Designer:

“Gautier’s sails won races, and his genius was underscored by humbleness. He often credited the win to the boat simply being faster. However, upon further inspection, the 3Di sail and structural design which he developed were truly creative and innovative. Many of the sails we make today are evolutions of his concepts. Whether he was explaining radical sail designs or beating me in early morning bike rides, I will always remember his signature smile, which was both warm and a little mischievous. In Gautier, North Sails had a very special designer and one who made everyone around him better.”
While at North Sails, Gautier and his family moved to America for him to run the 3D loft in Minden, NV. This prestigious posting, at the core of 3D sailmaking, enabled Gautier to deeply understand our 3Di technology. He translated that experience into advancing our product development and design innovation.

After Minden, Gautier oversaw the opening of the North Sails loft in Lorient La Base. This loft is strategically placed at the epicenter of offshore sailing and is an R&D center for North Sails. Today, North Sails is the dominant sailmaker within offshore racing because of Gautier’s contributions.

North Sails President and North Technology Group President Ken Read:

“All of us at North Sails and the wider North Technology Group family stand with Gautier’s wife and their three children. Gautier personified North Sails—an absolute expert who drew from his experience to relentlessly advance our competitive edge. He was a visionary sail designer and embraced new challenges with enthusiasm and dedication. Gautier leaves an irreplaceable hole in the sailing world and a legacy that North Sails will be proud

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