Powerboat-World.com
 
 
News Home Video Gallery Newsletters Features FishingBoating Photo Gallery Sail-World Australia Australian Cruising
MarineBusiness-World

 

Sail-World.com : An interview with Nick Gill

An interview with Nick Gill

Wet, foul, or whatever - sailors push boats and themselves harder and harder, sailing in ‘front of fire hoses’ and in the type of weather where they should be at home and warm by the fire.

Over the last 30 years, British dinghy sailor Nick Gill, who founded one of the most innovative of the Marine Technical Clothing companies Gill, has continually delivered major improvements in technical gear.

Nick Gill at the London Boat Show 2006 -  Gill Marine  


Nick Gill, now 52, talked about the early years. ‘My sport and passion was sailing. Being in landlocked Nottingham, three hours from the sea, I could only be a dinghy sailor. I sailed the National 12, it’s a 12 foot restricted class, not quite as hairy as an 18 foot skiff, but quick and wet. I still sail the same class today.

‘We had no sailing gear, we used to go sailing in a pair of canvas shoes, a pair of shorts and t-shirt and we did not go sailing in the winter.

‘I was doing a business degree, and in one of the courses I had to do a business plan on establishing a new business. As a keen sailor, I decided to do a business plan on a Sailing Product company and Dinghy Gear was an obvious need.

‘Fresh out of University, I decided to put my business plan into action. I began the business in 1975, in the corner of my father’s textile factory; in a small space about ten metres by ten metres.

‘Nottingham, right in the middle of the country, was a textile production area. My father’s business was lace not sewing, so there was no knowledge of sewing technology in the family. However in the area it was easy to hire a few sewing machinists and the entire textile manufacturing support industries. I would spend three days on the road, visiting customers, listening to what the dealers wanted. Then I came back and back made it.

‘We could be flexible; we changed things and improved things as we went along. We had to learn everything from scratch. While fabric might be waterproof, the seams were not, so we had to learn how to make them waterproof. It was traditionally through high frequency welding machines but that only worked on heavy PVC fabrics that gave the old-fashioned 'Oil Skin' look. Nylon fabrics had to be glued until the arrival of the hot air taping machine. Gill had one of the very first in Europe and it transformed the opportunities in sailing wear.

‘We discovered that the level of service from our competitors was very poor. Deliveries were often ‘in weeks’. We were able to offer the customers deliveries by the weekend if they ordered by Tuesday. Dealers could carry less stock and missed fewer sales and soon become confident selling the Gill Brand; its the same service ethic we still hold dear today and is one of the ways Gill Australia is able to grow the business.

‘While we started in dinghy gear, that was a narrow niche and we soon branched out into a wider range of sailing gear. Gill Marine was self-funded, so we had to make a bit, invest it and move forward step by step.

‘Helly Hansen, Musto, Henri Lloyd were there 25 years ago and are still there now, others have disappeared, but our growth continues onwards. It took the best part of ten years to get really established in the UK. Then we began to look at wider markets. We started selling into Europe and are one of the top three brands in most European markets.

‘Now Gill is the biggest foul-weather International brand in North America, though much of the US market is retailer branded.

‘Three years ago we made a big change, one of the key decisions of the last 30 years, when we moved away from high-profile branded fabrics.

‘We found that by using licensed-only breathable fabrics it was becoming quite limiting, as we wanted to reach another level of performance and offer a wider choice.

‘While these breathable fabrics were good for outdoor wear, we needed customised fabrics. What is good enough for general outdoor wear is just not good enough for severe marine conditions.

‘The marine waterproof standards were not high enough. What is considered an industry standard of two metres water pressure, was just not high enough for us. We set our own standards at three times that level, and not just when the fabric is new but after we artificially aged for testing purposes.

'With branded fabrics, we could not make improvements. If our test results showed a weakness we wanted to be able to address it, possibly by additional coating.

'Our departure from this route was considered was considered by many to be a ‘brave’ decision at the time, some people thought we were making a mistake, but others recognised it would deliver major improvements including passing on cost savings to customers.

‘The proof has been in the results…we have now had three years and our sales of technical waterproof clothing is up 40 percent in a market that has not really grown overall, so we have made gains by increasing market share.

‘Seawater is very abrasive; a drop of seawater covers a much larger surface area than fresh water. As the water dries, the salt water abrades away the waterproof repellent finish on the outside of the fabric. We therefore use more durable water repellent finishes.

‘We also found the outer surface on new texture-ised fabrics could be abraded by Velco hooks or harness webbing. Velcro hooks were tending to fluff up the fabric. We have now gone to a denser and flatter weave, and it has reduced the affect of abrasion by a factor of three.

‘The real business end of the coating is on the inside and we’ve been able to do some major customisation there and also we have improved the Durable Water Repellency factors with new compounds and our latest fabrics withstand eight times as much washing.

‘A major benefit in the switch to our own fabrics has been on prices.

‘The cost factor, making full sets of offshore jackets and pants out of these branded fabrics, meant the prices we were having to set seemed outrageous to us. By developing our own fabrics we’ve been able to drive costs down 30-40 percent, without reducing quality.

‘Another benefit for the consumers in the move to our own customised fabric is we are free of the confusion factor, eg should I go for ‘this -Tex or that -Tex,’ all trying to look more technical, which is more waterproof. Confusion is not good for consumers; they need to understand which product suits their needs.

‘At Gill, we came up with the systems to classify with a simple dot fabric classification system, to detail the differences in the recommended uses for our product range:

1 Dot Onshore
2 Dot Inshore, coasta and dinghy sailing
3 Dot General offshore and coastal sailing
4 Dot Keelboat and offshore racing
5 Dot Ocean racing


'Now our retailers and consumers know and understand what category of sailing gear is on offer. It makes it easy to go down the technical clothing racks and select to right product range for their needs.’

Nick Gill was asked the question, ‘Where from here?’

‘We have very much stayed with technical gear, we see further development of lighter fabrics, stretch fabrics, cross over garments you can wear on the water, but look smart at the Club, or in town.

‘We see a lot of potential from intelligent fabrics; we see our strength is in our research and development of specialised fabrics and innovative design.

‘While we have followed our competitors having products made in China, we have retained and expanded our textile testing and our quality control. Nothing needs more testing than marine gear. You are not just walking in it, you are sitting in it you and you are getting fire-hosed. You only need to read reports from the Current Volvo race to see how extreme conditions can be.

‘Technical clothing can be so critically important. We work closely with serious racing sailors, we talk to them about the changes or improvements they need.

‘We then design our ranges to their exact specifications and when we have protot




by Julie Sharpe

  

Click on the FB Like link to post this story to your FB wall

http://www.powerboat-world.com/index.cfm?nid=21167

10:14 PM Sun 15 Jan 2006 GMT






Click here for printer friendly version
Click here to send us feedback or comments about this story.


Related News Stories:

02 Feb 2014  Melges 24 World Championship - Battle for podium placings underway
02 Feb 2014  Gill Melges 24 World Championship Day 4 - More images by Teri Dodds
01 Feb 2014  Gill Melges 24 World Championship Day 4 - Images by Teri Dodds
31 Jan 2014  Gill Melges 24 World Championship Day 3 - Australia Day all over again
29 Jan 2014  Melges 24 World Championship - Cocktail Party images by Teri Dodds
16 Jan 2014  Surf to City Yacht Race - Traffic Jam heading to the Surf
16 Jan 2014  Gill Commodore's Cup to proceed St.Maarten Heineken Regatta
28 Dec 2013  Gill Melges 24 World Championship 2014 - Organisers break new ground
03 Dec 2013  Sydney to Hobart: Gill Ocean Racer & i5 Crosswind have got you covered
19 Nov 2013  Gill signs on as naming rights sponsor to Melges 24 World Championship
MORE STORIES ...

Power Boat News

2015 Club Marine Southern 80 - This year’s Southern 80 will see new and old ski racers travel to Echuca / Moama to ‘chew the fat’ of what would have been, could have been and what should of happened, some with an element of truth and lots of it with embellishment. This is the 50th year since water ski racing started on the Murray River in Echuca / Moama and it promises to be some exciting action ... [more]  

The final round of the 2015 UIM XCAT World Series will be hosted by the UAE capital, Abu Dhabi, at the end of the year the World Professional Powerboat Association (WPPA) announced. ... [more]  

The hideous, mildly terrifying and rarely sighted frilled shark has turned up in waters off south-eastern Australia. The species, whose ancestry dates back 80 million years, is known as the 'living fossil'. ... [more]  

The RYA Powerboat Racing team are pleased to announce Peters and May, Powerboat GP and Your Print Partner Ltd as sponsors of the prestigious RYA Powerboat Racing Awards 2015. ... [more]  

Inaugural Phuket Yacht Show postponed by Phuket Yacht Show Media, Phuket, Thailand
The organisers of the new yacht charter show for Asia have announced the postponement of the first edition, scheduled to take place 12-15 February in Phuket Yacht Haven Marina, which is under redevelopment to make it the biggest superyacht marina in Asia. ... [more]  

Oceanair, leading supplier of blinds, shades, screens, and soft furnishings in the marine market, is proud to introduce the new Solarshield – a Lloyd’s approved antiglare roller blind that has been optimised for the marine environment. The unique roller blind blocks 99% of the sun’s harmful UV rays and rejects up to 80% of the sun’s energy and is ideal for use on bridges ... [more]  

Just in time for the busy summer boating season in Townsville, Superior Jetties built a pontoon at each of the very popular boat ramps in Ross Creek. ... [more]  

2014 warmest year since records began + Video by NOAA National Climatic Data Center
The year 2014 was the warmest year across global land and ocean surfaces since records began in 1880. The annually-averaged temperature was 0.69°C (1.24°F) above the 20th century average of 13.9°C (57.0°F), easily breaking the previous records of 2005 and 2010 by 0.04°C (0.07°F). ... [more]  

The World Professional Powerboating Association (WPPA) have announced that the 2015 Skydive Dubai XCAT World Series will consist of eight rounds, with the first race scheduled for 25-27 February in Fujairah. The successful Series only went international for the first time in 2013 but this year will visit six different countries. ... [more]  

Huge concrete modules built by a local Geelong manufacturer will be installed in Victorian waters to create one of the largest artificial reefs in the state. Visiting family owned local concreter Bates Pipes and Products today, Agriculture Minister Jaala Pulford said the concrete, custom made reef modules will be a great boost to Geelong’s industry and economy. ... [more]  

Sunstream® Boat Lifts, the leading manufacturer of high-quality portable and installed boat lifts and hoists, announced today the launch of the SwiftShieldTM line of automated boat covers. Employing two revolutionary designs that cover and uncover a boat in seconds, Sunstream SwiftShield covers are not only effortless, but provide unparalleled protection from the elements and added security. ... [more]  

RYA Powerboat Racing Awards Ceremony 2015 - Tickets to the most prestigious event on the British Powerboat Racing calendar, the RYA Powerboat Racing Awards Ceremony, are now on sale. The event to be held on Saturday 07 February 2015 at the Novotel Hotel in Southampton will see the crème de la crème of the powerboat racing community come together to celebrate the successes of the 2014 season. ... [more]  

Already renowned for state of the art facilities and luxury conveniences, Abell Point Marina is about to add two more exceptional guest services to its bow – a free courtesy car and a dedicated helicopter service. Responding to feedback from guests, the Marina has added the new services in order to help provide the best possible experience for visitors to the area. ... [more]  

CWN FX London Boat Show - The team at Ben Ainslie Racing are all looking forward to this year's show, running at the ExCel exhibition centre from the 9th to 18th January 2015. ... [more]  

AMM takes small plate boats upmarket into ‘Sea Class’ by Matthew, Barton Thomas - Australian Master Marine
Multi award-winning Queensland plate alloy boat builder, Australian Master Marine is undertaking a major transformation of its small boat range to provide even better hull performance, as well as sportier styling and greater levels of convenience. The transformation is being applied across all four hull lengths in the small plate boat range – 4.5 metre, 4.9 metre, 5.2 metre and 5.7 metre lengths. ... [more]  

This summer the Australian National Maritime Museum is all about underwater exploration with its brand new children’s adventureland, Voyage to the Deep. And to celebrate it is inviting families to a special submarine family fun day inspired by the exhibition and its resident submarine HMAS Onslow on Sunday 18 January. ... [more]  

This summer the Australian National Maritime Museum invites families to enjoy a brand new theatre show, Captain Nemo’s Nautilus, inspired by its new children’s adventureland, Voyage to the Deep. ... [more]  

Sail-World.com - Contributors Guidelines *Feature by Richard Gladwell, Sail-World.com
Whether its information about yachts, catamarans or dinghies, or tales of your adventures on the water, there is always a story waiting to be told. Sail-World is happy to receive your articles - be it profiles of people and boats, techniques, safety or seamanship. Read on for the guidelines for submitting an article, including commercial articles - if the information is of value to our readers ... [more]  

Volunteers from Marine Rescue Units at Kioloa and Ulladulla have responded to a report of emergency flares sighted off Snapper Point at Kioloa. ... [more]  

Multi award-winning Queensland plate alloy boat builder, Australian Master Marine is undertaking a major transformation of its small boat range to provide even better hull performance, as well as sportier styling and greater levels of convenience. ... [more]  

Rescue vessels from Marine Rescue Units at Jervis Bay, Shoalhaven and Sussex Inlet have been deployed on a search for a missing trailer boat with three people on board. Marine Rescue Regional Controller for Illawarra, Bruce Mitchell said that at around 4:30 this afternoon an anxious wife contacted Marine Rescue Shoalhaven to advise that her husband and 4-year-old son had not returned. ... [more]  

Volunteers from Marine Rescue NSW will again join the thousands of boaters taking to Sydney Harbour for the New Year’s Eve fireworks spectacular tomorrow night. ... [more]  

Stop thief! Spies nab Spy thieves by Liliana Engelhardt
A security camera installed in Club Marine member, Malcolm Kemp’s Craigieburn, Melbourne home captured the moment brazen thieves stole his XS21 Spy, a 21ft ski and wake boat. ... [more]  

Stop thief! Spies nab Spy thieves by Liliana Engelhardt
A security camera installed in Club Marine member, Malcolm Kemp’s Craigieburn, Melbourne home captured the moment brazen thieves stole his XS21 Spy, a 21ft ski and wake boat. ... [more]  

For those who still don’t know yet about the Multi 23 trimaran, she is a kind small amazing replica of the famous Maxi Trimarans 'Orma 60', but only 6,72 m long, both designed by the renowned naval architects firm Van Peteghem Lauriot Prévost (VPLP) and built by the French shipyard 'Torpen International Boats' up to more than 90 boats sailing worldwide, and… she is about to make her revolution! ... [more]  

Asia Superyacht Rendezvous 2014 - fabulous, darling by Guy Nowell, Powerboat-World.com, Phuket, Thailand
What do superyachts do when they are not cruising through idyllic island archipelagos with a happy owner on board, or carrying enthralled charter guests to fabulous destinations, or hot-footing it from one legendary location to another? There are lots of answers to the question, most of them prosaic – such as cleaning and maintenance – but once in a while the Captains and crews get 5 minutes off ... [more]  

At about 1:45pm a passer-by alerted the Watch Officer at the Marine Rescue Base at Batemans Bay that he could see what appeared to be two people in the water near Middle Head. ... [more]  

Veteran pilot Philippe Chiappe became the first ever French F1 World Champion in the 31 year history of the UIM F1 H2O World Championship tour by besting three-time titlist Alex Carella by 6.55 seconds at the 15th Grand Prix of Sharjah in front of tens of thousands of race fans on the Khaled Lagoon. ... [more]  

F1H2O Worlds Grand Prix of Sharjah 2014: The CTIC China Team pilot ran his new Moore boat around the 2.2 kilometer (1.4 mile) five-pin race circuit on the Khaled Lagoon in perfect trim, almost on rails, while eclipsing the 45.12 second 167.55 kph lap sent by his closest competitor for the title Alex Carella of the Qatar Team who had to settle for second. ... [more]  

Fischer Panda introduces new marine generator by John Bell, Southlake, Texas
When space is tight, weight is critical and noise is an issue, Fischer Panda continues to fine tune its diesel generator series to provide professional sailors and powerboaters with a great fit,' said Chad Godwin, Fischer Panda’s US Sales and Marketing Director. ... [more]  

Transport for NSW Maritime Management Centre today announced a community education program this summer to promote safe and responsible use of personal watercraft (PWC). ... [more]  

The founder of a powerboat racing business is looking to use the cloud to track the company boat's performance during offshore races and keep fans and racing officials updated with animated race visualizations. ... [more]  

The Lakefest Aquatic Week on beautiful Lake Macquarie – just south of Newcastle – is set to become a reality with a number of events confirmed to occur during the February 20-27 week long celebration. ... [more]  

Seven tips to get more out of a marine survey
Marine Auctions raises the bar with live internet bidding for auctions
You are what you eat – if you’re a coral reef fish
UIM Skydive Dubai XCAT World Series - Emirates Airline XCAT GP images
Skydive Dubai XCAT World Series - Fazza complete the perfect season
73m superyacht Titania to participate in Asia Superyacht Rendezvous
UIM Skydive Dubai XCAT World Series - Videx fastest in first practice
Emirates Airline XCAT GP - Birthday victory for Price and Al Adidi
Keep safe on the water this holiday season
UIM Skydive XCAT: Videx claim top spot in race for Emaar Pole Position
Fountaine Pajot unveils prestigious new Flagship sailing catamaran
Watson’s Marine Centre pioneers way with new commercial standard
UIM Skydive Dubai XCAT World Series - Volpe back on the water
UIM Skydive Dubai XCAT World Series - Wild cards for Abu Dhabi boats
Action Sports Games heads back to Mandurah
Sun shines on Asia Superyacht Rendezvous
Yamaha announces new F130A four-stroke outboard
Sail-World new format - Important first visit changes needed
Team Britannia announce official charity partner
UIM Skydive - Six in with an overall XCAT podium shot on ‘home ground’
Another successful auction year comes to a close at Runaway Bay Marina   
Marine Auctions is proud to announce the return of Bill Fankhauser   
UIM Skydive Dubai XCAT World Series - Room for improvement?   
Class 1 World Powerboat Championship - Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi Race 2   
Go on an underwater adventure this summer at the museum   
Class 1 World Powerboat Champs - Grand Prix of U.A.E preview   
Flexitank officially releases next generation dock system   
Scientist explores mysterious food-borne illness: ciguatera   
Bum breathing icon’s future in doubt   
Three rescued from capsized boat in late night emergency   
Silver Yachts at Singapore Yacht Show 2015   
RYA Regional Youth Champion Award 2014 - Make your nomination   
Busy first day at 2014 Ocean Marina Pattaya Boat Show   
Paul Morgan steps in to support Australian 4x4 and marine industries   
Win $5000 Cash to Splash with Club Marine   
UIM Skydive Dubai 2014: XCATs back on the prowl in Dubai this December   
FLIBS-Editors Choice Awards: MCY86 is the best motor yacht of the year   
New exhibition takes kids on a Voyage to the Deep   
PredictWind launches new Offshore Application for Mac and PC   
FLIR M625 Review – Let there be light!   


For this week's complete news stories select    Last 7 Days
   Search All News
For last month's complete news stories select    Last 30 Days
   Archive News







Sail-World.com  


















Switch Default Region to:

Social Media

Asia

Australia

Canada

Europe

New Zealand

United Kingdom


http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/Twitter_logo_small.png   http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/RSS-Icon.png

United States

Cruising Northern

Cruising Southern

MarineBusiness World

PowerBoat World

FishingBoating World

 

Contact

Commercial

News

Search

Contact Us

Advertisers Information

Submit news/events

Search Stories/Text

Feedback

Advertisers Directory

Newsletter Archive

Photo Gallery

 

Banner Advertising Details

Newsletter Subscribe

Video Gallery

Policies

 

 

 

Privacy Policy

 

 


Cookie Policy

 

 



This site and its contents are © Copyright TetraMedia and/or the original author, photographer etc. All Rights Reserved.  Photographs are copyright by law.  If you wish to use or buy a photograph contact the photographer directly.
XLXL NEW PBW
LocalAds   DE  ES  FR  IT