Gautier Sergent, Sail Designer

© NSNZGautier works in the areas of Research & Development for racing projects and mega yachts, encompassing both upwind and downwind designs.

A keen youth sailor who also forfeited a professional cycling career in order to study mechanical engineering, Gautier sought out opportunities to work in either the sailing or cycling industry.

“I liked sport too much to only do one and I have always been very interested in technology and have always tried to improve my own gear – spending endless hours in the house basement with my brother, to my mum’s despair. At the end of my studies I had to do an internship. I send a zillion CVs around the world. The goal was to go overseas to improve my English, learn the different techniques overseas and get a foot in the door … North Sails came back to me with an offer. I did not hesitate and couldn’t believe my luck.”

Joining North Sails New Zealand in 1999 to work alongside Burns Fallow, he spent one year developing software and meeting world-class sailors, such as Rick and Tom Dodson, Tom Schnackenberg, Mickey Ickert, Richard Meacham and Mike Sanderson – even the company receptionist had raced in the Volvo Ocean Race. With the America’s Cup in town, senior designers Mickey Ickert and Burns Fallow were very busy, and so Gautier secured a permanent job with the company, completing a masters in mechanical engineering whilst holding down a full time job with North Sails.

Gautier’s own sailing experience has focused on a wide range of boats from Optimists, Hobie Cats and windsurfing through to Maxis.

“The day I don’t learn anything I will stop and change careers,” he says.