Global Solo Challenge (GSC) 2023 organisers are proud to announce a partnership with the iconic single-handed scene brand of ATN Inc. – Sailboat equipment and Sailboat Gear, founded nearly 40 years ago by French-born American citizen Etienne Giroire.
Etienne founded ATN Inc. in 1985 after 15 years of extensive racing, delivering and skippering maxi boats. Then it was then the beginning of the development of large cruising sailing yachts. Equipment, rigging and furling systems kept on improving with time but there was no efficient spinnaker handling device worth mentioning.
A frustrated Etienne recalls having used every one available in the market at the time and being disappointed each time. The systems would get stuck and foul frequently and were very unreliable, even when handled by an experienced crew!
“I remember checking the spinnaker sleeves of the competitors of the 85/86 BOC (single-handed race around the world in 4 legs) in Newport and thinking that the sailmakers could use some help to design and manufacture a good, safe, working spinnaker handling device. That was the beginning of the ATN Spinnaker Sleeve,” commented Etienne, founder of ATC Inc.
The benefits of a reliable spinnaker dousing device are obvious and are a benefit to the sailor as well as to the sailmaker who can concentrate on designing and building the spinnaker.
Soon the newly founded startup had 20 sailmakers ordering sleeves from ATN Inc., and every one of them, after switching to the ATN Spinnaker Sleeve, had more orders for spinnakers, because they could then cater to a class of customers, who before wouldn’t think of flying the spinnaker without an effective device to control it.
Under the expert guidance of Etienne, ATN Inc. went from strength to strength. He stayed in close contact with the offshore racing scene by taking part himself in the Whitbread 89-90, Ostar 92,96,2005, the 2006 double-handed Round Britain Race and the Route du Rhum 2010.
To this day, every winner of the Vendée Globe Race has carried the ATN spinnaker sleeve.
Sailmakers from around the world were ordering his famous ATN Spinnaker Sleeves and ATN Inc. designed and developed more products for the short-handed offshore sailing market with incredible growth over time. ATN Inc. has now manufactured more than 30,000 Spinnaker Sleeves, 15,000 Tackers, 10,000 Mastclimbers and 2,000 Gale Sails catering for more than 300 sailmakers in the US and abroad.
Event Director of the Global Solo Challenge Marco Nannini commented: “Etienne and I met in St. Malo before the Route du Rhum 2010, he was sailing his iconic yellow 40′ trimaran ATN. I knew of his boat as I had been an avid reader of everything I could get my hands on about the OSTAR, which I then took part in in 2009. He had set a new record for the 40ft class in 1992 on his trimaran. In 2010 I was a novice in the racing circuit, that year there were 45 Class40s and our class won by none less than Thomas Ruyant. I always used and trusted ATN Spinnaker Sleeves, back then and later around the world. There no point considering anything else, they are the only and best and do their job just when the going gets rough!”
Working from his 2500 sq. ft. shop in Hollywood, Florida Etienne Giroire of ATN Inc. commented: “Marco, thanks for organising this great event! As an avid single-hander myself I applaud you to allow so many sailors to shine away. I will be delighted to offer discounts to all participants of the Global Solo Challenge. This includes the full range of our products such as the ATN spinnaker sleeve, the ATN Mastclimber, the ATN Genoa sleeve, the ATN Tacker, the ATN Gale Sail and more. I look forward to working with you and your team.”