Meet our Partners - Etienne Giroire - ATN Nets2022-05-01
I joined the French Navy at 18 and stayed until I turned 21, then I continued to work on boats: in the 70’s and the 80’s I typically crossed the Atlantic twice a year delivering boats for the charter industry under a strict deadline: winter in the Caribbeans and summers in the Med, and don’t forget that this was before roller furlers and autopilots were installed on boats!
During this time I did a lot of sailing, big sailboats, short-handed... I eventually reached the USA in 1979 and was hired by a wealthy oilman who wanted to buy a sailing yacht to attract investors but didn't know anything about sailing... and this is how I became skipper of the Formidable, 82' Sloop, the M boat #17 1929 racing yacht, based in Newport Beach, which had won the Transpac in 1963. She was all mahogany, teak and spruce, designed by Burgess - Morgan, built by Abeking Rasmussen in Germany in 1929... my dream boat! She had 5 spinnakers (as it was a Transpac boat) 90' mainmast, 39' boom, coffee grinders... I sailed the boat from Los Angeles to Fort Lauderdale in 1980, through Panama, and ran her for 3 years. We did lots of day sails with the owner off Fort Lauderdale, I remember sailing in Port Everglades, spinnaker up, all the way down the channel on many Sunday evenings... The spinnakers were 3500 sqft! We would spend the winter in the West Indies, St Barths, Antigua, Grenadines... then up the East Coast in the summer, Newport, Martha's Vineyard, Bermuda... And then in 1984, Formula TAG sailed in Fort Lauderdale, the largest, newest and fastest racing Catamaran in the world, run by Mike Birch. I left the Formidable and joined the crew. This was the first time that I saw a spinnaker sleeve, I actually had to repair it. After one year of racing around the Atlantic, I returned to Fort Lauderdale, and started my own company ATN inc. / American Technic Navigation, where I manufacture spinnaker sleeves.
I kept on racing and delivering multihulls, I participated in the Whitbread 1989 on the Swedish Ketch The Card in which we had 8 of my ATN spinnaker sleeve, unfortunately, I broke my right arm in the 2nd leg... in 1990, I purchased an abandoned 40' racing trimaran, F40, which underwent a major rebuild by her designer Walter Greene, in Yarmouth ME. I sailed over to Plymouth / England to participate in the OSTAR 1992, I finished in 16 days, 6 hours 45mn, and still hold the record in class 4.
Today I still sail and race and my main activity is manufacturing the ATN spinnaker sleeve, which I supply to most sailmakers around the world: the sailmakers are perfectly happy to design and manufacture the spinnaker, but very reluctant to deal with the spinnaker sleeve, I found a niche: in my shop in Fort Lauderdale, we have manufactured more than 30,000.00 spinnaker sleeves and other ATN sailing products.
I am still very much in touch with the sailing world, supplying the Vendée Globe sailors and Route du Rhum (in which I competed in 2010) the two-handed Round Britain Race (2006) St Barth Bucket (2009, 10, 11).... I started to make nets following a market demand: as Catamarans were becoming the hottest boat trend, I saw an opening and contacted the boat builders with my product, the Supertramp net.
Today I supply US based boats with polyester nets manufactured in France and I manufacture the Supertramp nets in my shop in Fort Lauderdale for the US, French and international market.
Etienne’s company and products can be seen on ATN’s website : https://atninc.com. ATN sailing equipment and sailboat gear can be ordered through Naos Yachts.