“In the yachting world, Kiwis have always been well respected as very practical people,” he says. “The classic ‘number 8 wire’ thinking we are famous for is really reflected in the sailing environment.”
Nicholas credits much of their innovation to the structure of Doyle. A number of the team race competitively on the global stage, including chief executive Mike Sanderson who is a World Sailor of the year, two-time Volvo Ocean Race winner and veteran of three America’s Cup campaigns.
The constant search for speed while they are out racing means the team relentlessly innovate and evolve back on shore.
“It’s a classic illustration of continuous learning,” Nicholas says.
“We take the pressure of a competitive environment, identify where there are opportunities to innovate and then work with a group of the best people in the business to create products which make our customers’ boats go faster.
“We are faster than our competitors to develop new technologies and take them to market.”
Doyle Sails are now executing this successful model internationally.
“That’s where some NZ businesses have struggled,” Nicholas says. “The challenge for the management team has been to look at the business and say ‘ok we have got all this good development going on here in New Zealand but we need to be able to keep doing that and take it to the world market at the same time’.
“That is why we invested in the global brand. We needed to secure long-term supply through our distribution network and lock it down.”