Ullman Sails has a rich and diverse history dating back nearly 50 years. Our story defines us and shapes our future. Learn where we came from and where we are going.
In November of 1967 21-year-old Southern California native David Ullman founded the first Ullman Sails loft in the coastal town of Corona Del Mar. The start was a modest beginning – a small 37m2 office space with a single sewing machine. The first sails bearing the blue and red logo were made for a popular local dinghy, the Lido 14. The sails won their first race. Within five years David started sailing the International 470, a boat that would help shape his career.
David won the first of his three 470 World Championship titles in 1977, bringing Ullman Sails to the international stage. Between 1977 and 1984 competitors using Ullman Sails won three World Championships and both Olympic Gold medals in the 470. Success in other top international classes quickly followed. The brand became synonymous with superior quality and design, and Ullman Sails went on to dominate in classes at the premier level, including the Tornado, Flying Dutchman, Melges 24, J/22, Snipe and many others.
In the 1980s Ullman Sails was repeatedly selected for the Admiral’s Cup, known at the time as the unofficial Ocean Racing World Championships. The success of the sails in the event launched the group into the big boat conversation. Ever since sailors have trusted Ullman Sails aboard boats of every size for their voyages around the world and to win high-stakes offshore races.
As Ullman Sails expanded to the global stage, Jan Reuvers was carving his place in South Africa’s sailing scene. With exceptional passion and skill, Jan set offshore racing records as a teenager that still stand today. But what truly separated Jan from the competition was his ability to expertly manage and focus a crew to accomplish any goal. Jan’s teams have always unified behind him with confidence – no matter how dramatic and intense the conditions became. His unique and effective leadership became his trademark on the water and the key to building a thriving business on the loft floor.
As a sailor and sailmaker stationed on high latitudes and converging oceans, Jan understood the requirements of sails that needed to perform in the world’s most extreme weather. Using his sheer power of will and by cultivating a team inspired to achieve, Jan quickly established a loft with a reputation for high standards and superior products. Over three decades of proven performance, durability and quality cemented his stature. The rest of the sailing world, including David Ullman, took note.
While Jan expanded and perfected his sails and manufacturing process, David Ullman was establishing a culture of openness and collaboration both on and off the water. Combined with the quality and success of its sails, Ullman Sails stood apart from the competition. Top sailmakers who shared the same passion were drawn together, bringing their own histories and traditions, and an international network began to grow. It wasn’t long before the group’s prominence and established expertise caught the attention of Jan Reuvers. By 1990 Ullman Sails had 13 locations in 6 countries on 4 continents. Today the group has over 75 locations in more than 30 countries on 6 continents.
Jan and David’s paths collided. A common vision, shared core values and respect between the two leaders created an opportunity to build a stronger company focused on technological innovation and an exceptional customer experience. In 2013 they united. Ullman Sails had the ability to provide sailors more than ever before – a larger and more tightly knit team dedicated to sharing and developing ideas, elevated standards in product and design, unmatched integrity and newfound capabilities for research and development.
Ullman Sails trusted by the team 'Flojito Y Cooperando' which took first place in the J/70 World Championships. Photo Credit: SANDER VAN DER BORCH sandervanderborch.com
Ullman Sails taps into minds at the pinnacle of the sport to stay at the forefront of sailing. Team members can be found sailing, coaching and designing for top teams in the America’s Cups and Olympics, working with offshore adventurers and explorers, and competing in Grand Prix events. Behind loft doors those same individuals are working together, developing ideas based on their experiences, engaging fabric and design experts, and experimenting with new materials and constructions. The constant focus is to help customers reach their ultimate level of performance.
Whether your addiction is the warm breeze as it blows across the bow, an orange sunset glowing low on the horizon, or pumping a powered-up kite and surfing waves to the finish– the Ullman Sails philosophy is to help every sailor live their dream.
We’re not just dedicated to getting you safely to your destination, or quickly around the racecourse – we want you to love your time on the water.
Our drive to foster the best sailing experience possible has attracted top sailmakers to Ullman Sails, defined our past and will shape our future. Our commitment to quality through superior product, service and design continues to bring sailors safely across oceans and to the top of podiums around the world.