Philip Watson started making sails in 1972 and was instantly successful, winning the Irish Enterprise Championships that year (and the next) with a suit of sails he'd made himself.
The following years saw successes in many other classes with Philip keeping his own racing going too, gaining a 2nd in the 470 nationals in '74, and in 1978 he won the Irish Laser Nationals and the UK J-24 nationals within two weeks of each other.
Offshore racing was a big draw in the eighties, and Philip made sails for many of the IOR racing fleet that took part in the ISORA championship, sailing with customers, and finding time to win his own class in '78 on the J-24 Pathfinder and in '89 aboard the DB2s Decibel, which also placed 3rd in Class in the Fastnet Race that same year.
In the nineties Watson Sails cracked the Irish Dragon Class, gaining 40% of the their sail market after Philip helped Robin Hennessy & Des Cummins score 2 wins in the '93 Gold Cup aboard Water Rat with sails designed locally, but tested internationally.
Racing success continued in the offshore circuit, and simultaneously, Watson sails were still routinely winning the One-design Classes in Ireland, with wins in the Irish Nationals of the Mermaid, Shannon One-Design, Shipman, Ruffian, Puppeteer, and Glen classes occurring each year, more often than not. Philip, like most competitive helmsmen, had a short stab at the 1720's over a long week-end in Howth gaining a 2nd in the Nationals, but this slight disappointment was made up for when Xerox won the 1720 Nationals with a full suit of Watson sails a year or two later.
In 2000 Watson bought the 1st Hanse yacht in Ireland and took on the agency. That year he cruised around Ireland in the Hanse 292 CHanser, and later won the Cr3 IRC in Howth Autumn series with a race to spare. These days Hanse build over 400 yachts a year, and their range goes from 32 ft to their flagship 63 footer. Ten happy Irish owners took delivery of new Hanse yachts in 2007.
Watson sails are still winning in many one-design classes, and Philip has turned his skills to making cruising yachts faster and easier to sail, with a range of fast and long-lasting laminated sails suitable for racing or just fast cruising. Experience gained in the 1720's has helped us design cruising chutes that can sail really low yet remain stable and easy to trim. Removable bowsprits and furling gennakers are the future for short-crewed cruising yachts, especially for the Hanse range of Yachts which feature large mainsails and relatively small, self-tacking jibs.
Experience (including an 2002 ARC crossing in 15.5 days), gained on the Hanse 371 Megawat was brought to the fore in the 2007 ARC, and 3 of the 7 Irish yachts crossing to St. Lucia used twin Yankee jibs designed and supplied by Watson sails.