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Quantum Sails Lead Volpe and Team Hydra to Victory at Melges 32 Blue Water Series

Fre, 04/08/2016 - 16:25

Quantum sails led Dick DeVos and Volpe to a 2-point victory last weekend at the Melges 32 Blue Water Series Lauderdale Cup. By winning the third event in the series, DeVos secured his overall victory, winning the 2016 Blue Water Series. Quantum-powered Team Hydra claimed the Corinthian titles, winning the Lauderdale Cup and the series.

Team Hydra at the 2016 Ft. Lauderdale Cup. Photo by John Payne.

Quantum’s Melges expert Scott Nixon said conditions were excellent for the Lauderdale Cup, with winds in the 11-18 knot range for all three days. The top Quantum teams used three Quantum sails throughout the event: the 2016 stock class Fusion M main, the stock class medium jib, and the A2.5 Airx-650 spinnaker.

Nixon said these sails are favorites for their versatility and power. “The medium jib is very versatile in the 10-18 knot ranges, where lead placement, head stay tension, and mast jack adjustments get you easily through all the gear changes. The class-favorite spinnaker is Quantum’s A2.5 AP class runner. It has great power and depth, yet it still goes bow up when needed to promote a plane.”

DeVos took advantage of his Quantum sails and stayed in the top three during all counted races at the Lauderdale Cup. Not far behind, Morgan Kiss on Team Hydra won four of the races, finishing third overall and first in the Corinthian division. Fourth and fifth place finishers Rick DeVos on Delta and Alessandro Rombelli on STIG also raced with Quantum sails.

Dick DeVos placed third at the Blue Water Series December event and fourth at the February event. With his first place finish this past weekend, he claimed the series title by one point. Also finishing in the top five were Rick DeVos on Delta in third and Giangiacomo Serena di Lapigio on G-SPOT in fifth. Kiss and Team Hydra took sixth place overall and first in the Corinthian division.

The Melges 32 fleet will take a break now until July and August, when the boats will head to Newport, Rhode Island for two events before the September World Championship. Racing continues across the Atlantic, however, as the Melges 32 World Series goes on this month in Italy. Quantum’s 2016 Melges 32 tuning guide is updated and available for anyone looking to make the most of their summer sailing season.

Congratulations to everyone on a great Blue Water Series, and here’s to a great summer season!

To see full results from the Lauderdale Cup, click here.

For the Blue Water Series overall standings, click here.

View the rest of the 2016 Melges 32 calendar here.

 

To get more information on Quantum Melges 32 sails, contact class expert Scott Nixon at snixon@quantumsails.com or call him at (410) 268-1161 ext.205.

J/111 Challwa: Winning the Peruvian Offshore Series Is a Family Affair

Ons, 04/06/2016 - 17:42

German Fuchs’ J/111 Challwa was the smallest boat in the fleet in the Peruvian Offshore Series, but Fuchs and his crew—including his son-in-law and grandsons—took home the biggest prize.

The Challwa crew after winning the 2015 Sin Fronteras championship.

The Peruvian Offshore Series—Peru’s premiere sailing event—is made up of twelve regattas, with one event held each month. German Fuchs’s J/111 Challwa took on a fleet of much larger boats to win the gold medal for the best overall performance.

Challwa means fisherman in Quechua, the ancient language of the Andes, and according to Fuchs is the only J/111 in South America. The boat is based at the Peruvian Yacht Club in Lima’s Port of Callao. They were the smallest boat and the only racer/cruiser in the fleet racing against larger specialty boats like the Soto 48R, Grand Soleil 42R, Sydney 46R, Dufour 44P, and others.

“It’s a racing boat and a family boat also. The other boats are all strictly racing boats and larger boats. So it’s a huge accomplishment for the J/111 to win in that fleet,” says Fuchs.

The format of the regatta is a combination of windward-leeward courses and offshore races. To be competitive, Fuchs called on Quantum’s Kerry Klingler to help optimize the boat for ORC racing. Klingler traveled to Peru to race with Challwa in 2013 Copa del Pacifico held in Paracas, Peru.

The class mainsail for the J/111 has oversized girths, so Klingler designed a smaller mainsail that takes advantage of the ORC rating. Then they improved the inventory of jibs and added larger spinnakers and specialty sails like the Code 0 and spinnaker staysail. They also made rigging adjustments like removing the headstay furler to reduce weight and provide easy access to the headstay turnbuckle for on-the-fly adjustments to the rig.

“We have developed a very nice set of sails to perform well in the ORC class,” says Fuchs.

Fuchs has been sailing since 1970. “A friend of mine had a sailboat and he invited me to go with him. That lit under me the fire of sailing and I haven’t stopped since,” he says. Now he’s passed on his love of sailing to his children and grandchildren.

He sails Challwa throughout the summer with his wife, children, and grandchildren, and races the boat year round with a crew of eight that includes his son-in-law and two grandsons who are only 13 and 14 years old.

“My oldest grandson is 14 years old and already he’s almost six feet tall. The other one is 13 years old and is very tiny. The tiny one helps on the bow and the other one helps in the cockpit.”

Fuchs’ youngest grandson at the helm of Challwa on a cruising day.

Of his motivation to bring them into sailing, Fuchs says, “I hope the first thing they should learn about sailing is commitment, organization, and hard work.”

Fuchs has a long relationship with J/Boats having helped to build the J/24 and J/105 fleets in South America. Conditions in Peru are generally light, with winds between six and 12 knots, a year-round temperature of 65 degrees, and very calm seas. While there are up to 70 J/24s in Chile alone, Fuchs says most regattas host only around 20 boats. He says sailing is probably the third most popular sport in Peru, after soccer and tennis.

Challwa also won the 2015 Sin Fronteras regatta, which includes boats from Peru, Ecuador, and Chile racing offshore courses up to 50 nautical miles long. In 2014, Fuchs traveled with five other crewmembers from Peru to Port Huron, MI, to race the Bayview Mackinac Race. They chartered Brad Farber’s J/111 Utah temporarily rechristening it Challwa

A Day in the Life at Your Sail Loft

Tor, 03/31/2016 - 15:54

Ever wonder what goes on behind the scenes at your local Quantum Sails service loft? Quantum Sails Annapolis’ Loft Floor Manager, Mike Crump, describes a typical day in the life at a sail loft and what you might expect to see when you walk through the door.

Depending on the time of year, the answer to what’s happening at your local sail loft can vary. In terms of the actual work being accomplished, our projects run across the entire spectrum of sailing platforms, from the Optimist to the mega yacht. From repairs to re-cuts, and from modifications to upgrades, we are fully versed in every sort of sail transformation you can imagine. We do everything in our power to avoid what we jokingly refer to as TCF : total cloth replacement. But worst case scenario, you’re in luck, we sell new sails as well!

So what’s happening behind our doors?

Problem Solving

Customers come through our doors on a daily basis with different requests and issues and we aim to solve their problems at their root. We not only want to offer a solution, we also want to determine the source of the problem and educate our customers – raising their level of understanding and awareness. A better understanding and awareness of your sails will not only help make you a better sailor, it can also help you mitigate problems and keep them from being major repairs. We love a good challenge, it’s part of the reason we’re sailors and I constantly see our top people emerge from their offices to offer their insights to our customers as we discuss a variety of options and ideas. Problem solving is the name of the game, and the collective experience at each of our lofts and in our network is not only remarkable but also easily accessible. We are able to consider the strengths and weaknesses of many different solutions, and sometimes we even come up with new ideas altogether.

There are many instances where folks think that their sails need to be replaced, only to discover that we can restore a more efficient sail shape for a fraction of the cost of a new sail. As long as the sailcloth in the body of the sail is still solid and strong, we can reshape and reinforce the sail to get a few more years out of it. Even if we find very few problems with your sails, a thorough and professional inspection of them can provide peace of mind and instill confidence at a very low cost.

If your sails are good to go and free of problems, we can often recommend modifications or upgrade that will improve performance, simplify sail handling, or extend the life of the sails in general. A good example of this are the low friction rings we have recently been installing as an attachment point for reefing lines. They are inexpensive items and easy to install, providing a low-cost alternative to blocks which can be expensive and heavy.

On the loft floor

The sails on the loft floor will vary week to week and even hour to hour. This week we are reshaping luff curves on a number of Melges 32 and J/70 jibs based on the latest feedback from the racecourse. We are flattening a roller furling mainsail to facilitate furling and unfurling and on another sail, we are replacing a UV cover to provide protection from the sun. There is a sail getting leech and foot belts to help support the loaded areas, combat fatigue, and extend the life of the sail. New corner webbings and an additional reef are being replaced on a sail for a yacht headed offshore, and we’re installing a Dutchman system for convenient mainsail handling. You’ll also find salesmen pulling out brand new sails to give them a final once-over and finishing any final details before delivering them to the customer. During regatta season, the machines are even running through the night with overnight regatta repairs.  

Sail Installations

Service technicians are often heading out the door to complete sail installations and note the client’s current deck layouts and sail handling systems. We see this as an opportunity to relay helpful information about optimize existing arrangements, or upgrades that will allow them to spend more time enjoying their yachts, and less time wrestling with the sails.

Talking Sailing

It’s no secret that the people at your local sail loft – sailmakers, salesmen, designers, engineers, and administrators – share your passion for sailing, whether it be cruising or racing. It’s not uncommon to stop in after a weekend and find the team debriefing about a regatta that happened over the weekend or sharing stories from past sailing adventures. Taking the combined knowledge and applying that to the current project at hand.

As you can see, our facilities have a lot going on, but we also have a lot of resources from which to draw. So whether you think your sail is shot, or that it needs nothing at all, it pays to get a candid evaluation from a professional sailmaker. It is a real gift to be able to operate in an environment that fosters such a degree of creative thinking and efficient implementation, and the end result is that we are able to keep people sailing longer, faster, and with more pleasure than ever before.

___

Mike Crump

Quantum Sails Annapolis
Loft Floor Manager
410-268-1161
mcrump@quantumsails.com

 

10 Moves That Don’t Work in a Big Fleet

Ons, 03/30/2016 - 19:30

When you go from racing in your local 10-boat fleet to a 50-boat regatta, life on the racecourse changes. Quantum Sails' George Szabo shares ten high-risk tactical moves that have a low probability of paying off in a large fleet and what you can try instead.

A large J/70 fleet races at the 2016 Quantum Key West Race Week. Photo by Sara Proctor.

In a small fleet, if you make a mistake, it’s possible to tack away, find clear air, get some leverage, and get back in the game. In a larger fleet, or on a small racecourse, there’s less elbowroom and mistakes are amplified—especially at the start and at mark roundings. So before you head out to your next big event, commit to memory the following high-risk tactical moves that always seem as though they’ll work, but actually have a low probability of paying off.

1. Claiming the caboose. What do you do when you’re sailing down the line on starboard tack with 2 minutes to go, unable to jibe through the wall of port tackers returning to find a hole? You’ll often see people wait to jibe until they reach the end of the port-tack train. The last starboard-tack boat to jibe is the caboose, and being the caboose is like being the last guy into the supermarket parking lot, unable to find a spot. On the starting line, all the holes will be taken.   If the line of returning port-tack boats is too thick to jibe into, head upwind a boatlength or two and either jibe or tack. Getting back into the port-tack parade sooner will increase your odds of finding a hole on the line.   2. Sailing down the line on port tack and putting your bow to leeward of the boat in front of you. How many times have you had your bow pinned to leeward of a boat in front of you, so close that you’re unable to tack into a great hole that opens up? When you’re stuck to leeward you have to wait until the weather boat takes the next good hole that comes along, leaving you waiting for table scraps. Instead of getting stuck, slow your boat by easing the sails or by making large S-turns so that your bow is directly behind the weather boat’s transom. This will give you the freedom to move as you like and get the hole that you want.   3. Sailing up the middle of the course when the wind is light and the puffs are significant. If the wind is puffy, and the puffs are moving quickly, you can defend from the middle when people from the edges are coming across with pressure. Unfortunately, when the puffs are moving slowly, or in lighter air when the pressure differences are often great (such as Biscayne Bay or Tampa Bay), the edges of the racecourse can be better. When the puffs are moving slowly, and you’re on the edge of the fleet, you can be patient and wait for the extra pressure and use that pressure to tack and cross those in the middle of the course. The only option for boats in the middle is to tack in order to maintain leverage, but they’re losing all the time because you’ll likely be sailing over the top of them with better speed.   4. Always demanding your starboard rights. You’re on starboard, on a lift, or, for some reason, you’re determined to get to the left side of the racecourse and a port tacker is coming. How many times have you gotten worked up and felt as though you had to enforce your rights by yelling, "Starboard!" as loud as you could, only to have your rival tack on your lee bow so perfectly that you’re forced to tack away? Once you tack, you’re on a header, probably sailing to less pressure and away from the best side of the racecourse. In a situation such as this it’s usually better to let the port tacker cross. If you want to get left, wave them by. Tell them they owe you one and sail for the good wind or current. It may feel strange to let them off the hook so easily, but when they cross and later tack to weather and behind, you’ll feel better about letting them go.   5. Tacking away from the layline for clear air. You’re on port tack, sailing towards the starboard-tack layline as you near the weather mark, and someone tacks right on your nose. It’s tempting to throw the boat into an immediate clearing tack, but before you fall victim to the knee-jerk reaction of tacking away for clear air, consider whether it’s better to live in the bad air or foot off until you reach the starboard layline. If you’re really close to layline, the odds are that the wind on the other tack (underneath all the boats on the layline)will not be any better. Tacking away will require you to do three extra tacks. In a bigger boat, or in light and lumpy conditions, three tacks in short order could be deadly.   6. Tacking shy of the starboard layline. Sometimes, as you reach the starboard layline, it looks as though you can tack just shy of the layline and to leeward of a pack of boats, pull off a perfect luff, and actually make the mark. I’m not sure why this always looks so good, but inevitably it turns out badly (except in the rare circumstance when the boat in front of you actually hooks the mark and drags it to leeward four lengths, allowing you to get around.) It’s usually much better to go with the conservative duck of boats that are on layline and find a spot where you’re slightly overstood. Approaching the mark on starboard tack, slightly above the fray, will allow you to close-reach over boats luffing to get around the mark, and let you watch the entertainment.   7. Jibing right on the team in front of you when they jibe early on the run. This is usually a sound tactic, but before you go attacking, make sure to look over your transom to see if your competitor is suckering you to jibe into the bad air of the fleet behind, which has already jibed. If the boat in front of you is certain that you’ll jibe on him, it may lure you into jibing and then immediately jibe back into clean air, only to laugh at you as they sail away.   8. Taking the low road when everyone else is going high. Immediately after rounding the weather mark, you sail your normal course and realize everyone else is sailing hotter angles. You tell yourself that they’re sailing away from the mark, and it seems it would be better to go low. So you work low, underneath the dark cloud of disturbed air from the fleet rounding the mark, only to find that the whole fleet is now rolling you. If you jibe, the situation is just as hopeless, and things look grim. Where should you go? If the seas are flat and the waves are not surfable it’s usually better to stay high and keep your air clean. Staying high with clean air (outside or on the edge of the weather mark Bermuda Triangle) allows everyone else to make the mistake of sailing in the disturbed air zone while you sail in clean air and go fast. When the waves are more powerful than the wind, you may find that going low and catching a wave or two may get you low enough to get separation from the fleet.   9. Not keeping your nose clean on the reach. If there’s a boat close to your bow and a boat behind that’s tempting you into a luffing matching, be careful that the boat behind doesn’t take you up to a point where your bow becomes hooked to windward of the boat in front of you. When this happens the boat in front of you will probably react by luffing you to the moon. If the boat behind succeeds in initiating the luff, and getting you and the boat in front of you to take each other out of the race, he may quietly sail below the two of you and pass you to leeward. The best way to control this situation is to luff, but control your speed in order to keep your bow clean and have the ability to turn down.   10. Not thinking about windshadows on the run. How many times have you thought about jibing back to the middle of the racecourse in order to reconnect with the fleet, only to let the fleet behind you jibe first. You jibe late, only to find that you’re in the entire fleet’s bad air. Your other option was to keep going well past layline so that you could jibe and reach back to the leeward mark in clean air. It’s important to know exactly where your opponent’s windshadow falls. Practice sailing in someone’s bad air to figure this out. Then, the next time you need to jibe into a narrow lane, you’ll be able to live there.

____

George Szabo
Quantum Sails San Diego
gszabo@quantumsails.com
619.2262422

Originally published in Sailing World in March 2016

 

Quantum Welcomes New Affiliate, Quantum Sails Hamble

Ons, 03/30/2016 - 17:00

Quantum Sails is pleased to introduce its newest affiliate loft Quantum Sails Hamble, serving sailors in the Solent area and across the UK. The loft will be headed by John Reivers and Tom Gall, who also operate SO31, a successful business providing repairs and services for sails, bespoke canvas products and other sailing related products.

John Reivers, General Manager of the new Quantum Sails affiliate in Hamble, UK.

“SO31’s core values and business strategy align very well with ours making this a very good fit for both organizations,” says Quantum Sails president Ed Reynolds. “John and his team are known for the quality of their products, services and workmanship, as well as a high level of customer service. We are excited to renew our presence in the UK and welcome the Hamble team to the Quantum network.”  

Reivers, who is the General Manager, has a deep passion for sailing, and says the company aims to make a positive impact on customers’ lifestyles by energizing their passion for sailing through the delivery of industry-leading products and customer service. “The partnership with Quantum Sails is a perfect fit for SO31 as we share the same values of quality products and excellent service. Quantum’s attention to detail, quality and meticulous design process also fit well with our customers’ expectations of high quality and excellent performing sails.”  

Tom Gall is the Loft Manager and a world-class sailmaker and sailor. Tom has been a part of several exciting projects including the two-handed Transat Jaques Vabre 2007 race as youngest crew member, working alongside world-class sailor Pete Goss as boat captain for his Class 40 ‘DMS’ in 2010, serving as a member of the shore crew for Puma Ocean Racing for the Volvo Ocean Race 2008-2009 and most recently, sailing onboard Volvo 70 ‘Maserati’ in 2012 for a Transatlantic Record attempt.  

Quantum Sails Hamble will provide the following products and services:

  • Quantum Sails: racing, cruising and one design
  • Sail and canvas service and repairs
  • Alterations and recuts
  • Measuring, surveying
  • Cleaning and storage  


For more information:

Quantum Sails Hamble
15 Compass Point, Ensign Way, Hamble
Southampton SO31 4RA
P: 02380455106  

John Reivers, jreivers@quantumsails.com
Tom Gall, tgall@quantumsails.com  

Rig Tune Visuals – Advice from the J/22 Midwinters

Ons, 03/23/2016 - 20:58

What are your sails trying to tell you about your tuning? After you set up to the guide, you should always be looking at your sails for tuning visuals. Quantum's J/22 Guru Terry Flynn gives his advice on how to use visuals to make sure everything is properly tuned.

Not having enough lower shroud tension creates overbend wrinkles on multiple boats during the 2016 J/22 Midwinters. Photo by Chris Howell.

The Fort Walton Yacht Club hosted the J/22 Midwinters March 17-20, with 27 boats attending and experiencing the entire range of weather and wind conditions. It was the first time the J/22 class held an event at FWYC, but I hope it will not be the last.  They have a great club and great people who made everyone feel welcome. 

Quantum boats performed well and had great results (see below). After a great weekend of sailing, here’s my tip of the week:

Rig tune visuals.  

We at Quantum have put many hours into perfecting our tuning guide, but there are always visual signs to check to make sure you’re close to where you want to be. Most chalk talks and seminars we do we focus on how to set the boat up in the lighter winds. Set up to the guide, but also watch for the leeward upper shrouds to go a little slack, with the lowers a bit looser and the mast straight side-to-side or with half of sag to leeward. 

What visuals should be used for the top of the wind ranges?

It’s harder to judge how much slack is really in the leeward shrouds when it gets windy because the shrouds go slack quickly as you apply backstay, so this visual doesn’t work well. However, we don’t want to see the uppers too slack. When adjusting the shrouds, keep a ratio of upper-to-lowers at 2-to-1, meaning for every one turn I put on the uppers, I put a half turn on the lowers. On the last step, we tried to go to a 1-to-1 ratio. 

Another thing to look for once you set up the boat and get on the water is the mainsail. Is it inverting or turning inside out too soon? If so, you may need an extra turn on the lowers. When you do this, the extra tension will straighten the mast keeping the mast bend less. This has a few benefits: your mainsail will be easier to trim, but also the straighter rig will allow the backstay tension to transfer more quickly to the headstay, which keeps the jib flatter. Also, remember that older masts get soft over the years, so lower tension may be needed.

_____

Terry Flynn
Quantum J/22 Class Guru
tflynn@quantumsails.com
281-474-4168
 

The J/22 sailing season is in full swing in Texas. Quantum Sails customers are sailing well, taking almost all the podium positions. Recent regattas and results include,

J/22 Midwinters

2nd – Terry Flynn, Tejas

4th – Chris Doyle, The Jug 41

6th – Mike Farrington, Just Leaving

7th – Keith Zars, Baby Lips

 

J22 Class GBCA Performance Cup

1st – Tom Meeh, Meehem 

2nd – Dov Kivlovitz

3rd – Larry Blankenhagen, Parrot Tales Light

 

HYC Midwinters

1st – Walter Caldwell, PAYASO

2nd – Vince Ruder

4th – Dov Kivlovitz

Top 10 Take Aways from a Night with Terry Hutchinson

Tir, 03/22/2016 - 19:29

On Wednesday, March 9, Terry Hutchinson visited the Buffalo Yacht Club to share stories from his experiences as a professional sailor.  Speaking to a full house, he kept everyone engaged and answered lots of questions. Terry touched on many topics, including his role as the tactician on the Quantum TP52 team and the Mini Maxi 72 Bella Mente. With the America’s Cup coming up, he also talked about that event and his experiences with Artemis and previous campaigns. 

Terry’s main focus, however, was his Farr 40 World Championships, showing videos and sharing notes from those events. He covered everything from the world championship when they lost the regatta by a single point to the following year, when they reclaimed the title. 

Quantum Rochester owner Kris Werner was on hand for the event, and he put together his top ten list of helpful hints from Terry’s presentation.

Top Ten Take Aways from a Night with Terry Hutchinson

  1. There is no substitute for days spent on the water:

It’s not enough to know your boat and your crew. Practice together often on the same boat you’ll race. Time spent sailing and practicing with the same team has a measurable, positive effect on results.

  1. Practice harder than you race:

Don’t just cruise with your crew. Be intense and push yourselves in practice to create difficult racing scenarios. For example, make your practice track shorter and more intense than the race track, so maneuvers on a full-sized course will seem easier.

  1. Debrief  with your crew and take notes:

Don’t trust yourself to remember, and don’t put that responsibility on your crew. Take solid notes and get the entire team to comment on what worked and what didn’t.

  1. Avoid big risks, especially early on:

The old adage “you can’t win the regatta on the first day, but you can lose it” is one I’ve always liked, and it’s one Terry supported. Set goals for average scores that will give you a chance to win on the final day.

  1. Know your competition:

Don’t just look at their average scores. Do some research and find out what you can expect from each boat at the start line and on the course. 

  1. Focus on what you can control, not what you can’t.

Forget about the weather and other boats. Instead, figure out how you plan to respond to each possible situation.

  1. Set your crew and schedule as early as possible.

Terry and his teams set their schedules nearly a year in advance, including crew, flights, hotels, food, gear, etc. Plan ahead so you can focus on racing, not the logistics.

  1. Have a coach and photographer.

Not everyone can afford a full-time coach/photographer, but having someone from another boat come out to evaluate what you’re doing can be a tremendous help! As for photos, taking a few pictures of your own sails and set up is free and easy. You can usually find photos of races online after the regattas. Use your coach’s comments and the pictures to study and improve your own technique.

  1. Trust your teammates:

Focus on your job and don’t worry about what your teammates are doing. If everyone follows your lead, no one will be worrying – you’ll all be too busy doing your own job the best you possibly can.

  1. HAVE FUN!

If we forget to do this, our sport won’t grow and future sailors won’t stay with the sport. Whether you’re racing in the America’s Cup or sailing with your kids, don’t forget that critical ingredient – fun!  


 

Spring Refresher: Racing Skills Checklist

Man, 03/21/2016 - 19:18

Practice makes perfect, and there’s no time to practice like before you head out for the season’s first big regatta. We’ve put together a list of key maneuvers and tasks to improve your crew choreography and to set you up for success.

The summer sailing season is nearly upon us. You’ve tuned up your boat and gotten your crew together… what about tuning up your crew? A lot of the maneuvers we do on the (buoy) racecourse are fundamental, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be reviewed each year at the start of the season, not to mention ahead of every big regatta.

The first step is to come up with a plan: Sit down with your crew before you head out on the water, and take a few minutes to come up with a list of all the areas you excelled in the season before, as well as all of the areas that you struggled. Practice the things you did well a couple of times, just to make sure you’ve still got the dance right. For the areas where you struggled, set aside a little more time for extra practice.

Here is our checklist of maneuvers and tasks sure to improve your crew choreography and set you and your team up for success this season.

Tune the rig

Is your rig back at base? Are you sure? Do you know what “base” is? Hopefully, you’ve got a designated crewmember in charge of rig tune. If you’re a one design sailor, make sure you’ve downloaded the most recent tuning guide for your boat and go through it with that person, or decide on what numbers you want to use. When you head out on the water, he or she should keep notes on boat performance to help you make decisions once the race gun goes off. (Or, just slightly before, depending on your class’s rules!)

Mark the boat

There’s nothing more distracting than having the trimmer call up to the bowman to adjust the jib cars only to result in a three-minute discussion about which hole is “eight.” Putting discrete but clearly visible numbers on the deck along your jib tracks, inhaulers, sheets, halyards not only make communication easier, they also make good maneuvers repeatable.

Review the rules

Two boats on opposite tacks are approaching the windward mark setting up for a port bear away. Within one boat length, the boat on port tacks onto starboard inside and calls for room. Who has rights? Things can get tricky on the racecourse, especially on a tight start line when the breeze is up. Take a little time to review the rules and know your rights.

Get up to speed

In short races, a good or bad start can make the race. Practicing stop-and-gos, getting the boat up to speed, and timed runs at an imaginary start line, or between two fixed marks where you often sail.

Set and douse the kite

There’s no better maneuver to shake the cobwebs off practicing a bunch of mark roundings and how you’re going to get the spinnaker up and down. Upwind, it’s pole out or up, tack out, sneak the kite, bear away, or gybe set. Downwind, make sure you run the gamut of douses: windward, leeward, Mexican. If everything goes sideways, learn to letterbox. Know who does what, when, and in what conditions. In case your race committee decides to get creative, you should be able to do it all to starboard, too.

Know your angles

The best teams live and die by their crossovers. They know their sails, their points of sail, and when to depower or change sails. If you have a crossover chart, go through it with your trimmers. If you don’t have one, go out with your crew and go through your inventory, taking detailed notes about what’s fastest at what wind speed, angle, and trim.

 

This may sound like a week’s worth of sailing, but with good planning and a willing crew, there’s no reason you shouldn’t be able to go through all of this during a relaxed weekend of practice. If you’re short on time, you could probably even do it in day, but make sure your crew has time to rest before the race.

Now, you should be ready for your first regatta. The only thing left to do is get the sandwiches!

Spring Refresher: Racing Skills Checklist

Man, 03/21/2016 - 18:20

Practice makes perfect, and there’s no time to practice like before you head out for the season’s first big regatta. We’ve put together a list of key maneuvers and tasks to improve your crew choreography and to set you up for success.

The summer sailing season is nearly upon us. You’ve tuned up your boat and gotten your crew together… what about tuning up your crew? A lot of the maneuvers we do on the (buoy) racecourse are fundamental, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be reviewed each year at the start of the season, not to mention ahead of every big regatta.

The first step is to come up with a plan: Sit down with your crew before you head out on the water, and take a few minutes to come up with a list of all the areas you excelled in the season before, as well as all of the areas that you struggled. Practice the things you did well a couple of times, just to make sure you’ve still got the dance right. For the areas where you struggled, set aside a little more time for extra practice.

Here is our checklist of maneuvers and tasks sure to improve your crew choreography and set you and your team up for success this season.

Tune the rig

Is your rig back at base? Are you sure? Do you know what “base” is? Hopefully, you’ve got a designated crewmember in charge of rig tune. If you’re a one design sailor, make sure you’ve downloaded the most recent tuning guide for your boat and go through it with that person, or decide on what numbers you want to use. When you head out on the water, he or she should keep notes on boat performance to help you make decisions once the race gun goes off. (Or, just slightly before, depending on your class’s rules!)

Mark the boat

There’s nothing more distracting than having the trimmer call up to the bowman to adjust the jib cars only to result in a three-minute discussion about which hole is “eight.” Putting discrete but clearly visible numbers on the deck along your jib tracks, inhaulers, sheets, halyards not only make communication easier, they also make good maneuvers repeatable.

Review the rules

Two boats on opposite tacks are approaching the windward mark setting up for a port bear away. Within one boat length, the boat on port tacks onto starboard inside and calls for room. Who has rights? Things can get tricky on the racecourse, especially on a tight start line when the breeze is up. Take a little time to review the rules and know your rights.

Get up to speed

In short races, a good or bad start can make the race. Practicing stop-and-gos, getting the boat up to speed, and timed runs at an imaginary start line, or between two fixed marks where you often sail.

Set and douse the kite

There’s no better maneuver to shake the cobwebs off practicing a bunch of mark roundings and how you’re going to get the spinnaker up and down. Upwind, it’s pole out or up, tack out, sneak the kite, bear away, or gybe set. Downwind, make sure you run the gamut of douses: windward, leeward, Mexican. If everything goes sideways, learn to letterbox. Know who does what, when, and in what conditions. In case your race committee decides to get creative, you should be able to do it all to starboard, too.

Know your angles

The best teams live and die by their crossovers. They know their sails, their points of sail, and when to depower or change sails. If you have a crossover chart, go through it with your trimmers. If you don’t have one, go out with your crew and go through your inventory, taking detailed notes about what’s fastest at what wind speed, angle, and trim.

 

This may sound like a week’s worth of sailing, but with good planning and a willing crew, there’s no reason you shouldn’t be able to go through all of this during a relaxed weekend of practice. If you’re short on time, you could probably even do it in day, but make sure your crew has time to rest before the race.

Now, you should be ready for your first regatta. The only thing left to do is get the sandwiches!

Top 10 Cold Weather Sailing Tips

Tor, 03/17/2016 - 20:24

Half the battle of cold-weather sailing is just staying warm. If your body is using energy to stay warm, focus and performance can suffer. Quantum sail consultant and Farr 40 pro David Gerber shares his top-ten tips for staying warm during cold-weather sailing.

My experiences in cold-weather sailing are from several years of springtime practicing and racing in the northern regions of North America. I’ve also sailed one of the coldest races, the 338-nautical-mile Trans-Superior on Lake Superior, a couple of times.

Here are my top-ten tips for staying warm during your next cold-weather sailing adventure:

1. Stay dry – get reliable outer gear. Dry equals warm. The fastest way to ruin cold-weather sailing is to get wet. Fortunately, there is a lot of great gear available in a wide range of prices. Personally, I like the Musto foul weather gear and Dubarry sailing boots. Both types of gear are necessary for staying dry and for cold-weather sailing success. Invest in outerwear that will not only keep you warm and dry, but will last for more than one sailing season. Talk to sailors in your area to see what they recommend. They will be your best guide for not only picking out gear that suits your local sailing conditions, but also knowing where to find the best bargain.

2. Base layers. It is one thing to stay dry, but if you don’t have the right base layers to keep you warm, you will also be miserable. Keep in mind that the cold air over the water can feel a lot different from the cold air over land because the excess moisture in the air makes it harder to escape the cold. Make sure you have the necessary pieces: long underwear, wool or synthetic socks, mid-layer, stocking cap, mittens, and maybe even a heavy layer.

One item I always bring is a good old fashioned wool sweater. It’s warm – wet or dry – and cozier then a synthetic top. Because of the nature of wool and how the fibers are arranged, it has greater bulk and can retain more heat. It’s also moisture-wicking and can absorb a third of its weight before it feels wet. I recommend avoiding cotton against the skin. You need to stay dry from the inside out. Cotton is not moisture-wicking, so as you begin to sweat, you want to keep that moisture away from your skin to keep it from making you cold. 

Another tip: look for leather, insulated gloves or mittens from your local hardware store. They are inexpensive alternatives to sailing gloves, and hold up well to lines and water.

3. Disposable toe and hand warmers. You can grab these at your local hardware or sporting goods stores. The toe warmers are ideal because they have a sticky back on them. This allows you to stick them in other areas, like your neck and chest, but don’t ever stick them directly to your skin. Instead, put them inside a neck gaiter or stick them to your shirt.

4. Neck/face guard. Those sun guards that go around your neck have increased in popularity and can be found at local sporting goods stores. Not only is this a nice item to keep the sun off your neck and face, it will also help keep your face warm during a cold sail. Keeping the spray off your face will keep you dry, and, you got it – warm. If the air temps are low as well, the bite of the cold wind combined with the moisture can easily lead to frost nip on any exposed skin.

5. Protect your eyes. Cold air and winds will make your eyes water. Aside from making your face wet (and cold), it’s also uncomfortable and hard to see. If your sunglasses aren’t enough, or it’s not super sunny, ski goggles are great for protecting your eyes, and they’ll also cover exposed skin. During the day, try a pair with colored or polarized lenses. They add dimension to flat light and help you see the different winds coming on the water. Ski goggles with a clear lens are great for keeping your eyes from watering at night (when the colored lenses could be more of a hindrance). Regardless, if you don’t have tears running down your face, you will stay warmer and be more comfortable.

6. Sleep in your gear. The best way to get rid of the moisture is to simply leave your clothes on when you sleep. Remember, your body runs at 98 degrees – that is a great drying agent. Stay warm and dry by sleeping in your gear.

7. Avoid eating large meals. Eat a lot of little snacks. A big meal takes more energy to digest, and this will make you colder. Keep your energy levels high with small snacks that are high in protein and are digested more slowly.

8. Empty your bladder. If you have to pee, pee. Your body uses energy to keep the liquid in your bladder warm. Go when you have the urge, and it will help you stay warm.

9. Drink warm liquids to stay hydrated. Lots of beverages are good warm. One drink I particularly like is hot-Tang. Not only does it taste good, but it’s loaded with vitamin C. Grab a thermos and fill it with a hot beverage of your choice. If you’re on the boat overnight, cuddle up with a Nalgene full of hot water in your sleeping bag or under the covers (just make sure it’s closed tightly!).

10. Stay active. Whether you are cruising or racing, if you stay involved in the sailing and/or racing of the boat, it will help keep you warm.  Most times you get cold when you’re sitting around and not exerting any energy. Help your body stay warm by keeping your blood flowing. Luckily, in our sport you can always strive harder to make a boat go faster.

Stay dry, stay warm, and sail fast!

 __________

By Dave Gerber
Sail Consultant
Quantum Sails Great Lakes
M: 312-213-1181
E: dgerber@quantumsails.com

 

10 Things You Can Do to Make Your Sails Last Longer

Ons, 03/16/2016 - 21:38

1.  Keep your sail out of the sun when not in use.
If you have furling systems, this may be just a matter of furling sails when not in use. For non-furling sails, this means covering or stowing sails. There are cover options for both mainsails and headsails, allowing the sail to stay rigged and protected between uses. When no cover is available, sails should be removed, flaked, bagged and stowed below deck or off the boat. 

2. Sun Covers: Sewn-on protection.  
Many owners use sewn-on sun covers to protect furled sails. Sunbrella and WeatherMax are the fabrics commonly used for sun covers. For racer-cruisers and some racing sails like furling code zeros, there are lighter weight options such as UV-treated Dacron®. While there is a gain in weight savings, these materials are not inherently UV resistant. Over time the UV treatment can wear off, with the lifespan of the treatment affected by boat location and amount of time in the sun. In high exposure areas, treated covers may have a lifespan of only a couple of seasons.  

All sun covers should be inspected regularly and repaired if damaged. Generally speaking, covers should be re-stitched every three years or so to prevent more extensive damage to the fabric that can occur from flogging due to compromised stitching.  
To provide maximum protection for your sails, sun covers require care and maintenance. Remember, if you can see the sailcloth below the cover…so can the sun!

3.  Keep your sails clean.
After sun, the second-worst enemy of any sail is salt; but other types of dirt and debris can be just as damaging. Periodic sail washing is key to maintaining your sails. A couple common-sense rules apply to frequency: 1) a sail that has been exposed to saltwater should be washed sooner rather than later, and 2) all other varying degrees of grime should be removed when possible. A genoa or staysail probably needs washing, or at least a rinse, more frequently than a mainsail that is stowed under a cover on the boom or furled when not in use. Not sure if your sails are salty? Run a finger along the foot and have a taste…you’ll know right away!

4.  Add years to your sail’s life expectancy.
Sailmakers generally refer to the life of a sail in hours or seasons, rather than years. The lifespan is affected by the amount of time sailing and the level of care given to the sails. In the mid-Atlantic region, the main sailing season can begin in early spring and extend late into the fall. A sailing season in the upper Midwest, for example, is much shorter, thus extending the life of a sail. The lifespan of sails that spend the sailing season furled on your headstay, in your mast or boom, or left on the boat to endure the frigid months of winter, will be much shorter than the life of sails that are properly protected or stowed.  
If you know your sails are going to be sitting idle on the boat in a marina for at least a month or more during a sailing season, you can extend sail life by taking the sails off of your boat and stowing them. If your schedule prevents you from doing this personally, contact your local Quantum loft for sail removal and storage – part of our full array of sail care services.  

5.  Inspect your sails regularly (or have an expert do so).
At least once-a-year sails should get a check-up. To do this yourself, find a dry place in good light where you can lay them flat, then work your way over every inch of the sail, looking for trouble spots such as abrasion or loose stitching. Small problems can turn into bigger problems later, so be sure to note even the smallest details. Alternatively, you can drop off your sails at a nearby Quantum loft for our multi-point inspection. Even simpler, with one call we can handle sail removal, transportation and inspection for one sail or your whole inventory. 

6.  Tape up that turnbuckle!
If you’ve ever scraped your finger on a piece of hardware, then you know it’s sharp enough to damage your sail. Put some tape on it. Even seemingly blunt objects (like a spreader) can damage sails on a tack, so take a look around (and up) to see what can or should be covered to protect your sails. Rigging tape, self-fusing silicone tape, leather and other protective coverings are relatively inexpensive ways to protect your sails.

7.  Read the writing on the leech.
Even a well-protected spreader-tip or navigation light can wear a sail tack-after-tack. For these areas, a spreader-patch (or navigation light-patch, etc.) might be the answer. Quantum service experts use a variety of materials for these abrasion-resistant patches, ranging from pressure-sensitive-adhesive-backed Kevlar for a racing genoa to Sunbrella® cloth for cruising sails.

8.  Fix it now instead of replacing it later.
A lot of catastrophic sail failures can be traced back to a small repair that was never made.  When you notice a small hole or a chafed spot that’s getting increasingly worse, save yourself serious head- and wallet-ache by addressing the problem while it is still small. Our service experts have heard more than a few people come into the loft with a shredded sail saying, “I’ve been meaning to get that spot patched”.

9.  Bag it!
Pretty simple here. There’s a good reason new sails come with a sturdy bag and it’s not just another place for a logo. That bag is a much cheaper sacrificial covering than the sail inside of it. Take a look at an old sailbag that’s scuffed and torn-up, now imagine if that were your sail. Not good. It can be a pain to keep track of bags, but used regularly, they can really earn their keep.

10.  If you don’t know…ask.
Curious about some sail-care method you’ve heard somebody touting on the dock or trying to figure out if your sail could use a new piece of webbing on the tack? Feel free to call the service team at your local Quantum loft. We’re happy to field your questions and provide helpful pointers. Consider us a member of your team.

The Next Generation of Sailmakers: 6th Annual Annapolis Marine & Maritime Career Fair

Ons, 03/16/2016 - 16:30

Nearly fifty exhibitors and 400 students attended the Eastport Yacht Club Foundation’s 6th Annual Marine and Maritime Career Fair at Annapolis High School last month. Open to students from grades 6-12, the fair’s goal is to raise awareness of marine and maritime careers to ensure a robust future for the workforce. Quantum’s National Service Manager Charlie Saville attended the event to introduce kids to the world of sailmaking.

National Service Manager Charlie Saville mans the Quantum table with his son.

“The career fair introduced kids to different companies in the maritime industry, but it also introduced them to different career paths,” said Saville. “I talked about how Quantum isn’t just sailmaking. We have IT professionals in the company who to go college and become code writers, we have engineers who help us figure out how to build sails, we have a finance department – it’s not just cutting and sewing. We talked a little about sails, and specifically about the different things students could, would, and should study to get into this career.”

Saville handled a lot of questions throughout the day, especially about the technology behind sailmaking. “I had some of the newer, high-tech film-on-film racing sails with me. Most of the questions centered around the technology of it – what goes into sailmaking and how do we leverage technology to build a better sail.”

He said one of the highlights of the day was seeing kids realize that they don’t have to be champion racers to have a career in the sailmaking industry. “If they have a strong background in math, but are slow on the water, kids might not think they could be a sailmaker. You don’t have to be a super-fast racer to do this. The marine fair helped incite interest in those kids who might have thought they couldn’t do it.”

Quantum had the privilege of being the only sailmaker at this year’s event, and Saville said he’d like to go again next year to educate more kids about opportunities in the industry. “Whether they grow up to work for Quantum or become a marine electrician, it was neat to see so many kids and young adults who were considering careers in the marine industry.”

For more information on the 6th Annual Marine and Maritime Career Fair, click here. http://eycfoundation.org/programs/maritime-career-awareness/2016-career-fair

Eight Sailing Skills to Review Every Spring

Tir, 03/15/2016 - 20:15

Your spring sailing skills checklist—because sailing is a lot more complicated than riding a bike.

For those of us in the North, the snow is finally melting and spring is in the air—and we’re all itching to get back in the water. After many months on dry land or under cover, you’ll likely spend some time tuning up your boat before you go sailing. But what about tuning up your skills?

Sailing’s a lot more complicated than riding a bike (that’s why we like it!) but that means sometimes we need to take a little time to brush up on what we know, and maybe add a few more skills too.

We’ve put together a neat little checklist of skills you might want to review before heading out on your first big spring voyage.

Steering with the sails

Whether because you’ve lost your rudder or just to check if you’re sail trim is in balance, knowing how to steer your boat with the sails is a valuable skill.

Set a reaching (outboard) lead

Jib reaching is a popular and fun point of sail when cruising, but depending on where your jib sheets lead, you may need to set up a reaching or outboard lead. By sheeting the jib to a block on the rail, you can open up leech of the jib, which allows you to ease the sail farther without it luffing. The main can then be eased too for a flatter, more comfortable sail.

Sail to a mooring

Whether you’re heading to Molokini for some off-shore snorkeling, or out to your favorite camping spot, the last thing you want to do is not be able to find and hook up to the mooring. The safety of free moorings is sometimes questionable, so be ready to dive in and inspect the chain and you may also want to set an anchor light.

Depower your full-size sails

When the wind comes up, do you know what to do to keep your boat flat? Do you ease the mainsheet or traveler? Put on the backstay? Wind on the check stays? Move the jib cars back? There’s no once-size-fits-all answer since every boat is set up differently. Make sure you know what tools you have for sail trim, and that they’re all in working order.

Put in a reef

Sometimes cranking on the backstay and moving the jib cars back isn’t enough. No one’s having fun when the leeward rail is dragging in the water, the snacks are splayed out all over the deck, and your wife’s new outfit is soaked. Before you head out with a boat full of guests, practice putting in a reef, and make sure try all of them. Knowing how to put in your reef (and putting it in ahead of time) will ensure a successful sail.  

Partially furl your headsail

Like putting in a reef, knowing how to furl your headsail and being able to do it when you need to will allow you to keep your boat upright and your guests having fun.

Put up your heavy air sails

If you’re doing anything more than a day sail, you need to know how to set your heavy air sails and be able to do it quickly. The last thing you want to be doing with a storm brewing on the horizon is trying to remember how your storm trysail goes up.

Set the whisker pole

The whisker pole is a great tool for downwind cruising with white sails, but it’s not the easiest thing to set up. Give it a try before you’ve got a boatload of people and a martini in your hand. You’ll be glad you did.

 If you need any help mastering these skills or others, don’t hesitate to give your local Quantum loft a call; our experts are here to help!

 

Getting to the Top in the Melges 20 Monaco Winter Series

Man, 03/14/2016 - 19:18

Team Nika bowman and pro sailor Giorgio Tortarolo tells us what it takes to get to the top of the fleet in one of Europe’s premier Melges 20 sailing series.

The Melges 20 Winter Series was founded three years ago by Synergy Sailing Team owner Valentin Zavadnikov and the Yacht Club de Monaco. The event has quickly become one of the premier winter regattas in Europe drawing participants from Monaco, Italy, Sweden, Denmark, Poland, Turkey, Russia, and South Africa.

Racing takes place over five events between November and March. The fourth event known as the Primo Cup marked the start of the 2016 European Sailing Series. Held Feb. 12 – 14, the Primo Cup was won by the Quantum-powered Anna, owned by Russian sailing federation president Vladimir Silkin. Indeed, Quantum boats took seven of the top ten places.

The competition at the Primo Cup included some of the top European teams such as RC44 World Champion Vladimir Prosikin on Nika and 2014 champion Manfredi Vianini Tolomei on Maolca.

After four events, Quantum boats own four of the top five spots on the overall leader board, with Alexander Ezhkov’s Pirogovo in first, Nika in second, Dmitry Samokhin’s Russia in third, and Igor Rytov’s Russian Bogatyrs in fifth.

With one race to go, we caught up with pro sailor and Team Nika bowman Giorgio Tortarolo to find out what it takes to climb into the top of the Melges 20 fleet.

Quantum: What is the most challenging aspect of sailing the Melges 20?

Giorgio Tortarolo: To sail against top sailors from all over the world with a strictly one design boat.

Q: What is the most crucial aspect of light wind sailing on the Melges 20?

G: The tuning of the mast is important, but also the movement of the crew weight.

Q: Across the fleet at the Monaco Winter Series, where do you feel there are more gains to be made—upwind or downwind?

G: Both are important. For sure upwind you can’t gain a lot of distance, but to be in the top helps to make strategic choices, while downwind driving the boat well means you could gain 200 meters against one that is not sailing well.

Q: The Melges 20 is touts itself as a well-built sportboat that’s simple to sail. How does that add to the difficulty or competitiveness of the fleet?

G: The Melges 20 is perfect for having fun and sailing strong races. The level is really high, but with a good coaching even a lower-level team can improve fast their performance. Boat handling and tuning of the boat are crucial for making it to the top of the fleet.

Q: What’s the most important aspect of Melges 20 sailing to master for newcomers hoping to be competitive in the fleet?

G: As I said before, to have a member of the crew or a coach that knows the boat very well is crucial and the preparation of the boat and the tuning are also really important. The tuning guide that Quantum gives to the customer is very well done, so also this aspect can help the new team to learn fast.

The battle will continue between Pirogovo, Nika, and the rest of the Melges 20 European fleet on March 18 – 20 in Monte Carlo. Follow the fleet on their Facebook page.

 

Sails for the Racer/Cruiser: Can You Build Dual Purpose Sails?

Ons, 03/09/2016 - 15:25

Racing and cruising: can one boat really do it all? Absolutely … if you have the right sails. With the right stretch and weight fabric, and a closer look at your spinnaker, you can race your cruising boat this summer with dual-purpose sails.

Cruising boat Greatful Red races in the Performance Cruising division at the 2016 Quantum Key West Race Week. Photo by Sara Proctor.

Most hard core racing sailors scoff at the notion that one boat can race and cruise. After all, is it really reasonable to expect that you can race effectively while carrying your house around with you? Making a boat suitable for dual purposes usually leads to compromises in the ergonomics that make racing a boat easier, like cockpit seats and cabin tops getting in the way. But for many, owning two boats isn’t practical or economically feasible. They want to race and are stuck with the boat they cruise on.

In a perfect world, you would have two sail inventories: a set for cruising and a set for racing. If you have the budget and don’t mind swapping sails out every time you change modes, go wild! For most people, however, this is not an option.

So how can you make it work? High-quality, dual purpose sails can make your racing and cruising dreams possible.

Do Dual purpose Sails Really Work?

The answer to this is a quantifiable maybe. It depends on the type of sail and how competitive you want to be. The good news is that the two most important characteristics of a great racing sail – design and shape – can be the same for racing and cruising. That leaves two main factors to consider when looking for a good, dual purpose sail: stretch and weight.

Stretch

Racing sail construction techniques and fibers provide the lowest possible movement so that the shape stays intact throughout the range. These same techniques and fibers are available for cruising sails.

Modern racing sails (like Quantum’s Fusion M) are usually made with a custom fiber network of high modulus fibers, like aramids (technora, twaron) and carbon, sandwiched between thin films. Modern high-performance cruising sails can be made using the same process and fibers, so they can have the same great, low-stretch characteristics as full-on racing sails.

Weight

There are sails that can pull double duty well if you are willing to accept a weight penalty.

The key difference between racing and cruising sails is the exterior skins that protect the fiber package. Racing sails cannot provide the toughness against chafe or wear and tear, nor can they protect against UV damage. Cruising sails typically use woven polyester exterior skins (called “taffetas” in the trade) to protect the fiber package. Taffetas come in various weights for different boat sizes and applications. They add significant weight, but are critical to ensure long-term durability.

Weight – Options

If weight isn’t a critical issue for you, mainsails and headsails intended for use in more than 10 knots of breeze are perfect candidates for dual purpose construction. Mainsails, supported by mast and battens, actually set up reasonably well even in lighter conditions. The only sail where weight is a critical issue are light jibs and genoa. This is where the heavy taffetas are a real penalty since they keep the sail from filling, lifting, and taking the designed shape.

If you want to use dual purpose sails but are concerned about weight, you might consider Lite Skins (LS). This new, intermediate alternative to woven polyester taffetas is a filament-fortified film made by Dimension Polyant. While it is not a direct substitute for woven taffetas, it does provide additional chafe and wear resistance at a much lighter weight. It can be used on one or both sides of the sail.

For a weight comparison, LS adds 30 grams per square meter (gm2). The lightest woven taffeta adds 53 gm2. This means that LS only adds a couple of kilos to a typical sail for a 30-40 boat. It’s a good way to beef up and add durability to a racing sail for a relatively small weight penalty.

The Spinnaker

Another consideration is your spinnaker. Symmetrical spinnakers are rarely used on cruising boats, so they don’t fit in the category of dual purpose usage. Asymmetrical spinnakers, however, are commonly found on cruising and racing boats, so there is a logical crossover.

Asymmetricals designed specifically for cruising are somewhat smaller than their racing brethren, but there is no reason why they have to be. When you work with your sail designer, ask him or her to consider the relevant rule you will be racing under, and talk about the target wind angles and speeds in which you intend to use the sail. These factors will have a big impact on the sizing and shaping of the sail and will determine whether it really can be used effectively as a dual purpose sail.

Don’t forget to ask about the type of fabric being used. Lower-stretch grades are preferred for racing, whereas cruising asymmetricals are usually built out of heavier material. If weight is a concern for you, consider asking for the lower-stretch, lighter fabrics.

The bottom line is this: with some relatively small compromises you can make sails that can be equally effective for racing or cruising. 

____

Dave Flynn
Quantum Sails – Cruising Guru
410-268-1161
dflynn@quantumsails.com

 

The Good, the Bad, and the Lessons: J/24 Expert Travis Odenbach Prepares for This Year’s Nationals

Fre, 03/04/2016 - 20:05

Not every race goes according to plan. Whether it’s a change in crew, conditions, or any number of unexpected events, every sailor – new and experienced – eventually faces a tough race. Quantum rep and J/24 expert Travis Odenbach recently finished two races with very different results. He’s using those experiences to help him prepare for the rest of the J/24 season.

Honey Badger at the J/24 Midwinters – Photo by Chris Howell.

Quantum: Mid-February, you competed at the Helly Hansen St. Petersburg NOOD Regatta in St. Petersburg, Florida (Feb. 12-14). How were the racing conditions?

Travis Odenbach: Conditions at the NOODS were pretty nice. It was anywhere from 8-15 knots from the north/northeast, very shifty with flat water. There were only ten boats there, which made for a nice, easy warm-up for Midwinters.

Q: Did you have similar conditions at the J/24 Midwinter Championship in Miami, Florida (Feb. 19-21)?

TO: The first day was nice, with 8-10 knots north/northeast. On Saturday it was only 3-7 knots from the east, and at times the breeze would die completely. There was no race Sunday.

Q: You finished second at the NOOD behind another Quantum-powered boat. What worked well for you that weekend?

TO: We knew who our competition was, and we started near them most of the time. We learned that in a small fleet, if there are only one or two guys you’re racing against, you need to stay with them. Don’t give them any leverage or they’ll pass you. Staying on the lifted tack was key. So was not missing the shifts, especially when you’re really close to shore.

Q: Why do you think you finished so well at the NOOD?

TO: The approach we had was different than normal. We were going into this event to have fun. There weren’t as many boats, so we knew we wanted to make this a learning experience. We made it a fun weekend, and everyone was pretty calm on the boat. We weren’t over-thinking it.

Q: You followed the NOOD with a seventh place finish at the J/24 Midwinters. What was your biggest challenge there?

TO: Starting. With the breeze being so light, if you didn’t have a first row start, you were flushed out the wrong way and had to dig back in bad air, which really hurts your ability to fight. We were always fighting to get back in, and that was a challenge.

Q: If you could re-do the Midwinters, what would you do differently?

TO: I set up too early on the line for starts. I would have been more patient in tacking on starboard so I didn’t have to start from a stop. We also started near the boat end, and it seemed like the winners came out of the pin, but we never took notice of that at the time.

Q: Do you think you could have placed higher if you had raced on Sunday?

TO: I do. Friday we had a pretty bad day, but Saturday was good, except for one fleet inversion that bumped us out of the top five. If we had raced on Sunday, I think we could have been in the top five. Missing the third day of sailing really hurts in a 3-day regatta.

Q: The J/24 class has the Easter Regatta, Charleston Race Week, the J-Days Regatta, and Nationals coming up between now and mid-May. How are you preparing for those events?

TO: Right now I’m trying to get our normal team back together. The J/24 is a very team-oriented boat. On other boats, 1-2 people can get it around the course, but the J/24 is demanding on the whole team. If you’re not all firing on all cylinders, it’s going to be a tough regatta, so sailing with the same team is key to being successful, but it’s hard to do.

For J-Days and Nationals, I’ll go back to the team I sailed with for the past year. We’re going to focus on J-Days as a tune-up regatta. Then it’s two weeks until nationals, so we’ll probably be sailing straight through those two weeks.

Q: What advice would you give to other J/24 sailors who are gearing up for this year’s Nationals?

TO: Ask as many questions as you can of the experts at the events you go to between now and Nationals. Also, throw some practice days in between events. Whether you’re working on time on distance for starting or two-boat testing for speed, practice.

If you have questions about how to prepare your team and boat for this year’s J/24 racing season, contact your local Quantum representative!

Click here for full results from the Helly Hansen St. Petersburg NOOD Regatta!

Click here for full results from the J/24 Midwinter Championship!

Cruising Staysail Trim Guide

Tor, 02/25/2016 - 03:52

Cruising with your staysail can add horsepower and ease, giving you options in a variety of conditions. Learn how to make the most of your cruising experience with Quantum expert Dave Flynn’s staysail trim guide.

Optimum staysail conditions, close reaching, 12 knots of breeze.

The staysail plays three roles:

  1. It augments sail power.
  2. It helps break down total sail area into smaller working components for ease of handling.
  3. The smaller sail units allow for different combinations, giving sailors a variety of options for different conditions.

To make the most of your staysail, learning how to trim it is key. First though, it helps to know the right conditions for using a staysail.

Conditions

As part of the overall sail power of your boat, the staysail is most useful in the middle range of reaching angles, from a close reach to the point where the wind is slightly aft of the beam (50-130 degrees apparent wind angle). As the boat sails at broader angles, the blanket of the mainsail, as it is eased out, limits the effectiveness of the staysail. Eventually, the staysail will be hidden behind the mainsail. At closer angles, when sailing to windward, the staysail can help augment horsepower.

As the headsail, staysail, and mainsail are trimmed in, the gap (slot) between them narrows, and they begin to affect each other. In lighter conditions (under 10-12 knots apparent), the staysail may inhibit, not help, upwind performance. In the middle ranges, the staysail can be more helpful, depending on factors like sail shape and sheeting angle. In windy conditions, as the mainsail has to be eased, lowering the staysail will allow the mainsail to breathe and reduce back-winding, helping to keep the boat on its feet. In short, the optimum conditions for the staysail (when adding horsepower), are at apparent wind angles of 50-130 with a minimum apparent wind velocity of 10-12 knots.

Trim

Trim of the staysail is really no different than any other headsail. When reaching, keep in mind the first rule of sail trim: when in doubt, let it out.

Most sailors tend to over trim. Make sure the sail is eased to the point of luffing, then trim to barely remove luff. If your boat is not equipped with a Hoyt club boom, the sheet lead should be moved to the outboard rail as the sail is eased out. The lead position should follow the clew, moving slightly forward and outboard.

If your boat is equipped with a Hoyt boom, the staysail’s tendency to twist (leech opening up and causing the top of the sail to luff before the bottom) can be controlled by the boom. The Hoyt boom makes the staysail more useful at broader wind angles since sail shape is maintained and the sail is extended straight away from the boat as it is eased. There is less interference with the mainsail as a result.

Upwind, trim in tight, but be careful. When looking up the sails from the aft quarter, the slot between the three sails should be roughly parallel. The genoa should be trimmed in almost to the spreader – trim the staysail to match this profile.

If your boat has a conventional jib track, make sure the lead isn’t too far forward. If it is, the foot of the sail will be round and full. This will just create back winding in the mainsail. Drop the lead aft until the foot of the staysail is flat. With a Hoyt boom, make sure the outhaul is pulled tight to achieve flat foot sections.

Conclusion

When it gets windy, the staysail is the perfect sail. Used in combination with a partially-furled genoa or working jib and a reefed mainsail, the staysail provides plenty of power. Various combinations of reefs and headsail size allow the boat to be balanced in every condition.

____

Dave Flynn
Quantum Sails – Cruising Guru
410-268-1161
dflynn@quantumsails.com

Want to Win a Big Regatta? Six Simple Lessons to Remember

Ons, 02/24/2016 - 21:08

Quantum Sails expert Dave Flynn has seen his share of big regattas and has learned a lot of lessons along the way. Like many things it's easy to get caught up in the moment and forget the big picture. Use Dave's six simple, but valuable tips to help lead you to the podium.

As I head back from another Key West Race Week I can’t help but reflect on the simple things that more often than not end up being the keys to doing well. These should have sunk in by now after more than 20 Key West Race Weeks and countless major regattas over the years, but I am going to write them down and remember to read them before the next big event. It seems too easy to get lost in the details trying to make the right decisions. When confused and concerned, you will be well served if you stick to the simple truths.

You Don’t Have to Win the Start

Let’s face it, the start is the hardest part of any sailboat race. It is easy to mess up, and if you do it is an almost sure fired way to have a bad race. If you go big and decide that you have to win the pin or the boat, recognize that in a crowded scenario usually only one boat is going to come out with a great start. The rest of the pack will be slow and struggle for the first couple of minutes. Better to start a little away from the fray, say 1/4 or 1/3 of the way from an end with space and room to leeward especially early in the regatta. A good start is one that allows you to go straight for 3-4 minutes without being forced to tack. Many moons ago I was sailing in a 20+ fleet of One Design 35’s. On many of Key West racing circles the left side is favored in prevailing conditions. Win the pin, beat feet to the left and win the race. Of course it didn’t take very long for everyone to figure this out which made starting at the pin to go left nearly impossible. (Made more difficult by our own lack of competence). Our tactician (local Annapolis sailor Mark Hillman) came up with an unusual winning strategy. We started on port, ducking as much of the crowd as we had too, went 200 yards and tacked. Now we had clear air and a lane to go left. Relying on the slow pace of the clump struggling off the pin, we were able to roll over the lot and get to front row on the left.

Don’t Make the Big Mistake

Key West is, for most of the classes, a no “throwout” series. You can’t make the big mistake and win. The big mistake is usually a foul, so no matter how easy you think the cross on port is, or how much room you are sure you have to tack in front on the layline, don’t do it if it is close. Losing a couple of boat lengths playing it safe is a winning strategy. There are lots of other ways to make big mistakes, here are a couple of regulars…

If You Are Not Sure About Which Way to Go Stay With the Fleet

Hopefully you get out to the race course an hour early, sail extensively upwind and down to get compass numbers and develop a feel for what the wind is doing. You should have a plan of attack for the first beat. However, you don’t have to go all in, particularly early in the regatta. There is nothing wrong with sticking with the bulk of the fleet, especially with the boats that you know are probably going to be a factor. If the fleet splits equally, work to win your side but don’t be afraid to be the first to lead back to the middle to check in. The thing to avoid is the classic big mistake, being the furthest boat in the corner. The only exception to this might be in very light air and unstable conditions where the winner will probably have to play a side hard.

Take Down Early

If there is a big mechanical mistake to be made it will come at the leeward mark. The bottom mark rounding is by far the most difficult maneuver to get right, and it is the one where the downside risk to getting it wrong has the highest penalties. Don’t get the spinnaker down and go whizzing past the mark, or worse yet have your helmsperson compound the problem but turning upwind with the spinnaker still wrapped around the rig, and you will lose big time. So, when in doubt, particularly if it is windy, take it down early. Worse case scenario is that you are a little too prepared for the turn up to close hauled and give away a boat length or two on the front side. You will probably gain it back with a cleaner acceleration and exit from the mark.

There Will Be One Race…

That makes or breaks your regatta. It will not be the one where you get the perfect start, hit the first shift, and win by a mile. No, it will be the one where you make the big mistake. The trick is to remember, when you are rounding the first mark in last place, that if you struggle back to a mid fleet or better finish, that will be the difference for the series. Don’t try to bang a corner and hit a home run. Continue to do the right thing, be patient, and grind them down one boat at a time. Good chance that the back markers will be fairly easy to get past. When you finish 10th congratulate the team and let them know that they just made the most important effort of the event.

Want to Win a Big Regatta… Go to lots of them

A final thought for you as you go in search of your first big podium finish. The famous sailors you see consistently mentioned in the media go to a lot of regattas. Your odds go way up. You will be remembered for the three or four top finishes you had that year, not the 10 or 15 where you had average results.

____

Dave Flynn

Quantum Sails

410-268-1161

dflynn@quantumsails.com

Originally published in Spinsheet Magazine, February 2016

Dominating the 2016 Farr 40 World Championship

Ons, 02/24/2016 - 20:17

Quantum-powered boats dominated in all conditions at the 2016 Farr 40 World Championships with Alex Roepers’s Plenty leading the sweep of the top four positions in Sydney.

Alex Roepers’s Plenty powered by Quantum Sails took the Rolex Farr 40 World Championship hosted in Australia by the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron. Plenty won the 11-race series, which was concluded on Sydney’s Manly offshore course, with a total of 34 points.

The top four boats in the final standings all had a Quantum inventory. Australian champion Transfusion* owned by Guido Belgiorno-Nettis was second, Wolfgang and Angela Schaefer’s Struntje Light from Germany was third, with the Chicago-based Flash Gordon owned by Helmut and Evan Jahn in fourth.

Race conditions would be best described as variable. Plenty led the regatta from day one. Racing southeast of the Hornby Light off the Sydney coastline, a 17- to 23-knot southerly and big seas made for challenging upwind sailing and spectacular downwind surfing at speeds of up to 18 knots.

Transfusion and Flash Gordon tied on day two in moderate breeze between 12 and 15 knots and flat water. Struntje Light led on Thursday in very light air, while on Friday with a moderate northeast sea breeze and big swells, Plenty and Transfusion tied on the day.

All in all, Quantum boats won nine out of 11 races and in all wind conditions.

“We carry four jibs, three spinnakers, and we used them all. Quantum sails shined through the whole range of conditions. I think the results really speak to how good the Quantum sails are,” says Farr 40 pro David Gerber who was racing on Flash Gordon.

Terry Hutchinson joined Plenty in 2013 when Roepers switched to Quantum Sails. Since the switch, Plenty has won eight of 12 regattas, including two world championships and a North American championship.

Roepers was generous in his praise of his crew during the event saying, “Incredible is one word to describe them; cohesive, focused, disciplined, we have incredible camaraderie and talent.”

However, Hutchinson is quick to point out that over the years Plenty has always had a very talented and professional staff. “There’s an element of team dynamic that comes into it, but the reality is, if the sails weren’t any good we wouldn’t be winning,” concludes Hutchinson.

“Quantum sails are standard throughout the Farr 40 fleet. We have worked very hard at streamlining the designs and so every team gets the same sail designs. The goal has been to create versatile, user-friendly sails, and a mentality of information sharing between boats. We have worked very hard from a Plenty perspective to share our tuning information with the other teams as inevitably everybody gets better,” says Hutchison.

Gerber backs up that assertion. “I think the tuning guidebook that’s written for the Farr 40 is a great starting point. Right away you’re in the ballpark in terms of boat setup. I think someone can join the class and immediately go out and be competitive because the groundwork has already been laid.”

Quantum-powered boats were also first through fifth in the Sydney Open, a warm up race to the Worlds held February 11 – 13. Quantum boats retain control of the two major trophies in the class: Plenty holds the World Championship trophy and Flash Gordon owns the North American Championship trophy.

Congratulations to the winners!

Click here for full results.

*Partial Quantum inventory (upwind sails)

 

 

Sailing Fitness

Ons, 02/24/2016 - 19:49

It doesn’t matter if you’re a professional sailor or a coastal cruiser, being in good physical condition should be a priority. Harry Legum, founder of Annapolis Sailing Fitness, talks with Quantum experts about the importance of sailing fitness and what you can do to improve your own sailing fitness.

A junior sailing fitness class in California.

What does Sailing Fitness mean? Those who are active in the sport understand how the right exercise and the right food directly affect their quality of sailing, focus, recovery, and longevity. Casual cruisers appreciate how training improves their balance, agility and core strength. Whether you face the physical demands of racing or just need to be able to get on and off a boat, help out with docking, and do a few chores – your sailing fitness matters. Sailing Fitness takes you from where you are now to where you want to be.

Why should you worry about sailing fitness?

Even if you never step foot on a boat again, Sailing Fitness helps you sail through life’s challenges. We just happen to be sailors. With the right moves and the right nutrition, you can enjoy a better life, lower your stress, sleep better, increase your energy, lower your blood pressure, and achieve greater balance and agility. When you’re fit, you’re nicer to people and take pride in yourself.

Whether you’re a professional sailor, Olympian, junior or senior athlete, high school or college sailor, yacht club, crew/team or casual cruiser, you will want to find a sailing fitness program that meets your needs. For example, we begin with an understanding of the total person and their current level of fitness. Then we combine variety, safety and form to create the perfect program to help them achieve their fitness goals.

So how do we get started with improving our performance on a sailboat?

Please consult a physician before starting any new exercise program.

First take stock of where you are and where you want to go. This will involve honestly evaluating your current physical condition and overall health. Goal setting can vary greatly among sailors and depends on the type of sailing you like to do, such as casual cruising or competitive racing. The program is built around this.

One of the things I focus on as a Trainer is to incorporate exercises that require nothing more than effort. Gym memberships, wellness groups, a personal trainer and such are great and hold tremendous value, but they are not required to achieve fitness goals. For advanced to intermediate athletes, simple exercises can easily be incorporated into any routine resulting in tremendous results.

 

Quantum Sails Vice President and pro sailor Terry Hutchinson with his son promoting the importance of fitness in their favorite sport.

What are some examples?

Again, this begins with where you are now. It’s important to prioritize exercise by adding it to your daily planner and committing to a regular routine. For some, simply going for a walk or equivalent is what’s needed.

If a person has not moved much for “a season or two”, getting the blood circulating for a solid 20 minutes is the priority. We are trying to create new habits with relatable, simple, no-excuse movements that we all know to be healthy. Depending on health and considering how you may want to sail (i.e. working bow, mainsail, on the rail, etc.) will determine what additional training is needed with upper and lower body, cardio, balance and core.

Exercises such as crunches, pushups, planks, lunges, squats (no weight, in place) are all on the table as long as no adverse physical conditions rule these out. The amount of reps vary, yet I’m always swayed towards higher reps, lower weight and perfect form.

Advanced racers can incorporate supersets.

For example:

  • 1 minute side Plank with dumbbell, immediately to 1 minute of Burpees, immediately to 1 minute of Pushups times 3 sets. No rest.

See how that works for you in between a normal weightlifting regime. It will shock the system, force overload and demand greater performance which, after practicing these and a multitude of other combinations for a good 2-3 weeks, directly improve performance regardless of position.

For a video clip of Quantum Sails Director of Offshore One Design, Scott Nixon, demonstrating ways to work on strength, core, balance and agility – all in one sitting – click here.

Nutrition

Knowledge without direct action only leads to despair. Proper nutrition is such a key to performance that I would be remiss not to address in these initial tips. It helps with energy, recovery, injury avoidance and repair, attitude and decision-making. Nutrition can be discussed in volumes and many sailors are familiar with good nutrition. To brush up, I highly recommend two books: Chris Carmichael’s Food for Fitness and Laird Hamilton's book Force of Nature for an overall view on nutrition, training, and lifestyle.

I have found that after 30 years of being a professional trainer, clients who have the greatest and longest lasting results all adhere to this simple mantra: Eat like you’re in training.

If you would like to learn more about sailing fitness, contact Harry at info@annapolissailingfitness.com!

_____

Harry Legum
Annapolis Sailing Fitness
Founder
410-570-6121
info@annapolissailingfitness.com
www.annapolissailingfitness.com

 

 

 

 

 

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