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Southern Spars - North Technology

Quantum Sails – Keep your $100 notes in your pocket (Pt II)

by John Curnow on 15 Nov 2013
Quantum Racing on day five of 32 Copa de Rey Mapfre de Vela at Real Club Nautico de Palma on August 02 2013 in Palma, Spain. Xaume Olleros / 52 Super Series
We’re back with Quantum Australasia’s Carl Crafoord, who is keen to show all sailors how to avoid spending too much time in the cold shower, tearing up $100 notes. In this second instalment of Quantum Sails – Keep your $100 notes in your pocket, we get to hear about some of his pet loves and hates.

Four years after Crafoord took over the reins in Australasia, you wonder how things have unfolded for his operation. ‘2010 was awesome, but after that we have all seen the market contract, so it is hard out there, however we are doing well. We are a team of 20 people in Australia, which is good achievement when you are coming off a base of zero. We have retained nearly all of our customers and this is a very good thing. So in short, we have had significant growth, which is great considering the bad market. It is better to look after those we have on board already.’


Talking about working with his existing customers, for his 28th run to Hobart, Carl will not be on Lahana, as she is for sale. Instead, he will be the Navigator on the ES44, Swish. ‘Stephen Proud is a great customer and we believe we can win with this boat. There is a good crew on board, top-flight equipment, and we have achieved the best value for his expenditure’, said Crafoord. At just under six metric tonnes and having three of that on the bulb, the Kernan/Courable penned vessel will be one to watch out for.


‘Sailing does have an older demographic now. There are a lot of us who work hard on Junior sailing, as we have a whole generation that’s sort of gone missing, and the average age at yacht clubs is up. At my club, Middle Harbour, it is 53 years. It is hard to get people out to go training. When it was all about One Tonners, there’d be 20 different models out on Sydney Harbour practicing a couple of times a week. Now no one has the time. So if you do not have any professional sailors on board, then you’ll need good amateurs. For Swish, we have a fitness regime, we do sail training, technical training and of course, we’ll use our Quantum playbook so that everyone knows their stuff - the mechanical training that is just so crucial.’

‘Sailing is not just recreational to most people now. You have to be the best. I have done 27 Rolex Sydney Hobart races and luck is not really a part of the elements inside your control. I do enjoy the race, and I think it should be on every month. With all the aids you have at your disposal today, I find that all the conditions change every eight hours or so and then your routing will alter constantly, too. If you’re out there for three days you may see nine separate or sub-weather systems and then there is tide and location on track relative to your competitors to factor in, as well’, commented Carl, drawing on his vast experience with these matters.


‘Why do I do it? Well, for me it’s because I grew up with it. I’ll be at the Mornington Optimist Nationals after the Hobart, just like every other Father, and hopefully my son will go on to be a part of the Sydney to Hobart fabric, just like my Dad and I.’


‘One of the other adages that I used to hear around in yachting circles was that there has never been a problem that throwing money at it has didn’t solve. Today there is just not that kind of disposable coin lying around. You have to be more prudent. Quantum is committed to building on its strengths, sharing its knowledge across their network and with their customers. To build a knowledge base you first have to build the system and then make the best of that investment by diligently applying yourself to it.’

‘Sail making has historically been a little random, perhaps even cottage industry-like. Quantum is about having quantitative data to make sure each set of sails is the best value for money and repeatable. There are different types of products depending on where you choose to land on the sailing spectrum, but we have transparent design and our database is shared globally. In this way we offer world-class sails at the best price, of the best quality and in shortest time possible. Quality divided by price equals value and that’s what Quantum is all about.’

‘Longevity is a key issue for anyone purchasing sails these days. Our MR5000 club level sails have proven to provide the best levels of value, efficiency, performance and durability. No one will love a sail that delaminates in a year. We have had no membrane failures and I think this is a real testament to the business’, said Crafoord.


Now if you find yourself talking with a sail maker, then you’d just have to ask for their thoughts on sail care. The proverbial Lay Down Misére, you might say. ‘I really do think it is an important subject to talk about. I find it a bit incredible that, for example, a Beneteau 40 owner spends $10,000 on a mainsail and $7,000 on a jib and then the crew leaves them flaked, and subsequently stands, walks or sleeps on them. Just the other day I saw a mainsail with the boom cover off while they were still in the pen and I asked the crew if they would please put it back on, as UV light is the killer.’

‘If we sailed exclusively at night and rolled them up afterwards, sails would last forever. They really don’t like being bent and hinged or left in the sun, especially the expensive ones. The fibres will survive whether they’re carbon, Dacron, polyester, but the film is especially sensitive to UV.’


‘Other favourite follies are spinnakers never being washed or correctly folded, just stuffed back in their bag. The classic is the Code Zero furled back up tight and then coiled on the deck sole like a cobra to only then be hastily dumped back into a sack. Please take them back on deck after your race, hoist, unfurl and lower them back, flaking them nicely ready for their bag.’

‘After a year, poorly treated new sails can look like they have seen ten seasons transpire. You can actually get many seasons from your wardrobe if you look after them. We see two-year old sails that look new, as well as the relatively new ones that are virtually gone and we do know why it is so! Not only will they last longer if you treat them well, they will hold their shape far better. We valet a lot of our client’s sails. We go to the boat to collect them, clean them, and roll them up and then put under the loft floor, where it has the added benefit of also being the correct temperature for storage,’ said Carl somewhat emphatically.


In a very interesting aside, Carl commented, ‘Contrary to popularly held thought, white kites are not made from lighter fibres than coloured ones. We’re a little tired of all the new ones being white too. Perhaps we have been forgetting to ask our clients what colour they would like, so I promise we’ll make a concerted effort from now on to ask you and please make sure you remember to make your new ‘chute more personalised!’

‘Divisions Two and Three are simply so marvellous because of the colours and patterns. Yes. They are cool, especially when green with a big white Q in the middle of them’, Carl finished by saying.

So before you throw your money at anything, determine the best mix for you by getting the jump-start and utilise Quantum’s experience from their development program. Call Quantum and see what dedication to cause and a massive global Intellectual Property pool can help you do with the four main things in sail making – timing, quality, dependability and value.

Ultimately, it comes down to making your $100 notes count. Start the process at www.quantumsails.com.au and find the loft nearest to you.

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