by Keith Taylor
The new Botin Carkeek-designed TP 52 Quantum Racing completed its sea trials and initial sail tuning program last week and is ready to race in Alicante in the first regatta of the six-race 2008 Audi Med-Cup Circuit. Racing starts Monday, April 12. The new boat is owned and campaigned by partners Fred Howe and Doug DeVos.
TP 52 Quantum Racing render
'This new boat represents the distillation of four years MedCup and Breitling Cup experience, including two championship second places, with the Quantum-powered TP52s Warpath, Windquest and Quantum Lexus,' said Terry Hutchinson, skipper of the new Quantum Racing. 'Quantum has commissioned an all-encompassing design and build program which will be supercharged by sails from the new Quantum QRW2 program.'
The Quantum Racing project was started by QSDG nine months ago with the objective of showcasing a new generation of Quantum sails, using the new TP52 as a platform. Botin Carkeek worked with closely with Quantum, the builder Longitude Zero, Hall Spars, and other key suppliers to deliver a boat that reflects the latest advances in America’s Cup-level design, analysis, structures, engineering and construction.
Ed Reynolds, President of Quantum Sail Design Group, is the coach and manager of the team. He noted: 'The new TP52 Quantum Racing personifies our philosophy at QSDG to trial and develop new sail design and construction concepts on our own boats wherever possible and pass along the benefits to all our customers.'
The Quantum Racing crew is long on America’s Cup and MedCup experience. Afterguard members, in addition to Hutchinson, are Morgan Larson (USA), tactician, and Ian Moore (IRL), navigator. Jeremy Lomas (NZL) is on the bow and Greg Gendell (USA) is mid-bow. Chris Kam (USA) is mast man while Jim Cannon (USA) is doing sewer. Tommie Burnham (USA) and Andrew Scott (USA) are grinders. Morgan Trubovich (NZL) trims upwind while Quantum’s head designer Dave Armitage (USA) is the downwind trimmer. Skip Baxter (NZL) is on the mainsail, Steve Howe (USA) is main caddy, and Sean Clarkson (NZL) handles the backstay.
'Quantum initiated this project because it was obvious that MedCup racing has been almost exclusively dominated by one sailmaker,' Hutchinson said. 'Quantum wants to level the playing field and show sailors that they have more than one choice when it comes to competing in the MedCup or in any regatta. Ed Reynolds asked me to put together a group of sailors who believe in the concept and are open to the idea of creating a product for their everyday customers as well as for grand prix sailors.'
Hutchinson described informal testing against the Paul Cayard-skippered Desafio and several other boats as very promising but cautioned that the summer was just in its infancy and it was too early to draw any conclusions.
'We have six hard regattas ahead of us to perfect our performance,' Hutchinson said. We’re looking for a continual rate of improvement for entire summer. This is like any long series. It’s about not faltering early and reaching the closing stages of the circuit with a good opportunity to win overall. We’ve accomplished a truckload since launching the boat. We’ve put in really good quality time in the short period we’ve had here and we’re well on our way to understanding our boat.'
Shaun Carkeek said that from the outcome of the project there had been an across-the-board effort to integrate all the elements requisite to a successful program. 'We’ve focused on closing the loops in each area of the project – aero, hydro, structures, construction, and real data analysis before, during and after events, to ensure that we realize the yacht’s maximum potential in the shortest possible time,' he said. 'This involves a disciplined, consistent and organized approach between the design and sailing teams.
'We’ve been closely involved with Quantum in the research and development of the of the aerodynamic package. Botin Carkeek in-house design tools, developed primarily for the America’s Cup and Volvo races, have been used to further develop and validate Quantum’s in-house design package consisting of the latest CFD and structural codes.
'The results from the aero studies clearly influence the hydro package and ensure a strong relationship between sail and hull designers. As the integration of our tools evolves, so too does this relationship. Quantum is investing in talented personnel, new production techniques, and state-of-the-art design tools, and this is resulting in fast flying shapes and a high level of consistency in production. Quantum is consistently producing very fast sails.
'At this point, a few days before racing starts, our conclusions are very encouraging. Overall victory this summer will require being fast out the box. Starting higher up the development curve through a cohesive design effort, will pay dividends as the season progresses. Every moment is an opportunity to both learn and improve and a clear strategy allows us to achieve these results in the quickest manner. The boat has lined up with key players and so far the results are very encouraging. We’re seeing our theoretical predictions validated by the real-time data.'