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Quantum Sails aims for bigger market share

by Tom Pierce on 4 Sep 2009
TP52 World Championship 2008 - Quantum . ©

Around the world there are hundreds of independent sail makers but less than a dozen serious manufacturers of laminated sails. Among the later group is Quantum Sail Design Group, the world’s second largest sail making company with over $30 million in annual sales worldwide.

Quantum’s corporate headquarters are in Traverse City, Michigan, USA and the European headquarters in Barcelona, Spain with 60 lofts across the United States, Europe, Canada, Caribbean, South Africa, South America, Malaysia, Japan and Australia.

Last month well known Australian sailing industry professional Carl Crafoord joined forces with Quantum Sail Design Group to deliver an expanded Quantum Sails presence in Australia and Asia. Now he explains the Quantum Difference.

Carl has been in the marine industry for 32 years, commencing with his sail making apprenticeship with Hugh Treharne in December 1976. He has sailed 23 Sydney to Hobart races with four Hobart wins as a navigator (Sagacious in 1990, Raptor in 1994, Quest in 2002 and Quest in 2008).

Crafoord is clearly pleased to be back in the Sails and Service arena, after some years in the sailing hardware scene as he explains what he sees is the Quantum difference, 'While Quantum’s staff includes world-class sailors, the emphasis has been on attracting the world’s best sail makers to its design team. All while maintaining an emphasis on outstanding customer service.'

Crafoord spent the last week at Audi Hamilton Island Race Week talking to almost two hundred owners and skippers about their particular Sails and Service needs.

He continues, 'It’s important to listen carefully to our clients and potential clients, who are out there day after day sailing, as they experience a wide variety of conditions on a wide variety of boats. The combination of great technology, great people and interactive listening is what delivers superior products resulting in happy clients.'

Crafoord explains, 'Quantum also believes high level participation is essential to the testing of new techniques and materials, resulting in a superior product. Quantum sails and technology have contributed to major victories in many arenas of sailing, including: the Audi MedCup, TP 52 World Championships, America’s Cup, Volvo Ocean Race, the Olympics, and in almost every major One Design class and large numbers of National and World sailing championships.'

One of the world’s top sailors Russell Coutts clearly believes Quantum is on the right track. He says 'Quantum clearly has the technical resources, the experience, and the people to be more than just competitive at the top levels. They have spent the time and resources to develop top notch computational and experimental capabilities, and they approach sail making with an open mind. Fusion M is a good example of what fresh thinking can produce. They clearly have one of the most aggressive budgets and comprehensive long-term programs for sail development in the industry.'

Quantum’s commitment to technology is clear as Quantum Sail Design Group has been part of the development of many of the important advances in the industry in the last twenty years, including three-dimensional sail design software, laser cutting techniques, finite element modeling, wind tunnel testing, and materials testing.

Quantum’s engineers say they have solved the problem of shaping that has limited other molded sails whose shape changes during manufacturing, or under load on the water.

Quantum’s Head Designer, Dave Armitage, explained, 'Our goal was to produce a sail whose shape precisely reflects the designed, or ‘molded’ shape envisioned by the sail designer, and to be able to accurately repeat this shape over and over.' All membranes shrink during lamination, so Quantum’s sails are shaped after lamination, to ensure Sail design shape is guaranteed and repeatable.

For unmatched durability, the Quantum manufacturing process uses a two step controlled lamination process with more heat, more pressure and less glue.

Infrared heat and 24,000 lbs per sq foot of pressure means your membrane sail is guaranteed not to de-laminate.

Quantum’s designers analyze each element of a sail’s aerodynamic performance and structural requirements so they can deliver a carefully matched continuum between the rig and sail. With this technique, shapes are more refined, and Quantum is able to apply unique fibre mapping to a sail which ensures durability, while not compromising on performance.

All of this has led to the next kind of molded/membrane sails, Fusion M, which is a non-load path sail. Instead, Fusion M uses a more nearly isotropic (equally strong in all directions) technology, which makes the sail more durable and adaptable to the ever-changing environment. Fusion M is the state of the art process for the manufacturing of custom molded sail membranes, and represents the next generation technology in an industry that first started with laminated load path sails nearly two decades ago.

Crafoord sums it up, 'The Quantum difference - The most durable and fastest sail in its class.'

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Carl can be contacted by email at carl@quantumsails.com More information about Quantum Sail Design Group at www.quantumsails.com

ABOUT QUANTUM

Quantum Sail Design Group designs, engineers and manufactures sails for racers and cruisers who demand the highest levels of quality and performance. Quantum has achieved a leadership status in the sail making industry by offering highly differentiated quality products supported by an uncommonly high level of personalized customer service, recognized expertise, professionalism and an exhibited passion for development of the sport of sailing.

Quantum sails are available through more than 60 lofts located throughout the U.S., Canada, Caribbean, Europe, South Africa, South America, Malaysia, Japan, and Australia.

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