Quantum Sail Design Group (QSDG) website at: http://www.quantumsails.com

State of the Art Factory Produces Fusion M Sails. Asian sailors may be interested to know that one of the world's leading edge sailmaking factories is sitting in their own backyard.

ANNAPOLIS, MD – The Quantum Sail Design Group announced the official opening of a new state of the art, custom-built factory dedicated to the assembly of its proprietary Fusion M sail membranes.

The new 50,000 square foot plant, (one of the largest sailmaking facilities in the world), is located in Ayer Keroh in the state of Melaka, Malaysia. It’s rapidly expanding work force includes more than 100 employees, with a dozen engineering specialists and technical staff. The Structural Membrane Facility (SMF) produces all Fusion M membranes for more than 60 Quantum sail lofts around the world.

“Since the first commercial version of the Fusion M product was made available in January 2004, we have suffered from a capacity problem despite operating 24 hours a day nearly seven days a week,” explains Quantum partner Ed Reynolds. “The world wide demand for Fusion M sails has exceeded initial projections, and we desperately needed to find a way to satisfy the demand.” The new SMF will more than double Quantum’s Fusion M capacity initially, and has the potential to increase it further to meet future demands.

The SMF has also been built from the ground up to manufacture Fusion M and incorporates numerous features designed to enhance and improve the process. One of the most impressive is a custom, computer driven, carbon beam gantry, 11 meters wide by 35 meters long. The new gantry is capable of laying the complex integrated fiber networks which characterize Fusion M full size on all but the largest sails. A new custom laminating machine will match the size capabilities of the larger gantry. “The new machinery will enable us build sails for larger boats, but it will also streamline and improve the quality of all sails,” noted Quantum operations manager Doug Stewart. The new facility abounds with new technology and systems. “There is nothing like having the opportunity to take everything we have learned in the first two years of production and incorporate all the refinements in one clean sweep.”

Part of the new facility’s capacity will be devoted to Quantum’s new Fusion M cruising sails. Using specialized fiber layouts and fiber types to produce a tough, woven taffeta of exterior skins, Fusion M cruising sails take the latest thinking in performance sails, and adapt them to the rugged durability and long term reliability demanded by cruising sailors.

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 55 lofts located throughout the U.S., Canada, Caribbean, Europe, South Africa, South America, Malaysia, Japan, New Zealand, and Australia.

More Than Meat on the rail...

The Fine Art of Crewing
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There is more to being a good crew than jumping when screamed at. There is even more than knowing how to get sails up and down, and the boat tacked and jibed. The key to moving beyond the crew as 'automaton' stage, is the recognition of three concepts: the impact of weight and placement on speed, understanding priorities, and developing initiative.

What Weight Means

First, where you are on the boat, is a huge component of boat speed on every point of sail. Consider this: an increase of 1% in boat speed, from 6.0 to 6.1 knots, would equal two minutes over the course of a normal two hour race, 2 minutes 24 seconds at 5 knots. Moving a single body of average weight to the rail, when sailing with the keel loaded, (wind forward of 120 degrees apparent), increases boat speed on your average racer/cruiser 30-40 footer .1 of a knot. Get the picture? In other words, if each crew member always has their weight in the right place, you could be as much as ten minutes faster over the course of a two hour race. If six crew members simply hike properly, which means moving outboard six inches, the boat will go .1 of a knot faster upwind. Remember, sailing is a sport; no pain, no gain.

Where Should I Sit?

The magic spot varies, depending on wind velocity, boat speed, sea state, and the need of the helms person. It also reflects the design characteristics of the boat. Most racer/cruisers rides high in the bow, low in the stern, so they always need the weight well forward, (though never forward of the shrouds). This means stay out of the cockpit! It is convenient to think in terms of a diagonal line running from the leeward shrouds, to the weather rail at the back end of the cabin top. In light air, weight should be forward and to leeward. As the breeze builds, weight should shift aft and to weather. Upwind, the crew should react automatically to puffs and lulls, and the needs of the helms person for more or less heel. Create heel in light spots, out of tacks, or in waves.

Help the Helms person

The steering groove is wider, and the boat has more 'feel' when it heels over. The driver should communicate need for heel to the crew. The driver should attempt to sail the boat flat, or with as little heel as they can stand and still keep the boat in the groove. Once you get the boat going, move weight up. Speed first, then weight up. The boat will get a mushy, almost slow feeling just as it really gets hooked up. As the driver starts to lose it and slow down, (or if a set of waves or a light spot is coming), they should ask for more heel. The crew should anticipate and try to feel the boat. A well-trained crew will react to changes in velocity or boat speed automatically; moving forward and to leeward as the breeze dies or the boat slows and back up to weather when the boat heels over in a puff, or the driver gets it dialed up.

Downwind, keep the weight well forward. Heel slightly to leeward in the light spots, and heel slightly to weather (5 to 8 degrees), when the boat is going well. In heavy air, the weight can slide aft somewhat, but there is no need to get carried away with this. The bow is plenty full enough to keep the boat from turning into a submarine on most racer/cruisers.

This part is painful, but in light, sloppy conditions, upwind and down, it is faster to have the majority of the crew below, with their weight forward and to leeward. The crap shoot nature of light air sailboat races, actually makes this a good deal. Who wants to watch anyway? Besides, it is much more comfortable, and you can have lunch.

Movement Kills Speed!

While you need to get your responsibilities taken care of, remember that every time your weight is out of place, you are slowing the boat down. Think through your tasks so that you can accomplish them with the minimum amount of movement and wasted motion. Many times a job can be done from the rail. For example, in breezy conditions, the pit person doesn't have to move into the companionway, but can tail halyards and topping lift from the weather rail.

Above all, movement kills speed. If you can get your job done and then freeze in the right spot for the conditions, you will help make the boat go fast. In a perfect world, the crew would be frozen in proper position, explode in one burst of concentrated action to perform the required evolution (set, jibe, douse, etc), and then immediately settle down and freeze. It is essential to settle the boat down after any evolution.

Priorities, Priorities...

Which leads us to the next important concept: priorities. The more you race, the more you will realize which things have to happen, and which can wait. As you set the spinnaker, for example, is it really important to ease the outhaul, cunningham, and backstay, right now? The answer is no. All that is critical is to get the spinnaker up. the jib 1/2 way down so the spinnaker fills, and the mainsail and spinnaker trimmed properly. It will be better for boat speed to freeze, and attend to the small details of sail trim later, once the boat has settled down.

Remember this principle after every mark rounding. At the leeward mark, do not detach the spinnaker gear from the spinnaker or do any clean-up other than what is absolutely necessary. Ask the tactician before the rounding if you will need to tack immediately. Hit the rail and tidy up later. Speed first, then go for the good housekeeping seal of approval. There will be appropriate times to flake halyards, pack spinnakers, move gear, etc.

Have A Plan

There are four basic evolutions in sailboat racing: tacks, sets, jibes, and douses. Create a plan for your boat. Define the responsibilities of each position for every evolution. You can work out the details in practice. There is no perfect scheme. Just as great golfers are able to achieve the same results with different swing mechanics, you can get the mechanics of boat handling accomplished with a variety of different plans. Whatever works on your boat, with your crew, is right. No matter what scheme you come up with, the lesson is to have the plan outlined, so that every member of the crew understands his or her responsibilities. When new crew come on board for a race, you can easily plug them in, and define their tasks. Call me if you need a sample plan.
Taking the Initiative

Finally, if you want to graduate from automaton to rock star status, you have to learn to take initiative. When you get to the boat, you know that all the gear needs to be led and the sails checked and packed. Do it without being told. When you get out to the race course, make sure your skipper fills you in on the details (listen up skippers). Know what the course is and when you start. Have your skipper sail the course in miniature so you can get a sense of the wind angles and velocity for each leg. This will enable you to anticipate the need for spinnaker gear position. Set up all spinnaker gear before the start.

Think for yourself. As the weather mark approaches, you know how much time you need to get the spinnaker hooked up. Pick the right moment, dive down below and get it before you are yelled at. Stay in the game. React to puffs and lulls and changes in boat speed with the proper weight shift. Keep an eye out for the next mark. The tactician will always appreciate this information. Let the back of the boat, (often referred to as fantasy land), know about major changes up the course: breeze velocity, other boats who are all of a sudden doing something differently, etc. Make sure your information is precise, and be sure not to get everybody talking at once. Too much information is just as bad as too little. You don't need a continuous play by play.

Remember to remind your skipper that good crew is not found, good crew is made. Make sure you sail with someone who appreciates desire, and is willing to train. Good skippers have a knack for getting the most out of every person on the boat, and for making everyone feel like they are part of the game. They ask opinions about trim, speed, and tactical situations, (even if they end up ignoring them!) They are careful to make sure the whole crew knows how the course is setup, and what the tactical plan is. It is this spirit and attitude the creates a sense of responsibility and encourages crew members to take the initiative.
David Flynn
Quantum Sail Design Group

Set-up and gybing asymmetrical spinnakers (Using a conventional Spinnaker Pole)

Quantum Sails - South Asia have had several requests recently on the set-up and gybing of asymmetrical spinnakers on boats with ‘conventional’ spinnaker poles, so we reproduce a article by Quantum’s, Seth Morrell to help clarify the basic a-sail gybing technique in a step-by step process. As they are becoming increasingly popular and versatile many of the top boats in the Asian region are using 'a-sails' in the light conditions and some of them are now even using them in up to 15 knots of true wind speed. If you do not have an 'a-sail' onboard, you may find yourself at a disadvantage once you round the top mark.

DK46 ‘Drumstick’ showing off it’s new Quantum A-sail and Fusion M mainsail. (Note the position of the spinnaker pole.)

Initial Setup
1. Set the sail with 2 sheets on the clew, run aft, as you would with a conventional spinnaker. They are run OUTSIDE of the headstay, and the tack of the spinnaker.

2. Attach both guys to the tack of the sail, which also will have a “snout line” or tack downhaul attached to it. These are run aft, as with a symmetrical sail.

3. When sailing, on port gybe, for example, the port guy is run through the end of the pole, which is set in the usual way (with topping lift and foreguy). The foreguy is not necessary except as a backup, since the loads will be on the snout line.

4. As with a symmetrical sail, the pole is set approximately at right angles to the apparent wind, or so the luff sets up in a line vertically (with the pole end directly under the break) under the curl when the sheet is eased. It will move forward if close reaching, and aft at deeper angles. The pole height is set to provide an even break along the luff. The sail should curl at the shoulder (where the head radials meet the top of the mid-section). If it breaks along it’s whole length at once, it is too low. It will be lower than when used with conventional spinnakers, typically just above the bow pulpit when close reaching, gradually moving up as the pole moves aft at broader angles.

To gybe:
1. Make sure the sail if fully loaded, and not lacking pressure before initiating the gybe. Never start a gybe with a collapsed or partially filled spinnaker. As the boat begins to bear away, simultaneously ease the guy and transfer the entire load to the snout line. Trip the pole away from the guy. Disconnect the pole from the mast and shift sides, clipping the new guy in, or raise the pole and dip the outboard end as in a conventional dip pole gybe. The snout line controls the tack of the sail as the pole transfers sides and the new guy is put in.

2. Bear away smoothly; turning only as fast as the sheet is eased. Ease the sheet rapidly while it is still loaded, until the clew gets past the headstay, then release completely. Follow the released sheet to make sure it runs. Pull on the new sheet only after the clew gets past the headstay (except to keep slack out). Pull like crazy once the clew passes the headstay. It will help to have a runner pulling down and back on the new sheet to assist the trimmer. The driver needs to slow the turn down (so not stop, however) as the clew passes the headstay to make sure the sail is unloaded as the clew is pulled to the new side. Continue turning smoothly up to an angle where the sail will load (usually a little hotter than the angle you initiated the gybe at), once the bulk of the sail is past the headstay. When the sail fills, the new sheet will probably have to be eased well out, since it must be over-trimmed to fill the sail initially.

3. Take up on the new guy while simultaneously easing the snout line, bringing the pole back to the appropriate angle. Make sure the boat stays well pressured up (sail a little higher angle) to accelerate.

Keith Moore an experienced skipper in Asia adds further comments...

I would emphasize the point that one should ‘load-up’ the sail prior to gybing. This could mean steering up as much as 15 or so degrees in light air before turning back downwind. As the tack moves around the forestay the helmsman should ‘follow’ the sail around and should come out of the gybe substantially higher than the final anticipated heading. The lighter the air, the harder this is to get right, but with some practice a good crew should normally be able to gybe an a-sail as quickly as a ‘normal’ spinnaker.

One thing that we do differently from the article; rather than connect the guys and ‘snout line’ directly to the tack of the spinnaker, we attach them to a stainless ring. We then use a separate clip (preferably welded directly onto the ring) to attach the ring to the tack of the spinnaker.

If you are thinking of adding a spinnaker to your inventory for the upcoming Asian season, consider an asymmetrical. Please note that delivery time can take 30 days or more (especially if a logo is involved), so please plan ahead to avoid disappointment. Place your order at: http://www.quantumsails.com or obtain a obligation free quotation from http://www.quantumsails.com/sails/quote_request.aspx Of course, we are happy to discuss the appropriate set-up for your individual boat as needed.

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