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Don’t Let Your Sails Get Burned

May 2nd, 2017

silken 2015 06 03 0499 Don’t Let Your Sails Get Burned

By Quantum Sails

Nobody likes getting sunburned, and neither do your sails. What happens when the sun burns your sails?

If not properly protected, sunburned sails can tear while in use, stranding you and your family. Ultraviolet (UV) covers can help protect your sails and your sailing season. Even seasonal UV exposure in the Northern latitudes can cause serious problems in a short amount of time. Quantum Sails Pacific Loft Service Manager Emre Kalaycioglu has a lot of experience helping customers. Here are his tips.

WHY ARE UV COVERS IMPORTANT?

If you have a furling genoa or mainsail, you probably keep it on your rig for an extended period of time. However, the elements – especially the sun – are harmful to your sails. Over the years, the sun will begin to burn out the sail’s leech, and sunburn will appear on the sail. These sunburned areas weaken over time. While sailing, stress on the sails can cause the threads to break in the weaker areas. A proper UV cover can protect your investment from the damaging UV rays of the sun.

HOW DO I TAKE CARE OF THE UV COVER?

A common misconception is that when a UV cover is installed it will last forever, but the sail cover actually needs to be maintained to last.

Something that most people overlook about their UV covers is how often they need to be re-stitched in order to last. While the UV cover can last anywhere from 4-8 seasons – depending greatly on exposure and maintenance – the thread may only last about half the lifespan of the cover, as it degrades faster than the cover itself. Bringing your sails into your local Quantum Sails loft to have the covers re-stitched will increase the lifespan of your UV covers and ultimately your sails.

Another common mistake most sailors make is keeping their sails hoisted on the boat for an extended period of time. It’s important to drop your sails and, whenever possible, keep them in a cool, dry place between sailing trips. To prevent the UV cover from deteriorating, wash your sails with fresh, clean water on a regular basis, then let them dry completely before refurling (washing and drying is very important for your sails, especially after a rainy season).

When leaving the boat, take extra caution to make sure your sails are set and won’t come loose with any strong winds. An extra sail tie could help prevent your sails from flogging, which will protect your sails and UV cover from extra wear and tear.

WHEN IS IT TIME TO SERVICE?

UV covers degrade with UV exposure and use. While a UV cover in New England may last anywhere from 6-8 seasons, that same cover in the Caribbean may only last 3-4 seasons.

It’s important to check over your sails at the beginning and end of every season. See if there are any chafed or damaged areas on your sail and UV cover. Be sure to check the side of the sail opposite the UV cover. If you see any color change on that side, it’s time to replace the UV cover as soon as possible, as the discoloration means the current UV cover has expired and is no longer protecting your sail against the sun. Delaying that replacement can cause extensive damage to the sail.

WHAT MATERIALS DO YOU SUGGEST FOR A UV COVER?

At Quantum Sails, we recommend Sunbrella UV Cover fabric. Our sewing machine thread we generally use is 138 Dabond thread for sewing UV covers – it’s thicker than what our competitors use, and thus lasts a little bit longer. We can also use UV stable thread, such as Tenara or SolarFix thread, but it’s considerably more expensive, so may not always be the best option.

For more great sailing tips and tricks or to learn about Quantum Sails, visit www.QuantumSails.com.

Farley Fontenot – Quantum Sails

August 31st, 2015

FARLEY1 Farley Fontenot   Quantum Sails

The boats on a reach at the 2015 Audi Melges 32 World Championships.

Good of Farley 2 Farley Fontenot   Quantum Sails

Farley Fontenot

Farley lives in La Porte, runs a business in Seabrook and races sailboats all over the world. A family man, he still finds the time to sail with his kids. By the time you read this article, Farley will be back home from the 2015 Audi Melges 32 World Championships held in Trapani on Sicily Island in Italy, where he acted as coach for the Quantum Racing Team. The guy has a pretty nice gig.  How did he get so lucky?

When did you first come to this area and how did you get started in the sail making business?

I grew up in Port Arthur, and at that time there were no sailmakers in that area, so my father decided that we would take sail making up as a hobby and to help support the local sailmaking market. So by the seventh grade, I could use a sewing machine and do the service work that came into his little business. We were working out of our living room, which was 25’ x 15.’After college, in 1977, I wanted to continue sailing, and my only avenue was sailmaking. So I promised my parents that I would do it for a couple years and then get a real job. I worked for John Cameron for maybe six months, before I ran into John Kolius, who was running the Ulmer Sails loft here in Seabrook, and I have been here ever since.

What is the biggest change you have witnessed in the sail making business in the last 20 years?

Two things come to mind. The first is technology in both design and materials. Just as in every other surviving business in the world, we continue to move the boundaries forward on where we are going with design and material. In design, with the development of our own proprietary design software and the use of programs such as V Spars, we can exact the loads generated on each sail and then design that sail specifically to that load. This enables the sail to be as light in weight as possible and yet still yield to loads generated.

The second thing is how the sailmaking business has transformed from a small cottage business to a international, technology driven business, where we know every sail built around the world, who the customers is, what sails he owns, and what work has been done to those sails.  To be a leader in the service industry, you have to know your client’s needs.

The Melges 32 is a pretty physical boat in a blow — how many guys do you carry as a crew and who does what on the boat?

The Melges 32 is definitely a lesson in “Team Sports.” On the Delta Volpe teams we have playbooks, we have game films, we have team meetings to go over the game films, and we have a game plan every morning when we leave the dock. All teams are led by the “Owner Driver.” The Melges 32 is one class that has zero tolerance for anyone other than the owner to drive the boats. All of teams have “Pro Tacticians.” Our teams have Pro Mainsail and Jib/Spinnaker Trimmers. We then have a bowman, a tall, strong Mast Man, a pit person and a very athletic floater, who is a little of everything.

If you could start your business all over again what would you do differently?

That is an easy one, I would have saved all of the money we were making in the early 80s before that oil crash. That was a hard lesson for a couple young kids to learn, trying to make our business work in a down turned economy. We had done so well, that we thought it would never end, but it did. And I bet if you ask Kolius, he would say the same thing.

In your opinion why is the U.S. Olympic team so far behind some of the dominating sailing teams in the world?

Without looking deep into it, I would say that there are two Olympic sports that you have spend so much money on your equipment: Sailing and Equestrian (The rich man’s sports). And because of that, there are many times that our best sailing talent does not have the funds to fully develop their talents and skill sets.  Other countries such as England and New Zealand have large funds set aside just for the development of the best sailors in their countries. The U.S. is going to have a tough time competing with those types of programs. Although Josh Adams, Charlie McKee and even Houston’s Luther Carpenter are doing great jobs with what they have to work with, it just might not be enough. And if the sport is not careful, we could lose sailing altogether in the games.

Buddy Melges used to say “Win the start and then increase your lead.” Is that what you say to your guys when you’re coaching them?

For long regattas, such as World Championships, where we will have 12 races, we try and manage the peaks and valleys.  We love winning races, but we try and manage the starts and first legs, and then have a positive pass number throughout the race.  Let’s say we get to the first mark 11th, pass a boat here and there, take a couple with a good marker rounding and pass one more on the last beat and come in 5th.  That is a strong race in that fleet. That’s how you win regattas, staying consistent. We try and not let a bad race bring us down, we recover and get ready to race another race.

In long regattas, the first three races are very important, in that you don’t let the regatta get away from you. The middle races are fine tuning what the course and fleet give you, and you take as much as you can each race from both the fleet and the course. The next to last day you have to keep yourself in contention.  And on the last day, you want to leave the dock knowing you have a mathematical shot to win the regatta.

When is John Kolius going to be inducted into the U.S. Sailing Hall of Fame?

If there is anyone out there who deserves to be in the Hall of Fame, it has to be JK. I have nominated him twice with no luck. I will continue the nomination process until we get him there.  He was arguably one of the best boat drivers in the world from 1977 to 1995, and I believe that he has earned the right to be inducted into the Sailing Hall of Fame.