Back from Australia, Max and I made the decision to develop our own project. We wanted to build a DSS Lakeracer, in the size of 28' or 8.5m. We deliberately placed the boat in the range of the then better known and faster 8.5m sports boats.
We sought the "confrontation" on the water to be able to compare characteristics and performance of the conventional with the new (foil-assisted) approach.
I tried my hand at briefing Hugh to make it clear where we saw the focus. Hugh's first task was to assess the feasibility of our objective and develop the design of the boat on that. In Hugh's eyes our ideas were ambitious but not unrealistic.
At the beginning of March 2010 Hugh visited us in Lucerne. We laid the foundation for the Quant 28 in a marathon meeting. The bar was set immodestly high:
We wanted to develop and implement the fastest sport boat under 10m for lakes.
At the beginning of July 2010, the basic design was ready. On 14 July 2010, we signed a contract in Cowes for the construction of the boat at a shipyard ("Projects by Design" by Paul Jennings) on the Isle of Wight - in the historic epicentre of the sailing world, so to speak. Construction started in August. The target was completion by the end of the year. This target was gloriously missed for a variety of reasons. It wasn't all the shipyard's fault - the first mast (flown in from Australia) was damaged in transit during reloading - but the shipyard didn't notice until the day it should have been rigged.
The insurance company rated the damage as "total". A new mast was built in Australia and flown to England again and damaged again - but this time much lighter.
On 13 April 2011 we left the shipyard near Cowes with an unfinished boat. With the help of Kevin Costin (Kos) we wanted to finish the boat in Max's yard in Lucerne. Kos booked a flight to Switzerland completed the job within three weeks in perfect style and including repair of the damaged mast.
We missed the planned participation in the first regatta. We used the time for the first roll outs and to get to know the boat and its behaviour.
On Saturday 21 May 2011 the time had come. The boat won its first regatta "in style" but without being able to use the foil. Just light wind. But as we knew as experienced "Lakeracers", exactly these characteristics would be in demand in the summer races.
The Q28 caused both - head shaking for some and curiosity and admiration for others - among our competitors.
The first regatta of the Q28 on "my" lake took place at the beginning of June 2011 - and we found conditions that suited our new racer. There was partially enough wind in a favourable direction and so we were able to show for the first time on my home turf, what foils can do.
13kts of wind was enough for a constant speed of 17kts. So we only needed a few gusts to outclass our fiercest competitors so far.
We were 85 minutes on the way. The second boat over the line - also a very fast boat from a previous point of view - needed a whopping 20 minutes more. The doubters were visibly unsettled and we had big grins on our faces. The balance of the first missions turned out very well - but we also knew that we still knew almost nothing about the boat and its characteristics.
Shortly before the Bol d'Or, the most important, world-famous and legendary long-distance regatta on Lake Geneva, we found a sponsor and so we travelled to Geneva with a big logo on the boat full of expectation. Hugh Welbourn and Kevin Costin were to be on board for the two events.
Geneva-Rolle-Geneva one week before the big event went well for us: 2nd place in class.
The Bol d'Or 2011 - our season highlight - actually started fantastically for us. It was wet and very cold for mid-June - but with wind from the side, strong enough to make full use of the foil. We got such a good start that it catapulted us into the field of catamarans, which start about 500m ahead of the field of monohulls. It opened up previously unknown perspectives on the huge field of competitors for me as a "driver". For the next few hours we sailed along in the absolute leading group of monohulls until we noticed that we were getting slower and slower: We were making water. The reason was an incorrectly mounted screw cap in a pretty well hidden air chamber. We couldn't get the water out of the boat during the race.
But we didn't give up and finished in a respectable place in the field of about 500 boats. The morning after the race we pumped 300 litres of water back into the lake - nota bene from a boat that weighed a bit more than 550kgs.
But much more important for us was the discovery of what amazing potential this comparatively small sports boat obviously had. We were eager to come back in 2012 and do better, and to demonstrate the performance of our little "secret weapon" to the sailing celebrities.
The rest of the 2011 season we got to know the Q28 better - sailed all the other races and concentrated on planning the modifications to the boat, rig and sailing wardrobe for the 2012 season - after all, 2012 was going to be THE season of the Quant28.
The new season got off to a good start on our home turf. We won the spring races not only in our class but also overall. The Q28 was clearly the fastest boat in the field. In June we made another pilgrimage to Lake Geneva to take care of "unfinished business" from the previous year during the two traditional regattas.
Geneva-Rolle-Geneva - the main rehearsal on the weekend before the Bol d'Or - offered us the stage: to use a "Joran" (downwind from the Jura chain) properly is not easy but we managed it and thanks to the foil we sailed from the middle of the big field at will through the top group of the really big Lakeracers.
For the big sensation the wind dropped too early but we won our class (with many much bigger boats) after sailed and calculated time.
Interested observers and competitors were surprised, but saw the astonishing result more as the result of fortunate circumstances - a flash in the pan.
Our goal was to prove on the following Bol d'Or weekend that our results had "system", so to speak. To cut a long story short - we not only managed to lead the whole field (including catamarans) for an hour after the start - with a whole bunch of photoboats in tow - but to land a real coup after a long and very difficult race:
Never before has such a small sports boat finished so far ahead in the field of around 450 participating monohulls.
As the 7th boat in the finish after more than 21 hours in the race, we beat many much larger yachts that should have beaten us in the prevailing light wind conditions. The fact that we were again "first boat over the line" in our class was almost a footnote.
We also created a first in the 2012 annual standings of our regional championship by winning all 8 races not only in our class but over all.
The topic "Foils" is still very new for many - we are happy to share our knowledge and experience with you.