The Q30 became faster, although she already delivered what we expected from her during the first missions. The boat was very pleasing - both visually and under sail. Nevertheless, at certain moments I found myself thinking that the 30 was not quite as good as the Quant28 - I missed the raw, sometimes almost violent feel of the Q28 a little on the big sister.
Perhaps it was because the Quant28, unlike the 30, gave you the feeling of (almost) flying from time to time. The boat was lighter than the Q30, the foil seemed more brute and in combination this manifested itself in higher acceleration and a more lively behavior.
At the same time, triggered by the dramatic but also attractive course of the 34th America's Cup in San Francisco in September 2013, the discussion about full-foil boats gained momentum. It became clear to many that foilers, which are at home in a completely different speed world, also delivered attractive, close and therefore also exciting regattas.
As a result of these various influences, I began to wonder how it would turn out if a boat like the Quant28 were given slightly larger and differently shaped foils.
In other words, I was driven by the question of whether and how a full-foiling monohull could be developed from what existed.
On which date I - after consultation with Max Schmid my founding partner - spoke with Hugh Welbourn for the first time about a foiling monohull, I don't remember today. It must have been in early summer 2014. I brought my request and waited anxiously for Hugh's reaction.
And this amazed me once again: "No problem" was the short answer.
We agreed on a next meeting date, because I wanted to get some more thoughts about this not exactly everyday project.
For this boat, which was to cause a sensation in the sailing world shortly after its debut, I wrote by far the shortest briefing since I have been involved with boats.
It did not even fill an A4 page and I only described what I expected from the boat - always connected with the question of feasibility.
So the briefing did not include any information about the size, hull shape, weight, sail plan, crew size, etc.
PracticabilitySuitability for good recreational sailors, easy handling, stable enough to moor to a buoy, slip over ramp, set mast by hand, financially affordable etc.
PerformanceSelf-stable foiling, take-off in as little wind as possible. The boat should already be able to tack at 10kts wind on the foils against the wind and under consideration of these requirements become as large as possible (intuitively I thought of a boat of 6.8m length).
Versatility: The boat should perform well even in light winds (the foils should be fully retractable to avoid excessive drag).
In the middle of August 2014 I got the first sketches and renderings from Hugh Welbourn.
The first real surprise for me was the boat shape he chose: based on my list of requirements, he gave preference to a classic "scow design".
I was completely stunned, because - without thinking about it - I would have thought far more of some kind of skiff. Welbourn's calculations gave a length of 7.08m, a bit more than 23 feet. In Europe (in contrast to Australia and the USA) we are not very familiar with scow shapes - and we think most likely of the "ugly" Mini Transat 6.50 with their blunt shapes in the bow area. Nevertheless, they were quickly successful.
Once provided with some information on the characteristics of Scows, I could relate to and understand Hugh's suggestion.
In the technical language of the designers, such flying monohulls are called "monomarans" - physically clearly monohulls, which thanks to their width and the (seen from above) rectangular shape have a form stability that is closer to a catamaran than to a monohull. As soon as the foils are used - and buoyancy is generated downwind on the foil - this relationship is further accentuated.
In addition, a light scow overcomes its "hull speed" very early and slithers more than it glides over the water almost without wave formation. Excellent conditions to quickly reach the necessary speed of about 9kts speed for an early "take off".
In early December 2014 we started building the prototype - again in Cowes at Paul Jennings shipyard. It took longer than planned to get everything together (the mast was built by C-tech in Auckland, foils and fins came from "Isotop" in France, sails from Landenberger in Germany and fittings from Ronstan in Australia etc.) - but we were experienced enough in this project not to be surprised.
Six months later, on 8 June 2015, the time had come: off Cowes on the Isle of Wight, the Quant23 not only completed its "maiden voyage" but also its "maiden flight". The German magazine "Yacht" later quoted me thus: "We just pulled out of the harbor, lowered the lee-foil, and poof, the boat came out of the water. It was like we'd done it a hundred times before.". And so it was.
We still tore off the rudder foil that day - for the first but not the last time - but that was just a side note and an indication that "foiling" is just a bit "different" than conventional sailing.
In the summer of 2015, the Quant23 became a popular test subject and there were many exuberant comments from enthusiastic test pilots from a wide range of trade publications.
The linguistically otherwise rather reserved "Yacht" the largest European sailing magazine from Germany's north wrote captions like:
"Full throttle mode at over 23 knots of speed - there's only one expression for that: awesome! "
Seahorse International Sailing headlined:
"Anticipating the future?" Anticipating the future?
The German online magazine "Segelreporter" called the Q23
"Object of Desire."
In autumn 2015 - after the official closing date - we were invited or invited to participate in the "European Yacht of the Year Award" and again benefited from the exotic appearance of the boat, which, surprisingly for many experts, also delivered what was expected of it without complaint.
The Quant23 - still a prototype - was named Boat of the Year 2016 in the "Special Yachts" division at the "Boot" trade fair in Düsseldorf in January 2016.
Just a few years after the Quant23 appeared, we are seeing more and more diverse interpretations of scow shapes, whether in the Imoca 60 class or the yachts of the 36th America's Cup. All of them take advantage of the "monomaran principle":
Wide, rectangular and dimensionally stable hull supported by lateral (sideways) "lifting foils" - as also used on the Q23. They not only lift the boat out of the water, but also create a gigantic righting moment downwind of the boat.
With the Quant23, Hugh Welbourn made sailing history "on behalf of QuantBoats", as you could read in the trade press and online magazines.
What is clear is that the Quant23 has broken dams in some ways: It's not that other designers or groupings haven't had the idea of using foils in this way. We were simply the first to prove that it could work - and work pretty well.
Adding to the amazement was the fact that the Q23 has a keel with 60kgs of ballast - leading to her henceforth being regarded as the "first fully-foiling keel boat".
We decided to produce the boat. In spring 2017, the first production boat of the Q23 - modified compared to the prototype - was launched.
Experience proves the universal high performance potential of the concept. Those who are committed to the boat, understand it and can call up the performance with the help of a good and fit crew, will clean up strongly on the areas for which the boat was developed. And like no other QuantBoat before it - and they are also known to be pretty fast.
To date, 12 boats have been built. That doesn't exactly seem exhilarating. What are the reasons for the reluctance of potential buyers? It can't be the price, as the Q23 is almost a "bargain" compared to its performance. It can't be due to a lack of awareness either.
I suspect that even a foiler, deliberately designed for experienced amateurs rather than professionals, is still a very demanding piece of equipment that cannot be operated as casually as a conventional sports boat in the same size category.
It will therefore be very exciting to see how the segment of foil boats for "normal sailors" will develop in the near future.
In any case, the beginnings have been made. The question is whether large manufacturers will produce foilers for the "mass market" on an industrial scale, and if so, in what form and from when?
We have never seen the Quant23 as a pure foiler. If you sail exclusively in light to very light winds - or in gusty, unpredictable conditions - a boat that can "only" foil would not be one to enjoy for long.
The concept of the Quant 23 is trend-setting.
It is designed to sail as well or even better than a comparable conventional boat, even in non-foiling conditions.
The revision of the prototype, which included a revised foil shape, produced far more benefits and possibilities than we could have hoped for.
Today (2021), the Quant23 is still the only boat in the world that feels at home in all four known sailing modes: be it displacement, planing, semi-foiling or full-foiling mode - the Quant23 masters them all.
From this point of view, the journalists who are of the opinion that this boat will write sailing history will probably be right.
At the moment, however, foiling is "the" hype and everything else is of little interest. This will probably become relative in the further course. And all those who assume that foiling solves every performance problem will discover that this principle can also be inefficient: Too much or too little wind, wrong wind direction with respect to a target to be reached, wave pattern, etc.
Then, if a boat does not provide a sail mode alternative, it will end up losing out to more flexible concepts. The concept of the Quant23 prevents this. And certainly the boat could be further improved based on its concept. Ideas for this are available.
Imagine if "league sailing" was done with boats that had the characteristics and features of a Q23. There seems to be a trend towards such concepts. The question is whether federations, clubs and other institutions in international sailing see this and are willing and able to react to it? Without the support of sponsors and the boat industry, however, it will hardly work.
The topic "Foils" is still very new for many - we are happy to share our knowledge and experience with you.