Quantum Takes the Lead in Soto 33 Sail Development

Last week in Buenos Aires, Argentina, the first Soto 33 One Design was launched with Quantum® sails. In the crowd to celebrate the occasion with owner Augusto Basanetti was Alejandro (Ale) Irigoyen of Quantum Argentina, who has been closely involved with the project since its inception last November. 

The Soto 33 is a new generation racer designed by Javier Soto of Soto Acebal Naval Architects and built by Marine Martinoli. The new class is targeted at the South American market, primarily Chile, Argentina and Brazil. Explains Irigoyen, “As with the Soto 40, the new class started with boat owners disenchanted with handicap racing.”

Seven boats are currently under construction for Argentinean owners with at least five to be equipped with Quantum’s 100% Technora sails. Irigoyen says five boats are expected to be ready to race in January at the Rolex Regatta in Punta del Este with the Soto 40 class.

Irigoyen says Quantum’s experience and success with the Soto 40 program was a key factor in developing sails for the 33. “First, we provided input based on our experience from the Soto 40 to refine the sail plan sizes and materials to blend correctly into the final class rules. Then, working with sail designer Doug Stewart, we went over the sail ranges and shapes to provide our customers with the fastest most durable sails possible. It has been a team effort with designers, builder and owners providing all the data necessary to make an appealing boat.”


In particular, says Irigoyen, the Quantum team worked very closely with mast maker King Composites, which provided accurate numbers for the expected mast characteristics. “It was apparent right away during our trials that the data provided was spot-on. This information, when combined with our iQ Technology®, resulted in sail designs that fit well right from the start. Only minor design changes will be made to the sails; the mainsail luff curves are perfect.”

Quantum sail designer Doug Stewart describes some of the challenges and requirements of the Soto 33 class sails: “With all upwind sails made of Technora in lieu of Carbon, it is apparent that the class wants to keep the boat somewhat inexpensive, but high performance.” The class rules for the Soto 33, says Stewart, are being finalized to include 2 jibs, one mainsail and 2 asymmetricals. 

“With the jibs being hanked on, the tricky part of the inventory is the jib. With one jib being small, the large jib must go through a range from 6 to 17 knots. The sail must cover a wide range but have the fiber content to get to the small jib cross over. With hanked on sails, changes will most likely happen between races rather than during races.” 

The mainsail, explains Stewart, is really no different than the Soto 40, relying heavily on a combination of shape and batten stiffness to set up correctly. “With three full-length battens, stiffness and taper is key and changes have been made to batten selection from the initial set seen in the trial sail.” 

With two asymmetricals as opposed to three with the Soto 40, Stewart says range is key with the R1 being used in light and heavy conditions and the R2 covering mid to upper planning conditions from 12 to 20 knots.

The Soto 33 is the largest One Design class using Technora. Stewart says Quantum’s iQ Technology® was used to determine how much fiber would be needed at the upper range of the AP jib and mainsail while performance data was acquired. “The key to the run was looking at the strain on the fiber in all areas of the sail.” 

“Lastly,” says Stewart, “the key to designing sails for a boat five thousand miles away is good drawings from the boat designer and good communication with the salesman who is working with the build team and doing initial sea trials. For the Soto 33, Alejandro – who is also a designer—did a great job providing excellent information.” 


Photos from the Sail Trials





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