Catching up with Sunfast 3300 Skipper Christina Wolfe

We love sails, and we love sailing, and we know you do, too.  We also love hearing from Quantum customers around the globe and across our sport for their latest thoughts on racing, cruising, and the Quantum experience. We’re especially excited to share our chat with sailor extraordinaire Christina Wolfe. 

Christina Wolfe is, among many things, an accomplished IRC and ORC skipper with podium finishes in the Rolex Middle Sea Race, the Fastnet, and more. And did we mention she’s a finalist for the 2024 Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year? We caught up with her in January 2024, a year into owning her Sunfast 3300, Red Ruby.

Quantum: Sounds like it has been a great first year on your new boat! How did the sail performance and your ability to work with your sailmaker to fine-tune your inventory help support you this year?

Christina Wolfe: We bought Red Ruby (previously Gentoo) in January 2022 and had the opportunity to spend some time with the previous owner, who gave us his insights on the boat, sail inventory, and sail crossovers. We did our own due diligence and spoke with other sailmakers, but we were pretty happy with the initial conversations with Rory [Maclean] about the Quantum options. Rory also took the time to come sailing with us on our first trip to the UK to sail the boat — we appreciated his insights. We decided to continue the relationship, and it’s been a great one — we definitely feel that our sails are very fast, and as we’ve learned to sail the boat better, we’ve been able to provide feedback that then results in ongoing improvements with our sail plan. After discussions with Rory and Adrien (sail designer), we have a new J1 and A1.5 that we feel is a notch above what others are using — with the results to back that up. We’ve always felt our A2 was as good or better than the others. We also have a better genoa staysail than what we see on other boats. With each year, changes occur across the rating systems that we race in (IRC, ORC), so it’s been critical to have a close relationship with our sailmaker (it's really the most important part of choosing a sailmaker) so that we are optimizing the sail plan within the rating constraints (and not missing anything!).

Q: Congratulations on your recent successes, including being the first female skipper in the Fastnet IRC division and a bunch of wins in the Rolex Middle Sea Race — in the double-handed division, too. Are there any instances where you think your sails greatly impacted these wins? And, what’s next?

CW: The races couldn’t have been more different, but we had worked with Rory to build an asymmetrical kite to be flown from a pole to essentially test at Fastnet ahead of a trans-Atlantic race we have planned for April 2024 (Cap-Martinique). The sail was fantastic for the time we were able to use it (less than we hoped), and we’re really happy to have it for our race this year, which will be predominantly downwind. For the RMSR, one of the most valuable sails ended up being a new J1 that was very fast — it seemed like we were always getting that back up during transitions because it was worth so much in speed compared to the boats around us.

Q: Wow! It's great to hear that. We’re glad to have you as a Quantum customer and we’re proud to be your sailmaker! Anything else you’d like to add? 

CW: Quantum has definitely been a big part of the Red Ruby program — we have a fantastic inventory, but more importantly, we have a better shore team with the relationship with Rory, who has gone to bat for us to keep us in the game when we shredded a kite right before Fastnet or even just needed a drill to borrow on short notice! In the end, it really is about the people, and this has been no different.

Q: Just for fun… what’s your favorite point of sail on Red Ruby?

CW: Downwind, of course - going fast!  Helming is technical and fun, especially when the waves and wind allow surfing and planing. 

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The Discussion