Quantum Sails is excited to welcome Todd Basch, or Basch as he often goes by, to our Chicago team. We interviewed our new expert to learn more about his experience and how he plans to step up to the unique world of Great Lakes sailing.
Quantum Sails: Your sailing career has taken you all over the world, from Hawaii and the Caribbean to Europe and landing you back on the East Coast in Massachusetts. Now you’re adding Chicago to your list. What are you most looking forward to about your new adventure on the shores of the Great Lakes?
Todd Basch: The combination of boat, sail, and water is unique to every location, so there is much to learn when sailing and making sails somewhere new. Each place, each condition has something to offer. The Great Lakes are shiny-new to me, which is really appealing.
QS: You have impressive experience in just about every element of sailing, including racing a vintage 12 Meter at an America’s Cup Jubilee and numerous offshore races. How will your experience and expertise enable you to help Chicago-area sailors meet their challenges?
TB: I have had the privilege of building sails for and sailing with all kinds of sailors in all kinds of places. The first order of business with any sailor is to understand their boat and their sailing preferences. Sailboats are personal. At its best, my range of experience opens my mind to the needs of a particular sailor. A new body of water is part of my continuing education.
QS: What are you hoping to learn?
TB: I generally don’t know what I am going to learn before I learn it, but, in broad strokes, I want to learn the Lakes, learn about the people who sail on them, and learn how best to use the broad and deep resources of Quantum.
QS: What do you expect will be your biggest challenge?
TB: I am expecting to be mighty busy. Getting priorities lined up sensibly and giving the time needed to all the tasks involved in getting boats and sailors trimmed-up is going to take some figuring out on my part.
QS: You’ve been in the sailing industry for over 30 years. What keeps you excited and coming into work each day?
TB: I am joining Quantum because the company is committed to sailors and full of enthusiasm. It is giving me the opportunity and resources to use my particular skills. I feel like a new sailmaker, which is kind of amazing after being so long in the industry. Also, I just love the craft: the engineering and the beauty of a well-built sail properly executed.
QS: What do you think is unique about your approach to sailmaking and sail service? What can the sailors of Chicago look forward to?
TB: Sailmaking and service are, on one hand, highly technical engineering tasks. But the technical aspects of sails do not live in isolation from the particular use that sailors have for their boats. Proper sails and service require knowing the client’s preferences and abilities. If I am working with you, you are going to be questioned, and we are going to talk. I love this kind of exchange.
QS: Do you have a favorite piece of sailing advice? Something from your experience or that was told to you?
TB: “It will end.” This is the little quote the captain of Flying Wings, an Ocean 71, told me when I was 19 and we had just cleared English Harbor in Antigua, right into a big sea and big blow, on our way to England. I must have turned pale. I was terrified.
QS: What is the craziest you’ve ever seen or worked on?
TB: Mirabella 5 (M5), the largest sloop in the world, was sailing the Pacific off the coast of South America and blew out a giant headsail. They motored to Lima. On one day’s notice, I flew to Peru and put the sail back together on the foredeck of M5, careful not let any 3M 5200 marine caulk get on the teak deck. Totally nuts. Three-day trip. It was a blast.
QS: What else would you like sailors to know about you?
TB: My familiarity with apparent wind is grounded in generating my own on quick motorcycles.